Kenny Omega, the AEW World Champion has discussed the expectations of him as champion and has offered advice to his former partner Kota Ibushi.
Omega won the AEW World Championship in a controversial fashion from Jon Moxley. Omega aligned with long-time friend Don Callis as he stole the title before heading to IMPACT Wrestling.
Kenny Omega is also a former IWGP Heavyweight Champion in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Speaking to Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated, Omega spoke about the weighty expectations placed on a champion.
“For me, I learned there are three places of expectations as champion. There is the expectation of what the fans want from you, there is the expectation of what you want for yourself, and then there is the expectation of what the company wants you to be.”
“I always found that, when I was wrestling for myself, I was able to take things to a certain point. When I was wrestling for the company, I barely made any headway at all. I lost myself. I never found out who I was. It wasn’t until I tuned in to what it was the fans were looking for – there is always something the fans are left wanting.”
“If you can satisfy the hunger that hasn’t been satiated by the fans, and give them what they hunger for, or do it better than the person before you, that’s where you find your most success. That’s where you’ll find the passion, and then you can project that in your own performances.”
Omega then had some words regarding current IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Kota Ibushi. Ibushi and Omega teamed for years as the Golden Lovers. With the ‘forbidden door’ being broken down between companies, Ibushi vs. Omega is a dream match for many fans.
Omega offered Ibushi some advice:
“I don’t mean this in an offensive way, but what I would say to Ibushi is, he’s done a great job of delivering everything that the company has asked him to be. He became, on the exterior, everything that they’d asked him, everything they’d wanted him to be from the beginning, everything that [Hiroshi] Tanahashi wanted him to be. I think that, if he wants to ascend to another level, he has to leave that behind and become the person he was destined to become. Company man Ibushi is not what makes him special, and that’s not the reason he’s champion.”
Kenny Omega has the chance to add the IMPACT World Championship to his list of accolades. The AEW Champion faces IMPACT World Champion Rich Swann in a ‘Title vs. Title’ match at Rebellion at the end of April.