IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega spoke with New Japan Pro Wrestling ahead of his upcoming “Alpha vs. Omega” showdown against Chris Jericho at the Wrestle Kingdom 12 special in January. Below are some of the highlights from the interview.
On seeing a new Kenny Omega at Wrestle Kingdom 12: “So, maybe at the end of the day, Chris, I’m gonna have to thank you, because what you’ve done now is you’ve unlocked this new Kenny Omega that’s going to expand my range. No. You’re not gonna get the athletic machine that is guaranteed to get ‘Match of the Night,’ ‘Match of the Year,’ ‘Match of the Decade,’ [or] ‘Best Match of All-Time.’ What you’re going to get is someone who’s willing to fight, someone who’s willing to bleed, someone who’s willing to die for his dream to change the wrestling word. I’ve got you to thank for that, Chris.”
On Chris Jericho saying this is Omega’s last match in NJPW: “You said this was gonna be my last match in New Japan, now is that because you’re going to retire me? By physically injuring me? You gonna end my career, and my life? Or was it that you’re on this mission? You’re gonna take me back to the ‘promise land.’ You want me to perform on the ‘Grandest Stage of Them All’ for the granddaddy of sports entertainment, is that what it is? Well, let me warn you, Chris, I can’t be bought, I can’t be reasoned with. My dreams are bigger than money, they’re bigger than fame. My goal is to change the wrestling world [and] you’re playing a key role in that, Chris.”
On his match against Kazuchika Okada at Wrestle Kingdom 11: “When I was fighting Okada, I wanted to show not only the fruits of my labor. I wanted to show the years of my training, the years of hardships, the pain and the loneliness, but I also wanted to channel the emotions from a happy place. I didn’t want this to be a violent match, I wanted to show the beauty of professional wrestling and just what I was capable of. And so, that match became one of the most proud athletic masterpieces in my career. And it sort of started the first big step for the ‘Change the World’ slogan. Chris Jericho comes along and he’s changed the message. He’s now taken this thing of beauty that I’ve tried to recreate and he’s turned it into a dark and terrifying place. And I have no choice but to go there with him. … But if we’re gonna change the world, this is a necessary evil. And so, if I have to fight for what I believe in. If I have to fight for my dream to make New Japan worldwide, if I have to fight to prove that ‘Kenny Omega Style’ truly is the best on the planet, beating you at your own game, Chris, is all I can do.”