Kenny Omega recalls Kota Ibushi being willing to ‘put his career on the line’ to prove they could make a difference in tag wrestling

DDT Pro-Wrestling was the topic of conversation as Kenny Omega recapped that time in his career

Omega looks back at the early portion of his time in Japan. 

Come January 4th, 2023, for the first time since January of 2019, Kenny Omega will wrestle for New Japan Pro-Wrestling. He’ll be challenging Will Ospreay for the IWGP U.S. Heavyweight Championship. 

With that matchup on the horizon, Monthly Puroresu released the interview they conducted with Omega for issue #10 of their magazine.

They dove into the early portion of Omega’s foray into Japan, specifically his time with DDT Pro-Wrestling. He remembers himself and Kota Ibushi coming up with the idea to form a team that would eventually become the Golden Lovers. Omega recalled Ibushi telling DDT founder Sanshiro Takagi that he’d be willing to put his career on the line to prove he and Kenny could bring something different to the table as far as tag wrestling goes.

We [Omega & Kota Ibushi] came up with the idea, let’s try to convince Takagi-san for us to be a tag team instead. And both of us thought Takagi-san is never going to go for it. So we went and presented him with the idea that, ‘Hey, if you give us a chance to be a tag team, instead of continuing this one-on-one feud together, we promise that we will show you something that you’ve never seen before in tag-team wrestling. And we’ll revolutionize what tag team wrestling means.’

No [I didn’t have an idea of how we would deliver on that promise]. Ibushi was like, ‘I’d put my career on the line that we can make it happen.’ And Takagi-san said, ‘You’re not putting your career on the line! Shut up! Don’t go that far. If you are really that passionate about it, sure, we’ll give it a shot, test it and see if it’s okay.’ I remember we came up with a couple double teams and we had real good natural chemistry together and it felt good and it was on a random house show. A show away from Tokyo. And we thought, well, we might be onto something. But we don’t have that one thing that is really going to convince DDT to stick with this.

Omega would love to come back to DDT. He last wrestled there in 2019 and tagged with Riho to face Antonio Honda and Miyu Yamashita. He went on to add that since Pro Wrestling NOAH is under the CyberFight banner with DDT, it’d be cool to wrestle for them as well. 

I did the one [DDT Pro-Wrestling] show at Ryogoku Sumo Hall (2019) which was incredible. It was an incredible feeling. I can’t put into words what it felt like to go back there and to see so many familiar faces. My mind is blown when New Japan will run a random poll as to, ‘Who is the best foreigner of all time in New Japan?’ And then I win it! And it’s like, how? You remember me? And you remember me fondly enough to say that I’m that guy? It’s incredible. So then for me, again, this goes back a little bit in 2008, for me with DDT, for those fans, DDT told me, ‘Once we announced that you were going to be there and we played that video, our phones were ringing off the hook and we sold this place out just like that.’

I was thinking, I could tear up. I talk about it too much, but you remember me from that far ago, like I don’t. I don’t think I could do that in Winnipeg. And that’s where I was born. You know what I mean? But that’s just how special those fans are and they don’t forget. It means a lot to them. It’s special to them. And it’s like you said, Sonny [Oono], it’s a real family environment and atmosphere. It’s family, it’s trust, it’s respect, it’s the loyalty. It’s all those positive things that go into the idea that a lot of people have an idea of Japanese culture, which is that honor system, you know, everyone thinks what is Japanese culture? They think it’s about samurais, ninjas and Godzilla.

I say yeah, sure. But, if you take some of the things that make those, what they are embedded within those are, are those qualities, is what makes it such a special country. So for that fanbase to remember me and to give me just a real nice homecoming, it was wonderful in 2019. And I would love of course, to be back at some point in time. Whether it be for DDT, for NJPW. I’ve never actually once wrestled for NOAH, but since they’re a part of CyberFight, now it’d be cool to do something.

DDT held their ‘Never Mind’ event on December 29th and to read results from that show, check out the 12/29 POST News Update

About Andrew Thompson 8412 Articles
A Washington D.C. native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.