POST NEWS UPDATE: Kenny Omega says EVP position makes him miss days when he was just a talent

Kenny Omega interview notes, Jungle Kyona grateful to STARDOM, Akira Hokuto chat, Chris Bey on his partnership with Ace Austin, Tanahashi

Photo Courtesy: New Japan Pro-Wrestling

If any of the quotes from the following podcasts or video interviews are used, please credit those sources and provide an H/T and link back to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.

** Joining Renée Paquette for a recording of The Sessions podcast was Kenny Omega. As their conversation rolled on, Omega spoke about his Executive Vice President position in All Elite Wrestling and said it makes him miss the days of solely being a talent. He did state that it is vastly different from year one in AEW when a lot of responsibility was placed on the EVPs.

It (AEW EVP role) makes me miss the days when I could roll up with my carry bag and be like, ‘Alright, let’s just worry about the match that we have tonight’ and the match is over and it’s like, okay, that’s it, it’s over. That’s where the stress starts and ends, with your own performance and now there’s so much more that goes into it and though, you know, our various roles, they do have limits of course. I mean, we don’t do everything. We have more of an infrastructure and we have people that do have roles and jobs within the company so it’s not like we are as busy as we were in year one. However, there are still things that we have to do all the time and there are still things that prevent us from being the people that we used to be. For the people that came before us and had roles in major wrestling companies but still had to go out on TV and pretend like, yeah, this is the entire reason why I’m here is for this one performance but they had so many other things on their plate that you didn’t see, that wasn’t for the public to see or even understand or even hear about. These are sort of legends that get told decades later down the line. I have so much more respect for the people that were actively involved on the show but then also were accounted on by the people on their team to provide in some other way that took a lot of time from their schedule.

In a follow-up to Omega’s comments, he was asked if he feels him being in his role has changed his relationship with fellow roster members. He hopes that is not the case and said himself and The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) have an open-door policy. They want to do whatever they can to help anyone.

Um, not sure. I’m not sure (if my EVP status has altered my relationship with fellow roster members). It would be sad if people are pretending to be nice to me because of it. I hope that’s not the case. The Bucks and I, we always had an open-door policy. It’s like hey, if we can do something for anybody, our door is always open and just come to us with whatever woe that you may have backstage and the last thing that I would wanna do is kind of create a divide where it’s like, hey, you guys are over here doing your thing. We’re over here because what? We’re more important? I don’t ever wanna feel that way and it’s never been that way. We are just boys in the locker room. We never try to exude any sort of aura about us that hey, we’re a suit in the office. It’s definitely not how we try to present ourselves.

The Exploding Barbed Wire Death Match from AEW Revolution 2021 was discussed in detail. Going into it, Omega was fearful of the unknown when it comes to what he’d be putting his body through but the thought of the pyrotechnics not going off never crossed his mind. He mentioned that there was an initial idea that had been practiced but ‘the boss’ suggested a different idea to make it ‘look better’. Omega said he was proud of the match, but the ending made him want to rely on as little people as possible going forward. 

The big one that always comes to mind, the forefront of my brain is of course the Barbed Wire Death Match, the Exploding Barbed Wire Death Match (is what comes to mind when I think of things that did not turn out how I thought it would) … I was so proud of the match, I was so worried about the match because I’m not really like a hardcore guy. I’m the guy that’s scared of needles… When I’m in the heat of the moment, things happen so I just deal with it. When I’m getting thrown into barbed wire and things like that in the heat of the moment, sure, but going into a match knowing that this might happen and this might happen and this might happen and I’m thinking worst-case scenario like wow, that could catch on fire or you know, I could smear my face off or whatever, I could get completely shredded by barbed wire if I get completely tangled in it. I was scared of stuff like that. But, the one thing that I never thought would happen and I should’ve considered it was what if all this stuff that they have prepared, that they have done rehearsals for, that I know they’ve done rehearsals for, what if for some reason on the day of, that doesn’t work? It never popped into my mind, that feeling, that thought. You just think that the stuff that you can’t control is gonna be there for you, you know what I mean?… I’m trying to worry about what can I do to control the unknown? The thing I can’t control, any sort of technical aspect of the match, I can’t do that so I’m just trusting that all of these people that have the know-how and have been tasked to do this can pull it off.

I was giving the entire situation the benefit of the doubt because it was a super windy day, it was a very windy day and the way that the wind traveled through that kind of half-open arena, I thought, maybe this place has been so wind tunneled up that something had caused this to not fire the way that it should. I was kind of hoping that that’s what it was, but it was just kind of like when I heard the real reason, where it was like, the boss who was not there from full rehearsals had then showed up to the actual real-life show and he had said, ‘I’ve got a way to make this look even better’ and that was his idea. I was like, ‘Wait, you decided on the spot? When you didn’t know the idea, you didn’t see the rehearsal and that’s the direction you decided to go in?’ And yes, there were misfires within his new idea that he decided but, I wish we just would have done what we practiced.

I remember walking to the back and I didn’t want to show any sort of emotion one way or another. Whatever it was that I was going to do, I was just gonna do it away from people, maybe in front of The Bucks, maybe in front of people that have seen me at my worst before. I was gonna do it in front of them and I was gonna come back out and be like, oh! Wasn’t that great everyone? (he laughed) So, I remember being on my way to the back and I saw Jerry (Lynn). He kind of sprinted up beside me and he’s like, ‘Kenny, don’t do it man. I know you’re pissed off but don’t do it.’ I’m like, ‘Jerry, I don’t even know what I’m gonna do. I just feel like crying man’ but he’s like, ‘No, it’s okay, it’s okay. Nothing you did wrong, nothing you did wrong. I’m pissed off too but, hopefully you don’t blame anyone involved in the match.’ I’m like, ‘No, I don’t.’ That was kind of the most upsetting part is at that moment, I don’t know who to blame, I don’t know who’s to fault. I just feel so terrible for Jon (Moxley), for Eddie (Kingston), I even felt sorry for myself. I’m like, man, boy did we look like sorry saps. It was nice to just sort of, as best as I could, just scrub the finish and okay, how did our day’s work look aside from that one technical flub? I was like, you know what? I really liked it, I really did it and it sucks that-that last part is what’s gonna stick in everyone’s mind but it just reinforces that everything that we do as performers, as artists, don’t ever say, hey Kenny, you had this incredible match, you had the greatest match of all time. Let’s say you really think that. I was just a part of it. I had an opponent, I had a great crowd, I had a great ring, I had probably a good entrance, my opponent had a good entrance, the referee was probably there sawing the counts. It’s such a team effort and if one of those things goes sideways, then kind of the whole experience gets — it suffers as a result of it.

We were kind of able to pivot away from it and make it into something else which was, in its own right, ridiculous. Like, ‘Hey, I wanted you to think that you were gonna get blown up and burned alive but I’m not a murderer.’ I guess that makes sense, yeah. If I blew something up for real, that’s not good… It made me want to rely on as little people as possible moving forward and I remember too, that-that was always my thought process going into sports, even throughout high school. I was really good at ice hockey, I loved ice hockey. But what did I play? I was a goaltender.

During the interview, Omega was wearing a ‘Sami for Syria’ shirt and he spoke about his friendship with Zayn. He said he loves Sami like a brother and he’s doing great things right now.

I love him (Sami Zayn) like a brother… My greatest dormitory experience and possibly one of my greatest experiences ever just in wrestling was being able to kind of dorm with him in Japan and it was hanging out during the days, doing the matches at the nights and then just kind of sitting and chilling and watching old 80s, 90s action movies. Those are moments I’ll never forget and I’m just so proud that I’ve been able to have incredible matches with him, done some incredible work, proud that I can call him a friend, proud that he’s doing so well and finally showing everyone just how good he really is. Again, sweet human being. It’s the entire purpose of this shirt was for incredible reasons so, Sami for Syria in case you guys don’t know, wonderful cause. Sami’s doing some great things though and yeah, there’s many ways to be a help and donate to a great cause.

** In September 2021, Jungle Kyona made the decision to depart STARDOM. As she was chatting with Kotatsu Studios, she expressed how grateful she is for STARDOM and discussed the positive impacts IYO SKY, KAIRI and Rossy Ogawa played in her career.

I finally wanted to become a wrestler. I was instantly motivated and practiced much harder. I ended up debuting two months later, so I was only a trainee for three months.

The momentum carried me through. I practiced alone on days off too. I’d hit the gym or practice stuff that I hadn’t been able to do successfully. I wanted to debut ASAP, because you know, I was also broke and you don’t get paid until you debut (she laughed). My senpais were also like, ‘You’re so broke. You should debut ASAP.’ Io Shirai used to take care of me. She’d bring bags of clothes and shoes. She knew I had nothing to wear and I’d be like, ‘Thank you! Thank you!’

KAIRI would also ask me out to eat after our practice sessions too. Of course, Rossy (Ogawa) built the dorm in the first place and I’m thankful for that too. I am forever grateful to everyone that was at STARDOM at the time.

Kyona is scheduled to undergo knee surgery in April after her 4/14 booking. She has a match scheduled for March 5th for Pro Wrestling ZERO1 but took the booking so she could support Shinjiro Otani. The promotion is aware of the meniscus injury she’s dealing with. Kyona added that Otani’s positivity throughout his cervical spinal cord injury has inspired her.

Yes, it’s actually an offer they (Pro Wrestling ZERO1) gave me despite knowing of my current condition. I really wanted to wrestle for ZERO1, mainly because of Shinjiro Otani. I always wanted to contribute to his cause in any way that I could. ZERO1 let us practice in their dojo ever since I was a rookie and Otani would always greet us and exchange words with us. There was this one time when I met him while promoting a show in Nagoya. I was going around bars with posters and our team got to drink with him afterwards. He told me that he hadn’t seen such a strong Joshi in ages. (Strong) as in drinking (she laughed). He told me that I drink like a Joshi wrestler from the Showa Era, over 40 years ago. I was so happy to hear that from him. I wanted to go drinking with him again, but then he got injured. So I had been thinking about what I can do to contribute and that’s why I decided to accept the offer from ZERO1. Otani has so much passion and fire inside of him so he must be so frustrated that he is unable to move his body right now. You know, he’s just so expressive. I, myself, spent a lot of time depressed about my injury and this past year or so since his injury, I’ve been reading his tweets. There’s so much positivity from him that it’s hard to believe that he’s in his current state. It helped me so much in getting through my own injury and state. He gave me the courage to fight my condition and get back on my feet.

My condition is such that I can still wrestle in the ring and there is something that I want to express through wrestling. ‘Carrying on my back’ might be an overstatement but I want to get in that ring and give courage to the fans that are watching and also support Otani in the process.

In January, Kyona competed at The Great Muta’s Final Bye-Bye event. After the show, she mentioned the idea of Pro Wrestling NOAH creating a GHC Women’s Championship and thinks NOAH felt the power of Joshi.

I think it was NOAH’s first Joshi match ever, at Yokohama Arena of all places. I was able to represent Joshi on Great Muta’s final show. It was my in-ring return match in Japan and they billed it as my triumphant return. I’m thankful for having been able to wrestle on such a big stage.

Well the IWGP Women’s Title was created and people were talking about it and KAIRI, who I have tons of respect for, became the inaugural champion so it’s not like I was being competitive, but… It was only the first women’s match in NOAH so I’m not sure how far out they were thinking. But I think that they were able to feel the power of Joshi on that day. So I think I’m the first to say the words ‘GHC Women’s Championship’ but I wanted to take the opportunity to have them believe in the power of Joshi and consider it.

There was a conversation about more foreigners coming back to Japan and Kyona brought up Janai Kai, who debuted for Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling. She is glad Kai enjoyed her experience in Japan and mentioned that they hung out.

Janai Kai was just in Japan the other day. The feeling of hosting foreigners all came back to me from the old days. So I contacted her so that we could hang out.

She was able to ride trains alone. I was so glad to hear that she had fallen in love with Japan.

** Former All Japan Women’s Junior Champion and the first-ever WCW Women’s Champion Akira Hokuto is the focus of an interview series on the Tokyo Sports site. In the first write-up, she was asked what her future involvement in wrestling looks like. She has not wrestled since 2006 and expressed that the in-ring portion is over for her. She wants to show that more can be done after wrestling besides commentary.

There are many things I want to do (going forward). Besides, wrestling is already over in my life. People often say ‘returning the favor,’ but my way of returning the favor is not to destroy what I created in my matches with (Shinobu) Kandori. I don’t think that doing something is repaying a favor, but that not talking about it is also repaying a favor. And I don’t want people to live a life where the only thing they can do after quitting wrestling is to commentate on wrestling. I want to set a successful example and be a pioneer.

Hokuto added that she’s been away from wrestling for a long period of time and the modern-day talent is great. While she loved what she did professionally, she joked that maybe she does not like watching it.

I have been away from wrestling for many years, but when I did the assembly, I felt that the modern era is full of great athletes, it is gorgeous, and there is a lot of charm in the various athletes that are being developed. I also had one more thing to answer for. I loved doing wrestling. But I guess I don’t like to watch it (laughs).

There was a match when Giulia used Hokuto’s ‘Northern Light Bomb’ move. Hokuto stated that she did not need to give Giulia permission to use the move and thinks highly of the current World of STARDOM Champion.

I don’t need (to give) permission (to Giulia so she can use the Northern Light Bomb). I think you should use it freely. Whether it becomes a thing or not is up to you. When I saw her at the Budokan, she was doing foul play and all kinds of things, and I said, ‘Wow, she’s amazing.’ She’s a ‘Dangerous Queen’. I hope Julia can make it happen.

** The latest guest to appear on Dr. Beau Hightower’s YouTube channel is Braun Strowman. Strowman feels he’s currently carrying the torch for the modern-day big man in wrestling and mentioned Omos as someone in that same category who he thinks fondly of.

I was fortunate enough at the time when I came in was when kind of all the big guy legends started to settle out to pasture per se and it was nice to be able to sit underneath the learning tree. I mean, being married to Kane and Big Show and Mark Henry and all these guys for so many years and you know, traveling around, wrestling and getting to learn from the absolute best big men to ever do it, you know? And now that where I’m at with the company and the position in the business, it’s an honor because I feel like I’m carrying that torch now and one of these days, I’ll get to pass it on to another young giant… Omos, I’ve already beat him. But he’s another promising, young athlete. It’s crazy to think about, he’s only what? 28 or 29 years old? 7’4, 420 pounds and very athletic, very strong and very, very smart. Smart for the business, smart for the world and a good ambassador for what WWE is as well. Pretty tough in the ring too.

** While guest appearing on The Corner Podcast, Chris Bey dove into his partnership with Ace Austin. Before Bey officially joined IMPACT Wrestling, he had a feeling that himself and Ace would be feuding over the company’s world title in the future. He expressed that they both want to be Triple Crown Champions in IMPACT and it’ll be a race to see who gets the world title first.

I think the best thing about me and Ace (Austin) that brought us strong as a team is how similar our stories are and then how similar our end goals are. We’re just on the same page with all those things, so the in-ring work, because he’s great as a solo wrestler and I’m also great as a solo wrestler. The in-ring, we know, okay, we both gotta make this work and it’s almost like we compete within each other to make sure it works. I knew when IMPACT first signed Ace, this is when I was still hustling for the contract with IMPACT a year prior, I remember they came here to Sam’s Town. That’s where he made his debut match for the company and I remember watching, trying to get an extra talent spot and I saw who they just signed and I’m like, ‘Damn, this is guy is good’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah, me and this guy are gonna feud over the world title for many years to come.’ This guy is good, I knew it. I was like, ‘This guy is gonna be my competition.’ So six months later or so when he won the X Division Championship, I’m still hustling for the deal, I’m like, he don’t even know it yet but that belt’s mine. Soon as I get there, that belt’s mine and then he lost it to Willie (Mack) and I was like, oh, you got lucky, because when I got there, I took it from Willie. I was like, Ace, you got lucky. I knew that and I’m sure he could probably feel a similar way where he’s like, Bey’s dope. I’m the guy but Bey’s dope. So when we both got put together, soon as he joined BULLET CLUB, I was like, hmm, okay, I see where this could be going and then soon as we got paired together, first match against Motor City Machine Guns, Center Stage, Atlanta, Georgia, I’m like, oh yeah, it’s on now. First match together against the Machine Guns? Go ahead, show me what you got. I’ll show you what I got right now and we showed each other, oh yeah, this works. We’re gonna do what we need to do for each other which is complete our goal of being Triple Crown (champions). He wants to be world champion, he’s a former three-time X Division Champion and I wanna be world champion and I’m a former X Division Champion. We both need the tag titles to complete what we need, so if we’re gonna be each other’s link to do that, let’s do it. Let’s get each other to that next level, let’s take the division to this next level, let’s take those championships and submit our legacy, then let’s see who gets to that world title first… It’s a contest, yeah.

** There is an advice column that Hiroshi Tanahashi writes for ‘OTEKOMACHI’ where people ask for his thoughts about situations going on in their respective lives. Tanahashi was interviewed by Nikkei xTREND and detailed why he wanted to take the opportunity to write the column.

How would a pro-wrestler, who usually stands in the ring putting his body on the line, respond to advice on familiar problems at work, at home, etc.? I thought it would be an interesting gap that would attract people’s interest and help to broaden the base of pro wrestling. Women tend to have an image of professional wrestling as ‘painful and scary’ or ‘something for men to watch.’ I hope that by offering advice on their problems, I can give them a softer impression and make them feel more familiar with the sport.

It has been almost 24 years since I became a professional wrestler, and while there were times when I was very successful, there were also times when I had a hard time gaining the recognition of wrestling fans. Through it all, I have continued to think without giving up, and that has built up and become an asset for me. I wanted to not only keep it to myself, but also to make it useful to everyone through the consultation for their problems.

** ‘The Major Pod Network’ team documented their experience on the 2023 Chris Jericho cruise: 

** NJPW/CMLL Fantasticamania Results (2/28/23) Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
– Yuto Nakashima & Capitán Suicida def. Magia Blanca & Kosei Fujita
– Tiger Mask def. Hijo Del Villano III
– Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi, Titán & BUSHI) def. Rey Cometa, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ryohei Oiwa & Satoshi Kojima
– Dulce Gardenia def. OKUMURA
– Soberano Jr. def. Hechicero
– Volador Jr., Templario & El Desperado def. Master Wato, Bárbaro Cavernario & Último Guerrero
– Mistico def. Atlantis Jr.

** NWA backstage correspondent Mayra Gomes (May Valentine) was interviewed for Perez Hilton’s website.

** February 28th birthdays: Brock Anderson, Lance Archer, Ricky Steamboat & Yoshiko Hasegawa.

** Microman was interviewed by Sports Illustrated’s Justin Barrasso.

If any of the quotes from the following podcasts or video interviews are used, please credit those sources and provide an H/T and link back to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.

About Andrew Thompson 7741 Articles
A Maryland native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.