IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega spoke with The Business Times while at the gaming convention, Gamestart Asia 2018. Here are highlights from the interview:
Realizing there are more promotions out there other than WWE:
"Everyone has a choice to watch whatever they want. It's okay to like both or other promotions too. When I was growing up, I thought there was only WWE. That's it. One promotion in the world. And then as I grew up, I found that there's local wrestling. There's WCW, there's ECW. In Mexico, there are the luchadores. And then finally, I realized there's wrestling in Japan. I think for many people, they think there's one giant promotion and that's all that there is. It must be the best. But as they expand their palate and their horizons, they realize that, oh, there's other wrestling out there. They might not necessarily like it more but it's an option now. It's cool that there are so many options for people all over the planet."
Learning to speak Japanese:
"It was always a constant struggle. I was trying to learn since 2008. I would buy books and subscribe to online programs and none of it really worked. What I knew was so little and most of it was unusable. I would ask him for translations and he would tell me words and phrases I could use in conversation and I would write them down in my notebook. I would study them and memorize them and eventually, I had a huge list of words and sentences. I was able to look at these words and sentences and take apart the grammar and made my own sentences. I could recite my own thoughts. It was kind of a very strange way to learn but that was how I started to really build my own Japanese."
Working on a different style of wrestling, outside of the WWE bubble:
"I am sort of very much a part of representing an alternative. If my motivation was money, I would already be in the WWE. I was down on the current product and I wanted to create a style and have matches that my friends, my family and other athletes could watch and enjoy. There's a certain kind of-of wrestling fan that will only like a certain style. They think that's the right way and that's okay but I'm not trying to impress those people. Those people are already kind of set in their ways. I'm trying to open the world to a different style, what pro-wrestling has the potential to be."