Mere hours after the conclusion of AEW Full Gear, Kenny Omega made his return to New Japan Pro-Wrestling, appearing via video at Historic X-Over to challenge Will Ospreay to an IWGP United States Heavyweight Title match at Wrestle Kingdom 17 in January 2023.
A singles match between the two has long been on the cards, and Omega commented on his upcoming return during an interview with Sports Illustrated:
“I’m returning to New Japan as an ambassador of AEW,” said Omega. “I’m returning to New Japan as an ambassador of pro wrestling. I’m also returning home. I left to start this new, exciting opportunity, but it’s still home. Now the things Will can do are things I cannot. He’s an athletic phenom. But as finely tuned as he is physically, he still hasn’t doesn’t have the knowledge or experience. I pushed my own physical boundaries in All Japan and DDT, but that’s not what I’m known for. My mind is my greatest asset, not my athleticism. That’s what’s allowed [Hiroshi] Tanahashi to have such a long and flavourful career.
“I needed someone to take my place in New Japan, I wanted someone to take my place–and it was Will, Jay [White], and [Kota] Ibushi. Will is the only one to have a problem with that.”
Omega challenged Ospreay in fluent Japanese, a move to remind Ospreray and NJPW that Kenny Omega is New Japan at his core:
“I had to speak in Japanese to remind him that he doesn’t have home-court advantage. This is still my home,” said Omega.
Omega and Ospreay have clashed repeatedly on social media throughout 2022, and even wrestled against one another in an AEW ring, with The Elite defeating United Empire in the AEW World Trios Championship Tournament in August.
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