Before Kenny Omega joined up with Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks as the fourth executive vice president of All Elite Wrestling, "The Cleaner" was dominating New Japan Pro-Wrestling's main event scene as the IWGP Heavyweight Champion. And ever since Omega started up his new gimmick as "The Belt Collector," fans have been wondering if he'll take the time to go back to Japan and once again capture New Japan's top prize, now known as the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. Omega spoke with Sports Illustrated earlier this week and addressed Will Ospreay having to relinquish the title due to injury, as well as hint at his plans moving forward.
"Before I left New Japan, I pulled aside Ospreay and Jay White," Omega said, praising Ospreay for the transformation he underwent en route to winning the title earlier this year. "I don't even know if I should tell this story, but I will. I told both, 'This company, at least the western expansion and the pride of the foreigners, it's all in your hands. They're going to look to you to carry this thing, so you've got to do it.' I said it to Jay and Ospreay knowing it was a likely scenario, but also hoping to light a fire under both of them.
For Ospreay, he'd really came into his own," he added. "He made a complete career shift, and he was going to be a fantastic champion. He made changes to his body, he made changes to his style, his look, his demeanor. He became the person that he needed to be the champion of that company. Unfortunately, becoming champion wasn't enough for him. He tried to fill my shoes."
Omega continued — "Physically, even though he is one of the most gifted performers to ever step foot in the ring, there is only one Kenny Omega —and you can't fill those shoes. Thus, now his belt is vacant, so perhaps it was always meant to be my belt and my belt alone. That's not me making a firm statement as to whether I'll make a venture out there, just that there is no one there that can fill my shoes or override my legacy. When Ospreay comes back, he'll have to re-analyze who he is and who he's meant to be, because he's not meant to be me."
"The Best Bout Machine" will defend the AEW World Championship tonight at AEW's Double or Nothing event, taking on both PAC and Orange Cassidy.