It didn't take long for Kenny Omega to fire back at Hiroshi Tanahashi.
In a recent interview with the local media, Tanahashi was critical of Omega's in-ring style, saying that there is no story to his matches and that only the last five minutes matter. Omega, dubbed The Best Bout Machine, did not take kindly to those words.
In a new interview with NJPW1972.com, the IWGP Heavyweight Champion didn't mince words when discussing The Ace and his in-ring work.
"Here’s the thing, Tanahashi has this idea that wrestling has to be a certain way. There are borders that you shouldn’t cross. Wrestling should be wrestling, there’s a “classic” way. But the thing is when I watch a Tanahashi match, I feel nothing. When I show a Tanahashi match to my friends, to my father to my fans; they are f**king bored," stated Omega. "But when I show some of my matches, they feel something in their hearts, it makes them think about something. When a Tanahashi match ends, you’ve already f**king forgotten it. I wanted matches that stay with me forever, more than 24 hours, more than one week. Why they f**k do you think they call me the best bout machine?! It’s not because I’m the greatest athlete in wrestling. Because I can create emotion and I can create a memory and because Tanahashi could never f**king do that. Really Tanahashi belongs in the WWE. He can be the next Roman Reigns. So, don’t think for a second that’s new Japan style."
Omega wasn't done there. On top of offering his own criticism towards Tanahashi's in-ring style, he was critical of Tanahashi's business acumen.
"What Tanahashi should do is f**king thank me because you actually think a Tanahashi main event could ever go to America? You never could," said Omega. "You can go to America once, because it’s an interesting name, its’s a novelty for new Japan to come to America. Do you think if you put Tanahashi and Billy Gunn as a main event do you think he could ever come back? Of course not. So, with this worldwide movement, with the boost in numbers for New Japan World, somebody should tell this a*****e to think about business."
Tanahashi and Gunn served as the co-main event at the G1 Special In USA show on July 2, 2017. Omega faced Tomohiro Ishii in the main event. Despite being in the main event of that show over Tanahashi, Omega believes it's not a decision NJPW wanted to make.
"The thing is, I know that New Japan at that time, they don’t want to have to use me as their main event star, as their number one of course they don’t, look at the way they pushed Tanahashi. They still call that old f**ker the Ace. He’ll still appear on TV, he has a movie in Japan, it’s embarrassing. Absolutely f**king embarrassing. But they do understand, hey guess what this is a business, we need money and the American fans aren’t stupid," Omega said. "They understand what a good match is. They understand who is able to give the best matches. I’m not here to cash in checks, I’m not here for money, I’m not here to do the classic style and the way wrestling is supposed to be. I’m the greatest f**king showman, I’m the greatest showman in professional wrestling, maybe of all f**king time, so they have no choice but to put me in the main event they don’t give a f**k about me, I know they don’t give a f**k about me as a person, and I know." Omega continued, "There was one match where I wasn’t the main event, but I still remember that match I had before, in the semi versus Michael Elgin, that was still the best bout and guess what even if I’m not the main event, I’m still gonna have the best bout because no one here comes close to what I can do."
Tanahashi is the current holder of the G1 Climax briefcase, giving him a IWGP Heavyweight Title shot at Wrestle Kingdom on Jan. 4. He's scheduled to face Kazuchika Okada this weekend at Destruction in Kobe. If Tanahashi retains the briefcase and Omega remains champion, the two will clash at Wrestle Kingdom 13.