Kenny Omega Credits A 2006 Bout With AJ Styles For Keeping Him In Wrestling

Kenny Omega was at a crossroads.

Appearing on the Talk Is Jericho podcast, Omega was asked if he ever wrestled AJ Styles, the man he ousted from the Bullet Club in January 2016. Omega revealed that the two only squared off one time, way back in 2006.

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"I have had one singles match with AJ and I actually credit that match for keeping me in the wrestling business. I was sort of at a cross roads and I wasn't sure -- this was in 2006, I believe -- if I was going to do the MMA thing or if I was going to do professional wrestling," said Omega. "I was competing in jiu-jitsu all around the country and I was training exhibitions and sparring matches to do full contact MMA. It was enjoyable, but I found my in-ring performance was suffering because there's an aesthetic look you have to maintain in professional wrestling. If I'm cutting 20-pounds for a tournament or fight and then I have to go to the ring, I look like I came out of a dryer. If I had to concentrate on one, the other was going to suffer."

The match took place in Winnipeg under PCW Back To School Bash on September 21, 2006. Omega had just been released from WWE developmental at the time. Meanwhile, Styles was one of the faces of TNA and earning universal praise for his X Division classics.

"I wanted to use that AJ match in Winnipeg to sort of determine 'what does my future hold for me?' After that match, I thought, 'Oh my goodness. There's this guy that is so much better than me but we have this chemistry together.' It showed me my true potential," stated Omega. "It really made me look in the mirror and say to myself, 'even when I do these small-time jiu-jitsu tournaments, I'm always going for a finish and concentrating on having the most exciting match. Even though really you should be concentrating on getting the Gold medial.' I found that I'm an entertainer. I'm a performer."

Omega and Styles crossed paths just once more in the ring, teaming together at NJPW New Year's Dash!! 2016 to defeat Shinsuke Nakamura & YOSHI-HASHI. Following the bout, Omega and the rest of Bullet Club turned on Styles, signifying a new era for the group.

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