Kenny Omega shares his thoughts on the changing landscape in how wrestling promotions work with each other.
In the aftermath of Harold Meij leaving his position as NJPW's President, talks of a potential relationship between AEW and NJPW re-emerged, though not in an official capacity. Omega, a former IWGP Heavyweight Champion and current AEW EVP, appeared on Wrestling Observer Radio and talked about the current political landscape.
Omega said companies are perhaps a little more open-minded when it comes to discussing potential working relationships. When it comes to NJPW, Omega mentioned that there is a clear divide between the wrestling side and the management side in New Japan and parent company Bushiroad, which may have contributed to discussions regarding working with other companies not going as far as some would have liked.
"The way I kind of look at it and I don't know the current political structure, but by how it sounds, things have opened up a little bit. I believe that companies in general, not just New Japan, but all companies, are more open-minded about working and doing things and creating friendly relationships. I do believe that if there are professional working relationships across the board, it benefits the industry as a whole. I think a lot of people in New Japan understand that. I think a lot of us are still friendly with one another, especially the boys. There might have been issues with office people, higher ups, but there is never an issue with anyone on the wrestling end of things. A lot of us still keep in touch. A lot of us still talk about a day where we can work with each other and all that sort of thing. It was always something, everything was sort of kept apart from one another. There is sort of an office division with Bushiroad and New Japan that never at all does anything with the wrestling end of things. At the highest level you have Gedo and there are people that he'll never get to talk to, but those people make the decisions around the company. I think it's because of that isolation between one division and the other that if those guys don't like something, it's never presented on the table on the wrestling side of things. All the wrestlers want to do what's best for the industry, what provides the best wrestling experience for the fans. It's the guys in the suits that maybe don't understand the business. It's the guys in the suits that think what's best for business and are all sort of holding everything back. I do believe that with the recent shift, that everyone in the American and Japanese division, I believe they are a little more open minded and we've always been open-minded," Omega said.
As far as a partnership with WWE, as unlikely as it seems, is concerned, Omega said he'd be open to it. Omega said if WWE were to ever approach AEW about a talent trade, he would love to see it, though that is his personal stance on the matter and isn't sure what the rest of the higher-ups in AEW think.
Omega does add that he believes working relationships between promotions only helps the wrestling industry and that he's thinking about the fans.
"I've said it before and I'll say it again. If, for some reason, WWE came knocking down our door and said, 'Hey, we'd love to do a talent switch or trade-off and whatever or work out something,' I'd be all for it. Whatever benefits the wrestling fan, I believe that's got to come first. That's my answer, I don't know what [AEW President Tony Khan's] answer would be. But as a wrestler who has also assumed that office position, I'm thinking about the fans first and professional wrestling as a whole. I think just when you start thinking about fantasy scenarios and cross-over stuff, it just gets really exciting. I think that's the shot in the arm that wrestling needs. When we're talking about what's going to attract more viewers than what we have in the table right now, I think it's stuff like that. Even if at first, New Japan is not that well known in the states, I think as soon as word of mouth starts to travel, like, 'Hey, we got these guys that are really good and they're from another country. Just kind of keeping things really interesting and the match qualities are really good. I watched these matches on AEW, but now it's all fresh.' I think stuff like that grow numbers. Maybe it wouldn't, but as I said, you won't know until you've tried. For the wrestling fan, it's a win-win. If you're only making your current fans happy by working together, it's still a win. But I don't think you're going to drive any fans away by having a friendly atmosphere and working together. I think it's a really good act on professional wrestling," Omega said.
The full interview can be heard at this link.
If you use any of the quotes above, credit Fightful for the transcription with an H/T to Wrestling Observer Radio.