Fans haven't seen Kenny Omega in the ring since AEW Full Gear when he lost the AEW World Championship to Hangman Page.
Omega stepped away from AEW television following the match, saying he needed to "fix things."
It was reported that he would undergo surgery for his "shoulder, knee and abdominal issues, and likely for a septum issue" and that he was expected to return at some point in February.
Appearing on Wrestling Observer Radio, Omega provided an update on his recovery.
"The plan of course, and perhaps I was a little too optimistic, I was hoping to be back by February. It's not looking that way anymore," he stated. "That's not to say there was a huge snag or something that is terribly wrong, it's not that. It's just, trying to get appointments and things fixed, you have it in your brain, 'Oh yeah, I can call a number and get in the next day.' Unfortunately, there are sometimes waiting lists or other complications which create follow-up appointments and things like that, and the whole COVID thing, which has backed everything up by two weeks or so. That's caused me to missed appointments, which caused me to re-book and that extends the time. That part of the recovery process is always really goofy. It's still on track. I'm still feeling a little bit better as time goes by and that's without having to do major procedures that need to be done. That's just working with trainers and doing the proper rehab to strengthen surrounding areas of the injured areas of the body."
Omega continued, discussing how his body compensated from some muscles not working properly.
"One of the big takeaways from my training lately is I was leaning too heavily into my strengths as a performer and athlete and I guess, over the years, there were natural strengths or things I overdeveloped and I was relying too much on those things and now that the knees are gone, the neck is going, I'd lose power in my right knee, a lot of stuff is going on. How do you compensate for that stuff and what is it I can strengthen around those areas that can create a more stable and strong body? It's a silly process and I always laugh at myself to see that, 'wow, as strong as this thing was, this thing adjacent to it was terribly weak and I feel really pathetic.' It's been a process, but it feels good to kind of learn from the ground up these new movements that help correct issues that otherwise would have been completely debilitating. It's going well, the training is going well, once I'm able to try to get the knees fixed, get the neck fixed, the hernia, and all that stuff, hopefully, I'm able to move around much better than I was before and I look like a guy who was doing what he was doing ten years ago, hopefully," he said.
He continued by saying, "As days go by, you don't realize how your daily activities and your normal lifestyle changes unless you have someone point it out to you, who really knows the human body and its mechanics. I would work with a trainer who is studied in human anatomy and it's like, 'Do this, flex this, now flex only this, flex this and this together,' and my body could not make those connections anymore. I was like, 'what is going on? Why is my glute completely dead? Why won't it fire? Why can't I, on command, activate my hamstring muscle?' It's things like that and it's alarming at first because it's like, Woah, I've been that quad heavy for this long because my knee was in pain and I was trying to compensate in this way and I was putting too much pressure on my toes and the balls of my feet rather than absorbing any impact in the glutes and hammies and sitting back on my heels at all. It's things like that where I've been putting far too much impact on things that actually work because they hurt and I thought I was pushing them properly. For me, in the moment, that's how my body would react just to get through it and to try to continue this facade that Kenny Omega was 100% when he wasn't anywhere close to it."
He noted that he's always been a wrestler that has relied more on explosiveness than power.
"For me, even if I can't be the exact version of myself that I brought to the table for 'x' amount of years, I still want to be somebody known for their dynamic ability in the ring and someone who has good stamina. When the wheels go away, it's really hard to stay on top of your game from a cardio aspect. You have to get creative," he said.
Omega continued by saying he typically likes to do sport activities for his cardio and has had to change things up to where he's doing more battle ropes and bear crawls as a way to get creative.
"Hopefully, the big reward at the end, is coming back and wrestling in a healthier state," he stated.
Omega had a busy schedule in 2021, holding the AEW World Title, IMPACT World Title, and AAA Mega Title. He wrestled a variety of opponents and different style matches, earning him the "Wrestler of the Year" award in many publications and in the eyes of the fans.
"I wanted to fool the fans," he said, noting he didn't want people to take that the wrong way. "I didn't want them to think, 'Kenny is doing a decent job for someone that is hurt.' I didn't want that to cross their minds. I wanted to build myself up as a champion that they wanted to see defeated. There were times that were more difficult than others. When I was at IMPACT and my hernia got really bad, they did a lot of tapings at the arena in Nashville with no fans, and I would be on every week doing something, I wouldn't necessarily have a match all the time, but it got to the point where I would do a six-man tag for an app special, another six-man tag for a TV show, maybe another tag, and the next day would be a pay-per-view match, and the day after would be the follow-up TV taping and those days would have maybe one match, but a lot of run ins, interviews, promos. I recall having to do a run in and every step felt like I was being poked in the stomach with some sort of sharp object. Scott (D'Amore) told me after, 'Kenny, we had to cut that entire segment because you looked like a 95-year-old man running to the ring.' It was bad. I couldn't do a run-in, it was a walk-in. There was no more adrenaline left. It came to a point where all I could feel was the pain and that was it. I kept everyone in the loop about it. I mentioned it to IMPACT, to Tony (Khan), and I said, 'I can get myself there and go what we need to do, but I really need to select those moments when I push it because if I do it all the time, I'll never get to a point where I can do that."
Circling back to his recovery, Omega provided a clearer timeline on when he might be able to return to television and to the ring.
"The hernia is absolutely something I want to get taken care of now. The last thing I want to do is...doctors are telling me, 'you have the umbilical hernia, it's going to get real bad eventually and you're going to have to get it taken care of, but you can let it rip for now.' I would hate to come back and let's say something happens where it just tears wide open and my intestines are spilling out everywhere. It would suck to take this time off, come back, and immediately go, 'No, I need this other surgery now.' I want to get it done now. To be able to walk around and live life, it's like a five-day process. To be able to take impact on the abdomen area, it'll take six to eight weeks before I should be doing it or before I get cleared to do it. Maybe my healing factor would kick in and it could be quicker, you have to listen to the doctors at that point. As of right now, that's going to be the longest recovery time I have to deal with. As soon as I get that taken care of, once that eight weeks is up, that's probably going to be about the time when I make my return. In the interim, I have various knee treatments coming up," he said, noting that he's a believer in stem cell and that he would be doing "cutting edge" treatments that he didn't go into detail on.
As of now, it is unknown when Omega will be able to return to television. He left the Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) in charge while he was gone, although Adam Cole said, "Cleaner, I got this."
Cole is scheduled to challenge Hangman Page for the AEW World Championship at AEW Revolution.
Fightful will continue to update fans on his condition as more known.
If you use any of the quotes above, please credit the original source with a h/t and link back to Fightful for the transcription.