Kenny Omega is considered to be one of the best "sellers" in the business. But how did he become so adept at pretending to be hurt? Well, according to a recent interview on Edge & Christian's Pod of Awesomeness, his selling philosophy amounts to a very specific game of make-believe.
“I think only experience can help develop (selling techniques) because when you first start out, you almost don’t even know what an injury is or what it feels like. You’re invincible, right? But then, over the years, you know what a knee injury feels like; you know what happens when you stub your toe; when you bang your elbow or you hurt your neck, and it’s almost immobilizing. When you look at things that way, ‘okay, my neck actually hurts. There’s a wrestler way of selling things where 95% of the guys will sell it a certain way, but if it actually does hurt, how would you act and would it just be, ‘it hurts for two seconds because I took a DDT’ or is it actually going to bother you for most of the match? That’s the way I prefer to look at things and it’s not even because I’m a stickler for adding nuances to the matches. I just don’t want to insult anyone’s intelligence who has been injured.
“I try to think of things in levels, pain levels and such, injury levels, like, ‘how bad is this injury supposed to be? How much should I be selling?’ And I think it also helps with the emotional attachment of fans when you’re trying to tell a story as well.
“With today’s athlete in professional wrestling, there are so many guys that with their athletics could easily put together a four-and-a-half star match just based on the moves itself and telling kind of a fake story. But I think it’s the little things, how you sell, your body, how you convey your emotions in the match whether it’s the emotions you’re really feeling or you’re just a great actor and you can make the people believe your emotions, I think that’s what pushes it to making it a five star, a six star match. I think that’s what people aren’t doing in the ring. For me personally, I think too much emphasis is put on, ‘okay, how cool are my moves?’ and ‘how do I string them together?’ ‘How do I get this move in the match within this time limit?’ and that’s it. And ‘how should a wrestling match look?'”
So, according to Kenny Omega, all any professional wrestler has to do to become a world-class "salesman" is to mentally go back in time to when they were a child playing pretend in the backyard. Just use your imagination!
(This guy would be awesome at selling.)
You can listen to the entire interview at this link.