"Stone Cold" Steve Austin was there live to watch the first New Japan Pro Wrestling event to be held inside the United States and came away impressed with two of the "ace" performers on the NJPW roster.
Austin broke down his impressions on the NJPW product during the most recent episode of Jim Ross' podcast, The Ross Report. JR was the lead commentator for the two NJPW cards in Long Beach, CA, a pair of events dubbed as the NJPW G1 Special, and Austin told Ross that he watched the Night 1 event from the production truck along with Austin's stunt double.
Austin and Ross both discussed the buzz surrounding Omega, who became the inaugural IWGP U.S. Champion during the doubleheader by emerging victorious from a two-night, eight-man tournament. Since AJ Styles left for WWE last January, New Japan has propelled Omega to a major role in the company; he is the de facto leader of the Bullet Club and, last summer, he became the first gaijin (foreign-born) wrestler to win NJPW's prestigious G1 Climax tournament. Omega unsuccessfully has challenged Okada twice for the IWGP Heavyweight Title--losing at Wrestle Kingdom 11 back in January and then battling the champion to a 60-minute draw last month at Dominion--both considered to be match of the year candidates.
"I just think the guy is just very dynamic in the ring," Austin said regarding Omega. "I got a chance to watch him on YouTube doing some promos—and I'd never seen him talk before—and he speaks fluent Japanese and he was just talking so much trash. I mean I'm talking real trash. It was about getting paid and fulfilling his destiny and a lot of otherthings. I just think that kid is a lightning bolt and he just transfers energy. I just think he's a dynamic gentleman with a lot of charisma. I just think he's a lights-out performer."
Austin said that, watching live, he was impressed with Omega's match with Michael Elgin in the first round of the U.S. Title tourbnament.
"The last five minutes just really built and was really, really good," Austin added. "He [Omega] is just a hellacious performer, bottom line."
JR also had high praise for the tourney finals between Omega and Tomohiro Ishii, describing their contest as "badass", among other superlatives.
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