With Kenny Omega making his in-ring debut for Impact Wrestling this Saturday at their first PPV of the year, it seems like the perfect opportunity to take a look at the career of the current AEW world champion.
In 2001, Omega made his debut for Premier Championship Wrestling, which was based in his home town of Winnipeg. In 2003, he went on to win the PCW heavyweight championship, and then the following year saw him successfully win the PCW tag titles for the first time.
October of 2004 saw Omega take on Petey Williams at the NWA 56th anniversary show, with Williams’ TNA X-Division title on the line. However, Omega was unsuccessful in his quest for the title.
In September 2005, Omega signed a developmental contract for WWE, reporting to WWE’s developmental territory Deep South in October of the same year. However, after reportedly being unhappy with trainers Bill Demott, Jody Hamilton, and Bob Holly, he was granted his release the following August.
After his release from WWE, Omega had decided to take a different approach to his career and went on to pursue MMA, but after entering several Brazilian Jui-Jitsu tournaments, Omega went on to return to the squared circle of professional wrestling.
After making his debut for Jersey All Pro Wrestling in 2008, Omega won the JAPW world title when he defeated then champion Low Ki in March of that year. In April he successfully defended the title against Frankie Kazarian at the Spring Massacre event. He went on to hold on to the title until February of 2009, where he eventually dropped the title to Jay Lethal at the ‘Jersey City Rumble’.
In May of 2011, Omega faced Jushin Thunder Liger for the JAPW Light Heavyweight Championship during New Japan Pro Wrestling’s inaugural US tour. Omega went on to defeat Liger for the title.
DDT PRO WRESTLING
After watching a video of current IWGP champion Kota Ibushi performing for Japanese promotion DDT, Omega became obsessed with wanting to work with him. This would lead Omega uploading DDT style matches of himself to YouTube in the hope of one day working with Ibushi.
After DDT saw the videos, Omega was invited to Japan to the perform for the company. Which he was more than happy to accept.
In 2008, Omega wrestled in Japan for the first time, which was a dream Omega stated several times that he had wanted to accomplish for several years. After appearing for DDT and being allowed creative freedom for the first time in his career, Omega and Ibushi went on to create the infamous Golden Lovers tag team.
In 2011 Omega, again being allowed his creative freedom, faced a 9 year old girl named Haruka. After videos of the match went viral, Omega was subjected to several death threats. Omega in a later interview stated he was asked to work with Haruka because of his safe style in the ring.
On October 11 2011, Omega defeated Kai to become the new Wold Junior Heavyweight champion, only to drop the title back to Kai in May of 2012. In December of 2012, Omega won the KO-D championship from EL Generico and went on to face Isami Kodaka in a title-vs-title match where he became both the KO-D champion and the DDT Extreme Division champion.
In September of 2010, Omega competed for NJPW in a match against Prince Devitt in a losing effort for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. He later returned to New Japan in 2013 to compete in their ‘Best of Super Juniors’ tournament, where he lost to Taichi in his final block match – costing him a place in the semi finals.
On October 13th 2014 NJPW held a press conference, announcing that Kenny Omega was to sign a contract with the promotion after resigning with DDT. At this point Omega had now took on his infamous ‘The Cleaner’ persona. At NJPW ‘Power Struggle’ in November, he was presented as the newest member of the Bullet Club.
Omega won his first IWGP Junior Heavyweight title at Wrestle Kingdom 9 where he defeated Ryusuke Taguchi. He would later drop the title to Kushida in the summer, before going on to defeat him for his second title reign.
At WrestleKingdom 10, Omega teamed with Bullet Club leader Prince Devitt to defeat Shinsuke Nakamura and Yoshi Hashi, but after the match Omega and other members of the Bullet Club turned on Devitt, leading to Omega becoming the new Bullet Club leader.
This also led to a sub group known as the Elite being formed inside Bullet Club, which saw Omega teaming with the Young Bucks, and later with ROH stars Cody Rhodes and Hangman Adam Page.
The highlight of Omega’s time in NJPW came at the ‘Dominion’ event in 2018 where he defeated Okada in a 2 out of 3 falls match to win the IWGP World Heavyweight title. He later lost the title to Hiroshi Tanahashi in his final match in Japan at Wrestle Kingdom 13.
Following his departure from Japan, Omega signed a four-year deal with All Elite Wrestling in 2019 as both an active in-ring competitor, and an executive Vice President of the company.
After losing out to Chris Jericho at the inaugural event ‘Double or Nothing’, Omega was then attacked by Jon Moxley which led to his biggest ongoing feud in the company so far.
Despite mostly being known for his singles work, Omega’s biggest success in AEW has come in its tag division, where he won the tag team titles with Hangman Adam Page, defeating Frankie Kazarian and Christopher Daniels, in January of 2020. They later went on to drop the titles to FTR at the ‘All Out’ PPV in September of last year.
After losing the tag team titles, Omega appears to be focusing on being a singles competitor once again. After winning a number one contenders tournament, defeating Hangman Page in the final, he then faced current champion Jon Moxley at the ‘Winter Is Coming’ edition of Dynamite, for the AEW world title. After his long-time friend Don Callis got involved in the match, Omega went on to win his first AEW heavyweight title, and shockingly told fans he was taking the title to Impact Wrestling.
Since winning the AEW world title, Omega has appeared on several episodes of Impact, and will wrestle on ‘Hard to Kill‘, their first PPV of the year on Saturday, January 16th. This 6-man tag match will see Omega teaming with Former Bullet Club members Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows facing the team of Rich Swann and the Motor City Machine Guns.
All photo credits: All Elite Wrestling