Matt Hardy on Kenny Omega's Critics; Kofi Praises Orton; AEW Stadium Stampede Rumors

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVMay 26, 2021

TOKYO, JAPAN - JANURAY 04:  Kenny Omega vs Hiroshi Tanahashi during the IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP Wrestle Kingdom 13 at Tokyo Dome on January 4, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by New Japan Pro-Wrestling/Getty Images)
New Japan Pro-Wrestling/Getty Images

Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.

Matt Hardy Weighs In on Omega Best in the World Debate

There has been a great deal of debate among fans and wrestlers on social media in recent days regarding who is the best wrestler in the world today.

The debate primarily stems from AEW announcer Jim Ross saying last week on his Grilling JR podcast that he believes WWE Superstar Randy Orton is the best in the world.

AEW star Kenny Omega tweeted the following in reference to Chris Jericho supporting him as the best wrestler in the world:

Kenny Omega @KennyOmegamanX

Meh. I’d rather believe the bigot cuck, dimwit e-drones, and the guy that thinks I’m the WWE champion. https://t.co/X7LEIldMwT

Matt Hardy then replied to Omega's tweet, expressing his belief that those who don't consider Omega a special performer are "out of touch."


Those who can’t see or understand how special of a performer @KennyOmegamanX is are out of touch. Kenny brings a fresh &amp; unique approach as an @AEW champion, along with dazzling athleticism &amp; incredible matches.<br><br>I stand with Omega. https://t.co/80qZNP75Qf pic.twitter.com/WiOher06g3

Hardy took a more diplomatic approach after the fact with the following response to a fan on Twitter:


Solid &amp; fair take. As people &amp; performers, I like Kenny, Randy &amp; Roman. They’re all very different, but awesome at what they do. <br><br>Kenny catches flak cuz of his past &amp; over the topness, but there’s no denying he’s currently killing it, esp considering the AEW style. He’s special. https://t.co/Vm9iLf9DYE

Hardy praised Omega, Orton and WWE Universal champion Roman Reigns while acknowledging that some may not consider Omega the best in the world because of his over-the-top nature.

Omega can stake strong a claim to being the best in-ring worker in all of wrestling, but his promo work and heel character are a bit more divisive.

While Omega has succeeded in terms of transforming into an annoying and hated heel, his promos and character don't always reflect what all fans want in a main event star.

Both Orton and Reigns are more calm and calculated with what they do and say, and fans of that style are more likely to gravitate toward them than Omega.

There is no clear correct answer to the debate at hand, and that is part of what makes pro wrestling so interesting.

Kofi Calls Orton "One of the Greatest"

Like Ross, WWE Superstar Kofi Kingston sees plenty of merit in Randy Orton being viewed as the best wrestler in the world.

In an interview with Matty Paddock of the Daily Star, Kofi heaped praise on The Viper, who is someone he has done battle with in the ring for over a decade:

"The whole premise of 'who is the best' [is] really subjective. As far as Randy is concerned, I think he has the ability to do so many things so well. A lot of people think that because he doesn't do a lot of moves, he's not good, but that's simply not true.

"The industry is not about the moves; it is about being able to connect with the crowd and express what you're thinking without saying things a lot–to make people watch you. If you watch Randy move around the ring, he moves so slowly and every step has a purpose–you can't take your eyes off him, yet he doesn't 'do' anything, right? To be able to do that is an absolute talent."

Kingston stopped short of definitively calling Orton the best wrestler in the world, but he expressed his belief that Orton deserves to be in the conversation for one of the best ever:

"He looks a certain way, he flexes in a certain way...you feel that. That's the stuff that makes you great and not just good. What Randy does is unique in that way–he does so much without doing anything at all, so I'd have to put him in the conversation as being one of the greatest.

"To be able to last so long...he's even more compelling now in a lot of different ways. So as a performer, you can't have the conversation [about the greatest] without having Randy be in there, from the longevity alone. That doesn't happen by accident."

The 41-year-old Orton has been part of WWE's main roster since 2002, and he has been a top guy for the vast majority of that time.

His 14 world title reigns are tied with Triple H for the third-most in history behind only John Cena and Ric Flair, who are tied with 16.

Even aside from the accolades, the most impressive thing about Orton is his ability to reinvent himself and remain relevant 20 years into his career.

It can be argued that the work Orton has done over the past year-and-a-half, especially on the mic, has been the best of his career, which is no small feat.

Kingston has had countless matches and some memorable rivalries with Orton, so he is uniquely qualified to talk about how Orton stacks up to the rest, and he clearly believes The Apex Predator is at or near the top.

Stadium Stampede Will Reportedly Have Live Elements

Last year's Stadium Stampede match between The Inner Circle and The Elite at Double or Nothing was completely taped, but that reportedly won't be the case this time around.

At Sunday's Double or Nothing pay-per-view, The Inner Circle will face The Pinnacle with the stipulation that The Inner Circle must disband if it loses the match.

According to Fightful Select (h/t H Jenkins of Ringside News), there will be a "significant live element" to Stadium Stampede on Sunday, and fans will enjoy a "unique live experience" as well.

Since there were no fans in attendance at Double or Nothing last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, AEW didn't have to cater to a live audience, which allowed it to tape every aspect of Stadium Stampede ahead of time.

This year, Daily's Place in Jacksonville, Florida, will be filled to capacity, meaning AEW will have to get creative in terms of how it will present Stadium Stampede to the fans.

Last year's Stadium Stampede took place inside the Jacksonville Jaguars' TIAA Bank Stadium and throughout the concourse, and while there may be some of that this year, one can only assume that match will end in the ring in front of fans.

Regardless of how the match is handled, it will be a significant one, as it could mark the final time The Inner Circle is together as a group.

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