Former AEW world champion Kenny Omega is reportedly on the verge of returning after missing the past eight months due to injury.
According to Fightful.com's Sean Ross Sapp, AEW talent and staff have been told that Omega is "nearing a return."
Omega's last match was at Full Gear in November, and it saw him drop the AEW World Championship to former tag team partner "Hangman" Adam Page, ending his 346-day reign, which still stands as a record for the AEW world title.
Omega was reportedly working through multiple injuries for some or all of his world title run, as Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio reported shortly after Full Gear that Omega was dealing with knee, shoulder and abdominal ailments, plus a hernia, and was likely to undergo multiple surgeries.
AEW President Tony Khan didn't provide specifics regarding Omega's injuries, nor did he provide a firm timeline for his return, but he did tell PWInsider.com's Mike Johnson in February that Omega would be back at some point in 2022.
Rehabbing from his injuries in an effort to get back in the ring has taken its toll on Omega, as the 38-year-old veteran recently gave some insight into the process during a CEOGaming Twitch stream (h/t WrestlingInc's Dakota Cohen), saying:
"If I get another major setback, that's it … I'm done, because I can't do this ever again. Two times, three times a day, really painful rehab … What's it going to be like when I get back in the ring? I have no idea. Scary, actually.
"There is a different kind of expectation put on me, and I think that anything less than what [the fans are] expecting, which is already unrealistic, is going to lead to a lot of ridicule."
When AEW officially launched in 2019, Omega was widely considered to be the company's top star, along with Chris Jericho.
Even as big names such as CM Punk, Bryan Danielson and Adam Cole joined the promotion last summer, Omega remained at the top of the card until injuries forced him to take some time off.
If Omega returns in the near future, it would be a major coup for AEW since Punk, Danielson and Cole are all out due to injury.
Punk has been an especially big loss since he had to get surgery shortly after beating Page for the AEW World Championship at Double or Nothing, prompting AEW to determine an interim world champion, which ended up being Jon Moxley thanks to a win over Hiroshi Tanahashi at Forbidden Door.
When Omega returns, it stands to reason that he will have some involvement with The Young Bucks, reDRagon and Cole, given what he was doing before getting injured.
Leading up to Full Gear last year, Omega was the leader of The Elite with The Young Bucks and Cole by his side. After Omega landed on the shelf, Cole took on a leadership role.
Also, Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish arrived from WWE and formed an alliance with them, creating some uncertainty regarding what would happen when Omega returned.
The match most fans likely want to see is Omega and The Young Bucks against Cole and reDRagon, although that won't be possible until Cole is cleared to return as well.
Regardless of how he is used, Omega returning would provide AEW's ailing roster with a huge boost, and he would replace some of the star power that has been lost to recent injuries.