The desire for a change of scenery contributed to Kenny Omega's decision to sign with All Elite Wrestling.
Omega spoke with Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Robert Gunier of WrestlingInc.com) and revealed he signed with AEW for the opportunity to do something different:
"Japan is still going to have a place in my heart, a place in my life but AEW, for me, or even WWE, kind of seemed like the next step. [With] potential dream matches and all that, and sort of using the new platform, not necessarily a better one, or a bigger one or whatever. I just wanted a new platform to reach new people, to use my voice and my unique way of telling stories and all of that. I wanted just to change the stage that I had been performing on."
Omega was revealed as AEW's newest signee at the Double or Nothing rally in Las Vegas on Thursday night:
As the hottest free agent in wrestling, Omega had his choice between staying with New Japan Pro-Wrestling or testing the waters in either WWE or AEW.
The 35-year-old Omega spent the past eight years with New Japan and developed into one of the promotion's top stars, as he held the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship before dropping it to Hiroshi Tanahashi in the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 13 in January.
Omega noted that while he considered re-signing with New Japan and working for AEW on a part-time basis, the excitement of AEW and WWE to potentially sign him contributed to his final decision:
"Whether it be a time investment, or financial reasons, or creative reasons, there were better of those in the other two options available to me. For my main company to—I don't want to say 'not see the value in me,' or that I didn't feel valued—it wasn't that. They certainly did [value me]. I guess the best way to put it is that, the other two companies were more excited to have me. So WWE's offer was fantastic, as [Meltzer] reported. And a lot of people just know, it's common knowledge, but they went about it in a very professional, courteous way and those guys are nothing but constant professionals in the way they dealt with me. But at the end of the day, AEW presented something that was—they just couldn't be beat. I'm with my best friends in the business, I have a little bit of control in the creative, which is always, of course, very important. And I really feel like it's the true platform for me to sort of have my voice be heard and I always like challenges. And I like the prospect of this being a blundering failure."
Also, Omega is one of the executive vice presidents for AEW, which gives him an additional stake in the success of the company.
As a member of the Elite with fellow AEW stars Cody Rhodes, The Young Bucks and Hangman Page, signing with AEW provided Omega with a degree of familiarity as well.
After beating Chris Jericho in a memorable match at Wrestle Kingdom 12, it was announced at the rally that Omega and Jericho will meet again at the Double or Nothing pay-per-view in May.
With worldwide stars like Omega and Jericho in the fold, AEW now has a strong foundation in place that figures to aid them in landing a television deal and becoming a major player in the wrestling world in the near future.
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