Kenny Omega Talks AEW Revolution Death Match, Potential Bout with Sting and More
Kenny Omega is set to defend the AEW World Heavyweight Championship against Jon Moxley at Sunday's Revolution pay-per-view in an Exploding Barbed Wire death match.
This will be the first time a contest like this will be broadcast by a major promotion in the United States. We have seen plenty of blood and violence over the years, but explosions rarely factor into the equation, so this should be something unique.
Omega has been one of the top stars in All Elite Wrestling since its inception after spending several years with New Japan Pro-Wrestling as a member of The Bullet Club. He could be considered one of the biggest names in the business to reach this level without the WWE machine behind him.
He has also been the face behind AEW's blossoming relationships with Impact Wrestling and NJPW, and he has been one of the main people giving us updates about the development of the company's various video games.
We had a chance to speak with The Cleaner ahead of his big match on Sunday about what to expect at the PPV, forming relationships with other promotions, having legends like Sting and Paul Wight come to AEW and much more.
Facing Jon Moxley in an Exploding Barbed Wire Death Match
As one of the faces of AEW and the world heavyweight champion, Omega has competed in a lot of different match variations over the years, but Sunday's bout will be unlike anything we have seen him do before.
Omega explained the concept of the Exploding Barbed Wire death match.
"The name of the match doesn't lend itself to being crystal clear," he said. "The ropes will be wrapped in barbed wire, and if you touch them, it will trigger an explosion. There will be zones on the floor that will explode if you touch them. It sounds so silly explaining this on the phone (laughs). The match will have a time limit so if there is no victor, the ring will explode. It's a fun one.”
It sounds like something out of a Mad Max movie, but this will all take place in the middle of Daily's Place just like every other AEW contest.
Despite the apparent danger involved, Omega says it will be a safe environment for those in attendance.
"We may need to distance our crowd a bit further, but it will be in the ring at Daily's Place," he said. "We have dealt with the fire marshals and all the safety issues because we don't want anyone else to be put at risk. Fan safety is paramount, and we are making sure that we go above and beyond to keep everybody safe."
Relationships with NJPW, Impact, Etc.
For years, fans have dreamed of seeing big promotions work together to create new feuds and give us matches we never thought possible. AEW has started working toward making that a reality by forming relationships with Impact, NJPW, various Joshi promotions in Japan and smaller indie companies.
And Omega has been at the forefront of those budding relationships.
"I sit back and look at the various rosters around the world. There isn't one where they have amassed all of the world's top talent," he said. "Whether you go to Impact or NJPW or WWE, Ring of Honor, MLW, there is always going to be at least one person who can be a star anywhere.
"Speaking as a performer, it's great to have the opportunity to go to these places and work with these top talents."
Omega has been linked to other former Bullet Club members, Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson. We have already seen cross-promotional matches take place, and he expects more to come.
"When you're part of a big promotion, you're restricted, for lack of a better term," Omega said. "With us working with Impact, New Japan and Triple-A, we now have limitless possibilities as to what kind of matches we can make and stories we can develop.
"It's an exciting time for the wrestlers and hopefully for the fans, too."
Will We Ever See a Super Show?
Cross-promotional matches are one thing but the dream of a massive multi-promotion PPV has still to be realized.
The AEW champion spoke about the possibility of seeing this become a reality and what it would take to make it happen.
"I don't think anything is out of the realm of possibility," Omega said. "At the end of the day, all it takes is for everyone to set aside ego and make it happen. Once you start involving dollar figures, that's when things get complicated."
"If there is a will, there is certainly a way to do it. I don't know if we will get to a point where every company will work together, but we are closer than ever to making something like that happen. We have made strides toward this becoming a conversational topic."
Differences Between Fans in US and Japan
Having spent a large portion of his career in Japan, Omega has worked in front of many different types of fans over the years.
While there are differences, passion is always the thing they all have in common.
"The type of fan appreciation you receive is similar on both sides," Omega said. "I believe we have some of the greatest fans who support our athletes. If it wasn't for them, we wouldn't even have a promotion."
While Japanese and American fans are wildly passionate about pro wrestling, Omega has noticed a big difference in how they act on social media.
"On the western side of things, fans are more outspoken on social media than they are in Japan," he said. "I don't want to say everyone, but in cases where they are more vocal in a negative way, they are just proud of representing another team and everybody else becomes the enemy."
"It's a shame these people feel the need to attack others who don't play on their team. It's odd and I don't get it."
"I would like to think that when I was cheering for the Winnipeg Jets back in my day, I don't think I would get my parents to buy me an iPhone so I could sit on social media and tells Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux that I want them to die."
"I wish people could take a step back and see what they are doing because it's nothing productive for themselves or the people they think they are representing."
"I never really saw that in Japan and to see people take so much pleasure in it, it's odd to me. I try to laugh it off, but I would like to know the thought process behind it and what they think they are accomplishing."
Potential AEW Opponents
Omega has battled a lot of the top stars in AEW already. His biggest feuds to date have included Moxley, The Young Bucks and The Inner Circle, but there are still plenty of people he wants to mix it up with inside the ring.
"I think I would have good chemistry with Darby [Allin]. I think I could have a great singles match with him," he said. "Even though the thought of it is scary, I could have a good match with Lance Archer or Brian Cage. I think a match with Eddie Kingston would be interesting."
"They would all be stylistically and visually different from one another, and it would be great for the fans."
AEW has been more liberal about letting heels face heels and babyfaces fight babyfaces, so Omega wouldn't have to worry about turning to make any of these matches happen.
Allin is the current TNT champion, and if Omega wants to become the first triple-crown titleholder in AEW, that feud could come sooner than we think.
Sting and Paul Wight
Two recent AEW acquisitions who made major headlines were Sting and Paul Wight, formerly known as Big Show in WWE.
Sting has been involved with Allin and will have his debut match at Revolution, while Wight will join the commentary team for the company's newest show, AEW Dark: Elevation.
And Omega is delighted to see the veteran pair join the roster.
"It's really cool because Sting was a guy I had never met in my travels," he said. "He is a legend in the business and someone who is really tied to TNT. It was neat to meet the man and have him be involved. He is willing to put in the work and be someone that is a pillar in AEW."
"There are people who have commented that some of the people we are acquiring are older, but regardless of that, you should judge them based on their contributions."
"Sting is about to make his debut, and I have no idea what is going to happen. He came in and wanted to work hard for the company. Rather than judge him on his age, judge him on what he produces. If his devotion is any indication, he is going to do a fantastic job."
While Sting may have been a stranger, Omega and Wight crossed paths in WWE when the AEW champion was a member of the developmental roster in Deep South Wrestling.
"I had met Paul Wight once or twice back when I was in DSW," he said. "We would do fair shows, and we would bring in guys from the main roster. He is a really friendly guy, and to hear he was going to join the team was a nice feeling. And it comes with the good news of the new show, so it's a double whammy for us."
"Any time we have a new talent, I try to envision myself having a match with them. It's exciting to think of situations where the Kenny Omega character will cross paths with Sting or Wight. I am always open for it. I have to go opponent by opponent, but if the next one is Sting or Wight, I am ready for it."
Working with Don Callis
The friendship between AEW executive vice president Omega and Impact Wrestling co-executive vice president Don Callis has helped facilitate the relationship between the two promotions.
And Callis has been featured regularly on Dynamite in segments with the AEW world titleholder and The Young Bucks.
"Don and I go way back, and that's not part of a storyline. That's a fact," Omega said. "He is closely tied to my uncle [The Golden Sheik] who passed away and spoke at his funeral."
"I had always wanted to either be involved with him in some capacity or at least be in the same company working together. He has a great mind for the business, and I have always respected his perspective on wrestling."
"He is coming from a place where he doesn't make his decisions based on what he is a fan of. He sees things from a psychological standpoint and how he can make fans react, which is much more important than catering to yourself. To have someone who is like family to me working at my job is really cool."
One notable moment in their working relationship happened recently when the Bucks visited Omega at his home only to find an oil painting of the AEW champion and Callis.
"We kept it [the painting] around because why would you get rid of that?" Omega said. "It's in the dressing room right now, but hopefully it makes its return eventually. We have to use that again."
"Don set that up. He sent me a preview of what it looked like and I laughed my butt off."
Omega's clash with Moxley on Sunday is just one of nine matches scheduled to take place at Revolution.
The card will include title bouts, a ladder match, tag team action and a Battle Royal, meaning fans will be well catered for at the PPV.
"For this card, there should be something for everyone," Omega said. "There are so many different styles and types of matches that you're bound to like at least one thing on the show, and chances are you will like more than one."
"As a company in the COVID era, we are offering a large sampling of different types of pro wrestling. If somebody is thinking about checking the show out, I think Revolution will help you hone in on what you like about pro wrestling."
AEW Game Progress
On November 10, AEW announced a console game and two mobile games to be released at some point in the future.
Omega, appearing in one of Steve Jobs' signature turtlenecks, led the presentation and is hopeful the games will be available soon.
"We're working around the clock to really flesh out the wrestling system and gameplay," he said. "For me, that is priority No. 1. We have talked about all of the bells and whistles, and even though we have a game plan, I want to make sure we nail the grappling system and how it's going to flow."
"The entire backbone of the game is how it plays so once we can nail that, a huge portion of the battle will have been completed."
"As soon as we have something we are proud of, we will move forward and have something visible for people to see."
"The next time we have something we can show to fans, they will notice some changes from the little bit we have shown already. Graphical changes, the way things move and flow. Lighting. The one thing that is consistent is the arena setup."
"I don't want anyone to think what you're seeing is exactly what you are going to get because it is all about the wrestling, and all of the aesthetic comes after."
Bonus Question: WandaVision
To end the interview, we asked Omega if he has been keeping up with Marvel's newest powerhouse property, WandaVision.
"I am a Marvel fan, but I have not been keeping up with WandaVision," he said. "I wait for things to be wrapped up and binge it quick. I have been super-good about avoiding everything with spoilers. I know nothing. I have a buddy who says it's crazy and to just start it because he wants to talk about it.”
Fans can see Omega at Sunday's Revolution PPV in what might be one of the most chaotic matches he and Moxley have ever had.
Even with the description Omega has provided, fans are still likely going to be in shock when they see what happens.