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Top 5 NJPW Matches of Kenny Omega

12 months ago Photo c/o New Japan Pro-Wrestling

Photo c/o New Japan Pro-Wrestling

Top 5 NJPW Matches of Kenny Omega

By: Damian Gibson

Kenny Omega has become synonymous with excellence, innovation, and sheer brilliance in professional wrestling. A true maverick and a force to be reckoned with in New Japan Pro-Wrestling.

Omega’s rise to stardom has been nothing short of meteoric, captivating fans across the globe with a unique blend of athleticism, charisma, and undeniable in-ring prowess. With his captivating presence and unmatched skillset, Omega has redefined what it means to be a top-tier performer in this industry, so much so that it could be argued that Tony Khan built All Elite Wrestling around Omega.

In New Japan, Omega has carved out a legacy that will stand the test of time. His ground-breaking matches, off-the-charts maneuvers, and relentless pursuit of perfection have earned him the adulation of fans and the respect of his peers. From his awe-inspiring performances in the prestigious G1 Climax tournament to his unforgettable battles for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, Omega has consistently pushed the boundaries of what is possible inside the squared circle.

But not just his in-ring abilities make Kenny Omega an exceptional talent. His ability to connect with the audience on an emotional level, to tell compelling stories through his matches, and to leave a lasting impression with every outing is a testament to his extraordinary talent and dedication to his craft. Here are five of Kenny Omega’s best matches in New Japan.

5) Kenny Omega vs. Chris Jericho – Wrestle Kingdom 12, 1.4.2018

Chris Jericho had just finished a long tenure in WWE when he challenged Kenny Omega for the IWPG United States championship. It was a move by Y2J that drew the eyes of the wrestling world to Japan. In a brutal and bloody lead into the match at New Japan’s showcase, both men showed they were serious about winning the championship and ending the other’s career. Jericho attacked Omega before the bell was even rung. After he saved Omega from Jericho’s attack, Red Shoes ejected Omega’s friends and Elite co-members, The Young Bucks, from ringside. Jericho gets a Walls of Jericho locked on, and Omega goes for the ropes; it’s all to no avail, as the match has a no-disqualification stipulation. Jericho goes to the outside, Omega takes to the top rope and launches for a flying elbow which Jericho evades, and Omega takes out Don Callis, one of the callers on the English announce table. Jericho then puts Omega in the Walls of Jericho. Jericho slaps Ref Red Shoes across the face and snaps a Walls of Jericho on Red Shoes’ son Shota, a Young Lion helping at ringside.

Omega gets back in the ring just before the ref counts to twenty. Omega goes to the top rope again; Jericho kicks Omega’s left knee backward, then powerbombs him on the concrete floor. Jericho hits a Lionsault that leads to a two-count. Jericho goes out on the floor to gloat; Omega takes this opportunity to hit the Rise of the Terminator, a floating sault over the top rope. Jericho once again goes for the Walls of Jericho; Omega manages to reach down and get a can of cold spray, which he sprays on his eyes of Jericho. Jericho somehow still manages to sweep Omega face-first into a chair Jericho had set up earlier.

Jericho shoves the same chair between the ropes and slams Omega’s head into it. This opens a huge cut on Omega’s face. At this point in the match, Jericho almost taunts his opponent with slaps. An exhausted Omega gets some air by hitting a V-Trigger on the veteran, plus two snapdragons. Jericho isn’t done yet, grabbing the same chair and breaking it in two over Omega’s head. Jericho puts Omega through a table on the outside. Omega somehow manages to get back to his feet to hit a V-Trigger. Omega goes to hit the One Winged Angel, and Jericho reverses the finisher into a Walls of Jericho, which he holds for what seems like an eternity until Omega gets to the bottom rope with a desperate lunge. Omega then goes with a V-Trigger and another One Winged Angel, which he hits, but Jericho reaches out for the bottom rope before the three-count.

After some back and forth, Jericho hits a Codebreaker but can only get the two-count. Jericho jumps on the ropes for a Lionsault; Omega grabs the steel chair that Jericho had tormented him with and throws it to Jericho; he then hoists Jericho onto his shoulders and hits the One Winged Angel onto the chair for Kenny Omega to get the win.

This was a huge match outside the ring as much as it was inside ropes, bringing a reported sixty thousand new subscribers onto the NJPW World streaming service. It’s also the match Tony Khan cites also solidifying his intent to start AEW.

4) Golden Lovers vs. The Young Bucks – Strong Style Evolved 3.25.2018

When the Golden Lovers collided with The Young Bucks at Strong Style Evolved, the wrestling world witnessed a spectacle that transcended the boundaries of the squared circle. Drenched in emotion and athleticism, this epic encounter left the audience gasping for breath as they bore witness to the epitome of tag team wrestling excellence.

From the opening bell rang it was evident that this clash would become a classic. The Golden Lovers, comprised of Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi, showcased their undeniable chemistry and deep-rooted connection. Their seamless synchrony was a testament to the years of friendship and camaraderie they shared, elevating their performance to unparalleled heights.
On the opposite side of the ring, The Young Bucks, Matt and Nick Jackson proved why they are considered one of the greatest tag teams ever. Their high-flying maneuvers and innovative offence pushed the boundaries of what is physically possible. Each spot, each sequence was executed with precision, leaving the crowd on the edge of their seats. But it wasn’t just the jaw-dropping athleticism that made this match unforgettable. It was the story that unfolded within the ring.

Golden Lovers, torn apart by conflicting loyalties, were on a quest to rekindle their bond. The Young Bucks were determined to prove their superiority in their pursuit of victory. The narrative intertwining these two teams added depth and emotion, creating an emotional investment rarely seen in professional wrestling. The near falls were heart-stopping, the reversals were mind-bending, and the storytelling was impeccable. Each move carried weight, each strike reverberated through the arena, and the audience hung on every twist and turn. The chemistry between all four competitors was palpable, resulting in a match that flowed with effortless grace and intensity.

The crowd erupted in thunderous applause as the final bell rang, recognising the masterpiece they had just witnessed. The Golden Lovers and The Young Bucks had left their souls in the ring, showcasing the true artistry of tag team wrestling. Golden Lovers vs. Young Bucks at Strong Style Evolved will forever be remembered as a milestone in the annals of professional wrestling. A breath-taking display of athleticism, storytelling, and unbridled passion captivated the audience from start to finish. This match embodied what makes wrestling an art form and left an indelible mark on the hearts of all who witnessed it.

3) Kenny Omega vs. Kota Ibushi – B Block Final, G1 Climax 28, 11.6.2018

This tournament match in the G1 was the stuff wrestling dreams were made of. Ibushi and Omega did not want to wrestle with each other again in fear that someone’s life would endβ€”the greatest of friends and the greatest of rivals. The match sold out the Budokan at one hundred per cent capacity.

Both men go to the mat looking for an advantage over their Golden Lovers tag-team partner. Kenny throws the first strike that rings through the auditorium, leaving audience members grimacing and clutching at their chests. Kenny is completely on top for the first five minutes of this match. Ibushi’s first sign of attack is a moonsault which Kenny counters with his knees up. Kenny then tries a moonsault that is stopped by Kota’s knees. Seven minutes into the match, Kenny hits a piledriver on the apron to stop Ibushi dead in his tracks. The move is so brutal that a hush falls over the Budokan.

Kenny attempts a pin, but Kota kicks out at two. Kenny goes for Rise of the Terminator over the top rope and takes out Ibushi. Kota somehow gets up and hits a Golden Triangle. The two men trade some of the more brutal blows seen in wrestling; this period of carnage ends with Kenny looking to execute a Standing German Suplex off the top rope, which Kota backflips out of and lands on his feet to the amazed gasps of the crowd.

Matt and Nick Jackson are at ringside to show they are friends with both competitors, but their constant jaw-jacking in the background is a slight distraction from the bulk of this match. Ibushi throws Omega down in a huge Last Ride that ends with a two-and-a-half count. The two men return to trading blows, neither wanting to take a backward step toward their rival. Kenny tries to go for the One Winged Angel, but Ibushi denies him.

Omega hits a V-Trigger and goes for the One-Winged Angel off the top rope; Ibushi fights out with some elbows and then double stomps right through Kenny’s skull. Ibushi then goes for a Tiger Driver from the top rope, and Omega kicks out, shocking Ibushi and the crowd. Ibushi hits a Kamigoye, which knocks Omega out, gets the win, and wins the B Block of the G1 tournament for the year.

This was an amazing bout between two friends. The story of Omega and Ibushi added a significant chapter to this match and to the next two matches in the list β€”they all celebrated friendship and sportsmanship and overcoming adversity to achieve your goals.

2) Kenny Omega vs. Kazuchika Okada – IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match – NJPW Dominion 11.6.2017

An argument could be made that Omega vs Okada has been the best rivalry in Japan over the last ten years. The two competitors always live up to expectations in the ring, and this match at Osaka-Jo HALL was no exception. Kenny came to the ring with The Young Bucks in his corner. Both competitors went for their finisher early in this epic match, but both were reversed. Okada appeared to have tweaked his knee.

On the English commentary desk, Kevin Kelly says the winner of this bout would be the leader of New Japan and the best wrestler in the world; Kenny talked at the press conference about how he was the man to take NJPW forward and for Okada to step aside. Kenny hit a double dropkick off the top rope to take out the Rainmaker’s hurt knee. Omega continues to work on Okada’s knee with a series of leg holds. The challenger locks on a figure four leg lock and slams Okada’s knee into the timekeeper’s table. Okada worked his way back into the match through a series of submission holds that wore down Omega. On the English commentary, Don Callis complains that the New Japan high brass have stacked the odds against Omega via Red Shoes, the ref.

Thirty minutes into the match, Okada hits a Shotgun dropkick that cannons Omega into the barrier around the ring, which shifts the momentum of the match the Rainmaker’s way. Okada sets up a table that sits menacingly for the next part of the match as both men try and fail to throw their rival into it. The champ hits two suplexes, and the Rainmaker, Omega, kicks out at two. Okada takes Omega to the table and hits a flying elbow off the top rope, which appears to hurt Okada more than Omega.

Okada is on top for the next five minutes, hitting a series of Rainmakers. The rest of Bullet Club come down the ramp, and Cody Rhodes wants to throw in the towel on Kenny’s behalf. As this is happening outside the ring, Kenny hits a V-Trigger, then another, Kenny goes for the One-Winged Angel, but Okada flips out of it. Kenny tries again and hits the One-Winged Angel; Okada gets his leg to the rope just before the three count.

The excitement in the building is palpable. Kenny hits a forearm to Okada’s jaw that staggers the champ. There are ten minutes left in the sixty-minute time limit. Omega hits another two V-Triggers; Kenny goes for the pin but can only keep Okada’s shoulders down for a two-count. Okada goes for a rainmaker Omega cannot stand on his feet out of exhortation and falls to the ground before Okada can hit his finisher.

Okada hits a tombstone piledriver but can’t make the cover due to being utterly exhausted. There are three minutes left in the sixty-minute time limit. Bullet Club are urging Kenny on. Two minutes left. Kenny hits a snapdragon, one minute left. Okada hits a Rainmaker. Thirty seconds left. Okada can’t drag himself to Kenny for the cover. Ten seconds left. Okada keeps crawling across the canvas, and the bell rings.

It’s a time-limit draw. Neither man could get the best of the other in a glorious display of professional wrestling, but this would not be the last time these two would collide for the IWGP Championship.

1) Kenny Omega (w/ Kota Ibushi) vs. Kazuchika Okada, IWGP Heavyweight Championship – NJPW Dominion 9.6.2018

It’s hard not to get emotional about this match before it starts. Kenny’s intro video shows that he has had to lose everything to get to the point of being able to rechallenge The Rainmaker Okada for the IWGP championship. He has lost his friendships with the Young Bucks and his beloved Bullet Club faction membership. Okada, on his 720th day as champion, comes to the ring filled with confidence. The first part of this match is all about trading blows.

Kenny hits a V-Trigger on a flying Okada. Chops from Omega are more intense than usual. Okada hits a DDT but can only get a two-count on Omega. Kenny dives from the top rope over the barrier onto Okada, wiping him out completely. Okada hits a piledrive on the apron and then a dropkick, but it only ends in a two-count. The ref almost stops the match; Kenny says he can continue. Kenny hits a huge Rise of the Terminator over the top rope. Okada kicks out at two. Kenny keeps trying for the One-Winged Angel but can’t get Okada in it; Omega goes to the V-Trigger and tries to pin Okada. It can’t be done.

The champ reverses a move from Kenny and rolls Omega up for a three-count. The crowd is stunned into a low hush as the Rainmaker bounces back to his feet with the first pinfall out of three. Omega now has to pin a man twice who has not been pinned for two years. Kenny starts the second round with a stomp through a table he set up on top of Okada. Kenny spikes Okada on his head with a leg takeover and tells Ref Red Shoes to count; The Rainmaker makes it back at the 19 count. Omega finally gets a One Winged Angel locked on, and Kenny gets his first pinfall. It’s one fall a piece. Okada is passed out and cannot get back up.

The match is started again, and Kenny tries to go for another One-Winged Angel immediately; Okada reverses it and hits a Rainmaker. Okada struggles to get over to Omega, he lays an arm across Kenny’s chest, and Omega kicks out at two. Omega goes for another One-Winged Angel but collapses under the weight. Ibushi tells Kenny to go for his finisher, the Phoenix Splash, which he does, and Okada rolls out of the way. Taking the wind out of the Canadian’s sails, Okada goes for a Rainmaker but collapses while trying to finish his opponent.

Both men are on their backs at the hour mark of the match. Okada somehow hits a Rainmaker. He then hits another Rainmaker. Okada sets Kenny up for a third Rainmker; Omega ducks out of the way and hits a German Suplex. Okada goes for a Rainmaker, and Kenny ducks out of the way again and hits another suplex. Kenny positions himself for a V-Trigger and Okada counters with a dropkick. The Best Bout Machine reverses a Rainmaker into a One-Winged Angel; he can’t move across the ring to pin Okada. Suddenly the challenger finds the energy to hit a V-Trigger and one more One-Winged Angel to get the three count and become the new IWGP Heavyweight Champion.

The Young Bucks appear on the ramp and come into the ring. Kenny ensures he hugs his friends before taking the belt from Red Shoes. Omega celebrates being the first Canadian to win the IWGP belt and poses in the ring with Ibushi and the Bucks.

Q&A with Kenny Omega, his career journey and Japanese culture