This is AEW week in Pittsburgh, with live TV shows at the Petersen Events Center Wednesday and Friday. They figure to draw better than most Pitt basketball games.
The man who is arguably AEW’s top performer has never worked for WWE.
He is their world champion, Kenny Omega – a/k/a the “Best Bout Machine.”
The Winnipeg native has primarily made his bones with New Japan Pro Wrestling, where he was their world champion and leader of the very popular Bullet Club faction. Omega has been with AEW since its inception in 2019 and, after an odd first year where he wasn’t featured like you’d think, has been AEW world champ since December.
Omega also holds the Impact Wrestling world title, and the world championship in Mexico’s AAA promotion.
Versatility may be his strongest suit. He can work any kind of match vs. any kind of opponent. Since turning bad and adding the equally charismatic Don Callis as his manager, Omega has become a very effective, heat-getting, American-style heel.
Omega is the darling of those who style themselves as wrestling insiders. He was the Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s Wrestler of the Year in 2018, the Most Outstanding Wrestler in 2018 and ’20, and had the Match of the Year in ’17, ’18 and ’20.
Omega broke the Observer’s 5-star ratings scale: He’s had four matches with New Japan’s Kazuchika Okada that got ranked six stars or better. That’s no less accurate for its absurdity.
Omega is exactly what AEW should be.
While Chris Jericho is the company’s cornerstone and Cody Rhodes, Jon Moxley, Matt Hardy, Andrade El Idolo and announcer Jim Ross are among other ex-WWE personnel who are top-shelf performers, AEW being different is best emphasized by its top stars not being recycled from WWE after being overexposed (and/or failing) in WWE.
Omega is 37. But in the context of American wrestling, he feels brand-new.
Check out some of Omega’s finest work below.