Two weeks ago Kenny Omega walked out of Wrestle Kingdom as the hottest thing in wrestling. Ignoring the fact that Kazuchika Okada was as important to that match as he was and that Omega has been brilliant for years, it suddenly felt like the world woke up to The Cleaner. Yet, rather than turn his sights towards a potential rematch with Okada and a chance to become only the seventh non-Japanese wrestler to hold the belt and help spearhead New Japan’s push into the US, he began talking about taking some time off.
It was a move which led to an easy rumour. Has Omega had the WWE dollar thrown at him? Are we, much like we did last year, about to see New Japan’s main event scene ripped apart by the big old E. As the days pass and news from Omega and New Japan of him signing a new deal fails to materialise, that seems more and more likely.
Now, before we move on with this topic, one thing needs to be made abundantly clear. No wrestler can be blamed for signing with WWE. It doesn’t matter what they’ve said in the past or which company they wrestle for. WWE offers a security that you can’t find elsewhere in wrestling. If you are a man or a woman with a family that you need to support they are and should be the goal.
However, as a fan that doesn’t mean we have to be happy about it. We can understand why someone makes a decision but also not want them to make it. If Kenny Omega goes to WWE will we see another match like the one between him and Okada? Of course not.
Oh, I’m sure we’ll see some great matches. Omega vs. Joe, Omega vs. Styles, Omega vs. Balor, Omega vs. Nakamura and Christ, even Omega vs. Cena. Most of those guys are probably even capable of putting on a similar match, the problem is that they won’t be allowed to. You can’t do that kind of thing in WWE, it’s too unsafe.
Which again, is a reason to make the move. Omega can make countless times more money and work a safer style in WWE. Who the hell are we to tell him not to take that deal?
The thing is, this isn’t really about Kenny Omega. It’s about the change in the way WWE have started doing things and the worries that that brings about. For years, Vince and co ignored indie wrestling. The guys they did sign were treated like shit and the company didn’t care. When the change came, we were all so delighted to see it happen that the repercussions weren’t considered.
We are at a stage where WWE is stockpiling all the best wrestlers in the world. The likes of Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode, Austin Aries, Roddy Strong and Nakamura were World Champions elsewhere, but in WWE are still on the developmental show. You can say it’s temporary but does anyone seriously think all of those guys will get a proper crack of the whip when they move up to the main roster? I don’t.
And sure, it leads to amazing moments. I’ve loved watching AJ Styles get the praise he deserves and Nakamura vs. Zayn was one of the highlights of last year. WWE can’t make all these guys top guys, though, there isn’t room, and by taking them away, they are destroying the chances of a company like NJPW providing a serious alternative.
If you want a non-wrestling comparison, it is very similar to the way the Old Firm did business in Scotland football for years. Whenever a great player would pop up at another Scottish club, they’d snap them up. Sure, they didn’t need them, and only one in five would actually become a first team player, but the important thing was that they weren’t playing for someone else.
If Kenny Omega signs for WWE, then cross your fingers and hope its a success. The worry is that the guy can do it all and Vince’s fingers will be itching to shove goofy Kenny Omega into doing something with R-Truth rather than letting serious Omega wrestle Kevin Owens. However, the real issue is what this continued snapping up of talent means for wrestling as a whole. By turning to the indies and grabbing the best wrestlers, WWE is strengthing their own monopoly, and it’s looking like its an impossible hold to break.