With the Royal Rumble right around the corner, speculation is running rampant as to which surprise entrants could turn up at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center on January 28th – and, much like in 2017, many fans are wondering if Kenny Omega could leap to WWE.
Given Omega’s massive crossover match with Chris Jericho at Wrestle Kingdom 12, a Rumble appearance didn’t seem out of the realm of possibility – especially considering that Vince McMahon was 100% cool with seeing an NJPW vs. WWE showdown. However, unfortunately for fans who are dying to see The Cleaner inside a WWE ring (yours truly included), last week Omega officially re-signed with NJPW through 2019.
— Bleacher Report WWE (@BR_WWE) January 11, 2018
However, just because it won’t happen this year doesn’t mean that Omega won’t ever make his way to WWE. But how likely is it?
Let me put it this way: if it does happen, it won’t be for a while.
Building NJPW Into A Global Brand
While hyping his match against Jericho, Omega expressed that it’s his goal to turn NJPW into a global wrestling brand that rivals WWE. Sure, many fans who regularly watch NJPW already think it’s better than WWE, but it doesn’t have the global commercial success that WWE does. However, NJPW is making earnest strides to break into the American market, most notably by creating the IWGP United States Championship – and putting it on Omega. NJPW sees Omega as the guy who can help them reach a broader audience, and Omega is more than happy to oblige.
Here’s an analogy: for all intents and purposes, Kenny Omega is to NJPW what AJ Styles was to TNA. Omega may not have helped build NJPW from the ground-up the way Styles did TNA, but he is one of, if not the main reason, people who otherwise wouldn’t have given NJPW a chance started paying attention. Case in point: I subscribed to NJPW World just to watch Omega vs. Jericho, and I plan on keeping it and watching more.
Furthermore, not that long ago it seemed laughable that Styles – the face of TNA – would ever jump to WWE. But he did, and he’s at the top of his game. Who’s to say the same won’t happen with Omega a few years down the line?
Straight To The Top
You might not know this, but Omega was in WWE developmental at Deep South Wrestling more than a decade ago. In September 2017, he told Edge and Christian on their podcast that one of the reasons he left WWE for Japan was because he felt like WWE’s developmental system creatively stifled him.
However, WWE developmental today is worlds apart from what it was in 2005. And anyhow, if Omega ever did make my dreams come true and join WWE, I’d suspect that he’d skip developmental and go straight to the main roster, much like AJ Styles did. Of course, that could present its challenges, as well, but I think if WWE ever manages to sign Omega they’ll be sure to treat him as the world-class talent he is.
As for creative freedom, WWE is doing things now that no one ever could have predicted. Just look at Pete Dunne: despite being the WWE United Kingdom Champion he still performs at indie shows around the world, even defending the title. WWE is not the place it was when Omega was there before.
But Omega’s career is skyrocketing in NJPW, and it doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon. But, in a few years’ time, could he feel as if he’s accomplished everything he could in Japan and want to conquer another universe? Never say never.
Would you like to see Kenny Omega in WWE? Do you think it will ever happen? Share your thoughts and comments below!