New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) star Kenny Omega recently spoke with Sports Illustrated’s “Extra Mustard” section for an interview. Below are some of the highlights.
On getting healthy ahead of his big rematch against Kazuchika Okada: “Okada and I had the most recent Best of the Super Juniors tour off (partially), and it’s done wonders for my health both physically and mentally. Even though it has only been a few weeks, I’ve made improvements to my physique, healed various nagging injuries, and found new sources of inspiration for future matches. As important as the rematch with Okada is, I’m always thinking of my narrative for the entire year and store ideas or story elements in my head for future use. At the end of the day, I’m a professional wrestler, so there will always be a ton of details beyond my control. That’s where having ideas and ways to tweak unfavorable situations comes in handy.”
On how much winning means to him and maximizing his performance: “Winning, losing, title reigns, etc… yes, they can be important, and to some it is everything. As a performer, I want to maximize all of these situations whether my character is the focus of the story or not. As for the next match with Okada, I’ve mentioned previously that I hope to create something very different in feeling from the Tokyo Dome match. It would actually be easy to copy the old formula for an easy 4.5+ match rating, but I’ve never been one to follow patterns for the sake of a standalone rating and/or reaction.”
On his evolution and being proud of the work he put in last year: “I think this is why I’m especially proud of my year in 2016. It was an incredible journey that I never could have prepared for, and forced me to grow and evolve on the fly. In a sense, all of my supporters and NJPW’s supporters took the journey with me, which made it feel extra special. Having the online series Being the Elite with the Bucks, also helped a lot to tell the human story that’s sometimes missing from pro wrestling.”
Check out the complete Kenny Omega interview at SI.com.