Kenny Omega

Tyson Smith (born October 16, 1983) is a Canadian-born Japanese professional wrestler and business executive better known by the ring name Kenny Omega. He is an executive vice president of All Elite Wrestling (AEW), where he is also signed as a performer; in addition, he holds the AEW World Tag Team Championship with Adam Page in their respective first reigns. He also performs for Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide, where he is the current AAA Mega Champion in his first reign.

Kenny Omega
Kenny Omega 2016.jpg
Omega in May 2016
Born
Tyson Smith

(1983-10-16) October 16, 1983 (age 36)
EmployerAll Elite Wrestling
TitleExecutive Vice President
ResidenceKatsushika, Tokyo, Japan[1][2]
Ring name(s)Kenny Omega[3]
Scott Carpenter[4]
Billed height6 ft 0 in (183 cm)[5][6]
Billed weight203 lb (92 kg)[7]
Billed fromWinnipeg, Manitoba, Canada[3][8]
Trained byBobby Jay[9]
Dave Taylor[9]
DebutFebruary 2000[6]

Omega is best known for his tenure in New Japan Pro-Wrestling, during which he held the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, the IWGP United States Championship, and the IWGP Intercontinental Championship among other titles. Also known for his video games-inspired persona, he was a member of the Bullet Club stable, later serving as the group's leader. He became the first and only non-Japanese professional wrestler to win the G1 Climax, the promotion's premier tournament, when he defeated Hirooki Goto in the 2016 finals. Throughout his career, Omega has also performed as part of larger national and international promotions, such as Ring of Honor, as well as independent promotions worldwide, including DDT Pro-Wrestling, Jersey All Pro Wrestling, and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla.

Hailed as one of the best professional wrestlers in the world,[10][11] Omega was named Sports Illustrated's Wrestler of the Year in 2017 and topped Pro Wrestling Illustrated's list of top 500 male wrestlers the following year. He has also attained the latter publication's Match of the Year distinction twice; one of those matches, in which Omega competed against Kazuchika Okada in a two out of three falls match at Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-jo Hall in June 2018, received a seven-star rating from combat sports journalist Dave Meltzer, the highest rating Meltzer has ever awarded a professional wrestling match.

Early life

Tyson Smith was born in Transcona, Winnipeg, Manitoba on October 16, 1983.[1][5] As of 2016, Smith's mother works in family services while his father works for the Canadian government as a transport officer.[12] Smith's affinity toward professional wrestling began during childhood when he watched tapes of WWE (then-WWF)'s Saturday Night's Main Event, which became his favorite program.[12] Growing up, Smith played ice hockey as a goalie.[1] He also worked at branches of retailers IGA and Costco.[3]

Smith first became interested in a career in professional wrestling after one of his friends from Transcona Collegiate Institute (TCI) began training with Top Rope Championship Wrestling (TRCW) in Winnipeg.[1] Smith ended his ice hockey career plans and began training under TRCW promoter Bobby Jay,[1] whom he met while he was stacking shelves at an IGA store.[9] After training with Jay for a year, 16-year-old Smith made his professional wrestling debut in the year 2000.[6][8] He went on to wrestle as part of TRCW for two years, where he developed the gimmick of a Hawaiian surfer named Kenny Omega.[9][13] The surfer aspect was later dropped and replaced with an otaku-influenced gimmick.[9] In 2001, he graduated from TCI and enrolled in university, but dropped out during his first year in order to fully pursue professional wrestling.[1]

Professional wrestling career

Early career and WWE (2001–2006)

In 2001, Omega debuted in the Winnipeg-based promotion Premier Championship Wrestling (PCW).[14][15] He won the PCW Heavyweight Championship and the PCW Tag Team Championship in 2003 and 2004, respectively,[16][17] and regained the former for a second time in 2004.[18] He unsuccessfully challenged Petey Williams for the TNA X Division Championship at the National Wrestling Alliance's 56th Anniversary Show on October 17.[19] Omega lost to Tommy Knoxville at Millennium Wrestling Federation's March 2005 ULTRA event.[20] He later won an eight-man tournament, defeating Nate Hardy, Chris Sabin, and Amazing Red, to win the Premier Cup and the NWA Canada X-Division Championship on June 2.[21] Omega lost the title to Rawskillz on September 15.[22] Nine days later, Omega made an appearance for Harley Race's World League Wrestling promotion in Eldon, Missouri, losing to Keith Walker in a match.[23] After the match, he was invited to a week-long tryout by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).[1]

In October 2005, Smith was sent to Deep South Wrestling (DSW), WWE's then-developmental territory for a tryout, after which he was offered a developmental contract and subsequently assigned to DSW full-time.[13] He made his debut on October 27, 2005, losing to Mack Johnson.[24] In August 2006, he requested his immediate release from his contract to return to PCW.[25] Omega later stated that his time in DSW was poor, particularly criticizing promoters Bill DeMott and Jody Hamilton,[26] and trainer Bob Holly.[27] Nevertheless, he also expressed praise for trainer Dave Taylor.[9] It has been reported that WWE has since approached him with a contract several times, including in the spring of 2014, three times in 2015, and in early 2019.[28][29][30]

Return to the independent circuit (2006–2019)

After his release from WWE, Omega intended to forge a career in mixed martial arts and entered a few Brazilian jiu-jitsu tournaments before deciding to return to professional wrestling.[1] Omega then reinvented his wrestling persona and developed a new distinct move set.[1] Omega made his return to PCW on September 14, 2006, defeating Rawskillz to earn a match with A.J. Styles, whom he also defeated in the main event the following week.[31][32] In June 2007, he defeated Petey Williams in the finals of the Premier Cup to win the tournament for the second time.[33] In 2008, Omega regained the PCW Heavyweight Championship for the third and fourth times.[34][35][36] He later went on to regain the PCW Tag Team Championship two more times.[37]

In 2011, Omega wrestled in tapings for Wrestling Revolution Project, performing under the ring name Scott Carpenter.[4] In September 2018, Omega appeared at independent event All In, where he defeated Penta El Zero.[38] Omega made appearances during PCW events in October 2018 and March 2019.[39][40]

Jersey All Pro Wrestling (2007–2012)

 
Omega as the JAPW Heavyweight Champion in November 2008

Omega made his debut for Jersey All Pro Wrestling (JAPW) on September 8, 2007, where he was defeated by Danny Demanto in a match.[41] On March 8, 2008, Omega captured the JAPW Heavyweight Championship by defeating Low Ki in Jersey City, New Jersey.[42] On April 19, Omega retained his title against Frankie Kazarian at Spring Massacre.[43][44] On July 10, Omega successfully defended his title against Jon Cutler in his hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba.[45] On February 28, 2009, at Jersey City Rumble Omega lost the JAPW Heavyweight Championship to Jay Lethal, after his associate Dan Maff turned on him, ending his reign at 357 days.[46]

Omega's next JAPW appearance took place on December 10, 2010, in a six-way elimination match for the JAPW Light Heavyweight Championship. Omega was eliminated from the match by the eventual winner, Jushin Thunder Liger.[47] On May 15, 2011, Omega defeated Liger in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during New Japan Pro-Wrestling's inaugural United States tour to win the JAPW Light Heavyweight Championship.[48] In a July 2013 interview, Omega said that although JAPW had not held a show since April 2012, he would be interested in returning to the company, citing he still held the JAPW Light Heavyweight Championship.[49] JAPW declared the Light Heavyweight Championship vacant on September 12, 2014.[50]

Ring of Honor (2008–2017)

On July 25, 2008, Omega made his Ring of Honor (ROH) debut, losing to Delirious in Toronto, Ontario.[51] The following night, Omega competed at ROH New Horizons, losing to Silas Young.[52] After a losing streak, Omega gained his first victories by gaining two pinfalls over Austin Aries, who held the ROH World Championship, in December.[53][54] On November 14, 2009, Omega competed against Aries for the title but was defeated.[55] At Final Battle 2009, Omega competed in a Four-Corner Survival match, which was won by Claudio Castagnoli.[56]

In February 2016, it was reported that Omega had signed to become a regular competitor for ROH.[57] He appeared for the promotion for the first time in nearly six years during its 14th Anniversary Show.[58] Towards the end of the year, despite having the opportunity to return to ROH, Omega was asked by New Japan Pro-Wrestling not to take any outside bookings heading into Wrestle Kingdom 11 in Tokyo Dome, and thus Omega did not appear for ROH for the rest of 2016.[59] He returned to ROH in February 2017 during the first night of Honor Rising: Japan 2017, which was co-produced by the promotion and New Japan-Pro Wrestling, winning a tag team match against the Briscoe Brothers (Jay and Mark Briscoe) alongside Adam Cole.[60] He also performed as part of the Global Wars 2017 tour, also co-produced by New Japan Pro-Wrestling.[61][62]

DDT Pro-Wrestling (2008–2014)

In 2006, Omega became captivated by Japanese wrestler Kota Ibushi after watching him perform as part of Japanese promotion DDT Pro-Wrestling, so he uploaded videos of himself having a DDT-style match to YouTube, in hopes they would interest Ibushi into working with him.[2] After seeing the videos, DDT invited Omega to Japan to wrestle Ibushi, which Omega accepted; he made his first appearance for the promotion in August 2008.[2][63] Omega stated that wrestling in Japan had been one of his dreams, as the local scene appealed to his creative side, feeling that he was able to show his personality and express himself.[2][1] He and Ibushi then formed a tag team named the Golden☆Lovers, later winning the KO-D Tag Team Championship on January 21, 2009.[64][65] The Golden☆Lovers lost their title to Francis Togo and Taka Michinoku in May.[66]

In 2011, Omega competed in a match against a nine-year-old girl named Haruka.[67] A video of the match went viral, making international news and receiving polarizing responses, after which Omega received death threats.[68] Professional wrestler Mick Foley, conversely, praised Omega's work as a heel, asking why he was not on national television.[69] Omega later stated that he was asked to work with Haruka due to the safe nature of his work and that he personally trained her before their match.[70] In the same year, Omega represented DDT in All Japan Pro Wrestling's 2011 Junior League, making his debut for the promotion on September 11.[71] After three wins and two losses, he finished second in his block and did not advance to the finals.[72]

On October 23, Omega defeated Kai to become the new World Junior Heavyweight Champion.[73][74] He lost the title back to Kai on May 27, 2012, in his sixth title defense, ending his reign at 217 days.[75] On December 23, Omega defeated El Generico to win the KO-D Openweight Championship for the first time.[76] On January 27, 2013, Omega defeated Isami Kodaka in a title vs. title match and became a double champion by retaining his title and winning the DDT Extreme Division Championship held by Kodaka.[77] He lost the KO-D Openweight Championship to Shigehiro Irie on March 20, 2013.[78] On May 26, Omega once again became a double champion when he, Ibushi, and Gota Ihashi defeated Yuji Hino, Antonio Honda, and Daisuke Sasaki for the KO-D 6-Man Tag Team Championship.[79] After a reign of 28 days, Omega's team lost the title to Hino, Honda, and Hoshitango on June 23.[80] On August 25, Omega lost the DDT Extreme Division Championship to Danshoku Dino.[81]

On January 26, 2014, the Golden☆Lovers defeated the respective teams of Kodaka and Yuko Miyamoto as well as Konosuke Takeshita and Tetsuya Endo in a three-way match to win the KO-D Tag Team Championship.[82] On April 12, the Golden☆Lovers became double tag team champions when they teamed with Sasaki to defeat Irie, Keisuke Ishii, and Soma Takao for the KO-D 6-Man Tag Team Championship.[83] Their reign lasted 22 days, as they lost the title to Kudo, Masa Takanashi, and Yukio Sakaguchi on May 4.[84] On September 28, the Golden☆Lovers lost the KO-D Tag Team Championship to Takeshita and Endo.[85] On October 26, he wrestled his final DDT match, where he and Ibushi defeated Dino and Takeshita.[86] Omega returned to DDT for the promotion's Ultimate Party event on November 3, 2019, during which he and Riho scored a victory over Honda and Miyu Yamashita in a tag team match.[87][88]

Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (2008–2014)

 
Omega during his entrance in PWG's Battle of Los Angeles in 2008

On November 1, 2008, Omega made his Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) debut at the 2008 Battle of Los Angeles, where he was defeated in the first round of the tournament by local talent Brandon Bonham.[89] The next night, during a three-way tag team match in which Omega competed, he was Irish whipped into the ropes by Davey Richards, only for the force to snap the middle and bottom ropes, throwing Omega out of the ring.[90] Three months later, Omega returned to the promotion at Express Written Consent, where he was defeated by El Generico after senior referee Rick Knox hit him with a leaping clothesline after Knox grew tired tired of Omega abusing him.[91][92] On April 11, 2009, Omega picked up his first victory in PWG by defeating Richards at Ninety-Nine.[93] The following day at PWG's hundredth show, Omega was defeated by Bryan Danielson.[94]

On November 20, 2009, Omega entered the year's Battle of Los Angeles, which was contested for the vacant PWG World Championship. Omega defeated Kevin Steen, Scott Lost, and Joey Ryan in the first, quarter, and semifinal rounds, respectively.[95] He defeated Roderick Strong in the final round to win the tournament and become the PWG World Champion.[96][97] On February 27, 2010, Omega lost the championship to Richards at As the Worm Turns in his first defense.[98] On October 27, 2012, Omega made his first appearance for PWG in over two and a half years at Failure to Communicate when he teamed with El Generico in a tag team match, where they defeated the Young Bucks.[99] Omega returned to PWG to compete in the 2014 Battle of Los Angeles on August 29,[100] advancing all the way to the semifinals until he was eliminated by the eventual winner of the tournament, Ricochet.[101][102] He returned again for the 2017 Battle of Los Angeles on September 2,[103] teaming with the Young Bucks and defeating Flamita, Penta 0M, and Rey Fenix in a six-man tag team match.[104]

New Japan Pro-Wrestling

Golden☆Lovers and sporadic appearances (2010–2014)

On January 31, 2010, Omega made his debut for New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) in a tag team match, where he and Kota Ibushi, as the Golden☆Lovers, defeated Gedo and Jado via disqualification.[105] He competed in the 2010 Best of the Super Juniors tournament.[106] In September, Omega battled Prince Devitt for Devitt's IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, where Omega was defeated.[107] On October 11 at Destruction '10, the Golden☆Lovers defeated Apollo 55 (Devitt and Ryusuke Taguchi) to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.[108] On January 23, 2011, at Fantastica Mania 2011, an NJPW and Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre co-promoted event in Tokyo, the Golden☆Lovers lost title back to Apollo 55.[109] He also competed in the 2011 Best of the Super Juniors.[106]

Omega returned to NJPW in May 2013 to take part in the 2013 Best of the Super Juniors, where he managed to win five out of his eight round-robin matches, advancing to the semifinals of the tournament.[110] On June 9, Omega was defeated in his semifinal match by Devitt, following interference from Devitt's Bullet Club stable.[111] A year later, he took part in New Japan's 2014 Best of the Super Juniors tournament from May 30 to June 6, finishing with a record of three wins and four losses, with a loss against Taichi on the final day, which cost him a spot in the semifinals.[112][113]

Bullet Club and the Elite (2014–2017)

 
Omega (far right) as a member of Bullet Club in 2015

On October 3, 2014, NJPW held a press conference to announce that Omega was set to sign with the promotion once his DDT contract expired on October 26.[114] Omega, dubbing himself the Cleaner, made his debut under contract on November 8 at Power Struggle, where he was revealed as the newest member of Bullet Club, despite having previously dismissed the idea of joining the villainous foreigner stable, claiming that he did not consider himself a gaijin.[114][115][116] Omega wrestled his first match as a member of Bullet Club at Wrestle Kingdom 9 in Tokyo Dome on January 4, 2015, defeating Ryusuke Taguchi to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship for the first time.[117][118] He retained the title over Taguchi in a rematch on February 11 at The New Beginning in Osaka.[119][120]

In the following months, he successfully defended the title against Máscara Dorada at Invasion Attack 2015 and Alex Shelley at Wrestling Dontaku 2015.[121][122][123] On July 5 at Dominion 7.5 in Osaka-jo Hall, Omega was defeated by Kushida for the title.[124][125] On September 23 at Destruction in Okayama, Omega regained the title back from Kushida, following an interference from his Bullet Club stablemate Karl Anderson.[126] On January 4, 2016, Omega once again lost the title to Kushida at Wrestle Kingdom 10 in Tokyo Dome.[127] The following day, Omega teamed with Bullet Club leader A.J. Styles to defeat Shinsuke Nakamura and Yoshi-Hashi in a tag team match.[128] After the match, Bullet Club turned on Styles, with Omega taking over the leadership of the stable.[129]

On February 14 at The New Beginning in Niigata, Omega defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi to win the vacant IWGP Intercontinental Championship.[130][131] Six days later at Honor Rising: Japan 2016, Omega became a double champion when he and the Young Bucks–the Bullet Club subgroup known as the Elite–defeated the Briscoe Brothers and Toru Yano for the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship.[132] They lost the title to Hiroshi Tanahashi, Michael Elgin, and Yoshitatsu on April 10 at Invasion Attack 2016.[133] On April 27, Omega successfully retained the IWGP Intercontinental Championship over Elgin,[134] which marked the first time two Canadians main evented an NJPW event.[135] On May 3 at Wrestling Dontaku 2016, the Elite regained the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship.[136] On June 19 at Dominion 6.19 in Osaka-jo Hall, Omega lost the IWGP Intercontinental Championship to Elgin in NJPW's inaugural ladder match.[137] On July 3, the Elite lost the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship to Matt Sydal, Ricochet, and Satoshi Kojima.[138]

From July 22 to August 13, Omega took part in the round-robin portion of the 2016 G1 Climax, where he advanced to the finals after winning his block with a record of six wins and three losses.[139] On August 14, he defeated Hirooki Goto in the finals of the tournament and earned an opportunity to compete for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.[140] Omega not only won the tournament in his first attempt, but also became the first non-Japanese G1 Climax winner in history.[141][142] Omega was defeated by IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada in the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 11 on January 4, 2017.[143] At 46 minutes and 45 seconds, the match was the longest in the history of the January 4 Tokyo Dome Show.[144] Wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer gave the match a six-star rating in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, adding that Omega and Okada "may have put on the greatest match in pro wrestling history".[145] The match was also praised by fellow professional wrestlers Daniel Bryan, Mick Foley, and Stone Cold Steve Austin.[146][147]

On January 6, 2017, Omega stated that he would be "stepping away from Japan to reassess [his] future", adding that he was "weighing all options".[148] On January 26, Omega appeared on Wrestling Observer Radio, announcing he had made a decision regarding his future and that he would be flying back to Japan in mid-February to negotiate a new deal with NJPW for "at least one more year".[149] On February 3, NJPW announced that Omega would return to the promotion during the Honor Rising: Japan 2017 events.[150] On May 3 at Wrestling Dontaku 2017, after defeating Tomohiro Ishii in the main event, Omega was nominated by Kazuchika Okada as his next challenger for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.[151] The title match between Omega and Okada on June 11 at Dominion 6.11 in Osaka-jo Hall ended in a 60-minute time limit draw.[152] This match was rated 6¼ stars by Dave Meltzer, higher than their previous match, making it the highest-rated match by Meltzer at that time.[153]

Dissension within Bullet Club and departure (2017–2019)

 
Omega as a member of The Elite alongside The Young Bucks, with whom he twice won the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship

On the first night of G1 Special in USA in July 2017, signs of dissension began to show between Omega and new Bullet Club member Cody. During the two-day event, Omega defeated Michael Elgin, Jay Lethal, and Tomohiro Ishii in an eight-man tournament to become the inaugural IWGP United States Champion.[154] On August 12, Omega won his block in the 2017 G1 Climax tournament with a record of seven wins and two losses, advancing to the finals,[155][156] where he was eventually defeated by Tetsuya Naito.[157] Omega successfully defended his title against Juice Robinson on September 24 at Destruction in Kobe and against Yoshi-Hashi on October 15 at the NJPW and ROH-co-produced Global Wars: Chicago event.[158][62]

Omega then defeated Beretta on November 5 at Power Struggle, after which he accepted a challenge from Chris Jericho for a match at Wrestle Kingdom 12.[159] At the event on January 4, 2018, he defeated Jericho in a no disqualification match to retain the IWGP United States Championship.[160] On January 28, Omega lost the title to Jay White at The New Beginning in Sapporo.[161] After the match, Bullet Club member Adam Page confronted White but was stopped by Omega, who accepted defeat, which brought out Cody. After months of tension, Omega and Cody faced off, resulting in Cody hitting Omega with his finishing move. When Page attempted to assist Cody to further attack Omega, Kota Ibushi returned to the ring after having competed earlier in the night to save his former partner, leading to an embrace between Omega and Ibushi.[162]

On June 9, Omega defeated Okada in a two out of three falls match with no time limit for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-jo Hall, becoming the first Canadian wrestler to win the title in the process.[163] The match received a seven-star rating from Meltzer, which remains the highest rating ever given to a match.[164] Omega then defeated Cody at NJPW's G1 Special in San Francisco on July 7, retaining his title as well as reaffirming his leadership of Bullet Club.[165] However, during Omega's post-match celebration with the Young Bucks, the three were attacked by Bullet Club members Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, and King Haku, who targeted Omega, the Young Bucks, Cody, and every other member of the stable who tried to make the save.[166] Omega then successfully defended his title against Ishii at Destruction as well as against Cody and Ibushi in a three-way match at King of Pro-Wrestling.[167][168]

It was revealed in October 2018 that Cody, Page, and Marty Scurll would be known alongside Omega and the Young Bucks as part of the Elite,[169] with the group also stating that they were "no longer affiliated with Bullet Club".[170] Omega lost the IWGP Heavyweight Championship to Hiroshi Tanahashi at Wrestle Kingdom 13 on January 4, 2019, ending his reign at 209 days.[171] He departed NJPW after his contract expired at the end of January.[172]

All Elite Wrestling (2019–present)

Omega signed a four-year contract with All Elite Wrestling (AEW) on February 7, 2019.[173] Along with Cody and Matt and Nick Jackson, Omega serves as an executive vice president of the promotion as well as one of its in-ring talents.[174] He competed at the promotion's inaugural event, Double or Nothing, where he lost to Chris Jericho in the main event, after which both men were attacked by Jon Moxley.[175] The following month at Fyter Fest, Omega attacked Moxley in retaliation for Moxley's previous assault.[176] A match between Omega and Moxley was scheduled for the All Out pay-per-view,[177] however, Moxley pulled out of the match due to a MRSA infection.[178] Omega instead competed against Pac at the event, where he was defeated.[179][180] On the premiere episode of Dynamite on October 2, Omega was taken out by a returning Moxley during a six-man tag team match, with Omega's team later losing the contest.[181] In the main event of Full Gear on November 9, Omega was defeated by Moxley in an unsanctioned Lights Out match.[182][183]

At Chris Jericho's Rock 'N' Wrestling Rager at Sea Part Deux: Second Wave, which aired on the January 22, 2020 episode of Dynamite, Omega and Adam Page defeated SoCal Uncensored (Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky) to win the AEW World Tag Team Championship, marking the first title change in the promotion's history.[184] At Revolution on February 29, Omega and Page retained the championship against the Young Bucks.[185] The following month, it was announced that the Elite was set to face the Inner Circle–which comprises Jericho, Sammy Guevara, Jake Hager, and Santana and Ortiz–at Blood and Guts.[186] After the event was indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic,[187] Omega, Page, and the Young Bucks instead competed alongside Matt Hardy against the Inner Circle in a Stadium Stampede match on May 23 at Double or Nothing, where Omega's team was victorious.[188]

Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide (2019–present)

On August 3, 2019, Omega made his debut for Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide as part of the promotion's partnership with AEW at its Triplemanía XXVII event, teaming with Matt and Nick Jackson in a losing effort against Fénix, Pentagón Jr., and Laredo Kid, after which Omega challenged Fénix for his AAA Mega Championship.[189] At Héroes Inmortales XIII, Omega defeated Fénix to win the title.[190] Omega successfully defended the title against Jack Evans on the November 26 episode of Dark.[191] On December 1, Omega competed against Dragon Lee in his second title defense at Triplemanía Regia, where he was victorious.[192] Omega defeated Sammy Guevara to retain the championship on the March 25 episode of Dynamite.[193]

Professional wrestling style and persona

 
Omega performing the Hadouken attack from the Street Fighter games

A fan of video games, Smith incorporates ideas from the medium into wrestling maneuvers, entrance music, and gimmick concepts.[194] The Kenny Omega ring name was originally inspired by the character Omega Weapon from the Final Fantasy video game series;[3] other examples include him naming one of his finishing maneuvers the One-Winged Angel, a reference to Final Fantasy VII's Sephiroth,[2] making use of variations of Mega Man antagonist Dr. Wily's theme music as entrance themes,[195] and utilizing the Hadouken attack from the Street Fighter series as a signature move.[196] For his final appearance for NJPW at Wrestle Kingdom 13, Smith collaborated with Undertale creator Toby Fox to create a custom entrance video in the style of the game, scored to a remix of the final boss theme "Hopes and Dreams".[197] In addition to video games, Smith also draws inspiration from the television show Star Trek: The Next Generation and superhero cartoons to develop elements of his in-ring persona.[196] Smith also donned ring gear inspired by the character Akuma from the Street Fighter series at Fyter Fest in June 2019.[198][199][200]

During his run under a villainous persona, Smith, who is fluent in Japanese, stopped talking in Japanese and instead did his interviews in English.[201] In reality, he was told that his otaku gimmick was "too bubbly" for Bullet Club, which led to him adopting the Cleaner nickname, which was intended to be a reference to people who clean up crime scenes. His look as the Cleaner was inspired by Albert Wesker from the Resident Evil video game series as well as Sylvester Stallone's character Marion "Cobra" Cobretti from the film Cobra.[202] Although Smith originally intended to embody the gimmick straightforwardly, he later integrated comedy into the persona as a response to people who thought he was portraying a janitor, doing so by coming out for his matches holding a mop and a broom.[203]

Personal life

Smith considers himself straight edge, as he abstains from alcohol, tobacco, and drug consumption.[204] He has a younger sister.[12] Smith resides in the Katsushika ward in the east end of Tokyo and is fluent in Japanese.[2][205] Smith told ESPN.com in October 2016 that he "loved Japanese culture before even realizing it was, in fact, Japanese culture" and that his favorite video games and cartoons were Japanese.[206] He has since obtained Japanese citizenship.[207] Regarding his life outside of wrestling, Smith said in 2016 that he had no time to think about relationships because he was completely focused on his wrestling goals.[208] He is close friends with fellow professional wrestler and former tag team partner Michael Nakazawa.[209]

A self-professed avid gamer, Smith previously hosted a YouTube series called Cleaner's Corner, which documented himself playing some of his favorite video games.[196] He also attends video game conventions during his spare time.[210] On June 26, 2016, he made a special guest appearance at Community Effort Orlando, defeating WWE wrestler Xavier Woods in a match of Street Fighter V.[211] Smith would later portray the character Cody Travers in a live-action portion for the character's reveal trailer for Street Fighter V.[212]

Championships and accomplishments

...and the inaugural IWGP United States Champion
Additionally, Omega is the first and only Gaijin wrestler to win the G1 Climax tournament

References

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  3. ^ a b c d e "5 things you didn't know about Kenny Omega". Archived from the original on February 16, 2019. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Meltzer, Dave (October 24, 2011). "October 24 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: 2011 Hall of Fame issue, GSP down, Bound for Glory and Bobby Roode, Hogan vs. Sting, giant issue". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Campbell, California. p. 37. ISSN 1083-9593. Jeff Katz’s Wrestling Revolution Project taped its first season in Los Angeles this past week. [...] Kenny Omega, known as Scott Carpenter, was the star, with strong matches against Chris Masters (known as Concrete) and Killshot (Karl Anderson).
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  8. ^ a b Varsallone, Jim (June 27, 2011). "Kenny Omega audio Q&A; NJPW's first U.S. event live on AXS TV". The Miami Herald. Archived from the original on September 30, 2019. Retrieved September 30, 2019.
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  10. ^ Kelly, Chris (September 26, 2019). "Upstart AEW is taking WWE head on — with a focus on diversity and inclusion". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on September 27, 2019. Retrieved March 11, 2020. Along with Rhodes and the Young Bucks, AEW would eventually tout [...] Kenny Omega, one of the world's best wrestlers who built his career in Japan.
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External links

Preceded by
Hiroshi Tanahashi
G1 Climax winner
2016
Succeeded by
Tetsuya Naito
Preceded by
Kazuchika Okada
66th IWGP Heavyweight Champion
June 9, 2018 – January 4, 2019
Succeeded by
Hiroshi Tanahashi