Moments after defeating Kazuchika Okada at NJPW Dominion to become the new IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Kenny Omega spoke with members of the Japanese press backstage.
The very first thing the new champion did when asked about his incredible bout was pay respect to the Rainmaker, who will now move on without the title he has held for the last 720 days, breaking nearly every record imaginable along his path of pure dominance and excellence.
“Today I defeated the greatest wrestler on planet Earth. This is a performance art. You can be a great wrestler, but if the people don’t like you, if the people don’t care you’re not worth a damn. Okada, you are the total, complete package. You are the man who carried this company to this point, and I give you all the credit in the world for what you’ve done.”
For Okada, the next step will be winning this year’s G1 Climax tournament in the hopes of launching himself back into the title program and securing yet another main event at the Tokyo Dome, come January 2019. But as for Omega, who must now attempt to fill the shoes of the single greatest Heavyweight champion of the last 30 years, the Cleaner claims he has big plans for both the title and NJPW as a whole.
“The buck stops here. [Okada has] taken this company as far as it can go domestically. I see so much more. When I look at this company I see the evolution of professional wrestling. I see the people that entertain me the most – more than my favorite television drama, and more than my favorite movie. That’s the Young Bucks. That’s Ibushi. All of them are here, by my side, and together we can do anything. That means I have so much more to do as IWGP Heavyweight Champion. Okada, you were great. Maybe the greatest, and I’m going to try hard to fill your shoes. I’m going to try to write a new history, and a new legacy for this company.”
As for what’s next, NJPW kicks off its annual Kizuna Road tour on June 15th building to three shows at Korakuen Hall, one of which will actually host a retirement ceremony for the legendary Super Strong Machine. The next major event is NJPW G1 Special in San Francisco, taking place at the Cow Palace on July 7th. The G1 Climax tournament kicks off one week later on July 14th, and from there we are off and running towards Wrestle Kingdom 13.