As part of Chris Jericho’s Cruise was a Talk is Jericho podcast session with all of his friends who were onboard. Among those was Kenny Omega who was asked by Jericho if he ever went one-on-one with the man he succeeded as the leader of the Bullet Club, AJ Styles.
Not only did Omega reveal a virtually unknown match with Styles, but he also discussed how Styles was influential in Omega not walking away from his wrestling career.
“Of course we did multiple tag [matches] together,” Omega said about being in a ring with Styles. “But a lot of people don’t know I have had one singles match with AJ and I actually accredit that match with keeping me in the wrestling business. I was sort of at a crossroads, no pun intended. This was in 2006 and I wasn’t sure if I was going to do the MMA thing or if I was going to do professional wrestling.
“I was competing in jujutsu all around the country and I was training in exhibition and sparring matches to do full-contact MMA. It was enjoyable but I found that my in-ring performance was suffering because there’s an aesthetic look you have to retain in professional wrestling.”
Omega then said if he’s cutting weight for MMA then his physique will suffer when it’s time to wrestle.
“If I were to concentrate on one, the other was going to suffer,” Omega admitted. “So I wanted to use that AJ match in Winnipeg to determine what my future holds. Am I going to go into fighting or am I going to do the wrestling thing?
“After the AJ match I thought, ‘Oh my goodness. There’s this guy who is so much better than me but we have this chemistry together.’ It showed me my true potential and something I could achieve that I hadn’t actually seen yet.”
Omega then realized that during his jujutsu tournaments he was thinking more like a wrestler and going for great finishes and exciting matches rather than like a mixed martial artist and going for the win.
“I found out that I’m an entertainer. I’m a performer, so I’m going to give this wrestling thing one more shot,” stated Omega.
Shortly thereafter Omega did a tour with PWG where he met The Young Bucks and that led to him going to Japan where he became a multi-time champion including the current Heavyweight Champion.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Talk is Jericho with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: Talk is Jericho