What started as a Twitter feud has now found its way to the Tokyo Dome on January 4th.
Kenny Omega returns to NJPW for the first time in four years to challenge Will Ospreay for the IGWP United States Championship.
Omega was the inaugural U.S. Champion, while Ospreay defeated Sanada in June to win the title. Since his exit from NJPW, Omega became an executive and star for All Elite Wrestling.
Their similar styles inside the squared circle often drew comparisons, which sparked their verbal duel on Twitter as Ospreay rose to prominence won the IWGP World Heavyweight Title.
Here is the announced line up for Wrestle Kingdom 17 on Wednesday, January 4th.
– IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Jay White (c) vs. Kazuchika Okada
Here is the rest of the announced line up for NJPW on Wednesday, January 4th.
– IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Taiji Ishimori (c) vs. Hiromu Takahashi vs. El Desperado vs. Master Wato
– IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: FTR (c) vs. Winner of New Japan Tag League
– NJPW World Television Championship tournament finals: Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Ren Narita
– IWGP Women’s Championship match: KAIRI (c) vs. Tam Nakano
As fun as their six man tag encounter was in AEW, having their big singles match in a New Japan ring feels right. New Japan’s audience knows both Omega and Ospreay exceptionally well. They can go all out and tell the best story possible, something they would have trouble doing in AEW.
American fans are not as familiar with Ospreay as they are with Omega. AEW can’t give such a platform to Ospreay, but New Japan can give that platform to Omega.
In its current form Wrestle Kingdom 17 looks weak on paper. Ospreay vs. Omega was a big surprise no one saw coming and has given the card a major boost.
As a fan, I miss the New Japan version of Kenny Omega. He certainly hasn’t been terrible in AEW. However, besides his match with Bryan Danielson last year, his bouts haven’t had that big fight feel that his matches did in New Japan.
No two wrestlers represent the modern style of professional wrestling more than Kenny Omega and Will Ospreay. Their match will garner as much praise as it does criticism, regardless of how good it ends up being.
While they’ve stood across the ring from each on several occasions, it occurred when Omega was king and Ospreay was on the rise. Both are on an even playing field as main event attractions, making this the perfect time to have what could be an epic collision.
Twitter can be a toxic place. However, Omega and Ospreay used it to work the audience into believing they legitimately hate each other by using bits of truth and fiction. Instead of working themselves into a shoot, they took a 21st-century approach to heighten the narrative of their January 4th encounter.