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Cafe Puro (2/3/16): The Cleaner's Essentials—Four Things To Know About Kenny Omega

Welcome, Henrinitos to another installment of Cafe Puro!

The upcoming NJPW February specials, The New Beginning in Osaka and Niigata, will truly live up to its name. With the high profile departures of Styles and Nakamura, as well as the impending departures of Gallows and Gun, will leave quite a power gap within the NJPW roster, a gap that one Kenny Omega will benefit from.


The Cleaner has been an official part of the NJPW roster for more than a year now, but he has managed to run with the ball given to him in the years that he has competed in the Japanese indy scene and in major companies like AJPW. With a man of his charisma and talent, it was no wonder why he was given the prime spot to challenge the one and only Hiroshi Tanahashi for the vacant IWGP Intercontinental Championship at the Niigata show in a few weeks' time (or a few days before PWR Vendetta this February 20. *wink wink*). And for a man with humble beginnings back when he decided to wrestle in Japan, it is a huge deal for him to be put in the position that many wrestlers in the world would kill for. Imagine this: he has a very good chance of actually beating the future Hall of Famer for a title that Nakamura helped flourish. How's that for a resume highlight?

But what makes Omega, Omega? As we approach Kenny's potential crowing moment in Niigata, we take a look at four interesting things that you guys should really know about one of the best wrestlers walking the planet (besides the fact that he wrestled a 9-year old girl):

1. He is close to achieving further history



Here's an unsurprising fact about the talented Canadian: he has been a champion wherever he went. As a matter of fact, he won all titles that were available in DDT Pro Wrestling and defeated El Generico (or a man that eerily looks like Sami Zayn) for the KO-D Openweight Championship to boot. But did you know that at any time, he could further make history in the world of pro wrestling?

Thanks to DDT's relationship with All Japan Pro Wrestling, Kenny Omega managed to become the AJPW World Jr. Heavyweight Champion in 2011. If he somehow manages to win Pro Wrestling NOAH's GHC Jr. Heavyweight Championship in the future (granted he makes weight for the Jr. Division), he would be the second man in history to have held the top three junior championships in Japan: the IWGP Jr., World Jr., and GHC Jr. Heavyweight Championship. The first man who did it? The dynamic vice president of Pro Wrestling NOAH, Naomichi Marufuji.

And if he manages to beat Hiroshi Tanahashi at The New Beginning in Niigata for the IC Championship, he would be the first man to have held the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship and the IWGP IC Championship. To give you an idea of how big of a deal this is, no Jr. Heavyweight wrestler has ever held the Heavyweight Championship, much less the Intercontinental Championship. So he will truly be in elite company if he manages to win the title and pin Tanahashi to do so. And there's also the chance that he can actually do something no Junior has done: win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and be the first man to do so, something even the legendary Jushin "Thunder" Liger or even Prince Devitt have never done. Heck, he could actually do it first before his eternal rival, Kota Ibushi. And speaking of Kota Ibushi...

2. Omega's career forever intertwining with Ibushi's



For every Ryu, there's a Ken. For every Guy, there's a Cody. And for Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi is and will forever be his eternal rival. His career in Japan began with Kota Ibushi.

After DDT Pro Wrestling management was captivated at Omega's take on their infamous anywhere goes matches (challenging Kota Ibushi in the process) which was uploaded on YouTube, the former invited the latter to compete for them in 2008. And thus, a generational rivalry and friendship was born.

Omega and Ibushi, collectively known as the Golden Lovers, won various tag titles from DDT and NJPW, as well as the adoration and respect of fans all over. And when it came to singles competition, it was as competitive as it gets. As a matter of fact, these two faced each other for the KO-D Openweight Championship on August 18, 2012 at DDT's Ryogoku Peter Pan main event, and lasted for almost an entire hour. While Ibushi won the match, both men won the award for Best Match during the same year's Japanese Indie Awards, which saw matches from other indy promotions like BJW and K-DOJO in contention.


While they have not fought each other for a long time, it should be interesting to see how these two will finally interact once the Golden Star is fully healed up. Don't be surprised if their future bout will be another Match of the Year contender.

3. You might as well make him a Japanese citizen



If there is something in common between Omega and Marty Friedman of Megadeth fame, it's the fact that these two men live, breathe, and wholeheartedly love Japan. As a matter of fact, they love Japan so much, they can actually speak the language fluently.  And notably, Omega also takes residence in Tokyo, which makes wrestling tours easy for him. That is one of the reasons why the Japanese audiences are easily able to connect with Omega: he knows what to say and how to say it. And in all honesty, when was the last time you saw a gaijin speak Japanese like it was already second nature to him? Granted, he is currently speaking in English due to his Bullet Club association, but if New Japan needs a brand ambassador, he's your guy.

Plus, if it wasn't evident the first time, he is a huge otaku who frequents Akihabara and watches Japanese anime without the help of subtitles. Most anime fans outside of Japan would be green with envy for a talent like his.

4. His game cred is strong. Just ask Capcom and Austin Creed



While it is quite obvious that video games helped create the persona of Kenny Omega as a whole, he can actually back up his game cred in more ways than one.

For starters, before Xavier Woods's (or Austin Creed's) UpUpDownDown YouTube channel was conceived, Kenny ventured into the world of "Let's Play" videos with the conception of "Cleaner's Corner," where he played various games alongside his friend, former DDT wrestler Michael Nakazawa. While Austin Creed would eventually dominate the gaming-wrestling scene later on, at any given time, Kenny might sneak up and take his place whenever he wants.


In the same YouTube channel, he also posts his Ultra Street Fighter 4 videos while using his favorite character, Cody. While we're on the subject, he also understands the lingo and intricacies of the fighting game scene that the Fighting Game Community (FGC) tends to use, from the dynamics of these fighiting games to his preferrence in characters. He can easily fit in the FGC that anyone would forget that he is also a very good professional wrestler. 

His love for Capcom and gaming is well documented and deep, he even pulled off Zangief's Final Atomic Buster on a sex doll and previously entered the ring using a remix of Dr. Wily's theme in Megaman 2 (which was later remixed further in Capcom's Japan-only special Megaman album as a tribute to Omega). There is a really good reason why he makes use of the Hadouken in wrestling matches, after all.

Kenny Omega is a man that stands out wherever he goes. That's what happens when you're a talented wrestler who is, pound for pound, the strongest man in New Japan today and can probably even beat you in Street Fighter while watching an unsubbed anime that you probably won't even understand. Whatever the case may be, Omega is a unique star in his own right, and well on his way to becoming one of the biggest stars in the entire world. It's only a matter of time before others would know him too.

What is your favorite Kenny Omega moment? Do you think he can be the next IC champ? Sound off in the comments!

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Lance Tan Ong has been a banking guy for the past few years but a wrestling guy for most of his life. And after checking out matches of Mitsuharu Misawa and Shinya Hashimoto at an early age, he's also pretty much a puro guy as well. Currently checking out WWE (mostly NXT), NJPW, DDT, and other promotions that catch and demand attention. He currently handles NJPW news and coverage for Smark Henry.

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