GameStart 2018 – Interview with IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega

GameStart 2018 started in Singapore today, and it is one of the few gaming conventions in Southeast Asia. Boasting a variety of game developers and publishers, there is a huge focus on esports as well, especially for fighting games such as Street Fighter V. An avid fan of Street Fighter, Kenny Omega is in town attending the event as a special guest. To non-wrestling fans, Kenny Omega is the current IWGP Heavyweight Champion at Asia’s largest wrestling promotion, New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). We had an opportunity to chat with him in a media group interview, and do note that the answers below are edited. Read on!

About Gaming

Q: Which title started your passion for gaming?

A: Street Fighter, definitely.

Q: From your point of view, do you think esports is an actual sport?

A: Yes, definitely. People don’t realize the amount of commitment it takes to be a pro gamer. It is not just about finger dexterity, but also require one to be strong mentally and physically. Look at Nascar drivers, people think they only sit down and drive, but they need to be in good overall shape as well.

Q: Do you keep track of your score against Xavier Woods in fighting games?

A: We are actually on a draw… *thinks awhile, mumbling a few fighting games including Tekken*… Oh no, I am actually one over him! Yes, I am leading him, not a draw.

Q: Have you ever tried converting a fellow wrestler into a gamer?

A: Yeah I am getting the Young Bucks to play with me. There is a new mode coming next year, and we look forward to facing against The New Day as Team Elite.

About Wrestling

Q: Congratulations on your recent win against Kota Ibushi and Cody. You mentioned that you are taking a break now. Is your next match against Tanahashi at Wrestle Kingdom 13?

A: Oh no, what I meant was I am taking a break from defending the IWGP Heavyweight title. I am still wrestling, including at the Chris Jericho cruise. But my next title defense will indeed be against Tanahashi at Wrestle Kingdom 13.

Q: Which wrestlers do you currently wish to have a match with?

A: John Cena, Roman Reigns, Tyler Black… oh he is known as Seth Rollins now. And AJ Styles. I did have one match with AJ Styles, but I would love to wrestle him again. And yeah, Roman Reigns. (Note: Kenny mentioned Roman Reigns 3 times.)

Q: Following the betrayal of BCOG, it seems you have yet to comment much about them. What are your thought?

A: Look, they are not worth commenting about. What BCOG wants to accomplish is so small time, and the only way they can make an impact is to attacking from behind or in a group. I would say it is an improvement to the Bullet Club in getting rid of them, trimming the fat. It feels good not having to carry them anymore.