I’ve started this entry five separate times because in my mind, starting an article by saying “Kenny Omega is the best wrestler ever” sounds so simplistically cliché. I prefer to start my ramblings in a more eloquent fashion. And yet, every time I try to wax poetic, I keep going back to the simple, the straight forward, and the easy to swallow.
So I will reiterate and just roll with it: Omega and the Bucks are changing the face of professional wrestling.
Let’s start with the Bucks, or as they are affectionately called in my house, ‘mah boys’. Nick and Matt have spent a long time honing their skills, so long that I think people forget how seasoned they really are. They’re everything you want in a tag team; charismatic, expressive, talented, and mouthy. They’re disrespectful and yet have a knack for being endearingly protective of the people closest to them. Sound like a few stables that we’ve seen over the years? Sure it does. We’ve seen this before with groups like DX. So what sets those good-ol’ boys apart (other than a bizarre fashion sense and the best chops in the biz)?
If you aren’t watching “Being the Elite” on YouTube, you are missing out. In an era where people are so torn over whether Kayfabe is dead and if that is a good thing, the Bucks have made their own stories visible while showing glimpses of their personal lives. And as much as their videos are made to showcase friends in the industry and crack some fun jokes, they are doing something different and surprising. They are using the medium to tell stories. Compelling, fun, interesting stories that elevate the fun of seeing them live or on television. Why in the hell WWE isn’t letting Breezango do the same thing and tell Fashion Police stories online is another question entirely…because they SHOULD be. But that’s not my point.
The Young Bucks have learned to shift some of the classic storytelling elements from our favorite eras and combine them with new unique approaches to draw in a larger audience, creating an element of inclusivity and in-jokes with their avid fan base. Their work and utilization of technology and social media driven methods builds a rich level of Character that so few manage to pull off and do well in this day and age. They changed the game.
And then along comes Kenny.
It’s hard for me to talk about Kenny Omega without sounding like a tittering fangirl, and I know it. I truly adore so much about the man; his skill, his technique, his endlessly adorable affinity for fuzzy animals and befriending random kitties in pubs, his open and out status as a bi man (shout out to all of us B in the LGBT folks!), his need to call out toxic crap when he sees it, his constant running jokes and love of geekery…seriously, the guy may as well be a model of things that I find endearing. He’s just so likeable! And I really hope he never reads this, because even I am eye rolling at what I am typing. But this only scratches the surface.
Kenny can talk.
And not just the usual cut-a-promo yammering. Oh no, Kenny Omega is a smooth talker that makes me remember why Punk was so freakin' adored. He could challenge Paul and I honestly think he'd win that verbal battle. He can sound charismatic and terrifying all in the same breath and sentence with nothing more than a tick of his lip and a slight intonation. He can make you uncomfortable with a widening of his eyes, terrified for his opponent with a smile, worried for his safety when he manages to avoid a rainmaker with nothing but an exquisitely timed drop to the knees before going completely limp. His sense of timing is superb. His ability to laugh at himself is endearing. His technical skill is on the level of a few other NJPW greats whom I have been quoted as being the most skilled and best wrestlers in the world.
And after this past weekend, I can genuinely say I am dethroning AJ as the best wrestler in the world. Kenny owns that iron throne now. Long may he reign…
I have never in my life sat through a match and had such an excruciatingly physical reaction, and I am no stranger to being invested in matches or talent. I sobbed when Owen was hurt, sat slack-jawed when Lesnar broke the streak, shot to my feet and danced when Ambrose won the championship and stood up with a cheer when the Diva’s belt was removed from the picture in lieu of a stronger focus on equality for the female talent. Wrestling fans are passionate as hell, and I am no exception to the rule. And much as I am still a sad crying fangirl over the breakup of DIY, nothing has ever made me feel the way Okada vs. Omega II did.
And yeah, there were other factors. I was exhausted, as we stayed up to watch the whole PPV to the bitter end. I was hopped up on caffeine with too much Baileys and was feeling it. I hadn’t slept, hadn’t eaten in hours, and was worried about our sick cat, so anxiety was running high. But even with that being the case, our group was beyond invested in this match. We were on the edges of our seats, literally, waiting for the match to end. We stood outside, watching the sunrise and shaking our heads in awed, stunned silence after.
It’s rare that a match leaves ME silent. I always have something to say, and it has taken me days to put what I felt into words.
If the creativity that the Bucks and Omega are bringing to the table isn’t your cuppa, that’s cool. But I’ll ask you to check your pulse, because seriously, these guys are beyond talented. And with the addition of the insanely charismatic Villain to the likes of the Bullet Club, things are just heating up. Then you think of Cody’s interruption, the nervousness felt at the end of that match. There is uncertainty. There is mystery. There is a history of back stabbing in the club.
I can’t wait to see what happens at THIS red wedding.