AEW’s Kenny Omega shocked the professional wrestling world this weekend when he appeared on the Historic X-Over event and announced that he will be coming back to New Japan Pro-Wrestling for Wrestle Kingdom 17 on January 4, 2023, and will challenge Will Ospreay for the IWGP United States Championship. Omega left the Japanese promotion in early 2019, quickly signing with All Elite Wrestling as both a wrestler and executive vice president. And while the crossovers between AEW and New Japan took place way back in 2019, something always seemed to get in the way of Omega stepping back into an overseas ring in New Japan. Even when the crossovers started happening in earnest in 2021, it was always New Japan stars working on AEW shows.
New information about how this competition came about surfaced via Conflicting selection on Sunday evening. According to Sean Ross Sapp, negotiations between the two companies began in the summer while Omega was still recovering from surgery. New Japan’s Rocky Romero is said to have played a key role in facilitating the deal, as is often the case in New Japan’s working relationships with US promotions.
“Those familiar with the situation claim that the deal has only been finalized in the last two or three weeks, despite talks that have taken place over the course of several months. The suspension related to Brawl Out has not brought talks to an end , not even for now, but we’ve heard it’s definitely slowed things down,” Juice wrote.
Omega spoke with competitive earlier this summer and started sewing the seeds for a match with Ospreay. That led to The Elite and the United Kingdom colliding in the semifinals of the AEW World Trios Championship tournament, which Omega’s side won.
“A guy like Will, who’s good at moves and has a list of 20 very forgettable five-star matches. [laughs] I’m going a little too fast for Will. Will is great. I don’t want to say anything bad about Will. Here’s the thing, if we’re being completely honest with each other, I believe with the current rating system, and how things are viewed, I believe Will has earned every last one of those five star performances he’s had,” Omega told competitive earlier this year. “I’m digging myself into a hole here, Will is there and Will is great. I’m happy to see him in a big game against Orange Cassidy. I’m just saying I think New Japan made the right choice by going with Jay White. He was the star of the two is all I’m saying.”
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