Welcome back for some more Collective Thoughts. This week I wanted to talk a little bit about the main event scene in AEW and the people involved with it now, and in the future. With All Out now in the rearview, there has been a lot of fallout from the show. The reviews for the show were mostly positive, and even with some negative critiques come out of it, overall, it felt like a game-changing night for AEW. It has been a long time since wrestling fans were collectively that excited coming out of a major wrestling show.
With that, though, comes the age-old question of where all these pieces fall into place. I talked a few weeks ago about the acquisitions they have been making, but now that it’s here, some AEW mainstays have a chance to really show what they are made of.
Obviously, you can’t start the conversation without bringing up the current AEW World Champion Kenny Omega. I mention it all the time, but before AEW, I didn’t know much about Omega at all. I know he was having matches in Japan that fans really enjoyed, but I never took the time to seek them out. In hindsight, I probably should have, but that’s on me. Omega had one of those reputations that preceded him, and when it was announced that he was joining AEW, I thought it was a great opportunity for someone like me to see what the hype was all about and found out if he was a top guy in the business. Could this guy be as good as everyone says he was? Naturally, I assume everything and everyone is a tad overhyped when they have a reputation that comes before their actual performance. Now that I have seen him I am able to make my own judgments and not just rely on the opinions of other fans I run into or talk with.
I do think Omega is a very good, and even sometimes, great, wrestler. He has had matches with a lot of people coming through AEW and he is genuinely over with this fanbase. He won the AEW World Title from Jon Moxley on an episode of Dynamite and has held the title for almost a year. In that span, he has defended the title against guys that deserved a shot, and some that did not. I’m sorry, but for Joey Janela to be in the ring with your World Champion on TV is a little wonky, and that’s not even a dig on Janela. That would be the equivalent of Steve Austin wrestling Prince Albert on an episode of Raw, but I digress. Omega has put on some good performances and has been at the top of his game for the last year at least. The question remains though, has he had a defining match in AEW that rivals his classic battles in Japan? The answer is no, and I think anyone that has seen the product can say the same. I would actually go out on a limb and say that The Young Bucks have had more matches in AEW that have been critically acclaimed than Omega does.
Now, you can blame the roster or the booking, but with all the talent that has been recently coming in, Omega is just as much as a big piece of AEW being a mainstay success as anyone else. You could make the argument that when AEW was in its infancy, it focused more on younger or underutilized talent, and it was lacking a tad in the main event department. That argument is now out the window.
With guys like CM Punk and Bryan Danielson now officially in AEW, it’s time for Omega to show what he is made of in a big-time way. I am not saying that these two are the only two wrestlers in the world that can bring the best out of Omega, but it’s certainly a place to start. Since debuting at All Out, and confronting Omega on Dynamite, it seems like Danielson is the one that is going to take the reigns and I am looking forward to their collision.
It’s like what Danielson said after All Out went off the air: “Some people in this company claim to be Elite, and I am here to see if they are”, or something along those lines. I think that was a great line to kick off the feud that will hopefully fill up the TV time as we head into the fall and come closer to Full Gear.
It all comes down to the fact that if AEW wants to thrive in the long term, and if Omega wants his name heralded along with the greats in the industry, he needs a signature AEW moment. You could make the argument that Omega is the biggest star to not have a WWE run, and they can use that to their advantage. If he goes out in the next year or so, and has fantastic matches with guys that have worked in WWE, that is where the legend of Kenny Omega would truly shine. I do think he needs to stop trying to be a 2003 version of Triple H and just do what he does best, and that’s wrestling his ass off. If he does that, I think we might be in for a wild ride and AEW will only grow because of it.
I still don’t know how I feel about Omega completely, but going out and showing me, and the rest of the world, that he is one of the best would go a long way in forming my opinion. Whatever that might be worth.
What are your thoughts on Kenny Omega’s run in AEW thus far? Liked what he has done? Hated it? Who is Kenny Omega? Either way, keep the conversation going over @collectiveheel on Twitter, and let me know your thoughts. I will be back next week with another WCW Classic Review where we will be diving into WCW World War 3 1998. I hope to hear from you, take care of yourselves, and I will be back with some more Collective Thoughts.