The Young Bucks, Cody & Brandi Rhodes and Hangman Page rang in the new year by confirming the formation of All Elite Wrestling. Once that happened, speculation turned to the missing member of the Being The Elite cast. No, not Marty Scurll, who’s signed to Ring of Honor for a while longer - but Kenny Omega.
When he lost his IWGP Heavyweight title to Hiroshi Tanahashi at Jan. 4’s Wrestle Kingdom 13 show and didn’t appear on New Year’s Dash!! the following day, signs were pointing toward Omega leaving New Japan. Strangely enough, an interview with Tokyo Sports where he said he was leaving NJPW led to a lot of folks thinking it was a storyline and that he’d stay.
Then there’s the WWE factor. Vince McMahon’s company allegedly offered the Best Bout Machine a ridiculous amount of money.
So why does it now look like he’ll be joining his friends working for Tony Khan’s new fed soon?
According to Dave Meltzer on the latest Wrestling Observer Radio, it’s because New Japan plans to continue working with Ring of Honor in the short-term instead of striking up a partnership with AEW:
“New Japan has made the decision that they are going to work with Ring of Honor, which means... right now, at least for now, they’re not working with All Elite, which is a really interesting dynamic because I know that even as late as a couple days ago All Elite was thinking maybe Kenny Omega would work for New Japan and All Elite both and they would be able to... Elite wanted to keep their talent working in New Japan and wanted to partner with New Japan on events, and that’s not going to happen, at least for right now. Who knows what happens in the future but that’s the thing right now. It may have cost them Kenny Omega.”
It’s an understandable move. The ROH/NJPW alliance has grown over the years, and the Sinclair-owned business has a track record in general and of working with New Japan. All Elite is a well-positioned start-up. But it’s still a start-up.
Then there’s the latest episode of BTE. Sure, like the Tokyo Sports interview, it’s got one foot planted in kayfabe. But the countdown clock teases the YouTube show ran before ended with what we thought it would - the formation of AEW. It seems like a safe bet if they’re running another timer on Kenny’s (lost) phone, it will lead to his signing with his buds when his New Japan contract officially expires.
Or maybe not. We’ll keep you posted.