Though it’s still 2022 for a few days more, Kenny Omega is already turning his attention to 2023 and one of the biggest matches of his career, when AEW’s “Best Bout Machine” goes toe-to-toe against “The Commonwealth Kingpin,” Will Ospreay at New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Wrestle Kingdom 17.

That’s right, after three years away and some tension between Omega and NJPW’s old regime, Gedo, Rocky Romero, and company have smoothed things over to enough of a degree that the promotion ran a show with AEW called Forbidden Door 17 months after Kenta broke the proverbial fourth wall to bring the two promotions into business together and “The Cleaner” back to the Tokyo Dome for the first time since January 4th, 2019, when Hiroshi Tanahashi stripped him of his IWGP Heavyweight Championship belt. Soon, fans will celebrate the return of one of the biggest foreign stars to ever grace a New Japan ring, and Ospreay, one of the two top foreign stars in the promotion alongside “Switchblade” Jay White, will test his mettle and defend the United States Championship against the title’s most important holder.

For Ospreay, this is a career-defining match, as it will finally put the leader of the United Empire against the Bullet Club’s third leader and will provide a barometer for fans who have always compared his legacy to that of Omega’s. By contrast, Omega continues to have issues with Ospreay as a wrestler and potential successor in New Japan, dating all the way back to 2016 when they first met, as he detailed in an interview with NJPW ahead of the show.

“I man, you know, how did I feel about Will Ospreay when he first arrived in New Japan? He was just like anybody else,” Omega said. “There are so many guys like him, who can do a bunch of flips and tricks. And it’s fun to watch them practice, and it’s fun to watch their matches. But did I ever feel anything from Will Ospreay? Hmm, not so much.”

“And then when I placed the responsibility of filling my shoes on his shoulders, I started to see him take things a little more seriously. It wasn’t about him having fun in the ring, it was about him getting the job done. For that- I’m proud of you, Will. But the thing is, filling my shoes isn’t something that just anyone can do. Just because I tasked you with filling them, doesn’t mean that you can. Just because you have every tool ever in a tool chest of wrestling, doesn’t mean that you can ever do what I did.”

“There are so many moving parts, so many things. The secret to what Kenny Omega does is something that Will can’t understand, it’s what no-one understands. So in a way, I feel, I feel bad. I feel like I owe Will an apology, because I tasked him with the impossible. So how do I feel about Will now? I pity him. I pity him for going off on a fool’s errand, and trying to convince every body that he is me. Wait, let me, let me take that back. He isn’t trying to convince people that he is me, he is trying to convince people that he’s better than me, and um, well, I’ll let the viewers decide how well he’s done.”

Asked why Ospreay’s pursuit of Okada, the man “The Cleaner” wrestled his serve star match against, hasn’t worked out as planned, Omega laid it out plainly.

“So why is it that no-one can do what I can do? Well, there’s so many reasons, but the big one, Will, is up here (taps head). It’s what you don’t got upstairs. I’m not going to credit it to your athletic ability, you’ve got oodles of that. Experience? Yeah, experience plays a factor, but when you have so much ability, you can push past that. What you lack, Will, is your mind.”

“You’re unstable, you’re unintelligent, and that’s why you fail.”

Holy heck, did Omega really call Ospreay too dumb to be on his level? That’s absolutely wild, especially since Osprey’s only response was a two-word comment on Omega’s tweet sharing the story calling him a “F*cking p*ssy. With a little under two weeks left before their fated match, expect this feud to escalate even further before it cools off.

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AEW’s Kenny Omega describes what makes him different from Will Ospreay.

Asked what separates himself from Ospreay, Omega took the question even further, describing what separates him from every other performer in wrestling, period.

“Sure, I mean, what separates Kenny Omega from anybody? It’s a ‘je ne sais quoi’, I can’t even put it into my own words what it is that makes me so much different to anybody else. I think what it is though is that I’m not ever trying to emulate anybody. I’m not trying to be the next anybody, I’m trying to be the first me. I feel like Will Ospreay has been kinda shoehorned into a, an area, into a position where he feels like he needs to be me. He feels like he needs to make the merchandise sales like I did. He feels like he needs to sell tickets like I did, he feels like he needs to move sponsorships like I did, to break out worldwide, like I did. He could never do it, so he went about it in a different way, and it’s the only way he knew how, by doing death defying stunts on very small scale independent wrestling shows.”

“But on the grand scale, that doesn’t help anybody. It doesn’t help you, Will, it doesn’t help New Japan, it doesn’t help the world of professional wrestling. All it helps is your friends in the UK, that run small operations with small crowds and wrestlers that aren’t ready to make the big time. And sure, it’s great for them, I am… look, I’ve wrestled for these guys too, I’m happy for them too. So, in a way I’m, I’m proud of you, Will. Proud of your accomplishments, proud of what you’ve done.”

“Because we can confuse that a little bit, about you being a nice guy and not forgetting where you came from, but that’s not what it is. That was you, Will, realizing that on the big stage, you lack something that I have- raw star power. A body, chiseled from granite. The ability to talk to people around the world, not just the people in North America, not just to the UK, but to your crowd in Japan. Something you’ve never done, something that you’ll never do. And if it weren’t for Google translate, it would be something that none of you foreigners will ever do. And you don’t feel any shame for that do you? You’ll own that technology and you’ll let somebody else do all that for you every step of the way.”

“What makes us so different Will? I carved my own path through my own hard work. You took the easy way out, and you always leant on other people to bail you out when you couldn’t make a mark.”

Asked for one final thought on his forthcoming match, Omega made it simple.

“NJPW fans, I understand that you’re worried,” Omega said. “You’re worried about what might happen if I lose, that this 3 year nightmare will never be over. But don’t worry. That golden age you loved, with Kenny as champion is coming back.”