IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega spoke with Sports Illustrated's Extra Mustard section on taking baby steps while improving as a wrestler, being a team player, and how his title reign will compare to Kazuchika Okada's record run. Here are some of the highlights:
Wanting to be a team player for NJPW and sticking to his core beliefs (kindness, creativity, and tenacity):
"I think those are things always synonymous with a good team player. Of course there will be moments when you ask for the ball or even take the ball by force but, in my case, I always kept the company's best interest in mind moving forward and put myself in positions to contribute positively even when I wasn't the focus of a story."
Continuously working toward becoming a better wrestler:
"Perhaps it was recognizing that pro wrestling, for me, was lacking something. Something athletic, something entertaining, something with heart and soul. I never once felt I was close to being the best wrestler in the world, not by textbook standards, but I did what I could to represent a style that I thought could be universally entertaining. In small baby steps, I made adjustments and improvements, and now here we are."
How his title reign will differ from Okada's run as champion:
"In a wrestling sense, what Okada accomplished is something I can never top. I excel in my creativity and ability to draw raw emotion. From these, I'll tell stories different from Okada's reign. It won't necessarily be worse or better, but it will certainly be different. From that, I hope I can add layers of character to everyone I work with."
Omega also discussed fans enjoying his work in the ring. You can check out the full interview by clicking here.