Current and defending IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega recently participated in a two-part interview on The Jim Ross Report. Among many other things, Omega discussed his two out of three falls match with no time limit against Kazuchika Okada, preparing for the match, and the story behind the match's stipulations.
On the subject of Omega's most recent match with the consummate babyface Okada, 'The Best Bout Machine' said the duo had carte blanche to put together the match and that he wanted to craft a match that could stand out as the last match between the two before they say good bye and good night to their feud, at least for a little while.
"Yeah, it's difficult because sometimes the answer's in the rules and everything." Omega continued, "the details are given to you, but we sort of had carte blache. The only thing that was set in stone was the date. We knew that we sort of had to perform this match at [Dominon 6.9 in] Osaka [Japan] and I just wanted all of the variables to make sense. And I was hoping that this match could kind of provide a piece of closure to our series because it is a match that we had to go back to it three times last year and I know that wasn't the plan. It just kind of worked out that way. But I wanted maybe so that New Japan could kind of put it to rest for a little. I wanted this match to feel like it was going to be the last time you'd see it for at least a chunk of time. And it was really the only time where we could do something the way that we did it, with the best two out of three falls because one of us had a win, one of us had a loss, and one of the matches were a tie. So I was kind of like, 'if you're going to do something kind of outside of the box, for one of our matches, now is really the time' and, yeah, of course, both of us were down with the idea."
To physically prepare for the star rating system breaking match, Omega lost approximately 15 lbs. to make sure he could have a long match.
"The preparation was, from a physical standpoint, I had sort of kind of done a complete 180." Omega explained, "I was putting on size because I thought I was focusing on tags and they suddenly dropped it on me that, 'hey, we're going to go back to the single's for this occasion.' And so, I think I lost something like 14 lbs. or 15 lbs. just to make sure that I could go for what I knew was going to have to be a long point of time. And, yeah, the rest was mental and doing the story and the series justice."
This Omegaman was not alone in reaching for a perfect match, so he knew he had to devise the proper motivation for both of the characters involved. Accordingly, Omega saw the Okada character as wanting to make up for the match that ended in a time limit draw, which would be the reason 'The Rainmaker' wanted the no time limit stipulation. The Omega character would want no excuses, which resulted in the two out of three falls stip.
"Gedo had told me that we were going to do this match and we had our own private rooms and it was this kind of huge backstage area, so I was sort of within my thoughts for a while as to, 'oh boy, we're going back to this. This is going to have to be at the Osaka-jo [Hall]', Omega recalled. "But I had sort of always brought something forward, something kind of special, because they really do package that show sort of like Tokyo Dome part two, but I didn't want to just give it another single's match. One of the years, I did the first ever ladder match for the company. The year after that, I did the 60-minute draw. And though Kenny versus Okada is a special match, I didn't want to just give them another match. And I looked at our history and kind of thought about our competitiveness as sportsmen and I figured that Okada is going to want to make up for the draw. I'm going to want to not… I'm sorry. He's going to want to make up for the draw, so he's going to want no time limit this time. He doesn't want there to be any sort of reason to believe that he could not finish the match. And then, for me, kind of feeling insecure about being second best, for such a long period of time, I'm not going to want excuses. And I don't want people to say, 'hey, the only reason you beat Okada is because he gave himself a handicap.' And so that's why I'd be the person who introduces the best two out of three falls match. And I thought that, sort of as a performer to, it was really only my second two out of three falls match ever."
Omega went on to explain that he wanted to challenge himself creatively with the two out of three falls stipulation and bring a different type of match to the NJPW audience.
"Yep, and I really wanted to sort of challenge my own creativity and give New Japan something new because they've never had that match before either, not for the IWGP [Heavyweight] title anyway." Omega said "and just sort of… I don't know… evolve what we've been doing. And that type of match is very famous in Mexico. They do it all the time. WWE, of course, has had some fantastic two out of three falls matches. I just kind of thought that was the next step in evolving what we do and making it more of a worldwide product."
Bang! If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit The Jim Ross Report with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: The Jim Ross Report