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The Anywhere Fighter: Kenny Omega's road to the Tokyo Dome, pt. 1

Kenny Omega

On this past weekend’s Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer talked about Kenny Omega as one of the most captivating & fascinating wrestlers in the game right now. That got me thinking about how that's truly been the case for a long time, and that it's only now that a lot more people are exposed to the one of a kind person that Kenny is.

So, between now and his big day in January, I’m going to look at his path to getting to the position he finds himself in today as it's been one of the most interesting for me to follow as a fan over the last decade.

A natural athlete and a Candian jiu-jitsu champion (something that not a lot of people realise), Omega took to wrestling easier than most. He earned himself a WWE developmental contract in 2005, but realising that he was quite the capable performer caused him a lot of frustrations during his tenure in the ill-fated Deep South Wrestling.

Being a strong-willed character, he clashed a lot with coaches who were more interested in abusing the trainees than actually helping them. Sick of the environment, Omega became inspired by the wrestling he was seeing in Japan (Pro Wrestling NOAH, in particular) and decided that he had enough of the WWE system. He handed in his resignation and passed on an opportunity at many people’s dream job.

Over the next two years, Kenny created both a new character and wrestling style for himself. He specifically created moves that would not only play to his Otaku Gamer persona but that would also be difficult for others to replicate. He wanted to be unique. His name started to gain some traction in East Coast indies PWS and JAPW, but it was in his own brain where he would receive his next big break.

Omega, along with fellow Canadian indy wrestler Mike Angel, filmed an "Anywhere Fight" style video where they brawled all around a remote cottage, bumping into lakes and down hills. It was querky, bizarre, and perfect for gaining the attention of the most querky and bizarre promotion in the world: Dramatic Dream Team.

Omega uploaded the video to Youtube with a challenge laid out to DDT star Kota Ibushi with whom he had become fascinated. In hindsight, it’s possible that Omega saw in Ibushi what he felt in himself: someone with boundless creativity and a need to reinvent the wheel. Once DDT President Sanshiro Takagi (a man who has had his fair share of "Anywhere Fights") was alerted to the video, he immediately booked Omega for his first tour of Japan and a match with Ibushi at the 2008 Beer Garden Festival.

Our story picks up again next week....