In January 2019, a historic announcement would be made that would send shockwaves throughout the wrestling industry not felt since the buyout of WCW by WWE in 2001.
Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks had joined forces with wrestling encyclopaedia, and billionaire Tony Khan to form a brand-new wrestling company: AEW (All Elite Wrestling).
This came about on the back of the All In pay per view held a few months prior in which the aforementioned wrestling trio, in conjunction with Ring of Honor sold out a ten thousand-seat arena for a non-WWE event for the first time in decades.
In fact, the event had sold out within just 30 minutes. The event was a massive success and received critical acclaim. The Young Bucks and Cody realized there was a huge craving from the wrestling fan base for an alternative to the increasingly stale juggernaut of WWE.
The only thing that was lacking was the resources needed to compete with the billions of Vince McMahon.
Luckily for them, a young billionaire who’s also a wrestling savant, Tony Khan, had attended All In.
The group formed the company at the start of 2019 and signed some of the best young independent stars and veterans to give a healthy, heady mix to the company.
A couple of mainstream stars in Chris Jericho and Dustin Rhodes followed. However, the fans were waiting eagerly for one man. The man who had whetted their appetite a year earlier when he faced Chris Jericho at New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s Wrestle Kingdom.
He was the best wrestler in the world. His matches with Kazuchika Okada broke Dave Meltzer’s star system. He was the one and only, Kenny Omega (aka “The Cleaner”, aka “Best Bout Machine”). Kenny joined AEW a month later in February at the Double or Nothing press conference in Las Vegas.
Since then, he’s done marvellous work behind the scenes as an EVP, but has done his best work in the ring like only he can. So without further ado, here are 5 of Kenny Omega’s Best AEW Wrestling Matches! (not necessarily just his wins, in descending order)
5. Vs. Jon Moxley
After Omega was beaten by Chris Jericho at the inaugural Double or Nothing PPV in 2019, a new foe arrived through the crowd: Jon Moxley (none other than WWE’s Dean Ambrose).
A few months after leaving WWE, the now rechristened Jon Moxley became the first major defection to the new company, and his first target was Kenny Omega.
Moxley planted Omega with his Paradigm Shift to end the night and begin a rivalry that would heat up tremendously over the next couple of months. Therefore a “Lights Out” match was created in which there were no rules and the only way to win was to incapacitate the opponent.
Omega showed his versatility by wrestling in a match that was Moxley’s speciality. The match was a vicious and gruesome affair that some people found difficult to bear. However the vast majority appreciated the performances of both men.
They literally put their bodies on the line by performing moves on each other and landing on objects like glass shards, thumb tacks, tables and a huge, devilish web made of barbed wire.
The match ended when Omega naively removed the ring padding to expose the wooden board underneath and decided to hit the Phoenix Splash on Moxley.
However, Moxley moved at the last second, and Omega landed chest first on the hard wood. One Paradigm Shift on the wooden surface later, and it was indeed “lights out” for Omega.
4. Vs. Christian Cage
Over nineteen months later, and now heel, Omega was the AEW, Impact and Triple A Champion. His next challenger was going to be future Hall of Famer, Christian Cage at the upcoming All Out PPV.
However Cage didn’t want to wait that long to get a piece of the champ, so he challenged Omega for the Impact Championship at the first Rampage show.
The match that took place was a masterpiece as the two, world-class wrestlers put on a quality performance for the Rampage show debut.
Kenny worked Cage, forcing the veteran to keep up to speed with him. The crowd were on their feet for several near falls, and were on the edge of their seats the rest of the time. However Omega hadn’t lost in a long time, so everyone logically assumed that trend would continue.
But then Omega low-blowed Cage when the referee wasn’t looking, and told The Young Bucks to give him a chair so he could hit the One-Winged Angel with extra impact. So when Christian reversed the move and hit his Unprettier onto the chair for the pinfall victory, the crowd exploded with utter shock, and delight!
3. Vs. The Young Bucks (With Adam Page)
This doesn’t need much explanation does it! Four top-flight, Elite wrestlers, so of course, it was bound to be an amazing match.
It was also the catalyst for a two-year story arc for Omega and Page that would conclude in a match that will be discussed next on this list.
Omega and Page had captured the tag team titles from SCU (Christopher Daniels, and Frankie Kazarian) and were becoming comfortable as champions. But when The Young Bucks became the number one contenders, the thought of an inner stable matchup put a few doubts in the friendship of the four men.
This lead to a five-star match between the two teams at the Revolution PPV in February of 2020. The four men knew each other so well, which is why it wasn’t surprising to see the seamless chemistry on display which resulted in the house being brought down that night.
The Young Bucks were desperate to capture the tag belts of the company they had founded and were happy to take their friends to the edge to do it. However a double Buckshot Lariat from Page allowed him and Omega to retain the titles.
After the match Omega hugged the Bucks whilst Page kept his distance in what would be a foreshadowing of what was to come…
2. Vs. “Hangman” Adam Page
This is what was to come…! The next 1½ years would lead to the two partners going in opposite trajectories but it was inevitable that they were going to clash eventually.
They first met at Full Gear 2020 where Omega put away Page to become the number one contender for the AEW title. Then they would meet again a year later at Full Gear 2021, where the two Elite members put on an absolute clinic.
The two former partners went berserker mode on each other to release the frustration that had been building for a couple of years and they took each other to the edge.
The latter stages of the match were especially poignant because, when Omega was down, The Young Bucks instead of stopping Page from hitting the Buckshot Lariat, gave him a nod to signal that it was his time. Adam Page hit two Buckshot Lariats and pinned Omega to fulfil his destiny to become AEW World Champion.
1. Vs. Bryan Danielson
When Bryan Danielson made his AEW debut at the end of All Out to confront the Elite and Omega, all wrestling fans around the world wanted one thing, and one thing only, and boy, did they get it!
At Grand Slam at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York, the “Best Bout Machine“, faced the reborn “American Dragon”. The crowd was on fire even before the match had begun. This was a match that was years in the making between two of the very finest in the world.
They punched, chopped, grappled, and kicked in a 30-minute classic that goes down as among the most intense matches in AEW history. This is why AEW was created in 2019, to give fans these kinds of fantasy matches that not only deliver the goods, but addictively leave you wanting more!
The fact that the match ended in a time limit draw suggests we’ll definitely get a rematch in the future.
Kenny Omega has demonstrated his ability to work various match types, styles and with a variety of opponents during his tenure in AEW. This is why he is called the “Best Bout Machine”.
This is made all the more impressive when it was revealed that he had been wrestling with injuries and vertigo for quite a while. The fact that he could still chalk up so many amazing matches when he wasn’t even fully fit, is testament to his commitment to endless gruelling hours of training, preparation and practise. When all is said and done, he’ll be looked back upon as a mover and pioneer of the sport.
If you haven’t watched any Kenny Omega wrestling matches before, do yourself a favor and fix that right now! Regardless of whatever heel character he may adopt, when it comes to skill, intense energy, unbelievable stamina, incredible endurance and staying power, Kenny Omega is the real deal!