Three improvements that Kenny Omega brings to Impact as champion

A star like Kenny Omega comes around only a few times in a lifetime. Perhaps the word “star” isn’t too appropriate. When it comes to Omega, I’m compelled to use the word “wrestler,” because that is exactly what he is through and through and he proves it every time he comes out to the squared circle. The “star” portion of what wrestlers do comes as a fringe benefit eventually, as it came in Omega’s case. There are many improvements that Kenny Omega brings to Impact Wrestling and here, we’ll go over just a few key points.

He has had a tremendous career thus far, and the sky is perhaps the limit still. Of course, we hope that he has many years to wrestle, and with him pulling double duty, or rather triple duty, wrestling for AEW (a company where he also serves as Executive Vice President), Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide, and Impact, he sure has his hands full. He is the champion for all three companies, in case you weren’t aware.

It has been reported by Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that he has been suffering from some injuries as of late — specifically a hernia, a bruised tailbone, and some knee damage — but like the wrestlers of older generations, he’s working through those injuries for the end result, which is the product, no matter what damage it does to his body.

One can’t help but think back to “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, who wrestled with a broken neck for years, and Kurt Angle, who did the same. Who can forget Shawn Michaels, who had chronic back issues for most of his end-run throughout the late nineties before he was forced to retire in 1998? Of course, he would return, but hopefully, the point has been driven home.

1. A breath of fresh air and inspiring the current roster

This brings us to our first point of what Omega brings to Impact: Being the kind of wrestler that is willing to do whatever it takes to make a name for himself, the company he wrestles for, and to give the fans what is wanted at the end of the day: entertainment.

Many wrestlers on Impact are top-notch guys and gals, but it seems that with the emergence of Omega on that particular roster, he has seemingly inspired many of the stars on that brand to step it up a tad as well…stars like Moose and Sami Callihan.

The pandemic was rough on so many smaller promotions, and the lack of an audience seemed to bear down on a lot of the talent there at Impact, but Omega has seemed to breathe new life into things upon his arrival there.

That old feeling that Impact, TNA at the time, had ushered on by stars like Bobby Roode, Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, and the list most certainly goes on. Omega has brought that energy with him, and the other talented members of that roster have certainly answered the call as of late.

2. Ratings have risen

“Ratings have changed, viewer habits have changed and the options for the audience have grown enormously, but I don’t think how you tell a story is fundamentally different.”

– J. J. Abrams

 

According to an article at WhatCulture, ratings went up for Impact, specifically in the 18 to 49 demographic. Also according to the piece, the numbers —it’s all about the actual numbers in the end — went up an apparent 33 percent the very first night he appeared on the program. These numbers have done nothing but go up since his arrival to the company’s programming.

The internet buzz obviously helps a bunch, and there’s been a ton of that. You reading this article is certainly proof of that.

3. Epic matches

A legend in New Japan Pro Wrestling, Ring Of Honor, and Pro Wrestling Guerilla, is it any wonder why the man can have the caliber of matches he does?

So far on Impact, he has faced Rich Swann. They had a match that will go down in history, we hope, as from segment to segment, it was a clinic put on by both men. He then faced Moose and retained his title at Against All Odds against him. He will be pitted against the likes of Sami Callihan on July 17 at Slammiversary.

This feud goes back a few months and the anticipation for this match is through the roof, and the argument here is that this is because of Omega, and that shouldn’t take anything away from Callihan, as he is a tremendous talent.

If I can liken it to anything at all, it would be like when Kevin Nash and Scott Hall needed Hulk Hogan to legitimize the NWO back in 1996. Does that take away from the legacy of The Outsiders? Heck no!

Kenny Omega’s position in the annals of wrestling history is already secure. We’re talking about a gentleman that at the height of his career was actually offered a contract by WWE…a contract opportunity he refused, and all in favor of going to AEW, a company that was just starting out and all because he wanted to be a part of something special at its inception.

That’s how history is made. It isn’t always made by joining a machine that is already established, because sometimes all you do in that case is become just a mere cog in the mechanism that has been working for an eternity, and sometimes that results in getting lost in that very machine.

At AEW, he wanted to be a part of something smaller that would grow organically over time, and perhaps that can be said of his involvement at Impact. Like Ring Of Honor, Impact has been around since 2002 and it has a history, a following of fans, and a dedicated roster…a roster he has now helped tremendously.

Now talk about giving back to the business that made you.