Kenny Omega is a man who goes by many names. His real name is Tyson Smith but was inspired by the game Final Fantasy for his in-ring name. He chose the name “Omega” from the “Omega Weapon” in the game, while also chose the names for his signature moves , the V-Trigger and One-Winged Angle, from Final Fantasy 7 also.
Interestingly, his Croyt’s Wrath move is named after a video compilation showing a Halo player screaming at players over Xbox Live. It’s clear he is an avid Video Game fan and incorporates his love for them into his wrestling persona on a regular basis.
The former IWGP Heavyweight and AEW Champion has also had many nicknames in his career. He has gone by “The Best Bout Machine”, “The Collector” and has been one half of the Golden Lovers alongside Kota Ibushi. However, one nickname has confused fans about the Winnipeg native. The Canadian star is also known as the cleaner, a nickname that seems to be an antithesis to the world of wrestling.
In this article, we will reveal why Kenny Omega is called the Cleaner and how he thought up the nickname to use in NJPW and AEW.
Why Is Kenny Omega Called The Cleaner?
Kenny Omega began calling himself “The Cleaner” because of his role of “cleaning up” in the Bullet Club. He originally thought of the idea as somebody who “cleans up” a crime scene, to get rid of the evidence and to keep his gang out of trouble. He tried to convince the Japanese fans the idea of this gimmick but it seemed to fall flat, with nobody really understanding what he was talking about.
He tried to explain on multiple occasions that “The Cleaner’ cleans up the crime scene afterward.“, but soon began to take the gimmick literally as nobody could understand him. He soon began bringing a broom to the ring with sweeping down the aisle as he entered, literally “cleaning” the entrance way. While this was far away from his original idea for the gimmick, the fans started to get behind him and became big fans of him, the character and the broom itself.
The idea for sweeping was originally just something to do when he came down to the ring, but it soon became very practical. “The Cleaner” actually swept away the “Rainmaker Money” that fell from the heavens when Kazuchika Okada made his entrance, as his fellow Bullet Club and Elite partner Matt Jackson used to slip on the bills as he made his way down the ramp and into the ring.
Speaking to Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated, Kenny Omega had this to say about the origins of him being called “The Cleaner”.
“When you hear ‘The Cleaner,’ and when Japanese fans hear it, you don’t think, ‘Oh, this guy is an assassin.’ They think I clean up stuff. I started to realize there was a little bit of a disconnect, and it was beginning to become difficult to say, ‘Don’t you get it? We’re the Bullet Club–there are ‘guns’ and ‘The Cleaner’ cleans up the crime scene afterward.’ I had to explain that so often, I felt it was easier just to take the literal form of it. Sure, I can look the part of the assassin, but what if instead of a sniper rifle, I’m carrying this huge broom? Every venue has a broom, so I don’t need to put a broom in my gear bag.
“The first time I used the broom, I was about to make my entrance and we had this huge, long ramp. I hate the boring long walk, and I wasn’t going to do the Ultimate Warrior sprint, but I wanted to make the entrance more interesting. I asked myself, ‘How am I going to make that element of Kenny Omega stand out?’ So I added the broom.
There are so many things you can do with a broom–I’ve used it as a sweeper, a microphone, a guitar, I’ve put it on a headset. Those are just things I think of on the spot. Sometimes I’ll even sweep away [Kazuchika] Okada’s’Rainmaker’ money because, if we’re going to be honest, I had seen Matt [Jackson] almost slip on the money–so I thought I should clean it up before someone else slipped on it.”
Kenny Omega left NJPW in 2019 to sign for AEW. However, he is returning to the company on January 4th, 2023 for a blockbuster matches against Will Ospreay at Wrestle Kingdom 17. It is expected that he will bring back his Cleaner gimmick for one more night due to his return to where the gimmick first began.