Since Kenny Omega’s AEW debut he has proved himself to be on of the all-time great wrestlers and characters many times over.
From the day he signed his deal with All Elite Wrestling, everyone knew that Kenny Omega was going to be a big deal. He had already conquered Japan, becoming the first gaijin to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship since AJ Styles and carried it with more pride than anyone else.
He put on five star classic matches daily, becoming known as the “Best Bout Machine” and ranking at the top with the world’s greatest. His matches with Kazuchika Okada remain legendary, even receiving an unprecedent 7 star rating from the Wrestling Observer.
It’s safe to say that fans were excited when they heard Kenny Omega was moving back to the US to wrestle with AEW. His debut match could not have been any bigger, taking on a WWE legend in a dream match for the first time in the United States. But how did Kenny Omega’s AEW debut go? Did he first match live up to the hype? Lets find out.
Kenny Omega’s AEW Debut
Kenny Omega’s first match in AEW was against Chris Jericho in the main event of Double or Nothing 2019. This was the first AEW pay per view in history and was a chance for the company to showcase their best and brightest in their debut performance
To make the most of the opportunity, they put together match ups with all their biggest stars from across the world. The Young Bucks took on the The Lucha Brothers in an incredible display of tag team wrestling. Cody Rhodes battled his brother Dustin in a hotly contested yet emotional bout which earned a coveted five star rating from the Wrestling Observer.
Meanwhile, the main event was chosen to take place between the companies two biggest stars. Pitting two legends from Winnipeg, in Canada, against one another was a rematch from Wrestlemania Kingdom the year before. Kenny Omega took on Chris Jericho in the companies first ever main event, a dream match that fans had now seen twice in two different promotions.
The match is not one that if often cited as one of the best in AEW history, but it should be me. Given that it helped kick off the company, it’s important cannot be understated. It introduced Kenny Omega, known in Japan as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, to a larger audience in the US, thanks to exposure brought into the company by former WWE Champion Chris Jericho.
The bout also had higher stakes than just a “dream match”. The winner of the bout would go into to All Out 2019 and compete in a match to crown the first ever AEW Champion. Fans were sure it would be Omega who would go on to face Adam Page at the event. The young star had won a battle royal earlier in the night to earn his shot at the belt, and a storyline with fellow Elite member Omega would be the perfect way to kick off the AEW TV show later that year.
However, shock and horror came when Chris Jericho hit his new finish, an elbow striker called The Judas Effect, on Omega and pinned him for the victory. He would be the man to defeat Page at All Out 2019 and become the first ever AEW Champion. However, his win would not be the most shocking part of the match.
The post-match celebration saw the debut of former WWE Champion Dean Ambrose, now wrestling under the name of Jon Moxley. He ran through the crowd and into the ring to attack both Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho after their first AEW match. He hit them both with double-arm DDT’s, including one off a stack of chips piled on the stage onto Omega, as he crashed down head first through a table. It was an explosive end to Kenny Omega’s AEW debut and gave him a first match in AEW the fans would never forget.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.