Kenny Omega is considered one of the greatest wrestlers of al time – and rightly so. His performances across the world have put other wrestlers to shame, pulling out five, six and seven star matches against a variety of opponents from multiple promotions.
However, something about Kenny Omega just hits differently when in the Tokyo Dome. He has turned Wrestle Kingdom into his own personal stomping ground, placing extra emphasis on his performances at the “Japanese Wrestlemania” and proving his worth as a big-game player for New Japan Pro Wrestling.
With his recent return to the company at Wrestle Kingdom 17 wowing critics and creating what some say is the greatest match of all time, let’s take a look at every Wrestle Kingdom match Kenny Omega has wrestled in and rank them from the worst to the best, including the best match of all time (in many people’s view).
Wrestle Kingdom 9 – Kenny Omega vs Ryusuke Taguchi
A disappointing match if you’re going back to watch old Kenny Omega matches. Not a bad match by any means, but once you’ve seen his incredible matches with the likes of Kazuchika Okada and Kota Ibushi, it’s hard to view this bout without a sense of disappointment and the idea that something is missing.
It was a decently fun singles bout between these two. Omega is being a goofy villain and Taguchi plays the babyface, as they battle for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. It featured good character work mixed with some excellent cruiserweight action, but still ranks at the bottom of the list of Kenny Omega’s Wrestle Kingdom matches.
Wrestle Kingdom 10 – Kenny Omega vs KUSHIDA
A fun match between two all-time greats of the NJPW Junior Heavyweight Division. Omega vs KUSHIDA garnered four stars from Dave Meltzer for their match in 2016, although much further down the card at Wrestle Kingdom 10 as they would have liked. Fraught with interference and with some inconsistent selling by Omega, the match certainly had it’s downfalls but you can see flashes of “The Best Bout Machine” coming through in his performance.
Better than the previous year, this bout once again saw Omega losing his title. However, it would soon build up to his match next year with Okada which would change the face of wrestling.
Wrestle Kingdom 12 – Kenny Omega vs Chris Jericho
Perhaps the most shocking match of either men’s careers, and the catalyst for the creation of the most important promotions in modern wrestling, was the Wrestle Kingdom 12 bout between Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho.
After two decades working in the WWE, Jericho was burnt out and knew he would not be seen as a star any longer. With the held of Kenny Omega, he came over the NJPW for a huge main-event match at Wrestle Kingdom 12. Omega had been set to do battle with long-time rival Kota Ibushi at the event. However, once Y2J became available the landscape completely changed and New Japan simply had to book this dream match.
The bout saw a new, more violent Jericho. In a match that went over thirty minutes, the pair battled in a No-DQ match that saw chairs, weapons and blood galore as they threw everything they had at each other. After 35 grueling minutes of all-out war, Omega pinned Jericho with the One Winged Angel to retain his IWGP United States Championship, with long time friend Don Callis on commentary, and earn a five star match rating from Dave Meltzer.
Wrestle Kingdom 13 – Kenny Omega vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
Despite this match being the end of Kenny Omega in NJPW, it was still one of the best matches in both men’s career. G1 Climax winner Hiroshi Tanahashi took on IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega at Wrestle Kingdom to try to regain his grasp on the top of NJPW.
Omega finally defeated Okada for the Championship earlier that year, and his reign would not last past the January 4th show at Wrestle Kingdom 13. The pair battled for nearly 40 minutes in an exhausting match, in which it took multiple Hi Fly Flows to finally put away Omega, expelling him for NJPW for good to sign for All Elite Wrestling.
The bout flew by for the time it was one and proved two things – that Kenny Omega would be hugely missed for the next four years that he was gone (more on that later) and that “The Ace of the Universe” still has it after all these years. He may have dropped the belt soon after to Jay White but this may have been his greatest performance in his career.
Wrestle Kingdom 11 – Kenny Omega vs Kazuchika Okada
Wrestle Kingdom 11 took place in 2017, and was the start of the year where Omega was named the Wrestler of the year by various publications. In 2016, he won the G1 Climax in his first attempt to challenge Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Little did we know, this would go down in history as the start of an incredible rivalry which would produce some of the best matches the world has ever seen.
These two men were two of the best wrestlers in the world, and would have a quadrilogy of matches that would break Dave Meltzer’s rating system and redefine a great match in wrestling. However, the Wrestle Kingdom 11 bout was the first of the four, and was one of the greatest matches of all time, let alone just Wrestle Kingdom matches.
Okada would win the match after a gruelling 45 minutes. Okada pinned Omega with a Rain Making in what was at the time the longest Tokyo Dome main event of all time.
This match would be called the best match of all time, but for one small detail – the pair managed to surpass this match, which was almost perfect, multiple times. Kenny Omega vs Kazuchika Okada is an all time great rivalry and they produced the best Wrestle Kingdom match of all time.
Well, that was until Omega set foot into the ring with Will Ospreay in 2023 and created some actual magic.
Wrestle Kingdom 17 – Kenny Omega vs Will Ospreay
After four long years away, battling it out in All Elite Wrestling, Kenny Omega returned to New Japan with one opponent in mind – IWGP United States Champion Will Ospreay. He appeared on screen a month before the event, challenging Ospreay to a much-hyped bout at Wrestle Kingdom 17.
It completely overshadowed the main event, which saw Jay White lose his IWGP World Heavyweight Championship to beloved wrestler Kazuchika Okada. The two Gaijan’s put everything on the line to prove two different points to themselves – Omega, to prove to Ospreay he’ll never be as good as him, and for Ospreay to knock the traitorous Omega down a peg.
It flew by at 35 minutes but felt like a 10 minute classic. This is a testament to both men’s incredible wrestling ability, managing to keep the fans enthralled for the entirety of this modern classic.
After an incredible performance from both and some of the best selling ever seen in wrestling by Will Ospreay, he fell to a Kamigoye (Omega’s tribute to his partner Kota Ibushi) and a One Winged Angel to earn the Canadian his second IWGP United States Championship and end one of the greatest matches in Wrestle Kingdom history. It has also been voted, as of the time of writing, the greatest match ever in history on Cagematch.