AJ Styles vs Kenny Omega
WWE Champion vs IWGP Heavyweight Champion, the battle for the leadership of Bullet Club, AJ Styles’ personal revenge for Kenny Omega’s overtaking. The dream match of NJPW and indie wrestling fans. With the involvement of Bullet Club, there are so many potential outcomes of where this rivalry can turn and how it could come about. The Elite vs The Club? What could this rivalry look like? Who would come out on top? A fan of the rivalry made this great promo video:
1998-2000 AJ Styles made his wrestling debut in the Georgia-based National Championship Wrestling (NCW) promotion as a masked wrestler called “Mr. Olympia“. By 1999, NCW merged with NWA Georgia to form NWA Wildside – it was at this time that the name A.J. Styles came about.
2001-2005 Atlanta-based World Championship Wrestling (WCW) had observed Styles’ and Air Paris‘ program in NWA Wildside and offered each a contract in early 2001. Styles (renamed Air Styles) and Paris were placed in a tag team, which was named Air Raid. The team’s gimmick saw both men dress in G-suits, with Air Raid appearing on Thunder and Nitro. WCW was bought out by the WWF and Styles’ contract was not picked up, however Styles did have his first WWF tryout match against his trainer, Rick Michaels, before the taping of Raw July 9, 2001. Styles won with a Shooting Star Press but was not offered a contract. Meanwhile, Kenny Omega started wrestling in 2001 for Premier Championship Wrestling (PCW). In 2002, AJ Styles made two more appearances for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF): on the January 26 episode of Metal, in a losing effort against The Hurricane, and in a dark match prior to the January 27 episode of SmackDown!, where he was defeated by Rico Constantino. After these matches, WWF offered Styles a developmental deal contract, where it would require Styles to relocate to Cincinnati, Ohio, where the Heartland Wrestling Association (HWA) developmental territory was located, Styles ultimately declined the deal, as the move would interfere with his wife’s college plans. AJ Styles made his TNA and ROH debuts in 2002, as well as various other indie promotions. By 2004, AJ Styles became the TNA X Division Champion. Meanwhile by 2005, Kenny Omega competed against other X Division stars such as Petey Williams, Chris Sabin, Amazing Red, and Christopher Daniels.
2005-2006 By the end of 2005, Kenny Omega signed with WWE’s developmental territory promotion Deep South Wrestling (DSW). His experience in DSW was negative, and by August 2006 he requested his immediate release from his contract. Omega tried to find a career in mixed martial arts and entered a few Brazilian jiu-jitsu tournaments, before deciding to give professional wrestling one more chance. In order to stand out, Omega reinvented his wrestling character and developed a new moveset, which he felt could not be duplicated. Omega made his return to PCW, defeating Rawskillz to earn a match with A.J. Styles, whom he also defeated in the main event the following week.
2008-2010 Kenny Omega started wrestling for ROH against ROH World Champion Austin Aries. Omega also began wrestling for Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and Japanese promotion Dramatic Dream Team (DDT). By 2010, Kenny Omega began to mostly wrestle in Japan as he made his debut for NJPW teaming with Prince Devitt (Finn Balor), as well as with Kota Ibushi. Meanwhile AJ Styles in 2009 won his first TNA World Heavyweight Championship against Matt Morgan, Sting, Hernandez and Kurt Angle.
2014 AJ Styles left TNA by 2014, and made his return to ROH, indie promotions, and NJPW. Styles’ NJPW return came on April 6 at Invasion Attack, where he attacked IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada after his match and laid him out with the Styles Clash and challenged Okada to a title match, before revealing himself as the newest member of Bullet Club. Following Invasion Attack, with Styles still working a full schedule on the American independent circuit and only booked to work NJPW’s larger events, Karl Anderson was positioned as the new leader of Bullet Club. However, Styles was considered the leader of the Ring of Honor (ROH) version of Bullet Club. Styles wrestled his first match under a New Japan contract on May 3 at Wrestling Dontaku, where he defeated Okada with help from Yujiro Takahashi to become the new IWGP Heavyweight Champion. With this victory, Styles became the sixth gaijin (non-Japanese) champion in the title’s history and the first American champion since Brock Lesnar in 2005. Kenny Omega, signed a New Japan contract in November where (despite having dismissed the idea of joining the villainous foreigner stable Bullet Club at his signing press conference, claiming that he did not consider himself a gaijin (non-Japanese)), Omega was revealed as the newest member of the stable, setting his sights on the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. Omega, dubbing himself “The Cleaner“, claimed he had lied at the press conference and was only interested in money and the title. As part of his new villainous persona, Omega, who is fluent in Japanese, stopped talking in Japanese and instead did his interviews in English. Behind the scenes, Omega was told that his otaku (obsessive of anime) gimmick was “too bubbly” for Bullet Club, which led to him adopting the Cleaner nickname, which was intended to be a reference to people who clean up crime scenes. Initially, Omega played the role straight, but after repeatedly having to explain the character when people thought he was portraying an actual janitor, he began incorporating comedy into the gimmick and started coming out for matches with a mop and broom. In 2015, Omega wrestled his first match as a member of Bullet Club, defeating Ryusuke Taguchi to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship for the first time. Omega has claimed that WWE has since approached him several times with a contract, including in the spring of 2014 and three times in 2015, but he has turned them all down.
2016 Omega lost the IWGP Junion Heavyweight in 2016 and the following day, Omega teamed with Bullet Club leader A.J. Styles to defeat IWGP Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura and Yoshi-Hashi in a tag team match, pinning Nakamura for the win. After the match, Bullet Club turned on Styles, with Omega taking over the leadership of the stable and declaring that he is no longer limited by AJ Styles to be a junior heavyweight, and can now challenge for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. Nakamura announced his departure from NJPW, with the promotion stripping him of the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. Omega began using a variation of Nakamura’s Bomaye knee strike as one of the most known and popular move of his own, dubbing it the V-Trigger. It was then announced that Omega would face Hiroshi Tanahashi to determine the new champion. After weeks of speculation and WWE themselves covering the rumors of Styles leaving NJPW for WWE, on January 20, 2016 it was confirmed that he had signed with WWE. Prior to signing, Styles had also had extensive discussions with TNA and according to them, Styles had agreed to return to the promotion with Bullet Club stablemates Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson, before being offered a “blow-away deal” by WWE. Styles made his re-debut in WWE on January 24 at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view during the eponymous match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, entering at #3 and receiving a loud ovation, thus establishing him as a fan favorite. Styles reunited with former Bullet Club stablemates Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson (later known as The Club) and an alliance. By September, AJ Styles defeated John Cena and went on to win the WWE Championship, his first championship in WWE and eighth world title overall. He became the “new face of WWE” and “the Face That Runs the Place”.
2018 Kenny Omega became the IWGP Heavyweight Champion which was held by AJ Styles in 2015, while AJ in WWE continues his longest reigning WWE Champion in SmackDown history.
Tale of the tape:
|WWE, TNA, NJPW, ROH, NWA Wildside, indies||Known In||NJPW, ROH, PWG, PCW, indies|
|Rick Michaels||Trained by||Bobby Jay, Dave Taylor, Mentallo, Vance Nevada|
|Styles Clash, Phenomenal Forearm, Calf Crusher||Signature Moves||One-Winged Angel, V-Trigger, Croyt’s Wrath|
|“The Phenomenal One”||Known As||“The Cleaner”, “The Best Bout Machine”|
Who would win this rivalry?
Can it happen?
Yes! Omega has a bad taste left from his WWE developmental contract, however with his self-made success in NJPW and as the leader of The Elite Bullet Club, WWE keeps gunning for him and for good reason. Omega has adapted Japan as his home and is a fluent Japanese speaker, it would be tough for him to leave it all behind. Regardless, he has shown interest in potentially working for the world’s biggest wrestling company, WWE. Meanwhile AJ Styles came into WWE as an unsure part of the roster, yet rose to the occasion to become the WWE Champion just months later and is the longest-reigning SmackDown champion. It’s unlikely to see him leave WWE unless he seeks a lighter schedule. This match is bout to happen with the way that Omega overtook the Bullet Club with AJ Style’s departure. Contractually, this is a dream rivalry that could happen at any time either contract ends. It will be interesting to see how the story unfolds here on between these two.