AEW: Kenny Omega Speaks About the Business Side of Wrestling
AEW is new and exciting. That isn’t just true for fans of the wrestling industry, but it’s also true for those within the company, namely the executive vice presidents.
While Kenny Omega, Cody and The Young Bucks may have spades of experience within the industry as performers, this is their first real opportunity to look at the business from the other side of the coin and see what it’s like to create a company from the ground up.
For Omega, who recently sat down with Chris Hayner at the GameSpot Base Station at E3 2019, it’s a whole different way of thinking and it’s draining in a different way than physically competing in the ring.
“Right. So what people don’t understand is that a lot of us, actually, that came from New Japan, that came from Ring Of Honor, we assumed a lot of responsibility there as well. I was kind of the driving force behind a lot of my storylines, behind a lot of my creative ideas. It’s the stuff that you don’t really see.
I mean the tech stuff. Some of the set design. Those are things that are new to me, and even agenting matches or working on foreign visas, things like that, these are all things that are very new in my world, and these are the things that keep me awake at night. So, I mean, when we’re thinking about how to plan the show, what order things should go in, how to produce a show, timing-wise and all that, working on sponsorships, selecting the arenas, working on the advertising aspect of it.
And then, you know for me, kind of being the sole Japanese liaison right now, not only am I having to do that during the day, during normal North American hours, I have to be awake for the Japanese time zone. And I have to work with our ladies and men up there to get their visas sorted out, to make sure that they’re feeling comfortable, make sure their flights and their travel’s squared up, hotels, et cetera, et cetera.
So it’s very mentally draining, and I’ve been very under-rested. And then on top of that, when you strip all that away, I was in the first main event, so I got to still worry about my own performance. It’s really tough, and I think when you burn the candle on both ends, eventually, it’s going to start to show. My big worry was not that, “Can I do it or can I not do it?” Of course I can. But for how long? Because everyone has their limit.
So, right now, we are understaffed. But every week that goes by, we’re finding new talented people. We’re configuring this team and building a team that really wants to join this project and be successful with us. So the first show, to get it all out, was a bit of a struggle. We did it. Next, we’ve got Fyter Fest coming up. Already, we’re teamed up with CEO, so we have a lot of people in the [fighting game community], people from the 10-0 crew there that do hard work there, helping us put that together.
So, as time goes by, we’re getting help from the usual suspects but also unusual sources as well. And moving forward, before we hit TV, I think we’ll have our core crew assembled, and we’ll be ready to just hit it home.”
It’s refreshing to see a company run not just by those in the business world, but by those who truly love and have a passion for the wrestling industry. Fortunately for Omega and co. they aren’t alone as the Tony Khan’s love of wrestling and background in business make this experience significantly smoother than it would be otherwise.
Omega may still be the best wrestler in the world in front of the cameras, but now he has to do so with added responsibility behind the scenes as well.