Kenny Omega Reacts To People Criticizing His In-Ring Work, Comments On The Tiger Driver 91

People continue to tell Kenny Omega that taking the Tiger Driver 91 from IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion Will Ospreay at the recent AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door II pay-per-view was too risky, but he believes many of those criticizing the move do not have his best interests at heart.

Omega recently spoke with Sports Illustrated‘s Justin Barrasso about the move, which you can see below, and the subsequent backlash. While Omega appreciates people caring about his health, he also believes that as an artist, he has earned the right to wrestle in the way he believes will be most effective.

“There are a lot of people criticizing who do not have my best interests at heart,” Omega said. “They just want to put a dark mark on that match, which is a performance I’m extremely proud of. And performances like that will be few and far between as I get older and older.”

Omega, who was honored to wrestle one of the most spectacular matches of his career at Forbidden Door, provided a detailed explanation of how important the move was and why it was so important to the match’s heartbeat.

“In terms of a live and physical performance, I’ve never seen anything more mind-blowing—skill-wise, performance-wise, production-wise—than Cirque du Soleil,” Omega said. “To me, that’s the peak form of that style of entertainment. As I watch these shows and their stunts and their compositions for every scene, it is rare for me to go, ‘That looks easy. I could do that.’ But there certainly are times when I watch what they do and know this is their identity, and that is the reason why they’re on that stage. During the high flying acrobatics, or seamlessly strung together choreography, I never go, ‘How stupid is this guy? If he falls, he’s dead.’ We’d be dead if we tried that. But here’s the thing. We’re not them. We’ll never be them. We weren’t meant to be them.”

It was noted that the AEW Executive Vice President exudes unwavering confidence, and that confidence, which is rooted in his preparation, elevated the Forbidden Door match with Ospreay to a whole new level. Omega explained why they made the move.

“There are people who want to complain and put themselves on a pedestal by saying what we did was dangerous,” he said. “Well, you think? So I’ve been asked, why did we do it? It made sense in the match and evoked emotion. And we both knew I would end up coming out of the move unscathed. Is there a risk? Sure. There’s always a risk.”

He continued, “Look at the way Mike Tyson boxed. His style was so dangerous, he stayed so close to his opponent. What was he doing boxing in-style? Shouldn’t he have fought more stick-and-move and waited for the counterpunch? Wouldn’t that have been better for his brain? Didn’t he understand how dangerous it was? But that’s what made him Mike Tyson.”

Omega is no different when it comes to his in-ring work and it was noted that he must be allowed the space to create his own work in order to reach his absolute best. He closed with a harsh message for his critics.

“Don’t tell me not to wrestle the way I know how to wrestle,” Omega said. “Is there a risk? Was there a risk when Mike Tyson was fighting within inches of space between another championship-level boxer throwing power punches? Of course. But Tyson was confident in his abilities, and he knew he was the best. So don’t tell Mike Tyson how to box, and don’t tell Tyson Smith (Omega’s real name) how to wrestle. You aren’t even close to being qualified. Just shut the fuck up.”

Below is a clip of the spot: