WRESTLER Kenny Omega has never been shy of talking about his love for video games.
This month he made his entrance at New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Wrestle Kingdom 17, to an unusual video game track.
Japan is home to the Final Fantasy series, and its most popular and famous entry is Final Fantasy 7.
It’s well-loved for its conflicting main antagonist, Sephiroth, who you face in his final form to the track ‘One-Winged Angel’.
Omega admitted that the FF7 villain has always been a big influence on his wrestling persona, and he named his finishing move after the iconic song.
Speaking to GLHF, Omega explains: “His entire image was a big inspiration to The Cleaner character in New Japan.
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“So to take nods from that costume and the way that he carries himself was always a big inspiration early on.
“But then to go full-out Sephiroth… there wasn’t much more I could do as an homage to my video game heroes and inspirations.
“Well, I can’t say hero because he did some pretty dastardly things, but you know what I mean – just a very cool character.”
While Sephiroth is his main influence, Omega has made a number of nods to other games.
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At Wrestle Kingdom 12, he walked into the ring holding a replica of the Vigilance Wing pulse rifle from Destiny 2.
He has also entered the ring to ‘Megalovania’ from Undertale, and worked on an animated short with its creator Toby Fox called Kenny’s Quest.
Omega says: “Earlier on, I wanted to keep it bare bones and just show that video games were a love of mine so I tried to target characters that people definitely understood.
“So I used the Hadouken from [Street Fighter’s] Ryu and Ken, everyone knows what that is. I got a little more underground as I went by.
“It’s more about, what’s an extension of Kenny Omega? What do I really enjoy as a person?
“So, whether the fans got with it or not, I just wanted to be true to myself. I would do things with the Undertale franchise, I wasn’t sure if people would get it or care, but the response was incredible.
“It was super positive all the way round. When you take something that’s so outside of wrestling but it makes a nice home for you and the fans, and it actually somehow increases their enjoyment factor of a match or your presentation.
“It makes everything that I do more fun and rewarding.”
Omega is showing up as a special ability in the upcoming Yakuza spin-off game, Yakuza Ishin.
We asked him what his dream video game appearance for protagonist Kazuma Kiryu would be.
He replies: “Tekken has done so well with its guest characters, so that would be really cool.
“But then, there’s that part of me that would love to see a Kiryu Fatality [like in Mortal Kombat].
“I think everyone wants to see someone do a Fatality, as grotesque as that sounds.
“It’s less for the fact that they’re killing people, it’s like how ridiculous can you make it?
“How over the top and weird, and what easter eggs to your franchise can you add in?
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“So I think it could be really funny, like using the cell phone [from Yakuza Like A Dragon] and calling in some hermit crabs or something like that.”
Written by Ryan Woodrow and Georgina Young on behalf of GLHF.
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