Kenny Omega returned to his heel persona on the October 21 edition of AEW Dynamite. “The Cleaner” came out with a new entrance, yet familiar attitude, as he squashed Sonny Kiss in round one of the World Title Eliminator Tournament. New Japan Pro Wrestling fans immediately recognized this character from Omega’s days as the leader of The Bullet Club.
Now that gimmick is back and this time, it’s playing out in Tony Khan’s company. This is certainly good news for Omega’s fans, who have been waiting for him to finally seize the day and rise to the top of AEW. So is The Cleaner on his way to dominance in the company?
From the moment that AEW began, it was believed that Kenny Omega would be the top guy. It was only logical, as he and Cody Rhodes were two of the biggest names in the industry when AEW formed in 2019. Both men made their reputations as main event talents outside of WWE and the idea of them bringing a new alternative to the pro wrestling scene was indeed intriguing.
So when the company kicked off, fans were ready for the show that lay ahead. But it soon became apparent that the men who brought AEW to life would not immediately become its top main event titleholders. This was true of The Young Bucks, who have never been the AEW World Tag Team champions.
Cody has never been the AEW World champion and thanks to a storyline involving Chris Jericho, The American Nightmare can never challenge for the title again. Of course, that angle could change at anytime and like Cody, The Bucks are always in the main event mix. But the same has not been true of Kenny Omega.
Watch Omega’s return as The Cleaner!
Instead of taking AEW by storm and becoming the face of the brand, Omega instead became just one of the guys. He was utilized in semi-main event matches and the only time he really saw any action on top of the card was when he and Hangman Adam Page were working as a tag team.
Omega and Page were a dysfunctional unit at times, but they truly gelled as a team over the past year. When they became AEW World Tag Team champions, it was evident that the plans for Omega were not what many fans initially thought they would be. Kenny was the likable babyface gamer who loved his job and wanted to be the best tag champ he could be.
But when Page’s storyline issues with attitude and alcohol came to the forefront, things grew very difficult for his partnership with Omega. The arrival of FTR to the company added a new element to the story and eventually, Omega’s team fell apart. Page was kicked out of The Elite and suddenly, Kenny was on his own.
That seemed like the perfect opportunity for him to jump ahead and finally realize his potential as AEW’s top guy. But even then, Omega still kept his distance from that role. It seemed as if there was no clear path for him to move forward and grab the top spot. Many fans wondered if it would ever actually happen.
Watch Omega as The Cleaner in New Japan!
But October 21 drastically changed that notion. Suddenly, Omega was back to his cocky, arrogant New Japan gimmick and when that happened, the narrative immediately began to change. Now it appears that he is indeed heading to his inevitable destiny as AEW’s top guy. Or is he?
One of the key concerns in a possible Kenny Omega rise is the potential decline of the guy who is already there. Jon Moxley has arguably done the best work of his pro wrestling career since his debut in AEW. That’s especially true of his World title run, which has seen him truly achieve main event status, as his supporters always believed he would. If he clashes with Kenny Omega once again and loses the AEW World Championship, does Jon then slide down the ladder?
The fact is that even though AEW does not handle its angles exactly how WWE does, the natural rise and fall of top stars is still in play. It doesn’t mean Mox would fall very far however and it could be that he would become an even more popular star than he is now. Jon Moxley has been a great champion but he would perhaps be an even greater challenger. He would certainly be more dangerous, which is precisely where his character thrives.
Relive the angle between Omega and Moxley!
A new program with Omega and Moxley would be just what many fans are hoping for and there is no doubt that the two men would elevate each other. They could switch the title back and forth over the course of the next year, which would keep Jon near the very top of the company.
Of course, there’s also room for Hangman Page, who is surely a future World champion. His past history with Omega would make for some great television, especially if the AEW World Championship is involved. Kenny Omega as a heel champion would also give the chance for others to step up, like Darby Allin, Jungle Boy and newcomer Will Hobbs. Omega has proven he can work with anyone and he would certainly be up for the challenge.
Kenny Omega is the ideal top guy for AEW, there is no doubt about it. He’s been ready from the very start of the company and he’s ready now. The return of The Cleaner gimmick could signal his rise to that top spot, or it could just be a way to reinvigorate his singles run right now. Either way, Omega is prepping for his future and the future of AEW, which ultimately means he’s headed in the right direction.
Tom Clark is a Senior Pro Wrestling Analyst and Featured Columnist for Wrestling Rumors. His podcast, Tom Clark’s Main Event, is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Spotify, YouTube and live every Friday at 12pm EST on Wrestling Rumors Facebook Live