The story behind Kenny Omega winning the IWGP Hvt. Championship was a year in the making. According to PWTorch sources, The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) along with the help of Kenny Omega and Cody Rhodes were the creative minds behind the road to Omega’s title victory.
Matt and Nick Jackson were the primary people behind the friction in Bullet Club storyline, as they took their idea to New Japan booker Gedo, who gave then the green light to execute the story beginning at NJPW “Dominion 2017” on June 11 when Cody came down to the ring and teased throwing in the towel for Kenny Omega during his IWGP World Hvt. Championship main event match against Kazuchika Okada. Then after the match, Cody challenged Okada for the title and they wrestled at “G1 Special in the USA,” which saw Omega come down to the ring during the match where he teased throwing in the towel on Cody.
The Young Bucks helped to craft Rhodes’s heel persona on their YouTube show “Being the Elite” in 2017 as well and his character really began to gain traction by the end of 2017 with NJPW and ROH fans. As the tension between Cody and Omega intensified, a power struggle began between them as to who the true leader of Bullet Club was.
According to sources, Matt and Nick’s idea was to cause enough tension amongst the various members of Bullet Club so that they could bring some fresh matches to NJPW and ROH with the culmination being The Young Bucks finally getting back together with Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi after months of tension. Various members of Bullet Club either sided with Omega or Cody as the storyline played out, but The Young Bucks seemed torn as to which side they wanted to be on. Cody kept fanning the flames and doing devious things to turn The Young Bucks on Omega as the storyline played out.
Kenny and Cody Rhodes also gave their input into the storyline over the course of the last year or so that it played out. Cody’s character launched into high gear feuding, with Omega’s partner Kota Ibushi with a match at Wrestle Kingdom on Jan. 4. Feuding with Ibushi allowed Cody to really get under Omega’s skin.
The Omega vs. Cody match built for months and took place in front of over 6,000 fans at “SuperCard of Honor” during WrestleMania weekend this year. Cody got the win after it appeared The Young Bucks were trying to nail him with a double superkick to show what side they were on, but instead he got out of the way and they hit Omega, who then got pinned.
Prior to Omega vs. Cody, the friction in Bullet Club allowed The Young Bucks to face The Golden Lovers (Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi) in a highly emotional match at “Strong Style Evolved” that saw Omega & Ibushi beat The Young Bucks. After the match, Nick shook hands with Omega, but Matt refused to and stormed away to the back.
Sources tell PWTorch that Matt and Nick Jackson came up with the plan for The Young Bucks to reunite with Kenny Omega after he won the title from Okada at “Dominion” this past weekend in what was one of the most emotional post-match scenes in wrestling history, as they formed a new sub-faction of Bullet Club called The Golden Elite with Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi, and The Young Bucks.
One of the subtle elements of the Omega vs. Okada match was something that Kenny Omega came up with himself, according to PWTorch sources. Kota Ibushi held a white towel throughout the match, which was symbolic on a couple of levels. Omega tied it back to when Cody teased throwing in the white towel for him against Okada at “Dominion 2017.” It also ties back to when Omega teased throwing in the towel for Cody when he challenged Okada for the IWGP World Hvt. Championship at “G1 Special in the USA.”
Another thing Kota Ibushi holding the white towel tied into was when Ibushi faced A.J. Styles for the IWGP World Hvt. Title at “Invasion Attack 2015.” It looked like Ibushi had Styles finished, but Kenny Omega was ringside with Bullet Club and he appeared to reluctantly distract Ibushi just long enough so that when he went for the Phoenix Splash, Styles was able to recover and hit him with a Styles Clash after catching him coming off the top.
This also ties back into the match between Omega and Okada this past weekend. With Okada down on the mat during the third fall, Ibushi got up on the apron and started yelling “chance” at Omega, who ended up going for a Phoenix Splash, which was the same move Ibushi was going for to finish off Styles. There is no confirmation of this, but all of these little details could be huge for a potential Ibushi vs. Omega match down the line.
The post-match also kicked off a new chapter for Cody’s character, whom The Young Bucks have begun to position as a tweener in their ongoing “Being the Elite” storylines. Cody came out after Omega had reunited with The Young Bucks and made his way down the ramp, but he ended up stopping and walking to the back.
During the most recent episode of “Being the Elite,” Cody was shown on his way to Omega’s hotel room to make up with him with a card that said he was the real leader of Bullet Club as well as a gift, but he stopped and crumpled up the card and tossed it to the ground before walking off.
According to sources, the idea Matt and Nick have right now is for Cody to be positioned as a tweener with people not sure what to think of his character. At ROH shows, Cody is getting a lot of cheers, but using heel tactics and mic work to keep the fans turned against him. It will be interesting to see what his character does going forward.
The Young Bucks, Cody, and Kenny Omega have a lot of leverage going forward with their contracts all being up around the same time at the beginning of 2019. Prowrestling.net reported earlier that Cody’s contract is up at the end of the year, which PWTorch has independently confirmed. Kenny Omega’s contract with NJPW expires in early 2019 as well.
With SBG CEO Chris Ripley revealing in an interview earlier today with the Baltimore Business Journal that ROH is planning on running MSG in 2019, it appears the top cast members of Being the Elite have a lot of leverage when it comes to contract negotiations as this time.