Kenny Omega added yet another accolade to his resume this week when he was crowned the #1 wrestler on Pro Wrestling Illustrated 500 - a list which ranks the top wrestlers of a given year. Omega was ranked at the top for his work between July 1st, 2020 to June 30th, 2021.
It was an exceptional year for The Cleaner where he silenced many of his critics who claimed that Omega had not been delivering the same quality of work that he did in New Japan Pro Wrestling.
Kenny Omega started the time period as AEW World Tag Team Champion with brilliant doubles action alongside Hangman Page. However, Omega truly hit his stride when he abandoned Page following this loss of the title and turned heel. His cocky demeanor has quickly become one of his staples during his current AEW World Championship reign.
More than his personality, Kenny Omega has put on some truly marvelous in-ring performances against a wide variety of competitors across three different promotions, which helps him stand out among the pack of great wrestlers in the industry today. In this article, let's take a look at the five best Kenny Omega matches of PWI year 2020-21.
#5 Kenny Omega vs. Jon Moxley in an Exploding Barbwire Death Match for the AEW World Championship (AEW Revolution 2021)
Kenny Omega defeated Jon Moxley to win the AEW World Championship on the "Winter Is Coming" special episode of Dynamite on December 2nd, 2020. The Cleaner completed his heel turn and aligned with Don Callis to win. From there, Omega reunited with Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows of The Good Brothers from IMPACT Wrestling.
Jon Moxley set out on a vengeance tear against Omega and his crew, but it was the AEW World Champion who decided the stipulation for their return match. In a shocking decision, Kenny Omega announced that their rematch at Revolution 2021 will be an Exploding Barbwire Death Match.
The bout was a completely unique spectacle that hadn't been seen by a mainstream American wrestling audience. The aura was that fans would see something that they hadn't seen before. It was a physically intense and bloody affair with Moxley and Omega putting their bodies on the line to live up to all the expectations.
The battle was brutal and fitted the stipulation, with both men bleeding and taking the barbwired explosions to their backs, chests and faces. Kenny Omega went to Jon Moxley's ballpark and took things to the extreme. The Good Brothers interfered to help Omega win. If it wasn't for the dud explosion at the end, many fans would be talking about this being one of the best matches of the year.
#4 Kenny Omega vs. Hangman Page in the AEW World Title Eliminator Tournament Finals (AEW Full Gear 2020)
The partnership between Kenny Omega and Hangman Page was one of the best stories of 2020 in AEW. The two men came together off of their individual singles failures and formed a tag team from there. Omega and Page defeated SCU to win the AEW World Tag Team Championships on the January 21st, 2020 episode of AEW Dynamite.
The Elite members went on to hold the titles for nearly eight months against a who's who of teams from the stellar AEW tag team division, including an all-time classic against the Young Bucks at Revolution 2020. Kenny Omega and Hangman Page finally fell to FTR at All Out 2020 with Omega abandoning the Anxious Millennial Cowboy, and by extension the team, after the loss.
Following All Out, Kenny Omega and Hangman Page were on opposite sides of the bracket for the AEW World Title Eliminator Tournament. Page defeated Colt Cabana and Wardlow, while Omega beat Sonny Kiss and Penta El Zero Miedo for the former AEW World Tag Team Champions to meet in the finals. It was a showdown that everyone wanted at Full Gear 2020.
This was a high octane sprint of an encounter with no filler and all thriller. The two men put on a spectacular contest that made them both look strong and had superb workrate on display. Kenny Omega defeated Hangman Page using the One Winged Angel to earn a shot at the AEW World Championship.
Despite the greatness of the match, it did not serve as the culmination to their feud by any means. Fans have been left wanting more, and there is an incredible buzz surrounding the eventual rematch between Kenny Omega and Hangman Page.
#3 Kenny Omega vs. Laredo Kid for the AAA Mega Championship (AAA TripleMania XXVIII)
The pandemic put a halt to Kenny Omega's ability to defend the AAA Mega Championship in Mexico. Despite defending the title on AEW Dynamite against Sammy Guevara, the Best Bout Machine wasn't able to defend on a consistent basis or in the major events for AAA.
At AAA's biggest show of the year, TripleMania XXVIII, Kenny Omega was set to defend his title against Laredo Kid. This was a different kind of challenger for The Cleaner. He faced Rey Fenix and Dragon Lee, who despite their size were well versed and proven against heavyweight competition. Laredo Kid was coming off of a successful reign as AAA Cruiserweight Champion, so this was a step up for him.
TripleMania XXVIII took place in Mexico City in an empty arena for the first time. Laredo Kid is known to be a magnificent high flyer, but he switched up his style to get the upper hand on Kenny Omega, focusing on his leg. He used precision and accuracy to tear apart Omega's leg. Laredo locked in his awesome leg submission to try and get the champion to tap out, but The Cleaner held on.
This contest had interference from Vikingo and Michael Nakazawa as well as some insane dives to the outside. The final five minutes featured sensational sequences that were crazy to watch unfold. Kenny Omega hit an avalanche One Winged Angel to beat Laredo Kid and retain the AAA Mega Championship. It had great storytelling, non-stop action and intense drama to deliver a banger here.
#2 Kenny Omega vs. PAC vs. Orange Cassidy in a Three Way Match for the AEW World Championship (AEW Double Or Nothing 2021)
AEW Double Or Nothing 2021 saw Kenny Omega's biggest challenge yet as AEW World Champion. The Cleaner defended his title in a three-way match against PAC and Orange Cassidy. The challengers fought in a Number One Contenders Match in which Omega interfered to cause a no contest, which led to AEW President Tony Khan making this bout.
This was the first time the AEW World Championship was defended in a three-way and the company chose the best three performers to have this kind of match. PAC was at his best in this bout, showcasing his high flying grace. He did every amazing thing that he could do in the ring effortlessly. Despite his wonderful ability, PAC played more of the tweener role in this contest.
Orange Cassidy was the babyface who rallied the Jacksonville crowd behind him. Cassidy is one of the most popular stars in All Elite Wrestling and the fans wanted to see him win the big one here. He came close on several occasions, hitting the Orange Punch for excellent nearfalls on both PAC and Kenny Omega.
Kenny Omega played the heel role to perfection here. His facial expressions were at their peak and exuded the cockiness of a dominant champion. Omega broke up PAC's Brutalizer by nailing the referee when he couldn't get PAC off of Orange. He used all his titles to knock out PAC, but was hit with the Orange Punch. Just when it seemed Cassidy would win, Omega rolled him up for the win.
#1 Kenny Omega vs. Rey Fenix for the AEW World Championship (AEW Dynamite - New Year's Smash Night 1)
Kenny Omega came into 2021 as the AEW World Champion on a quest to become a belt collector. Before The Cleaner could set his sights fully on the IMPACT World Championship, he had a huge challenge ahead of him in the first Dynamite of the year.
Due to being injured in the AEW World Title Eliminator Tournament, Rey Fenix was replaced by his Lucha Brother, Penta El Zero Miedo. Penta lost to Kenny Omega before he moved on to win the tournament. To make up for this missed opportunity, AEW President Tony Khan decided to give Rey Fenix the first title shot at Omega on AEW Dynamite - New Year's Smash Night 1.
Kenny Omega and Rey Fenix had a bit of history with one another. The two men had their first showdown in Poughkeepsie, New York back in 2018 for Northeast Wrestling with Omega winning. The Best Bout Machine then picked up another win over the luchador to win the AAA Mega Championship at AAA Heroes Immortales XIII. Both matches were simply breathtaking.
Rey Fenix came out hot, using his expert high-flying ability to catch Kenny Omega off guard. These two extraordinary performers put on a state-of-the-art clash that wasn't like anything seen on television today. It was a remarkable encounter that only intensified and escalated as the bout went on.
One third of the Death Triangle hit some impressive high-flying maneuvers. He hit a moonsault into a German suplex and a double stomp to the back of a standing Kenny Omega. The sequences these two men were able to pull off were thrilling, with Omega hitting a V-Trigger into Fenix doing a kip-up and superkick in response being the best highlight.
Kenny Omega bombarded with a Tiger Driver, V-Trigger and finally the One Winged Angel to get the win and retain the AEW World Championship. This was an outstanding clash that was among the greatest AEW Dynamite matches of all time. Rey Fenix put on his best singles performance to date. This is why Omega vs. Fenix was the best Kenny Omega match of the PWI year 2020-21.