Kenny Omega said he isn't cleared for All Elite Wrestling's Forbidden Door joint pay-per-view with New Japan Pro Wrestling on Sunday (June 26) night, but promised a mystery opponent would "leave people very happy."
Omega, who has been out of action since losing the AEW World Championship to 'Hangman' Adam Page -- who later lost to CM Punk -- in November 2021, told Sports Illustrated that he won't be participating in the joint pay-per-view, specifically addressing speculation that he'd be the replacement mystery opponent for Zack Sabre Jr. in his match initially scheduled against the injured Bryan Danielson.
“I can safely say there is zero chance it will be me,” Omega said. “But the replacement is going to leave people very happy. I can’t see people being disappointed by this legitimately handpicked replacement by Bryan Danielson.”
In November, Wrestling Observer's Dave Meltzer reported that Omega was scheduled to undergo "surgeries on his shoulder, knee and abdomen and is evaluating a septum surgery as well."
The report also specified that Omega wrestled through "a torn labrum and an abdominal hernia for months."
“So far, five procedures have taken place to attempt to make me a better, healthier athlete,” Omega said. “These are injuries that have compiled over years. They’re ones I can’t neglect, and I’ve needed this time to start to heal. That’s what I’ve been doing during this time off—I’m trying to buy time back onto my wrestling clock. I would like to have a longer career, so I’ve looked at this time after losing the belt as an opportunity to start to fix what’s hurting me."
Omega was one of New Japan Pro Wrestling's brightest stars and a major factor in the brand's popularity in North America, having served as the brand's IWGP Heavyweight Champion for 209 days.
Omega was instrumental in AEW's launch in 2019 and is the company's longest-reigning World Champion with a 346-day run from December 2020 to November 2021.