Kota Ibushi and Kenny Omega are known as pro wrestling’s Golden Lovers and the pair has reunited this year as a tag team.
The big question many wrestling fans have is whether Ibushi and Omega are gay lovers in real life, play a couple in the ring or are just two close buds.
“Let people think what they want to think,” Omega told Dave Doyle in Yahoo Sports. Doyle is himself openly gay. “If LGBT people can identify with our story, if they think ‘the Golden Lovers are my team,’ I’m good with that. It’s the story of two wrestlers who shared dreams on their way up, who became fast friends, who are now reuniting at the top of their game.”
Omega, aka Tyson Smith of Winnipeg, and Ibushi became fast friends in Japan and formed the Golden Lovers. They last wrestled as a team in 2014 and their match last weekend was highly anticipated among the pro wrestling cognoscenti. They defeated The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) in the main event of a New Japan Pro Wrestling card in Long Beach, Calif. This Sunday they will face Bullet Club (Cody Rhodes and Hangman Page) in another tag team match in Japan.
In confess I hadn’t heard of the Golden Lovers before this week and if you are the same, Cageside Seats has a good overview looking into the “are-they-gay-or-aren’t-they?” debate. Doyle writes that the LGBT angle won’t be emphasized in this go-round, but maybe it doesn’t matter, given Omega’s outlook.
“I think it’s important to show in the 21st century that if you’re gay, lesbian, trans, whatever, that you should feel just as welcome to be a wrestling fan as anyone else. You’re welcome in the space,” Omega said.
“I do get some stupid messages on Twitter from homophobic people and they’re usually WWE fans, which kind of drives things home. In WWE, a gay person is usually portrayed like some sort of comedy act to be mocked and laughed at. The world’s not like that anymore. Everyone should feel welcome to the show.”