Posts Tagged ‘Will Ospreay’

On last night’s edition of AEW Dynamite, Trent cut a promo requesting an ROH World Tag Team Title rematch from FTR, who followed him to the ring and agreed. The result of their first clash – which went to a no-contest following interference by Jeff Cobb and the Great O’Khan of the United Empire – “didn’t sit right” with them.

This brought out Will Ospreay, former IWGP World Heavyweight Champion and leader of the stable. He was not given a microphone; instead, as he motioned to enter the ring, FTR and Trent were blindsided by Ospreay’s stablemates Aussie Open and Aaron Henare. Ospreay struck Trent with a wicked Hidden Blade shot to bring the segment to a close. It was revealed later in the broadcast that Ospreay and Aussie Open will clash with Trent and FTR in a Trios match this Friday on Rampage.

This somewhat convoluted booking poses an intriguing question: what is Ospreay set to do at Forbidden Door?

Trent, while a great and underrated talent, doesn’t necessarily feel like a wrestler destined for a singles match on PPV. Might Ospreay have one of his injured friends in mind?

New Japan Pro Wrestling star Will Ospreay believes that what WWE performers do for a living is more akin to acting than professional wrestling.

The outspoken former IWGP World Heavyweight Champion made these comments during a recent appearance on Wresthings, stressing that while he wasn’t trying to take shots at WWE talent, there’s a big difference between their jobs and his own (h/t SEScoops):

“You guys aren’t wrestlers, you’re actors and you just do wrestling and I don’t think that’s a dig. You guys make way more money than me like, good on you, but I just feel like when I say proudly, ‘That’s a wrestler. I am a wrestler, I am not an actor.'”

Continuing, Ospreay stated that he knows WWE’s stars are capable of getting it done between the ropes – it’s the company that prevents them from showing this:

“But I know you guys can wrestle, you’re just not really allowed to show it, I guess. But other than you want to make a lot of money and retire, that’s what WWE is kind of for these days.”

Ospreay, 29, is currently signed to NJPW, his home of six years. The past couple of those have seen him rise to prominence as one of the company’s top heels, peaking with the formation of his United Empire stable and his IWGP World Heavyweight Championship triumph last year.

Could Will Ospreay end up becoming #AllElite? If Chris Jericho’s prediction is correct, the Aerial Assassin will indeed make his way to AEW at some point in the future.

Speaking on REINVENTED with Jen Eckhart, Le Champion revealed that he himself reached out to Ospreay during the early days of AEW. While the Englishman didn’t end up signing with AEW at that point, Jericho believes that Ospreay will eventually compete full-time “in America”, presumably meaning for AEW.

As Jericho detailed (via Fightful):

“I’d love to see Will in AEW. I actually called him way back when we were first starting out to see what kind of interest he had. I think there are a lot of guys that want to work in Japan and spend time there. I know, because I was one of them. I’ve been to Japan over 60 times in my career. There will come a time when Will decides he wants to work in his own country. I know he’s English, but in America. That idea is much more similar to England than Japan is. There’s something to be said about being a worldwide television superstar. You won’t get that working for New Japan Pro Wrestling. It’s great to be there, but the real big leagues lie in America. I would love to see Will working in America, and I think at some point that will probably happen.”

At the moment, Ospreay is parading around the Los Angeles-based NJPW Strong setting, proclaiming himself to be the real IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, having had to vacate the title earlier this year due to neck injury.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that Will Ospreay is one of the many names announced for this year’s Jericho Cruise. Taking place between 21 October and 25 October, Chris Jericho’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Rager at Sea: Triple Whammy will travel from Miami to the Bahamas.

Will Ospreay had choice words for some of AEW’s top stars in a new interview with SEScoops’ Samira, calling them out in what looks like an attempt at drumming up interest for potential dream matches.

The NJPW headliner spoke on CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Kenny Omega, and Sammy Guevara, all of whom have expressed an interest in wrestling him in the past:

“I would still love that match with CM Punk,” he began. “He’s the one that called me out. He said, ‘I want to wrestle Will Ospreay.’ So with that, Bryan Danielson, he said ‘I want to wrestle Will Ospreay’ and I get it. Kenny Omega wants to wrestle Will Ospreay. Take a ticket and I’ll get to you when I get to you guys. They called me out. Sammy Guevara, he’s another one that called me out.”

Ospreay went on, saying that he’d “embarrass” AEW’s top names in the ring – Danielson included:

“If you guys really want it that bad, you know what to do. You just gotta call my number and I’ll show up. I’ll show up. But 9 times out of 10, these guys don’t want me to show up. Because A, I’ll embarrass them. I’ll embarrass them. Guys like Bryan Danielson made a living being one of the best wrestlers in the world. But if I showed up, he would not last in the ring with me. Kenny Omega was THE guy in New Japan Pro Wrestling. He left. I took over. Nobody could compete with me in 2019. If I got in the ring with him, I’d embarrass him.”

AEW’s working relationship with NJPW theoretically gives Ospreay the freedom to compete with the aforementioned names. That the former IWGP World Heavyweight Champion isn’t currently based in Japan removes a lot of potential travel-related issues as well: the 29-year-old left the country in May, having vacated the IWGP belt due to injury.

Ospreay returned to wrestling at NJPW Resurgence in California on 14 August, declaring himself the “real” IWGP World Heavyweight Champion and his lineal successor, Shingo Takagi, an “interim” champ. Building towards Takagi and Ospreay’s latest in-ring battle appears a clear future direction for New Japan.

In a press release, it’s been announced that Will Ospreay is the latest name to be added to next month’s Chris Jericho Cruise.

While the ‘real’ IWGP World Heavyweight Champion will be a part of this year’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Rager at Sea trip, it has been specified that Ospreay will not be wrestling on the cruise.

“The hotshot Assassin is currently signed with New Japan Pro Wrestling and holds their former IWGP World Heavyweight Champion title, and he’s also the reigning British Heavyweight Champion of Revolution Pro Wrestling in addition to many other impressive career feats.

While Will won’t be wrestling on board, he will be making special appearances throughout the cruise!

In addition to the HUGE lineup announcement, we’re also excited to share that the legendary Madusa will be taking on the role of Guest Cruise Director and Bully Ray is joining Brad Williams to tag-team as Guest Hosts! With the fate of the Triple Whammy’s activities in these hands, you don’t want to miss out on the best experience of your life!”

Having had to vacate the IWGP World Title earlier this year due to neck issues, Ospreay made his surprise return last month at the NJPW Resurgence special. There, he proclaimed himself as the real IWGP Champ, as he hadn’t been beaten for his prize. Of course, Shingo Takagi is the current official IWGP World Heavyweight Champion.

This latest Jericho Cruise takes place between 21 October and 25 October, travelling from Miami to the Bahamas. Tickets and further information can be found here.

Will Ospreay has tested positive for COVID-19, Revolution Pro Wrestling has announced.

The British indie group tweeted the following earlier today (Wednesday), stating that while the New Japan star won’t be able to make scheduled appearances in Sheffield and London this weekend, he should be okay for RevPro’s High Stakes show on 19 September:

Ospreay was due to wrestle Brendan White one on one on Saturday before teaming with Young Guns to face White, Doug Williams, and Ricky Knight Jr. the following day. He and RKJ will unify the RevPro British Heavyweight and Southside Heavyweight straps as an Undisputed belt at High Stakes.

The 28-year-old, who is fully vaccinated, has released the following update, saying he is doing well despite testing positive:

2021 has been an eventful year for Ospreay, who was stripped of the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship after suffering a neck injury in May, leaving Japan for his native UK due to this and other reported reasons. He then re-emerged via NJPW’s American offshoot in August, refusing to recognise new IWGP Champion Shingo Takagi as anything other than a title-holder while confirming he wouldn’t be going back to Japan anytime soon.

Will Ospreay returned to NJPW at the Resurgence event Saturday and proclaimed himself to be the “real” IWGP World Heavyweight Champion.

Ospreay said although he was medically cleared to return, he would not be returning to action at the upcoming 2021 G1 Climax tournament or competing for the main NJPW unit.

Instead, Ospreay plans to appear on NJPW Strong and defend his IWGP title on that show. The British star reminded fans that he was never pinned or submitted, and therefore was the rightful holder of the IWGP title.

Ospreay also accused NJPW management of favoritism, pointing out that Jon Moxley was allowed to keep his IWGP US title despite not traveling to Japan due to the pandemic. Unlike Moxley, Ospreay was forced to vacate his title after suffering a neck injury in May.

Ospreay suffered the injury on night two of Wrestling Donatku, where he successfully defended his IWGP World title against Shingo Takagi. In the aftermath of Ospreay’s injury, Tagaki defeated Kazuchika Okada at NJPW Dominion to win the IGWP title.

Several people within New Japan Pro Wrestling believe that Will Ospreay may be on his way to WWE’s NXT UK brand.

Per Voices of Wrestling (via their Patreon), this is the talk of several Japanese wrestlers and NJPW office staff, with one particularly vocal about their belief that NXT UK is Ospreay’s endgame.

The rumour originates from the Pacific Rim Pro Wrestling Podcast’s Fumi Saito.

It could be the product of what one of VoW’s sources describes as “ignorance of the western wrestling landscape” in NJPW, adding that they wouldn’t be surprised if the office is similarly uninformed. NXT UK is, of course, low on the WWE totem pole, with its base salary level far below what Ospreay could potentially score from a company like ROH or AEW.

VoW note that the speculation could be a product of the outlet’s Japanese sources not fully comprehending the difference between NXT and NXT UK. The talk is coming solely from Japan, rather than western sources.

As far as Ospreay’s contractual situation goes, August 2019 saw Will insinuate that he’d be with NJPW for the next five years in a since-deleted tweet. There is currently no indication that he has asked for his New Japan release – or that he’d be granted one if it were requested.

Last week saw Ospreay stripped of his IWGP World Heavyweight Championship due to a reported neck injury, the severity of which VoW describes as similar to those that Kazuchika Okada and Kota Ibushi are currently working through. According to NJPW trainers, Ospreay is hurt, but not to the extent that he had to stop wrestling immediately, with time off originally planned for after this month’s Wrestle Grand Slam tour.

Ospreay is currently at home in his native England, having left Japan due to several issues, some of which are personal in nature, while others are shared by NJPW’s disgruntled foreign contingent. This includes the company’s decision to go back on allowing non-Japanese wrestlers to leave the country after rescheduling its previously cancelled Wrestle Grand Slam dates earlier this month.

Per the Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer, Ospreay’s partner, Bea Priestley, is expected to join the NXT UK roster imminently.

Will Ospreay has vacated the IWGP World Heavyweight Title due to a neck injury.

NJPW announced today that Ospreay suffered a neck injury back on May 4, and will be returning to the UK for treatment and rehab of the injury.

There is no timetable for Ospreay’s return, so the title has been vacated. NJPW noted that further announcements on the status of the IWGP World Heavyweight Title will be made at a later date.

Ospreay suffered the injury during his win over Shingo Takagi at NJPW’s Wrestling Dontaku Day 2 event on May 4 in Fukuoka, Japan. He won the title from Kota Ibushi back on April 4 at the Sakura Genesis 2021 event, making him the second person to hold the IWGP World Heavyweight Title.

IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Will Ospreay spoke with NJPW before his upcoming title match against Shingo Takagi. Ospreay defeated Kota Ibushi at last month’s NJPW Sakura Genesis to win the championship. During the interview, Ospreay commented about how the weight of being champion affects him now, much like it did Ibushi (both physically and metaphorically).

“It’s made me more…obsessed, maybe?” Ospreay responded. “I’ve wanted this for longer than I remember. Maybe some people might not agree that I should be in this position, but it’s the culmination of the journey I’ve taken. Ibushi’s right, it is heavy. Now I’m looked upon as a history maker in the new age. I’m the first British holder of an IWGP Heavyweight Championship, and the first non-Japanese to ever hold the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. So I’m responsible for setting a standard and ushering in this new era. I’m ready for that responsibility.”

After winning the title, Ospreay immediately challenged Kazuchika Okada, wanting revenge for his loss at Wrestle Kingdom 15 in January. Takagi intervened to remind both wrestlers he defeated Okada in the first round of this year’s New Japan Cup, and also got to the finals (losing to Ospreay).

Takagi and Ospreay will meet this Tuesday at Wrestling Dontaku (Night Two) for the title with the winner facing Okada at Wrestle Grand Slam in the Tokyo Dome on May 29. It was noted during the conversation that Okada didn’t wrestle on the Road to Wrestling Dontaku tour — likely to heal up some injuries. Ospreay didn’t mind though, ultimately he wants to beat Okada when he’s at full strength, so there’s no question about him being the best.

“There are little rumors on the grapevine that he’s carrying a lot of injuries,” Ospreay said. “I’m probably 70% now, let alone the damage I’ll take against Shingo. But I want that. I want him at 100%, and I want to make it clear that I can beat him at 100%. I need to do that.”