Will Ospreay Wants Junior Heavyweights to Headline Major Cards in NJPW

Jun 3, 2019 - by Steve Gerweck

NJPW1972 recently interviewed junior heavyweight star Will Ospreay. Ospreay spoke on the Best of the Super Junior tournament and more. Below are some highlights.

His thoughts on wrestling with a mouth guard: “I’ve tried using mouth guards before, but I can’t breathe in them. With my style, the way I wrestle, I need to get as much oxygen into my body as possible. Otherwise I tend to get sloppy late in my matches. I need to be able to suddenly move fast late on, to plant my foot in a guy’s chest. Maybe I should start training with a mouth guard in to get used to it, but in the end, these things happen. The way he hit me, even with a mouth guard, I would still have gotten the cap knocked out, I reckon.”

Will Ospreay on wanting to bring junior heavyweight main events to major cards: “There’s a big, big gap between the number of heavyweight main events and junior heavyweight main events on major cards. The last junior main event was in Dontaku, but before that? It’s maybe one a year. You can say the junior division doesn’t have the star power of an Okada, Tanahashi, Naito, but we can do it. We just need the ball. Now we have it. We’re in Ryogoku Sumo Hall, and now we’ve found out that Jon Moxley has been sending all those ‘Time’s Up’ videos. That’s huge for us, because his following will be watching. The Jay White and Tanahashi match; their following will be buying tickets and NJPW World subscriptions to watch. But the main event is still going to be the Best of the Super Juniors final. So it’s our time to show that we can beat out those other attractions. You know, my mission, and I’m deadly serious right now, is to have a junior heavyweight main event in the Tokyo Dome. It’s easily possible. We have two events in the Tokyo Dome this year. There’s no reason why one of those shouldn’t be the junior heavyweights.”

His thoughts on Rocky Romero: “I wanted to have the best match I possibly could with Rocky, because I think he has been overlooked, but deliberately so. He’s been taking a back seat to help SHO and YOH out, and you have to respect that. I think it is a bit of a crime that, maybe I’m wrong, he’s never held the (IWGP) junior heavyweight title? … [On not holding the title as Romero] OK, but Rocky Romero has never held it, but he is one of the best ones. Maybe that is an indicator of just how good our junior heavyweight division is, because Rocky has stepped up. He’s thrust himself into the limelight and shown he could be in title contendership if he had the chance.”

“It was two guys who wanted to prove themselves, especially Rocky. He wanted to prove that he could do a really long singles match, I think; if you look at his record, maybe you’ll see he did a 15 minute, 16 minute match here or there, but he hadn’t really gone past 20 minutes before. I was amazed that he found his second wind; I just got lucky that I could hit my finish and beat him. He’s a special, talented person, and even when you get behind the curtain, he’s the sweetest human being who just cares so much about NJPW more than anything. He took me under his wing, made sure I knew what to do whenever I needed anything. For him to be able to show that he can still do it like that, I’m happy for him.”

Will Ospreay on Phantasmo and Robbie Eagles: “100%, yeah. I wrestled both of them on the independents in England and Australia. All those matches were crackers. They’re similar too because I had one win over them and they had one over me. Then in the super juniors, they both got the win over me. I can always admit when I lose, when I’ve been bettered, it’s just how I come back from it that counts. I know the talent that they bring, and how unpredictable they are, and it’s wonderful that they’ve been able to showcase what they can do.”

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