Report: More On Why NJPW Vacated The IWGP World Heavyweight Title

It goes beyond Ospreay's neck injury

New Japan Pro-Wrestling is currently without a world champion, having vacated the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship on May 20. Will Ospreay was the previous titleholder, but the promotion noted The Commonwealth Kingpin had suffered a neck injury at Wrestling Dontaku and had returned to the UK for treatment. As there was no timetable on when Ospreay would be back, NJPW made the decision to vacate the world title. 

The situation between Ospreay and NJPW went beyond Ospreay's injury, though, and Voices Of Wrestling noted last week that The Aerial Assassin's legitimate neck injury may have been a cover story for him leaving the country. There were disagreements between Ospreay and the New Japan office about the champion's treatment and NJPW wanted him to remain in Japan, but Ospreay refused as he had already made up his mind to return to the UK. Like other foreigners in NJPW, Ospreay had also grown frustrated with the office and the hasty rescheduling of the Wrestle Grand Slam tour was a "tipping point." 

Voices Of Wrestling has since provided an update on why NJPW vacated the IWGP World Heavyweight Title. New Japan trainers reportedly noted that while Ospreay was hurt, they believed he could wrestle for the remainder of the Wrestle Grand Slam tour. The agreed-upon plan was indeed for the champion to work the rest of the tour before skipping the Summer Struggle shows to rest up. 

However, once the Wrestle Grand Slam tour was scrapped, Ospreay and other foreigners were told they could go home immediately, but they were then told to remain behind once the rest of the shows were rescheduled at the last minute. Ospreay decided to fly home anyway because of personal issues and frustrations with the NJPW office. 

As the champion had left the country without NJPW's permission and the promotion did not know when he would return, NJPW vacated the title and used Ospreay's neck injury as a cover story for the vacation. 

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Aidan Gibbons

Written by Aidan Gibbons

Editor-in-Chief of Cultaholic.com Twitter: @theaidangibbons