Will Ospreay Felt 'Nothing' Headlining NJPW Wrestle Kingdom During Pandemic

Will Ospreay’s NJPW Wrestle Kingdom headline experience was underwhelming

Over the past three years Will Ospreay has successfully made himself indispensable to New Japan, rising to the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship scene, and headlining Night Two of Wrestle Kingdom 16 in the Tokyo Dome.

Whilst headlining Wrestle Kingdom is rarified air, Ospreay has admitted that he ‘felt nothing’ due to the Tokyo Dome still running at limited capacity as Japan continued to battle the COVID-19 pandemic in 2022, with Ospreay revealing the following during an appearance on The Sessions with Renee Paquette:

“For the last three years I do feel I’ve been on auto-pilot a little bit. I remember last year’s Wrestle Kingdom, and Great-O-Khan is massaging my shoulders just as I’m about to go out and he goes ‘how are you feeling?’ And I went ‘I feel nothing’ because honestly, it was one of those where even though it was the main event of the Tokyo Dome, it wasn’t the real thing. It wasn’t the real experience,” said Ospreay.

Ospreay continued, revealing how he tried to make the best of a bad situation:

“It’s heartbreaking, but I tried to see it almost like a game where I was like ‘okay I’m going to be so good, that I make you make noise.’ I saw it like that but you can only play that game now and again before it becomes tedious and tiresome.

“It was heartbreaking at points because I really did feel like I was doing the best work I’ve ever done, and it was kind of going under the radar because I’m not on national TV. I’m not on weekly TV. New Japan at one point was the hottest thing going. When 2019 came in, all of our arenas were sold out. It was the best G1 we’d ever done, we performed at Madison Square Garden. All systems were go and then that f***ing pandemic came,” continued Ospreay.

Redemption would come at Wrestle Kingdom 17, where although Ospreay lost against Kenny Omega, the match was in front of a vocal crowd and has been hailed as a MOTY contender:

“I don’t know anyone who likes watching clap-crowds at all. I want to hear the people, I want to engage with them, and for three years, it’s felt like I was in a prison. So it was really nice to let the doors open and let them all make noise again.

“Getting to walk out there [this year] to my music, to be in my own skin again, it felt like the old me. To do it on that platform, it felt like, for the first time that the eyes of the wrestling world were really on me,” said Ospreay.

H/T: SEScoops

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Written by Jack Atkins

Scripts, news, and features writer. Anything with words, basically.