Last week NJPW announced that Will Ospreay would be vacating the IWGP World Heavyweight championship due to a sustained neck injury, and would be returning home to the U.K. for treatment and rehabilitation.
However, the latest Voices Of Wrestling Patreon has some backstage notes on the situation that reveal unrest from the NJPW roster due to the company’s poor handling of COVID-19, and even speculate that Ospreay’s neck injury was an office cover so Ospreay could leave the country. Check out the detailed notes below.
-Ospreay’s injury is reported to be legitimate, but he was one of the many gaijins who were unhappy with NJPW’s abrupt scheduling issues following Japan’s second State of Emergency to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It is not known how long he will be out, or whether his decision to leave was due to his neck, his frustrations, or both, but NJPW eventually thought it best to take the title from him.
-Regarding the abrupt scheduling…The gaijin crew were told that they were able to return home due to the shows being postponed, but then were informed at the last minute that touring would resume. So were “literally” on their way home when that happened. The report notes that sloppy communication and general uncertainty was fuel added to the fire, especially after two more gaijin wrestlers tested positive for the virus. Those wrestlers (unnamed) are currently quarantining in isolation in Japan. Head booker Gedo will be holding a meeting with the gaijin roster on May 24th to address these concerns.
-One member of the Japanese roster said that the “gaijin unrest” is more like “roster unrest,” as the native talent is displeased as well. Once again this is reportedly due to a lack of communication, with most of the NJPW roster not finding out about the new tour until NJPW announced it publicly. Many complained to creative member Dick Togo, who shifted blame to upper management for the late decision of announcing the tour would resume.
-Another issue was the delay in booking the cards as NJPW was awaiting the results of the latest round of COVID-19 tests, the same round that saw the two additional positives.
-Japanese talent are also unhappy with the self-quarantine guidelines imposed by the company. The gaijin situation is even being described as a “mutiny” as all are frustrated with the bubble arrangement. The new positive tests is said to be a breaking point.
(Special thanks to reddit user bodyorlife for the notes)