NJPW recently held a meet and greet online with top superstar Will Ospreay, who spoke about a variety of topics with the fans, including what his favorite venue is in Japan, what his transition from junior to heavyweight was like for the promotion, and what the current status is of the U.K. independent scene. Highlights are below.
Names Ryogoku Sumo arena as his favorite venue and says he will retire there in three years:
Ryōgoku Sumo arena just because it was the first arena that I ever performed in-in front of Japan. Indeed [it was the match against KUSHIDA], which is — I love this venue because I’ve only lost one match [in it]. In my five years in wrestling in Japan, I’ve lost one match in that venue and that was to KUSHIDA. So it’s kind of been my good luck charm in a weird way and the main reason I love it is because when I was living in Japan in my apartment, I could look out of my apartment and I could see Sumo Hall arena every single time so it was the best time. Like, if they went, ‘Oh, we got a show in Sumo arena,’ I would get out and I would walk to the venue… It was so easy. Ryōgoku’s the best venue. I love the Tokyo Dome and I love Korakuen [Hall] but there is just something magical with me about Sumo arena. The moment I walk through those doors, it just feels like something big is about to go down. Ryōgoku’s my all-time favorite, got a special place in the ole’ heart. I’ll retire at that venue. I’ll make it my thing, I’ll retire there. In three years time, I’ll retire.
Talks his transition from the junior-heavyweight division to the heavyweight division:
Eating [was the biggest challenge when moving up to the heavyweight division]. I’m not even joking. Eating so much food to try and put on mass. I think if anybody saw me when I first came into New Japan Pro-Wrestling, I looked more like I worked in Tesco rather than a professional wrestler. So, actually stacking on the weight, learning about how my body works was a hard bit but it’s also just like understanding that my body now does not move in that way. I actually was watching some stuff… but now, even watching me from back then, I could see things I wish I could do now and I just can’t do it anymore because I’m too big but my body is a little bit more protected. I say that, I’ve just come back from injury but just like, it’s just finding out A, how your body works and realizing what your strengths are compared to what your weaknesses are. Like when I was a junior, my strengths was my speed. I still have that kind of speed and that agileness but I’ve realized that my elbows are a lot more damaging than a standing Shooting Star Press and this isn’t — it’s not like the standing Shooting Star Press doesn’t do damage but just not enough as a pure elbow to the jaw. So that’s a habit I guess was the eating and learning about how my body now can’t do certain things. I can still do some of the things. It’s just — I can’t do the Robinson Special anymore, like the double spin kick, I can’t do it anymore. It ruins my lower back so, it’s all just — and once again, it’s just trial and error. I didn’t just jump to heavyweight and instantly succeed. I fell on my ass a few times and then you know, just gotta get the reps in. So, it’s about just keep doing it.
Update on the U.K. indie scene:
Wow that’s hard because I just — it is like a legitimate, legitimate question. I honestly — there are so many guys that I could say but they’re just — I don’t wanna say missing something but it’s almost like there is points and elements that they are missing and it sounds so stupid because I don’t know how I end up becoming a star. I just stood out in a crowd. I did things like the Assassin’s Creed jacket and stuff like that. I just don’t see anybody doing anything. But I will give credit where credit’s due, Ricky Knight Jr. is — as much as I can’t stand him, he’s a hard worker. He puts in the work and he wants to learn, he wants to get better, he wants to be a part of New Japan as well so I’ll happily shout him. Dan Moloney as well actually now that I think about it. It’s just for me, it was like — and it’s not a dig before anyone goes nuts and there’s — I can hear it now. It’s all gonna be over Twitter drama but this is gonna be one of those things where I say the U.K. scene was flourishing really well and then like, every now and again when a guy does really well, they just get swiped up by either like NXT UK or any promotion but I can’t blame ‘em because it’s money, do you know what I mean? I love money, everyone loves money. You guys like money? Everyone likes money. So it’s a case of sometimes it’s just like any type of time a star is about to go, they just take it and go over there so that’s why sometimes I haven’t really got an answer and once again, it’s not a dig. It’s literally just like that’s just how it is.
(H/T and transcribed by Post Wrestling)