IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion Will Ospreay recently spoke with NJPW’s Chris Charlton to promote his upcoming match with AEW star Kenny Omega, which will take place this Wednesday during NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17 from the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan.
Ospreay discussed the back & forth pot shots between he and Omega, and his initial reaction to Omega’s challenge for Wrestle Kingdom 17.
“At first I thought it was a bit of a joke,” Ospreay said. “I thought somebody was playing around with me. But as he started talking more and more, it became clearer that this was something that’s been hurting Kenny, very deep. He’s been paying extremely close attention to everything that I’ve been doing and is almost obsessed with what move I make next. And I said it in my backstage comments, the reality is that I have been wrestling in Kenny Omega’s shadow. And while the bright lights of AEW have hid that shadow, I’ve just got bigger and bigger, and then as soon as those bright lights at AEW have worn off and he’s seeing the size of his shadow, he’s almost scared of it.
“So, it’s now a point to where he needs to come back to New Japan to try to put it out himself, because if he doesn’t, then maybe I’ll just become too big and I’ll conquer the world. I do believe what Kenny says about how he wants to give one more showcase to the fans, I do believe that, but I also think the Tokyo Dome is where Kenny Omega was made. We all remember that match from Okada, that first one. That was the one that made Kenny Omega the forefront of not just the foreign wrestlers but all of New Japan Pro Wrestling. Let’s face it, the company was almost centered around him, especially when it comes to even branching out to the United States. So, to do it in the Tokyo Dome where he became who he is now, it’s almost poetic that I’ve got to put out that flame.”
Omega recently knocked Ospreay and said he took the easy way out, noting that Omega carved his own path through hard work while Ospreay always leaned on other people to bail him out when he couldn’t make a mark on the sport. Ospreay has now issued a response to these “easy way out” comments.
“I think that’s kind of rich coming from him saying, like he gambled, and he created his own path,” Ospreay said. “What was that? ‘We gambled on ourselves?’ You bet on a billionaire’s son, bro, calm down. I mean, the thing is, I’m not going to deny his star power. I’m sure if you looked at the fan engagements behind Kenny Omega, I’m sure it’s spiked. I’m sure that the ticket sales have probably gone up since this match was announced. I’m not denying Kenny’s star power, I’m not denying the fact that so many people want to see him back in a New Japan Pro Wrestling ring, but what I will deny until I’m blue to the face is that he’s better than me. Like, right now, I don’t think anyone is operating on my level. There’s a reason why you’ve come back. You got a cushy job with AEW, getting paid ludicrous amounts of money and you decided to come back, and I do think that it’s because you are scared.
“I think if you don’t do something about this now, while you are still able to be the Kenny Omega that we kind of remember, if you can shut it down now, then maybe you’re in with a chance of extinguishing the flame that Will Ospreay is. But I don’t think you’ve got that chance anymore. I honestly believe in my heart of hearts that this is my time. And just like what the Tokyo Dome did for you back in 2017, and it skyrocketed you into a new stratosphere of stardom is exactly what’s going to happen to me. Because all of those people you brought back to New Japan, all those guys that are happy to see you back, they’re all going to be watching you go down to me. And I think that’s the most beautiful thing. I won’t deny his star power at all. I’m not going to deny the drawing capability at all. But you’re going to come with all those people and they’re going to watch you lose and I think that’s more terrifying.”
Ospreay was also asked if Omega’s perception of him is outdated.
“I don’t want to make excuses, but this is where I’ve made mistakes because I’ve never really thought about the things I’ve done,” Ospreay said. “I’ve kind of lived a life where I do something and then think about the repercussions later, which in hindsight, I wish I could have taken back. I do feel that I’m at the most core-headed that I’ve ever been. I feel like I’m just laser focused now on the task at hand. And the task is to now do something that Kenny’s never done and that’s take New Japan out of the dark ages. I knew Kenny was the man. The way that he wrestled is the way that I want to wrestle. The way he acted, the way he portrayed himself, I was just like, that’s who I want to be like. You know what I mean? That’s how I want to wrestle. That’s how I want to showcase my ability.
“When me and Kenny bumped into each other at the Tokyo Dome, and we had a little chat with each other, he told me that he’s on his way out and that New Japan was going to rely on me. I think he’s had this same conversation with Jay White. He said that it’s time for me to pick up the ball and run with it. And I feel like I did that. It’s only because of some weird form of jealousy or some right he thinks that every opinion he has is correct with how wrestling should be, I don’t know. Look, the thing is, once again, I used to look up to Kenny. Like even though I used to be a Chaos guy, deep down, I saw what Kenny did, I was in awe of it, like, I won’t lie to you, Chris, I was blown away by it, but what do you want me to say now? It’s well and truly over. I have no admiration for him. I have no love loss for him. I just know that he’s one of the best wrestlers of all-time and I feel like right now I’m one of the best wrestlers of all time. And I think for a lot of Japanese fans, this is kind of a moment to see who really and truly the best wrestler in the world is right now.”
The full interview with Ospreay can be seen below. If using any of these quotes in your own article on other websites, please credit Joshie Lopez with a H/T link back to WrestlingHeadlines.com for the transcription. Be sure to check out The Hoots Podcast on Twitter and Stitcher.
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