Will Ospreay Gets Candid About Wrestling In The Tokyo Dome In Pandemic-Era NJPW

The "WrestleBinge by Sportskeeda" podcast recently released a new interview with NJPW star Will Ospreay. One of the topics discussed was Wrestle Kingdom 17 being the first Tokyo Dome show with a full-capacity crowd and traditional cheering since Wrestle Kingdom 14 in 2020 — just before the COVID-19 pandemic went global.


"It's been hell," Ospreay began. "Not just in terms of not being able to cheer, which is a huge part [of] wrestling, but in terms of also the traveling to Japan was so messed up. Staying in the isolation hotels. And now, being on the other side of it, it's kind of really rewarding and really refreshing to sticking all the bad stuff and finally coming out the other side. I'm looking forward to a full, cheering Wrestle Kingdom again."

NJPW announced the return to full-scale crowd participation in mid-December. Though there are a few restrictions, they don't apply to anything typical of NJPW crowds, with the bans mainly targeting long singalongs in the crowd, similar to those of European football fans and British WWE crowds.


Will Ospreay on Wrestle Kingdom 2022

A few minutes later, while discussing what the Tokyo Dome and Wrestle Kingdom mean to him, Ospreay revisited the topic of the rules that were in place during the pandemic. According to the wrestler, the last two pay-per-views didn't feel the same as they lacked the magic of the aforementioned arena's typical shows. Wrestle Kingdom 16 saw him compete for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship in the main event, but the situation was soured by the restrictions in place.


"Yeah. It's kind of — It's cool that it was the main event, but it almost felt just worthless to me because the fans weren't there. And honestly, a lot of people will give me a lot of crap for that, because I should be honored and I should be blown away by the fact that I've made it to this point, but it just wasn't what I wanted at all. And if it's not what I want, then I can't pretend to love it."

Ospreay defends his title on Wednesday against AEW's Kenny Omega in what's widely being viewed as the "western main event" of the show.