IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Will Ospreay spoke with NJPW before his upcoming title match against Shingo Takagi. Ospreay defeated Kota Ibushi at last month’s NJPW Sakura Genesis to win the championship. During the interview, Ospreay commented about how the weight of being champion affects him now, much like it did Ibushi (both physically and metaphorically).
“It’s made me more…obsessed, maybe?” Ospreay responded. “I’ve wanted this for longer than I remember. Maybe some people might not agree that I should be in this position, but it’s the culmination of the journey I’ve taken. Ibushi’s right, it is heavy. Now I’m looked upon as a history maker in the new age. I’m the first British holder of an IWGP Heavyweight Championship, and the first non-Japanese to ever hold the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. So I’m responsible for setting a standard and ushering in this new era. I’m ready for that responsibility.”
After winning the title, Ospreay immediately challenged Kazuchika Okada, wanting revenge for his loss at Wrestle Kingdom 15 in January. Takagi intervened to remind both wrestlers he defeated Okada in the first round of this year’s New Japan Cup, and also got to the finals (losing to Ospreay).
Takagi and Ospreay will meet this Tuesday at Wrestling Dontaku (Night Two) for the title with the winner facing Okada at Wrestle Grand Slam in the Tokyo Dome on May 29. It was noted during the conversation that Okada didn’t wrestle on the Road to Wrestling Dontaku tour — likely to heal up some injuries. Ospreay didn’t mind though, ultimately he wants to beat Okada when he’s at full strength, so there’s no question about him being the best.
“There are little rumors on the grapevine that he’s carrying a lot of injuries,” Ospreay said. “I’m probably 70% now, let alone the damage I’ll take against Shingo. But I want that. I want him at 100%, and I want to make it clear that I can beat him at 100%. I need to do that.”