Originally published at Will Ospreay feels he was on autopilot for the last several years, felt nothing before headlining NJPW WK 16
Will Ospreay compares the last two Wrestle Kingdom events.
Starting off the new year for New Japan Pro-Wrestling was their Wrestle Kingdom 17 event. The semi-main event was Will Ospreay versus Kenny Omega for the IWGP U.S. Heavyweight Championship.
The conclusion of the match saw Kenny Omega holding the belt in victory which makes him a two-time holder of the title. Nearly two weeks removed from Wrestle Kingdom, Ospreay discussed the match with Renée Paquette on The Sessions podcast.
When it comes to how Ospreay is feeling after the match with Omega, he shared that a piece of a table stabbed him in the head and left a gash. But other than the usual scars, he’s doing well.
I’m alright (following Wrestle Kingdom 17). I’ve got a couple of scars on me here. I got a couple on the turnbuckle that smashed… and then the table, as my head was getting put through the table, I don’t know, it must have been one of those weird tables but I guess it splinted off and I got stabbed in the head and it made a huge hole in my head. But other than that, the usual aches and pains that I normally get but, other than that, I’m still smiling and still beautiful so I’m all good.
A conversation took place about the clap-only crowds in Japan. Ospreay dove into how much that weighed on him and said he felt like he’s been on autopilot in Japan for the last several years. On night two of Wrestle Kingdom 16, he headlined the show with Kazuchika Okada.
Before going out to the ring, Great-O-Khan asked Ospreay how he was feeling and he said he did not feel anything. Ospreay added that this year’s Wrestle Kingdom made him feel like he was back in his own skin.
A little bit (I felt those emotions from seeing crowds being able to make noise again at NJPW shows). For the last three years, I do feel like I have been on autopilot a little bit. I remember last year’s Wrestle Kingdom and Great-O-Khan’s just massaging my shoulders because I’m about to go out and he goes, ‘How you feeling?’ And I went, ‘I feel nothing’ because honestly, it was one of those ones where even though it was the main event of the Tokyo Dome, it wasn’t the real thing, it wasn’t the full experience so getting to walk out there to my music, to be in my own skin again, it felt like the old me and to do it on that platform, I felt like for the first time, all the wrestling world’s eyes were really on me. It was about delivering so it was a little bit emotional going in there but, I can switch it off the moment the bell rings.
He brought back the ‘Elevated’ theme song for the match with Omega. While it was a one-time thing, there is a small part of Ospreay that wants to use it again.
The story for me with that (using ‘Elevated’ theme at Wrestle Kingdom 17) is that’s the guy that Kenny [Omega] said goodbye to. At one point, I was ‘The Aerial Assassin’, I was the good guy, f*cking die for New Japan, heart in one hand, nuts in the f*cking other, I was that guy. Along the way, once pandemic kicked in, I transformed into this different guy. I think for me personally, going against Kenny, the story wasn’t that was the guy who you said goodbye to. That wasn’t the guy you said, ‘The company’s gonna lean on you. I need you to push forward, I need you to be the guy now.’ For me, it was poetic to not only bring back the Assassin’s Creed hood because that’s the guy he said goodbye to. I wanted the full experience, I wanted to be f*cking babyface Billy and come out like a superhero and it was just one of those ones, one time only thing. There’s a small, small part of me wanting to bring it back. But, I just think right now, I failed at that mission. I need to coincide, maybe I did something wrong, maybe that wasn’t the right choice so it was one of those ones isn’t it?
Ospreay is scheduled for New Japan’s upcoming ‘New Beginning’ tour. One of the matches he’ll be in is on February 4th against Taichi.
If the quotes in this article are used, please credit The Sessions with Renée Paquette with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.