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Will Ospreay forced to vacate the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship

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Will Ospreay defeated Kota Ibushi to win the IWGP World Heavyweight championship in early April at New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Sakura Genesis 2021.

Afterwards, the new champ called out CM Punk for a match; Punk admitted that it was an interesting idea, but suggested Ospreay had more work to do as champ for the match to be viable: “Let’s see if he has it at the end of the summer and then ask me the question again.”

It turns out that Ospreay’s title reign is over before the summer even arrived. NJPW released the following statement this morning:

On May 4’s night two of Wrestling Dontaku in Fukuoka, Will Ospreay sustained a neck injury. As a result, Ospreay will not be participating in the next series of events and will instead return to the UK for treatment and rehabilitation.

There is no timetable for Ospreay’s return to action at this time, and as a result, his IWGP World Heavyweight Championship will be vacated.

Further announcements on the status of the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship will be made at a later date.

Ospreay fought Shingo Takagi on May 4 at Wrestling Dontaku night two in a bout that many fans consider to be the best match in any wrestling promotion thus far in 2021. NJPW’s statement explains that Ospreay suffered a neck injury on that night. As a result, the IWGP World Heavyweight title is now vacated, and NJPW has to figure out how to crown a new champion.