It’s been overshadowed a bit by the expected debut of a certain Boss, but Kenny Omega’s return to New Japan for Wrestle Kingdom 17 is a big deal.
That’s definitely the case for his opponent, Will Ospreay.
He was was tapped to be Omega’s successor as one of NJPW’s top gaijin (foreigner). Omega and his manager Don Callis don’t think Ospreay’s done a very good job of it. The 29 year old Brit understandably resents that — especially seeing as he’s been tasked with filling the role during a pandemic when Japanese audiences have been limited in not only their ability to attend shows, but in how they react while they’re there (Japanese crowds have been forbidden to vocally cheer or boo for the past two years).
When Callis mocked Ospreay at the pre-show press conference today (Jan. 3), specifically questioning the IWGP United States champion’s mental fortitude, it all boiled over...
“Listen to me now. You have no fucking idea the mental state — you want to know my mental state, bruv? You got to sit in your house and do maximum, what, three hour drives to Florida? That’s all you had to do during this.
“Mate, for us — for me, it’s a 12 hour flight from England all the way, right? But guess what? That turned into a 15-and-a-half-hour flight. Why? Because there’s a fucking war going on in Russia and the Ukraine. And after that, I was carting around the fucking airport for four hours because I had to prove that I was negative for COVID, even though I had a fucking doctor’s note saying that I didn’t have it. Then that wasn’t good enough, then I had to stay 14 fucking days in a hotel no bigger than a broom cupboard, bruv. 14 days up in your own fucking brain. And then you’re allowed to go out and go wrestle for everyone, in silence, without seeing any fucking daylight for two weeks.
“The shows that fucking end at 9pm, restaurants close at 8, so you’re starving half your fucking roster — but we kept fucking going. Listen to me, I don’t understand, and I don’t know why anyone would want to watch ‘clap crowd’ wrestling. I don’t know anyone that wants to watch that, but people fucking turned up.
“For that, I had to fight. And for you to fucking sitting there and belittle me, you little cunt. How fucking dare you. You have not the slightest idea what I’ve gone through. My best friend fucking died and I had to watch his funeral through a fucking iPad, bruv. How dare you sit there and belittle anything that I’ve fucking done to try and help.
“I get it, you’re a big star, you’re a fucking draw for this place. You have brought everyone, all the casual fans and all those Kenny Omega stans back to New Japan, thank you so much. Cause now, they’re going to watch you go down to me. The guy that has fucking stayed here, the guy that has given his fucking all to this place, mate. I listened to everyone fucking word you told me four years ago.”
Without naming him, Will also referenced Omega’s friend & partner Kota Ibushi. As part of the long-running Golden Lovers storyline, Ibushi was supposed to corner Kenny for Wrestle Kingdom 13’s main event. A concussion he suffered while wrestling Ospreay earlier on the card prevented that from happening.
“And I’m telling you now, I’m sorry for what happened to him, and I’m sorry I took that away from you. But make no mistake about it. If you find yourself in that same position that he did, there isn’t going to be a referee stopping me from caving your fucking head in, bruv. You will not belittle me on the grandest stage that I am on.
“This is my moment now. You’re either going to pass this torch or I am going to fucking take it from you.”
If they can deliver the match fans are expecting, one that’s on the level of that promo? People will be talking about Ospreay vs. Omega tomorrow, no matter who shows up at the Tokyo Dome.