NJPW's Will Ospreay: "In May, I Nearly Died."

Few have had the success that Will Ospreay has accumulated over his professional wrestling career. The Aerial Assassin began his career on the British independent scene, impressing audiences with his unprecedented move-set. Ospreay would put his name on the map with instant classics against the likes of Ricochet and Marty Scurll while simultaneously elevating the promotions he competed for, such as PROGRESS and RevPro. The London native would soon call the Far East home, as Ospreay became a regular for New Japan Pro Wrestling in 2016. Following an immediate ascension in the juniors division, Ospreay moved up to the heavyweight class where he would form the United Empire and capture the IWGP World Heavyweight Title in April 2021.

Unfortunately for the high-flying veteran, he would have to vacate the championship shortly after winning it due to a neck injury. It would only take three months for Ospreay to recover, as he would return to NJPW that summer and set his sights on reclaiming the title he never lost. While Ospreay would ultimately come up short against IWGP World Champion Kazuchika Okada at this past January's NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 16, the Commonwealth Kingpin is getting his chance at redemption this week.

Ospreay finds himself in the finals of NJPW's G1 Climax, an annual round robin tournament that determines the IWGP World Title challenger at Wrestle Kingdom. In a perfect form of poetry, standing opposite Ospreay will be Okada.

This match represents more than just in-ring redemption for Ospreay. This match is a chance to reach the pinnacle of NJPW just months after nearly losing his life.

"This doesn't get spoken about enough. In May, I nearly died. I had a kidney infection that nearly killed me and in three months, three months after hearing that I could die, I'm in the G1 final," Ospreay said following his semifinal victory over Tetsuya Naito. "And my opponent is a man [that I] seemingly can't beat on my own. In the seven matches Ospreay and Okada have had, Okada has won six of them. Six. And everyone is now doubting me because they think I can't beat Okada."

The current IWGP United States Champion continued by listing the men that have pinfall victories over Okada, noting that he knows he is superior to that entire lot.

"I've seen it done with my own eyes. I have seen AJ Styles beat Okada. I have seen [Hiroshi] Tanahashi beat Okada. I have seen Naito beat Okada. I've even seen Jay White dethrone Okada," Ospreay continued. "Do you know what makes me different? I know in my heart, I know that I'm better than all those guys. I know I'm the best wrestler in the world today. Best of the super juniors, IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, New Japan Cup, British Heavyweight Champion, NEVER Openweight Champion, United States Champion, World Heavyweight Champion. Believe me when I say this: I'm not going to lose. I will beat Okada. I will lead New Japan out of the dark ages and I will bring it back to the light."

Ospreay notably omitted Kenny Omega, who defeated Okada at NJPW Dominion 2018 to capture the IWGP Title. Coincidentally, Ospreay and Omega have often traded verbal barbs on social media, and the former has made his opinions on the current AEW wrestler crystal clear.

"This is the reason I don't like Kenny. This is where some people can relate. When you say something to me, look me in the eye, and speak to me, when you talk to me and tell me this and then go to fans and talk differently, that's where we have a problem. You have my number, if we have a problem, call me and we can f--king talk about this," Ospreay said. "I don't have anything to say to him. Be all, end all, I'm sure if everyone was in the same room, I would slap him."

Ospreay faces Okada in the finals of the G1 Climax tomorrow, August 18th at 5 AM ET.