Will Ospreay Vacates the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship

Will Ospreay shocked the wrestling world back in April when he dethroned Kota Ibushi for the IWGP [...]

Will Ospreay shocked the wrestling world back in April when he dethroned Kota Ibushi for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. Unfortunately, Ospreay's run with the title didn't last long either, as New Japan Pro-Wrestling confirmed on Thursday that the British star suffered a neck injury while defending his title against Shingo Takagi at Wrestling Dontaku on May 4 and that the title had been vacated while he recovers.

"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," the announcement read. "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 was supposed to face Kazuchika Okada at the Wrestle Grand Slam event inside the Tokyo Dome at the end of the month, but that show had already been canceled due to a state of emergency in Japan caused by rising COVID-19 cases.

Ospreay has yet to comment on the injury or losing the title.

Back when he first became champion, he called out both Drew McIntyre and CM Punk to title matches.

Before I was champion, a man who sparked a whole lot of interest in pro-wrestling, CM Punk said he'd like to face Will Ospreay," Ospreay said in a press conference last month. "Now I have the biggest prize in pro-wrestling, so if you really want to prove you were the best in the world and not the best of a bad bunch, come over here and try and take this."

"I firmly believe I am the best British wrestler of all time," Ospreay said. "There is not a single British wrestler that has ever ventured to Japan and climbed to the top of the mountain. Dynamite Kid, British Bulldog, didn't get to the top of the mountain. Pete Dunne, great wrestler, didn't come close. I can name a bunch of British wrestlers who didn't do what I have done. But I would like to test myself against another British wrestler that calls himself the best. A man that held the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Drew McIntyre, he called himself the best British wrestler that ever lived, so if there was ever a chance that we could work out the visas, I'd love IWGP World Heavyweight Champion vs WWE Champion between two British wrestlers."