Kenny Omega says Will Ospreay injured himself and vacated IWGP title because he tried to fill his shoes before hinting towards a trip to NJPW.
Will Ospreay won the 2021 New Japan Cup to earn the opportunity to face Kota Ibushi for the IWGP Championship; which he did at Sakura Genesis. Unfortunately for him, his reign didn’t last too long. His first and only defence was against Shingo Takagi at Wrestling Dontaku.
Ospreay hurt himself in the match and was forced to vacate the title. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Kenny Omega claimed that the reason for the injury was Ospreay’s desire to fill his shoes in NJPW before the AEW World Champion teased another IWGP Championship pursuit.
Kenny Omega says Will Ospreay injured himself and vacated IWGP title because he tried to fill his shoes
“Before I left New Japan, I pulled aside Ospreay and Jay White. I don’t even know if I should tell this story, but I will. I told both, ‘This company, at least the western expansion and the pride of the foreigners, it’s all in your hands. They’re going to look to you to carry this thing, so you’ve got to do it’. I said it to Jay and Ospreay knowing it was a likely scenario. But also hoping to light a fire under both of them.
“For Ospreay, he’d really came into his own. He made a complete career shift, and he was going to be a fantastic champion. He made changes to his body, he made changes to his style, his look, his demeanor, He became the person that he needed to be the champion of that company. Unfortunately, becoming champion wasn’t enough for him. He tried to fill my shoes.
“Physically, even though he is one of the most gifted performers to ever step foot in the ring, there is only one Kenny Omega. And you can’t fill those shoes. Thus, now his belt is vacant, so perhaps it was always meant to be my belt and my belt alone. That’s not me making a firm statement as to whether I’ll make a venture out there, just that there is no one there that can fill my shoes or override my legacy. When Ospreay comes back, he’ll have to re-analyze who he is and who he’s meant to be, because he’s not meant to be me.”
Omega is scheduled to defend his AEW World Championship in a triple threat match against PAC and Orange Cassidy at AEW Double Or Nothing on May 30.
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