Will Ospreay is done sitting in the shadow of “The Rainmaker”.
While Friday’s New Japan Pro-Wrestling show at Ryogoku Sumo Hall was supposed to be all about Kota Ibushi’s ascension to the G1 Climax final – his third time in as many years – the spotlight was instead shifted to the “Aerial Assassin” and his abrupt exit from the CHAOS faction.
Ospreay went one-on-one with CHAOS leader and longtime friend Kazuchika Okada, with potential entry into the G1 final hanging in the balance. The former junior heavyweight sensation set the pace throughout the majority of the match, forcing his opponent into an uncharacteristically vulnerable role.
There’s one thing very few wrestlers have been able to match, however, and that’s Okada’s raw stamina and longevity in a wrestling match. Ospreay tried multiple times to execute his finishing maneuver, Stormbreaker, only to be blocked at every turn by an opponent who refused to quit. In order to finally overcome his mentor, he needed backup.
Enter the Great O-Kharn, once a Young Lion by the name of Tomoyuki Oka. After graduating from the New Japan Dojo, O-Kharn spent the last two years on foreign excursion in the United Kingdom working with RPW. As a member of a group called The Legion, he frequently teamed with Rampage Brown prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, winning the Undisputed British Tag Team Championships.
Ospreay was able defeat Okada after blatant interference from O-Kharn, made possible by former World of Stardom Champion Bea Priestley, Will’s real-life girlfriend, involving herself in the match and distracting the referee. Ospreay feigned shock as he scored the pinfall, but later returned to the ring to decimate the CHAOS leader with a Hidden Blade to the back of the head.
“Do you know what it’s like to be second best?”, Ospreay asked journalists after the incident. “Always having to live in the shadow? Every single time – no matter how many times you put on a match of the year, he’s always there, front and center. Bushiroad’s top boy. I’m just as good.”
While Will Ospreay has worked his way into consideration as one of the best professional wrestlers on the planet, winning the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight title three times before announcing his move to the heavyweight division, there is no doubt that Kazuchika Okada may one day very soon be recognized among the greatest of all time.
Okada, still just 32-years-old, is a five-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion. He holds a 720-day record for the longest reign in that belt’s prestigious history. Eight times he has either defended or challenged for the heavyweight title at Wrestle Kingdom.
He is a four-time Tokyo Sports MVP with seven of their annual Best Bout awards since 2012. He is a four-time Nikkan Sports MVP with four of their Match of the Year awards. He has been ranked number one at the top of the PWI 500 list. He has won the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Most Outstanding Wrestler of the Decade award for the 2010s, and on 20 separate occasions has been awarded a “five star” match or higher.
You can see why someone might develop a complex sitting in that shadow.
“From this day forth, I disband myself from CHOAS. I serve Okada no more. From this point on, I start my own group. So get ready people, because in the ashes of New Japan, brick by brick I build my empire. This is only just the start.”