Will Ospreay

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Will Ospreay
Will Ospreay 2016.jpg
Ospreay in May 2016
Birth nameWilliam Peter Charles Ospreay
Born (1993-05-07) 7 May 1993 (age 25)
Havering, London, England, U.K.
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Dark Britannico
Neo Britannico
Extreme Dude
Will Ospreay
William Ospreay
Billed height1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)[1]
Billed weight174 lb (86kg)
Billed fromEssex, England[2]
Trained byDarren Burridge
London School of Lucha Libre[3]
Debut1 April 2012[4]

William Peter Charles Ospreay[5] (born 7 May 1993)[6] is an English professional wrestler and promoter who is currently signed to New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), where he performs under his real name. Ospreay is the current NEVER Openweight Champion, in his first reign, and a former two time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion.

In addition, he is also a former ROH World Television Champion, Progress Champion, WCPW Tag Team Champion, the winner of the 2016 Best of the Super Juniors tournament, and has many other accolades in professional wrestling around the world. Ospreay was the first Briton to win both the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship and the Best of the Super Juniors.

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Ospreay cites the three-way match between A.J. Styles, Christopher Daniels and Samoa Joe at TNA Unbreakable as the match that made him want to become a wrestler.[3] He received his training at Lucha Britannia's London School of Lucha Libre in Bethnal Green, London.[3] He made his professional debut at the co-promoted BritWres-Fest on 1 April 2012 as the masked character Dark Britannico, the evil twin of Leon Britannico who was played by Paul Robinson, Ospreay's future tag team partner in the team The Swords of Essex.[4] While wrestling with Lucha Britannia he twice won the Lucha Britannia World Championship. Ospreay said in his interview with the Huffington Post that his nickname, "The Aerial Assassin", is an allusion to Assassin's Creed video game series and was a persona he adopted to stand out from other British high flying wrestlers, particularly Pac.[7]

Progress Wrestling (2012–present)[edit]

Ospreay soon became a regular for Progress Wrestling, debuting for them at Chapter Two: The March of Progress with Alex Esmail in a loss to The London Riots (James Davis and Rob Lynch). His performance earned him a place in the Natural Progression Series I tournament, aimed at scouting and showcasing new wrestlers. He lost in the first round to eventual winner Mark Andrews in November and again in a rematch the following May. Andrews who, as part of his reward for winning, picked Ospreay to enter the following Natural Progression Series tournament. The two met again in January 2014 in the first round of the Progress Tag Team Championship tournament, with FSU (Andrews' team with Eddie Dennis) defeating The Swords of Essex (Ospreay's team with Paul Robinson).

In his Natural Progression Series II opening match, his opponent Zack Gibson tried to win by holding the ropes. Robinson prevented Gibson using the ropes, which in turn distracted the referee for long enough for Gibson to low-blow Ospreay and make Ospreay submit.[8] On 18 May, The Swords of Essex were one of the final two teams standing in a four-team elimination match to decide contenders to the Progress Tag Team Championship. During the match, Ospreay, having been isolated for some time, reached out to tag his partner but Robinson jumped off the apron and walked out on Ospreay. Ospreay was left on his own and lost the match, after which the Progress Champion Jimmy Havoc came to the ring and ordered London Riots to tie Ospreay. Havoc pulled out a knife and threatened to torture Ospreay, blaming it on Ospreay's popularity with the fans, before other wrestlers came out and intervened, freeing Ospreay.[9] Havoc and The London Riots formed an allegiance known as Regression, which also featured Robinson.

On 27 July, Ospreay entered the eight-man, staggered entry elimination Thunderbastard match, the winner of whom can pick a time for a Progress Championship match. Ospreay entered the match third and was immediately low-blowed by Robinson, who had already entered, who disqualified himself in the hopes of taking out Ospreay. Ospreay recovered and eventually eliminated Marty Scurll last to win Thunderbastard.[10] The following show saw Ospreay team up with FSU and Noam Dar in an eight-man tag team match with FSU and Havoc's respective titles, Ospreay's title contendership and everyone else's Progress contracts at stake, depending which individual lost. During the match, Ospreay moonsaulted from the Electric Ballroom's balcony onto his opponents, on the floor.[4] Later, he had Havoc in position to be pinned but as he jumped from the top rope, Robinson dragged Havoc outside, leading Ospreay to pin Davis and end the London Riots' contract with Progress.[11]

At the next event, Ospreay defeated Robinson and announced he would invoke his Thunderbastard right to challenge for Havoc's championship at the following show. He lost the championship match in January after Havoc loosened the top rope, making it more difficult for Ospreay to do high-flying moves, and used it as a weapon.[12] During the Spring Bank Holiday weekend, Ospreay defeated El Ligero, Mark Haskins, Roderick Strong and Zack Sabre, Jr across two days to win the first Super Strong Style 16 tournament and once again lay claim to Havoc's championship.[13] Their rematch took place on 26 July in a no disqualification match where the reinstated London Riots neutralised the threat of Robinson's interference and Ospreay ended Havoc's 609 day reign to become Progress Champion.[14]

Ospreay successfully defended his title against the 2015 Thunderbastard Haskins and then Robinson. Robinson attacked Ospreay after losing to him, but Ospreay was saved by a returning Mark Andrews. Ospreay went on to finally beat Andrews to defend his title. Ospreay also headlined Progress' first main show outside of London in Manchester, in a triple threat match against Zack Gibson and Morgan Webster to close out 2015.

He lost the championship on 24 January 2016 to Marty Scurll when the referee stopped the match as Ospreay had passed out while being handcuffed in Scurll's chickenwing submission. Ospreay lost a rematch with Scurll at WrestleCon Supershow in Texas, USA in April and also lost a contendership match against Haskins on 31 July. He spent the rest of the year in showcase matches against non-regular Progress wrestlers, losing to Zack Sabre Jr., Shane Strickland, Matt Riddle and Adam Cole. Finally on 30 December, at a card composed exclusively of unannounced matches, Ospreay lost to Havoc. After the match Havoc invited Ospreay to join him in his fight against British Strong Style, who held the World and Tag Team Championship. Ospreay instead attacked Havoc and then realigned with Swords of Essex partner Paul Robinson. Ospreay attacked Havoc again, during the latter's Progress World Championship match leading to a Fans Bring The Weapons match in March. During the match, Ospreay challenged Havoc to put their Progress contracts at stake before losing the match and leaving the promotion.

Ospreay returned at the last event of 2017 as a mystery opponent for Progress Champion Travis Banks, however he lost the match.[15] On chapter 61, Ospreay defeated Adam Brooks, this was his first victory in the promotion since losing the Progress Championship in 2016. [16] At Progress Chapter 66, Ospreay defeated Mark Haskins.

On 7 May 2018, day 3 of the 2018 Super Strong Style 16 tournament, Ospreay challenged Jimmy Havoc to a match at Wembley Arena on September 30th 2018, but was forced to withdraw due to contractual obligations with New Japan Pro Wrestling. The match was then set for Chapter 75, with Ospreay emerging victorious in a no disqualification, 2 out of 3 falls match with former tag team partner Paul Robinson as referee. At Chapter 82: Unboxing Live, Ospreay and Paul Robinson defeated Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis) to become the Progress Tag Team Champions.

Revolution Pro Wrestling (2013–present)[edit]

Ospreay debuted for Revolution Pro Wrestling (RevPro) on 10 February 2013 with a win over Mike Hitchman. He soon started appearing in tag matches with Paul Robinson as The Swords of Essex and, after earning contendership with a win over The London Riots, won the British Tag Team Championship on 15 June 2013 during RevPro's first show at York Hall by defeating Project Ego (Kris Travis and Martin Kirby). After losing to Ricochet in a singles match, The Swords of Essex lost their British Tag Team Championship to Ricochet and his partner Rich Swann, The Inner City Machine Gun on 15 March 2014.

On 19 October, Ospreay beat Josh Bodom for the British Cruiserweight Championship in a match that also included Swann. The day before, he had lost a match to Matt Sydal and so in May 2015 the two had a rematch. Although Ospreay won the rematch, with their series at 1-1 the two were booked in a Best of Three Falls match with the British Cruiserweight Championship on the line. After losing the first fall, he retained the title with two straight falls. After an eleven-month reign, with a number of title defences Ospreay lost the title back to Bodom on 5 September 2015.

Ospreay bounced back with wins over PJ Black, René Duprée, and Ricochet, which put him in line for a three way match for AJ Styles' British Heavyweight Championship, which also featured Marty Scurll, where the champion retained. The following day, on 3 October 2015 he lost to New Japan Pro-Wrestling's Kazuchika Okada. Okada, impressed with Ospreay, went on to recommend him to NJPW officials. This, along with endorsements from AJ Styles and Hiroshi Tanahashi, eventually led to Ospreay being signed by NJPW.[17] In 2016 Ospreay beat Scurll and the new Cruiserweight Champion Pete Dunne in a non-title triple threat match, as well as beating Mike Bailey, which saw him earn a Cruiserweight Championship match against Dunne on 10 July which he won. The following month Ospreay headlined York Hall in a match against Vader. The feud began after Vader had criticised an NJPW Best of the Super Juniors match between Ospreay and Ricochet in May, comparing the match to "a gymnastics routine". The debate escalated over Twitter, with many wrestling journalists and veterans weighing in on the debate.[18] Their match eventually took place on 12 August, with Ospreay losing to Vader after Dunne interfered while the referee was distracted. On 13 April 2017, Ospreay lost the British Cruiserweight Championship to interim champion Josh Bodom.[19]. Following a non-title contest against Zack Sabre Jr at 'Monday Night Mayhem' in Portsmouth in which Ospreay won, On 10 November 2017 at Global Wars, Ospreay failed to win the British Heavyweight Championship from Zack Sabre Jr. [20]

New Japan Pro-Wrestling (2016–present)[edit]

Ospreay as the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion in November 2017

On 3 March 2016, Ospreay was announced as the newest member of the NJPW stable Chaos. Appearing in a video, Ospreay challenged Kushida to an IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship match at Invasion Attack 2016 on 10 April.[21] On 10 April, Ospreay failed in his title challenge against Kushida.[22] Following the match, it was reported that NJPW had offered Ospreay a contract to become a regular for the promotion.[23]

The following month, Ospreay entered the 2016 Best of the Super Juniors tournament. On 27 May, Ospreay faced Ricochet in the tournament in a match, which received widespread attention in the professional wrestling world. William Regal praised the match.[24] Vader, however, compared the match to a "gymnastics routine".[18][25] Ospreay won his block in the tournament with a record of four wins and three losses, advancing to the finals.[26] On 7 June, Ospreay defeated Ryusuke Taguchi in the finals to win the 2016 Best of the Super Juniors, becoming the youngest winner in the history of the tournament as well as the first English and the fifth gaijin wrestler to win tournament.[27] Following the win, Ospreay was granted another shot at the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, but was again defeated by Kushida on 19 June at Dominion 6.19 in Osaka-jo Hall.[28]

On 20 July, Ospreay entered the 2016 Super J-Cup, defeating Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) representative Titán in his first round match.[29] On 21 August, he was eliminated from the tournament in the second round by Matt Sydal.[30] On 8 October, Ospreay received his first shot at the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship, but he and his Chaos stablemates Beretta and Rocky Romero were defeated by the defending champions, David Finlay, Ricochet and Satoshi Kojima.[31] On 11 February 2017 at The New Beginning in Osaka, Ospreay unsuccessfully challenged Katsuyori Shibata for the British Heavyweight Championship.[32] In May, Ospreay won his block in the 2017 Best of the Super Juniors tournament with a record of five wins and two losses, advancing to his second consecutive final.[33] On 3 June, Ospreay was defeated in the final by Kushida.[34]

On 9 October at King of Pro-Wrestling, Ospreay defeated Kushida to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship for the first time.[35] With the win, Ospreay became the first British IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion.[36] He lost the title to Marty Scurll in his first defence on 5 November at Power Struggle.[37] Ospreay regained the title from Scurll on 4 January 2018 at Wrestle Kingdom 12 in Tokyo Dome in a four-way match, also involving Hiromu Takahashi and Kushida.[38] On 10 February, Ospreay retained the title against Hiromu Takahashi at The New Beginning in Osaka. On 1 April, Ospreay successfully retained the title against Marty Scurll at Sakura Genesis.[39] During the match, Ospreay was legitimately injured after his foot hit the rope mid-rotation after attempting a Spanish Fly off of the ring apron, causing him to land on his head on top of the apron and begin bleeding profusely from his scalp. At Wrestling Dontaku 2018 after successfully defending his title in a rematch against Kushida, he would be attacked by the newest Bullet Club member,Taiji Ishimori. He entered the Best of the Super Juniors 2018, finishing the tournament with 5 wins and 2 losses, but didn't advance to the finals due to his loss against Ishimori on the first day of the tournament. Ospreay would lose the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship to the winner of the tournament, Hiromu Takahashi at Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-jo Hall on June 9 in his fourth defense. At Fighting Spirit Unleashed, Ospreay entered a tournament to crown a new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, due to Takahashi getting a neck injury and forcing him to vacate the belt, and would lose against Marty Scurll. At King of Pro-Wrestling, Opreay teamed with Hirooki Goto and Tomohiro Ishii in an winning effort against Suzuki-gun, represented by Minoru Suzuki, Takashi Iizuka and NEVER Openweight Champion Taichi, where Ospreay pinned Taichi. After the match, Ospreay called out Taichi for a NEVER Openweight Championship match and doing so, hinting going to the Heavyweight division, although, it's still possible that Ospreay might be staying in the Jr. Heavyweight division as the Openweight title can be held by people from either division. The match was made official for Power Struggle, however, it was announced on Twitter that the match had been cancelled due to Ospreay's injury. On the final day of World Tag League, Ospreay returned to New Japan where he would defeat Taichi. On the same night, he challenged the new NEVER Openweight Champion, Kota Ibushi, to a championship match at Wrestle Kingdom 13. On 4 January, at Wrestle Kingdom 13, Will Ospreay defeated Kota Ibushi to capture the NEVER Openweight Championship. He would become the first Junior Heavyweight to hold the championship.

Ring of Honor (2016–present)[edit]

On 8 November 2016, Ring of Honor (ROH) announced that Ospreay had signed an "exclusive" contract with the promotion, which went into effect on 1 December.[17] On 18 November, Ospreay defeated Bobby Fish in his ROH debut match in Liverpool to become the new ROH World Television Champion.[40] He lost the title to Marty Scurll two days later, during the final day of ROH's three-day tour of the United Kingdom.[41] Ospreay had been given another opportunity to regain the title in a four corners match at ROH's December pay-per-view, Final Battle 2016, but Scurll retained his title. At Final Battle 2017, Ospreay was defeated by Matt Taven. On ROH TV on Sept 15, 2018, Jay Lethal issued an open challenge and it was answered by Ospreay, who said: "I Need the World Title". The Match was signed for ROH Death Before Dishonor later that month in which Ospreay lost.

Other promotions[edit]

Ospreay has regularly wrestled for International Pro Wrestling: United Kingdom (IPW: UK) since September 2012 in singles matches, with Robinson as Swords of Essex and with Tom Dawkins as Spitfire Britannia, playing off their alter egos Pure Britannico and Neo Britannico for Lucha Britannia. Ospreay made it through to the final of the UK Super 8 tournament in both 2014 and 2015, losing to Zack Sabre, Jr and Rampage Brown respectively. He won the 30 man Battle Royale 2014 in April but failed to win it the following year when the All England Championship was on the line. On 28 March 2016, Ospreay lost a Loser Leaves Town match to his former Spitfire Britannia partner Dawkins.

The Swords of Essex began wrestling for Future Pro Wrestling (FPW) in May 2013 and after a series of wins became the first FPW Tag Team Champions after winning a four-way match. They held the titles for nine months and eventually became embroiled in a Best of Four match series against both The London Riots and The Alpha Males (Iestyn Rees & Charlie Garrett) for the FPW Tag Team Championship. The Swords of Essex failed to win a match in the series, with Ospreay wrestling the final match, which also had the London Riots' IPW:UK and New Generation Wrestling Tag Team Championship on the line, without Robinson. Ospreay has been unable to replicate similar success as a singles wrestler, twice entering the Zero G tournament but failing to win.

Ospreay also became a regular for Southside Wrestling Entertainment (SWE) from March 2014 onwards. After failing to win the Speed King Championship from Kay Lee Ray in a co-promoted show with Combat Zone Wrestling in October, he won it a fortnight later in a Six-Way Elimination match. He defended it over the following months to many SWE and guest wrestlers, eventually putting it on the line in the annual Speed King Tournament where he beat Mark Andrews in the semi-final in a Best of Three falls match but lost the title to El Ligero in a Six-Way Elimination match on 30 May 2015. The following March he unsuccessfully challenged Joseph Connors for the SWE Heavyweight Championship but on 7 August won the Speed King championship for the second time from Andrew Everett.

On 29 January 2016, Ospreay made his debut for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), during the promotion's tour of the United Kingdom. Ospreay unsuccessfully entered the 2016 Joker's Wild tournament and challenged for both the TNA King of the Mountain Championship and TNA World Tag Team Championship. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that TNA had plans to push Ospreay, but upon finding out that he had signed to appear for NJPW relegated him to a short match on their secondary television programme.[42]

On 1 April 2016, Ospreay made his debut for Evolve, losing to Zack Sabre Jr. at Evolve 58 and Ricochet at Evolve 59, both in Dallas, Texas, USA.[43][44] On 12 July, Paul Heyman, during a speaking tour of the United Kingdom, offered Ospreay an Evolve contract on behalf of Gabe Sapolsky while clarifying that the contract would not affect his NJPW deal.[45] On 20 July, Pro Wrestling Torch reported Ospreay had signed the contract to make Evolve his American home promotion,[46] but the Wrestling Observer Newsletter disputed this, reporting Ospreay was still in talks with Evolve, PWG, TNA, and ROH, another American promotion who had a relationship with NJPW which Ospreay later confirmed.[47][48]

On 27 August 2016 Ospreay posted a Facebook live video unveiling a new British Triangle Championship with his three Swords of Essex partners Paul Robinson, Jerry Sevanchez, and Scott Wainwright. They announced that the trios championships were not specific to any promotion and could therefore be defended anywhere.[49]

Ospreay wrestled a series of shows across 2016 for What Culture Pro Wrestling for both their weekly YouTube broadcast and iPPV shows, scoring wins over Noam Dar, Marty Scurll and feud with Martin Kirby.[50] On WCPW Loaded #15 Ospreay defeated Martin Kirby with help from Adam Pacitti, Paul Robinson & Scott Wainwright, joining the Pacitti Club.[citation needed] At WCPW True Destiny, Ospreay teamed with Scotty Wainwright and defeated El Ligero & Gabriel Kidd and Johnny Moss & Liam Slater and Prospect (Alex Gracie & Lucas Archer) in a four-way ladder match to become WCPW Tag Team Champions.[citation needed] They lost the title to War Machine on an episode of Loaded. In August 2017, Ospreay made it to the finals of the Pro Wrestling World Cup, before losing to Kushida.[51]

On 4 January 2017, Ospreay, along with fellow British wrestler Ryan Smile, started their own promotion, known as Lucha Forever,[52] with their first show, The Dawning of Forever, taking place on 17 April in Birmingham.[53]

In August 2017, Ospreay made his debut appearance for Professional Wrestling Alliance (PWA) at their Sydney event Call to Arms. Originally scheduled to face PWA Heavyweight Champion Robbie Eagles in a non-title match for the main event, Eagles made the last minute decision to put his title on the line. Ospreay ultimately defeated Eagles, and won the PWA Heavyweight Championship for the first time. Afterwards, Ospreay announced that he was moving to Australia and would begin working regularly for PWA and other local independent promotions. Ospreay stated that he felt he could help the Australian wrestling scene grow, while the U.K. scene did not need him.[54] Days later, Ospreay faced Adam Brooks in the main event of a Melbourne City Wrestling show, Ballroom Brawl; defeating him to win the MCW Intercommonwealth Championship.

Frontline Wrestling (2018–present)[edit]

In 2018, Ospreay announced that he would be starting his own promotion, Frontline Wrestling. He said that Frontline would be a British Puroresu style company and that wants to take wrestling in England back to being seen as a sport. [55] On June 28, 2018, they ran their first event, "Build Me An Empire".[citation needed]

Professional wrestling style and persona[edit]

Opsreay is known for his high-flying, high-risk style of wrestling, being nicknamed "The Aerial Assassin".[56] This type of high risk styles has made people corncern about Ospeay's health and length of his career.[57][58][59] This included a neck injury he suffered against Marty Scurll on April 1, 2018.[60]

Personal life[edit]

Ospreay is currently in a relationship with fellow wrestler Bea Priestley.[61]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Ospreay as Progress Wrestling Champion

References[edit]

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  2. ^ "Facebook". Will Ospreay Facebook Page.
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  4. ^ a b c Davies, Ryan. "Wrestler Spotlight: Will Ospreay". uwejournalism.
  5. ^ "William Peter Charles OSPREAY - Personal Appointments". beta.companieshouse.gov.uk. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  6. ^ "Catch Arena Profile".
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