SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Ring of Honor’s Will Ospreay joined Donald Wood from Ring Rust Radio this week. (PWTorch editor was also a guest analyst on the program discussing Fastlane, WrestleMania 33, and NXT Takeover.) The following are highlights provided to PWTorch by Ring Rust Radio.
Listen on YouTube HERE.
Listen to full show HERE.
Ring Rust Radio: On March 4, you take on Dragon Lee at Ring of Honor’s Manhattan Mayhem in New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom. What are your thoughts on wrestling a talented performer like Dragon Lee and how excited are you to perform inside the Hammerstein?
Will Ospreay: I’ve been in the Hammerstein Ballroom before, so for me personally I remember watching ECW when they did the One Night Stand show there. I was in love with the atmosphere in the room. It’s a really a magnificent venue and I’m really happy to say I’m bringing my Mrs. over with me. That’s the thing I really treasure about it. I’m allowed to do these journeys and make such a good living off of wrestling that I can bring people I treasure so much with me and get them to share the journey with me. That’s really important to me. Dragon Lee is one of probably the best wrestlers to come out of the Mexican-style wrestling. If anyone hasn’t seen this guy wrestle, they need to. I was a big fan right away because his style isn’t just lucha libre, it’s a hybrid style. He always mixes it up. So, I’m really excited because of previous triple threats we have had had with Marty and Kushida. A lot of people that don’t like our style of wrestling are probably going to tweet about it and tell me that I don’t know what I’m doing and that I am a bad influence on wrestling. I get off on that, so I am very much looking forward to it.
Ring Rust Radio: When you signed with ROH you were one of the most highly sought after free-agent wrestlers in the world. I can only assume you had many more offers available to you, but what made signing with ROH the right move for you, and how has it helped shape you as a wrestler so far?
Will Ospreay: For me personally, obviously I’m contracted with New Japan Pro Wrestling. They are my priority. I don’t know if you guys were aware, but Gabe Sapolsky and Paul Heyman offered me a contract to sign with Evolve. Honestly, hand on my heart, it was one of my most emotional moments of my life. It does say I am under contractual agreement to New Japan so whenever I’m presented a contract I must hand it over to them immediately to discuss where we go from there. Ring of Honor did want me at the time as well so it was entirely my decision and I quite like the idea of sticking with New Japan, so that’s why I kept with Ring of Honor. I’m trying to push things in the right direction for New Japan and it helps Ring of Honor as well. I’ve been a fan of Ring of Honor for years. I’ve been watching matches with Nigel McGuinness and Bryan Danielson. Matt Sydal was one of my idols and I remember him being with Generation Next, Jack Evans, and all the guys like that, they really inspired me to get into it. When I signed with Ring of Honor, I wanted to do big things. I don’t want to go somewhere without thinking to myself what can I do to make the place bigger and better.
Ring Rust Radio: You’re regarded as one of the most exciting wrestlers in the world. How much pressure do you put on yourself to meet the high expectations fans have for you heading into your matches?
Will Ospreay: Sometimes none, it sounds really stupid, but I’m really chilled out backstage. I don’t let anything really bug me or vex me unless it’s on Twitter; only then do I fight back cause that’s the type of person I am unfortunately. I’m just really a chilled out guy. I don’t really set out any expectation; I just want to go out there. I’ve always wanted to be the fan that got backstage and that’s exactly what I’ve done. I just go out there and I entertain the people that bought a ticket. My theory of things is I feel like wrestling should be a big variety show. You can have a strongman, you can have your high flyers, your technical wizards and everything along those lines. My style comes just underneath that high flyer mentality. I just laugh and think it’s cool and you can use your imagination and do things differently. It connects with some people, but doesn’t connect with everybody. I don’t like to put pressure on myself because the day I do start doing that, I start messing up in the matches and they don’t become as fun. My main thing is to just have fun.
Ring Rust Radio: Over the last year, you have been jumping from Ring of Honor to New Japan Pro Wrestling to various European companies and shining everywhere. At just 23 years old, what has the experience been like for you and how have you kept up with the strain mentally and physically
Will Ospreay: I’m fine, I feel really, really dandy. I’ve got a wonderful Mrs. I talk to everyday and always call her from home and speak to my family. That’s one of the things a lot of people said when you go to New Japan that it’ll drive you insane. With all the people speaking broken English and I’m fine, I love Japan. I love going over there and I love going to America too. Like New York, it’s such a beautiful city. It made me laugh because whenever I’m around New York, people are so angry and walk around like it’s their day job and they don’t want to be there. I’m just walking around thinking, ‘wow, I’m getting paid to be here and it’s kind of like a privilege to me.’ Mentally, I keep myself grounded and I remember where I came from. I’m really just a chilled out guy and nothing really affects me that much.
Ring Rust Radio: The British wrestling scene is red-hot currently and WWE attempted to capitalize on it with the UK Championship tournament. What were your impressions of the tournament and what would your level of interest have been in participating if you weren’t signed with ROH?
Will Ospreay: Oh, 100 percent I would’ve done it, I love the idea. The thing is I put a little post up a while ago and a lot of people gave me some shit about it. It was me saying how I wish, but I can’t be a part of it and it actually was Nick Jackson I think that said I am with the second-biggest company in the world and he said fuck those guys. It wasn’t like that, but it was along those lines of I’m so proud of our little island. The thing that got to me is there so many of my friends up there Pete Dunne, Trent Seven, Tyler Bate, Mark Andrews, T-Bone and so many guys that are close friends and I treasure them so much. I just want to help British wrestling out in the best way to help British wrestling is we are in every part of the world. I’m over with New Japan and Ring of Honor, Marty is with Ring of Honor, Zack is with PWG, and we are just spread out all across the world right now I’m so happy for everyone for participated in it. Do I wish I could’ve been a part of it? 100 percent I do. I would love to have done it and I would have loved to participated in it and been in the ring with my closest friends and soaking in that awesome British crowd. The fact is I’m with New Japan for a reason and I want to make the company—just like I am with Ring of Honor—to make that company better. Kudos to the tournament, I thought it was absolutely brilliant and I watched it live. It was absolutely incredible and it just goes to show that Tyler Bate is a star in the making. I think he is going to be a big name coming out of that so well done to everyone that got to be a part of it.
Donald Wood from Ring Rust Radio also writes for Forbes and Bleacher Report.
Listen to this Ospreay interview on YouTube HERE.
Listen to this Ospreay interview and the full show HERE.
NOW CHECK OUT THESE PREVIOUS INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS: Jack Swagger on why he’s leaving WWE, whether he plans to continue in pro wrestling or explore MMA
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