Will Ospreay has confirmed that contract with New Japan Pro Wrestling expires next year – amid interest from AEW in the English wrestling superstar.
For Essex, England, Ospreay is considered one of, if not the, best wrestler in the world. He has broken records for the amount of five-star matches in his career, earning more than both Kenny Omega and Kazuchika Okada before the age of 30. He evolved from a high-flying, high-risk style to one of the most visually appealing and exciting wrestlers the world has ever seen.
He has been pushed as a star in New Japan since first making his debut in 2016. He has won multiple titles in the company, including the New Japan Cup, the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship and the IWGP United States Championship, the latter of which he currently holds.
Will Ospreay is set to take on former AEW Champion Kenny Omega at Wrestle Kingdom 17, in the Canadian’s first match back with the company since 2019. All eyes will be on two of the best wrestlers in the world for that match, but rumours are swirling that Ospreay could join his rival in AEW as soon as his contract expires.
Ospreay has confirmed in a new interview with Fightful that his NJPW Contract expires in 2024. This puts a timer on his time with New Japan and ups the speculation that he could be on his way to AEW by this time next year. In the interview, Ospreay said;
“It’s flattering to know where people want me to show up and where they want me to go. I signed a five-year [deal] in 2019, so that will be up next year. My heart says I’ll still be with New Japan. I won’t lie, I have mad anxiety when it comes to America just because I come from such a small area and America is so big. I’ve only really dipped my toes into American wrestling. I did my stint with Ring of Honor, but I think I wrestled there maybe ten times. I kind of like to arrive and leave, and not stick around too long.”
New Japan traditionally signs their wrestlers to contracts from Wrestle Kingdom to Wrestle Kingdom cycle. In 2019, Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks and Adam Page all had their contracts expire just after Wrestle Kingdom 13. Despite being in the main event of that show, Omega left the company that night and stayed away for four long years. With this information, it’s safe to assume Will Ospreay’s NJPW contact expires in January 2024.
Whether he will leave the company, however, is not confirmed. As he said in the interview, his “heart says I’ll still be with New Japan“. While he has wrestled in US companies before, like ROH, PWG and even AEW earlier this year, there is no telling what he will do, although he could simply be saying this to negotiate a better deal with Tony Khan.
Will Ospreay wrestled for AEW for the first time in 2022. He made his debut in June 2022, in the build up to the Forbidden Door pay per view. He team with his United Empire teammates Aussie Open in his first match, before putting on the match of the night in his victory over Orange Cassidy at Forbidden Door. His team also competed in the AEW Trios Championship tournament, beating Death Triangle before losing to Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks (As The Elite) in the semi finals of the tournament, in what was his last appearance for the company.
Will Ospreay is set to defend his IWGP United States Championship against Kenny Omega at NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 17 on January 4th 2023. This is their version of Wrestlemania and can be viewed on New Japan World.