Is Will Ospreay The New Ace of NJPW’s Junior Heavyweight Division?

Will Ospreay is freaking awesome. There’s no questioning it.

His high-flying prowess and conceivably risky move set—highlighted by a potential Finisher of the Year candidate in The Storm Breaker—have drawn many eyes to the 25-year-old.

The last six months alone have been very kind to “The Aerial Assassin”. Ospreay kicked off his 2018 by besting Hiromu Takahashi, Marty Scurll, and Kushida to capture his second IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship at Wrestle Kingdom 12.

This win kickstarted a run of awe-inspiring matches against all three of his Wrestle Kingdom opponents. Arguably the best of which came against Scurll with the match not only being remembered for being top notch but also a brutal Spanish Fly attempt on the ring apron that caused Ospreay to land directly on his head.

Ospreay even headlined NJPW’s 46th Anniversary show against Chaos stablemate and then-IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Kazuchika Okada who later named him as one of his top three active wrestlers along with Kenny Omega and Tetsuya Naito.

“The Sky King” began this year’s Best of the Super Juniors tournament losing a thriller against the returning Taiji Ishimori—which eventually cost him a spot in the finals via tiebreaker—and managed to finish second in his block with ten points.

The aforementioned Kushida has been widely considered to be the face of the Junior Heavyweight division. His five reigns as Junior Heavyweight Champion—tied for third most in NJPW history—lent credibility to that claim. However, Will Ospreay has been on fire lately and has earned compliments from Okada and NJPW President, Naoki Sugabayashi. The latter even went as far as calling Ospreay the best Junior Heavyweight wrestler in the world and a role model for aspiring gaijin New Japan Wrestlers.

With admiration from that high up the New Japan ladder, it is difficult to ignore the shift occurring for the top spot among the Junior Heavyweights. Despite losing the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title to Hiromu Takahashi at Dominion, Ospreay has clearly staked his claim as the new ace of the Junior Heavyweight division.

 

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