Four days earlier than the corporate’s flagship pay-per-view takes place, All Elite Wrestling is giving followers a style of a highly-anticipated dream match on weekly tv. AEW Dynamite will host The Elite vs. United Empire within the semifinals of the AEW World Trios Titles match, pitting Kenny Omega and Will Ospreay on reverse sides. While they have been distant since January 2019, Omega and Ospreay have by no means been shy about verbally sparring at one another on social media. AEW offered a glimpse of the 2’s animosity in direction of one another after Dynamite went off the air final week, with Omega criticizing Ospreay for being unable to fill his footwear in New Japan Pro Wrestling.
These barbs fell on largely deaf ears, as not solely did that phase not air as half of the Dynamite broadcast, nevertheless it made reference to occasions that happened exterior of AEW. Despite barely interacting on tv and emphasizing that their points usually are not half of a long-term storyline, Omega and Ospreay have inadvertently constructed one of the extra intricate feuds in skilled wrestling that has remained untapped, till now.
As can typically be the case in skilled wrestling, an anticipated match has already occurred, albeit with considerably decrease stakes. Just as CM Punk and Dean Ambrose wrestled for weeks on finish in 2013 with solely bragging rights on the road virtually a decade earlier than they’d be unifying a world title or how Cody Rhodes wrestled Chris Jericho on a random episode of SmackDown lengthy forward of their AEW World Championship match at AEW Full Gear 2019, Ospreay and Omega first locked up at PWG All-Star Weekend XI in 2015, going over 16 minutes in what was dubbed by many because the match of the evening.
On a weekend that additionally featured Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano vs. the Young Bucks, Omega acquired the 1-2-3 on Ospreay after placing him away with a One-Winged Angel. This match would go down simply three months earlier than Ospreay started usually working for New Japan the place he would be part of Kazuchika Okada’s steady, Chaos. Simultaneously, Omega had risen the ranks of his faction, excommunicating AJ Styles to grow to be the brand new chief of Bullet Club at a time when the steady was seeing industry-changing ranges of recognition.
Ask anybody to recall a fond time interval, and 9 instances out of ten they may reply with Summer ’16. Whether or not it’s the music, the films, or simply the general vibes, there was one thing within the air for these three months six years in the past.
That constructive power prolonged to Japan, as each Ospreay and Omega gained their respective tournaments that summer season. Ospreay turned the youngest winner of the Best of the Super Juniors whereas Omega turned the primary non-Japanese wrestler to win the G1 Climax.
In extra notable parallels, each Ospreay and Omega would go on to lose the championship matches they earned consequently of their match victories. Ospreay misplaced his title shot to then-IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Kushida at Dominion 2016, whereas Omega was defeated by then-IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 11.
Ships within the Night
Following their monumental Summer 2016s, Ospreay and Omega’s quests for singles gold would run parallel, however by no means cross. Ospreay surged up the juniors division however had problem dethroning Kushida. At the identical time, Omega was teetering on the planet title scene, however was by no means in a position to put away Okada.
Ospreay lastly defeated Kushida for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title in October 2017, 547 days after his first shot at that title. In extra excellent concord, Omega’s long-awaited crowning second got here at Dominion 2018, 521 days after his first world title match. While these journeys final for a close to equivalent period, they began roughly 9 months aside. The aforementioned Dominion 2018 is when the 2 would discover themselves on even timelines once more, as hours earlier than Omega dethroned Okada, Ospreay had misplaced his title to Hiromu Takahashi.
Dominion 2018 would show to be a symbolic night for each males. Omega’s world title victory would begin the start of his ultimate run with NJPW, whereas Ospreay’s junior title loss commenced his journey in direction of the heavyweight division.
Three years and three days after their lone singles encounter, Omega and Ospreay would meet one another within the squared circle as soon as once more. IWGP World Champion Omega and NEVER Openweight Champion Kota Ibushi took on their upcoming Wrestle Kingdom challengers, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Ospreay, respectively, in tag motion. This NJPW Road to Tokyo Dome bout acquired rave evaluations, garnering a five-star ranking for its high-octane offense and memorable spots all through.
Just like their first match in 2015, Omega was on the profitable facet.
Wrestle Kingdom 13
The ultimate evening that Ospreay and Omega shared a locker room would show to be pivotal for each males. Hours earlier than Omega wrestled his ultimate match in NJPW, Ospreay captured his first NJPW title exterior of the juniors division. That stated, his victory was not with out controversy.
Ospreay defeated Ibushi for the NEVER Openweight Championship with a mixture of the Hidden Blade and Stormbreaker. The Hidden Blade, a again elbow strike to the pinnacle, concussed Ibushi, and he was compelled to depart the Tokyo Dome on a stretcher. According to Ospreay, Omega wished Ibushi to be in his nook for his farewell match that evening, however his damage prevented that from occurring.
Passing The Torch
With Omega leaving for AEW, New Japan had a large opening in its foremost occasion scene. While it is unclear when this dialog went down, Ospreay revealed that his final face-to-face with Omega concluded with the Cleaner passing him the torch.
“The last thing Kenny ever said to me, we were in this big meeting and he pulled me to one side and said with the Bucks and Cody, ‘Alright, you’ve got to take the reins now. It’s all on you,'” Ospreay stated in April 2020.
Omega expanded on this, including that present IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Jay White was additionally in that change.
“Before I left New Japan, I pulled aside Ospreay and Jay White. I don’t even know if I should tell this story, but I will. I told both, ‘This company, at least the western expansion and the pride of the foreigners, it’s all in your hands. They’re going to look to you to carry this thing, so you’ve got to do it,'” Omega stated in May 2021. “I said it to Jay and Ospreay knowing it was a likely scenario. But also hoping to light a fire under both of them.”
Since The Elite’s departure from NJPW, Ospreay continued to rack up accolades. He gained one other Best of the Super Juniors in 2019, carried that momentum to a different IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title victory that summer season, and entered his first G1 Climax.
2020 was much more profitable for Ospreay, as he opened the yr by profitable the British Heavyweight Championship, which kickstarted a report 919-day reign with that title. Following that victory, Ospreay formally ascended into the heavyweight division. He continued to carve out his legacy by leaving Chaos and forming his personal steady: The United Empire. Momentum continued to surge for the Commonwealth Kingpin, as he went on to win the 2021 New Japan Cup and efficiently use that subsequent title shot to defeat Ibushi for the IWGP World Heavyweight Title. That reign can be lower considerably quick, as a neck damage compelled Ospreay to vacate New Japan’s prime prize only a month after profitable it.
As this was occurring in Japan, Omega had reached the head of AEW, capturing the AEW World Title in December 2020 and holding it till November 2021.
Despite Omega’s obvious religion in Ospreay as a future face of New Japan in 2019, the Best Bout Machine started to vary his tune in 2021. While he remained complimentary of Ospreay as a competitor, he performed up his belt collector gimmick by casting doubt on Ospreay’s potential to fill his footwear.
“For Ospreay, he’d really came into his own. He made a complete career shift, and he was going to be a fantastic champion. He made changes to his body, he made changes to his style, his look, his demeanor, He became the person that he needed to be the champion of that company. Unfortunately, becoming champion wasn’t enough for him. He tried to fill my shoes,” Omega stated in May 2021. “Physically, even though he is one of the most gifted performers to ever step foot in the ring, there is only one Kenny Omega. And you can’t fill those shoes. Thus, now his belt is vacant, so perhaps it was always meant to be my belt and my belt alone. That’s not me making a firm statement as to whether I’ll make a venture out there, just that there is no one there that can fill my shoes or override my legacy. When Ospreay comes back, he’ll have to re-analyze who he is and who he’s meant to be, because he’s not meant to be me.”
The stress between Omega and Ospreay escalated later that fall. Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s Top 500 Wrestlers List put Omega within the prime spot in 2021, whereas Ospreay sat at No. 7. Responding to a fan, Ospreay claimed that he might beat Omega “any day of the week and twice on Wednesdays,” to which Omega closely disagreed.
“Your promotion has been so ice cold since I left that not even [Dave] Meltzer can convince his followers that you were part of any BITW conversation,” Omega wrote to Ospreay It hurts me, bruv. One of you dorks ought to have been the man. Turned out an even bigger canine was my solely competitors.”
“Last chat we had was ‘you should be the man,'” Ospreay replied. “Since then, you left, we offered out MSG, offered extra tickets on the Tokyo Dome than ever earlier than, and placed on banger after banger. A pandemic put the breaks on & it. Open that door, let’s have this dialog.”
Ospreay would once again comment on Omega the following month, saying he would “embarrass” the former Bullet Club leader if they met in the ring again.
“Kenny Omega was the man in New Japan Pro Wrestling, however when he left, I took over and I made my very own stance and nobody might compete with me again in 2019,” Ospreay stated in October 2021. “If I acquired right into a room with him, I’d embarrass him.”
Like clockwork, Ospreay and Omega would resume the web spattering each couple of months.
Keep sending your fan cam footage of your 0 strain indies and also you may simply pull it off
I’d do the identical for some EZ 5’s however I perceive the distinction between what an Arena/Dome/Budokan foremost occasion means in comparison with while you play along with your mates just a few blocks over at York Hall https://t.co/NUmejcYNJU
— Kenny Omega (@KennyOmegamanX) February 4, 2022
It’s mad to suppose that anytime I get near doing one thing near nice. Ole @KennyOmegamanX needs to pipe up and count on me to not pop off.
If you do not like me and watch the whole lot I do, you are a fan.
— ???? ??????? o ????????? (@WillOspreay) February 4, 2022
At this level, Omega was out of motion with numerous accidents and had begun his highway to restoration. Ospreay teased the concept of a singles match between himself and Omega at AEW x NJPW: Forbidden Door, however Omega remained uncleared for competitors.
Things Heat Up
If Summer ’16 was the exposition and the web feud was the rising motion, Summer ’22 is the climax. One month after teasing a Forbidden Door match with the Best Bout Machine, Ospreay revealed that he was “not on good terms” with Omega.
“We’re not on good terms right now. When you leave the building and leave New Japan and pull me aside and say, ‘You need to step up for this company, I believe in you,’ and gas you up and gas you up hard, and you put your heart and f–king soul in trying to make this… the bar was high. For both myself and [Jay White], the bar was high. I actually care and want the fans who watch New Japan to be like, ‘This is professional wrestling.’ I’m doing it and destroying my body to do it, and then you cut me off online?” Ospreay stated in May. “I look at you and actually hold you in high regard, actual high regard, and I respect everything you’ve done. It’s one of those things where I prefer him to stay away from me at this point. It’s not even funny. You can destroy guys like that. You’re saying this and you’re saying that, I don’t like two-faced people.”
While Omega didn’t straight reply to these feedback, he did qualify his criticisms of Ospreay one month later.
“When I left, if I were a betting man, I would have put everything I owned in my name, so couple of retro consoles and five dollars, I would have put that on knowing that Jay White and Will Ospreay were going to be the go-to international talents that they would heavily push,” Omega stated in June. “Ospreay, he’s doing great in his role, not my thing so much. Jay White, he’s become the star that they needed. I can’t say one over another, but they do work quite well harmoniously. A guy like Will, who is great at moves and has a list of 20 very forgettable five-star matches (laughs). I’m going a little too hard on Will.”
It did not take lengthy for Ospreay to get wind of these phrases. In July, Ospreay determined to shine gentle on why he believes Omega persistently belittles his accomplishments.
“This whole thing has generated from back in 2019. It was Kenny’s last match and I guess he wanted Ibushi out there to second him. I f–king blew Ibushi’s brain out with the hidden blade. He’s super f–king mad at me,” Ospreay stated in July. “The thing is, I’m mad at myself when those situations happen. I don’t want to brain somebody, but it’s a legal wrestling move. I’m allowed to do it. I’m allowed to do blows to the back of the head, 12-6 elbows down. This is a 9-3 elbow strike, I’m allowed to do it. Obviously, the repercussion is he got knocked out and it was a bad concussion. Since then, myself and Ibushi, we have gone out for drinks. We don’t talk anymore, but after that point, we went for drinks and meals, we’re fine, but Kenny is [upset] off of an accident.”
Ospreay additionally implied that Omega prevented him from debuting with AEW earlier.
“Apparently, the rumor was that I was meant to be there a year ago, just doing ‘forbidden door’ stuff and somebody is putting the block on it,” Ospreay stated in the identical interview. “It doesn’t take two and two to realize who it is. One person who has not been there for a while and all of a sudden, I’m welcomed in with open arms.”
Ospreay is not any stranger to on-line feuds, and the 29-year-old wrestler is aware of the way to money in on them. He reworked Twitter beef with Hall of Famer Vader right into a match, offered merchandise based mostly on Rip Rogers’s “…dive” feedback, and created “little guy” shirts after Seth Rollins referred to as out his measurement.
Ospreay took his points with Omega to the ring, nailing his opponent with Omega’s One-Winged Angel at a RevPro occasion. Rather than let that maneuver end the match, Ospreay pulled his opponent’s arm up, implying that the famously un-kick-out-able finisher was simply escapable. Following go well with together with his previous on-line feuds, Ospreay made merchandise out of this second, however was despatched a stop and desist warning 24 hours after they have been made out there.
PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to receiving a Cease & Desist warning, now we have eliminated the Will Ospreay – “Billy The Wanker” (Double-Sided) Tee from https://t.co/FhcfxY9Whc.@WillOspreay UnitedEmpire KNGP1N BetterThan pic.twitter.com/dOwoS8nHIe
— Pro Wrestling Tees (@PWTees) July 22, 2022
— ???? ??????? o ????????? (@WillOspreay) July 23, 2022
Face To Face
After three years of digital bickering, Omega and Ospreay lastly locked eyes on the August twenty fourth version of AEW Dynamite. Ospreay and Aussie Open defeated Death Triangle within the first spherical of the AEW World Trios Titles match, setting them on a collision course with Omega and the Young Bucks come the semifinals.
Shortly after Ospreay acquired the 1-2-3, “Battle Cry” echoed all through the Wolstein Center, and The Elite emerged from the entranceway to confront United Empire. Omega particularly stood in entrance, teasing an in-ring confrontation with Ospreay, however was held again by supervisor Don Callis.
After Dynamite went off the air, Omega took to the microphone and lower into Ospreay. While this promo was not half of the printed, AEW uploaded it in full to its YouTube channel.
“[Let’s] see if you can handle responsibility, Will,” Omega stated to Ospreay as he provided him an opportunity to talk. “Hopefully you can handle it a little better than filling my shoes in New Japan.”
“Filling your shoes?” Ospreay replied. “The way I see things, in the short time that I’ve been in New Japan, I’ve done everything you’ve done and more you fragile little b—h.”
Ospreay is referencing the truth that in his six years in NJPW, he has already collected two Best of the Super Junior match wins, three IWGP Junior Heavyweight Titles, a NEVER Openweight Title, and an IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. By comparability, Omega by no means gained a Best of the Super Juniors match, held the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title on two events, didn’t win the NEVER Openweight Title, and took eight years to win his first IWGP World Heavyweight Title in comparison with Ospreay’s 5.
All these statistics are relative, as Omega factors out their respective accomplishments got here in very totally different eras.
“That could be true, except the only difference is I did it in front of full sold out crowds and you did a G1 final in front of what, 3,000 people?” Omega responded. “After the hardships I faced to give people like you an opportunity, Will, you would think that maybe you’d be able to do a little more with it.”
The verbal sparring almost turned bodily as soon as Omega resurrected his long-running criticism of Ospreay’s matches’ memorability.
“None of these people know any of your matches. None of these people even know you. I introduced them to you a lot like how I introduced you to the heavyweight scene in New Japan. I never got one thank you from you, Will,” Omega continued. “You see Will, I gave you the impossible task of filling my shoes. But maybe I shouldn’t have given you a pair of shoes when you still haven’t grown out of your diapers.”
United Empire vs. The Elite
For the primary time since December 2018, Ospreay and Omega discover themselves on reverse sides of the squared circle. While it is not the heavily-anticipated singles match that followers are impatiently awaiting, it’s the first assembly of the 2 for the reason that on-line feud started.
For speaking sh*t.
For being a pretend.
For stop and desisting.
For being with greatest C*nt within the enterprise.
I’m going to actually take pleasure in battering you & your folks. AEWDynamite
With 9 totally different combos of one-on-one match-ups inside this trios bout, there’ll probably be restricted in-ring time between Ospreay and Omega. That stated, the 2 titans will definitely conflict in some unspecified time in the future, and can give followers a teaser trailer of what’s to return once they finally have their inevitable singles match.
Ospreay and Aussie Open battle Omega and the Young Bucks tonight on AEW Dynamite.