Will Ospreay forced to vacate the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship due to injury
Will Ospreay has been forced to vacate the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. Ospreay was the second-ever holder of the newly introduced title and won the belt from Kota Ibushi at this year’s Sakura Genesis show.
Due to an injury suffered on May 4th, Will Ospreay has been left with no other option but to relinquish the IWGP World Heavyweight Title. On night two of Wrestling Dontaku in Fukuoka, Ospreay suffered a neck injury during his title defense against Shingo Takagi.
NJPW released a statement mentioning that Will Ospreay will vacate the world championship and will also be returning to the UK for treatment and rehabilitation. Here is an excerpt from NJPW’s official website regarding the situation:
On May 4’s night two of Wrestling Dontaku in Fukuoka, Will Ospreay sustained a neck injury. As a result, Ospreay will not be participating in the next series of events and will instead return to the UK for treatment and rehabilitation. There is no timetable for Ospreay’s return to action at this time, and as a result, his IWGP World Heavyweight Championship will be vacated. Further announcements on the status of the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship will be made at a later date.
As seen in the aforementioned statement, a timetable for Will Ospreay’s return to in-ring competition is yet to be revealed. NJPW has also confirmed that they will decide the future of the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship at a later date, with a future announcement.
Will Ospreay’s first-ever reign as IWGP World Heavyweight Champion has been cut short
Will Ospreay made history by becoming the first-ever British Superstar to hold the primary championship of New Japan Pro Wrestling. After departing from his old faction CHAOS, the Commonwealth Kingpin formed The United Empire and added Jeff Cobb, The Great-O-Khan and Aaron Henare to the group.
It was at this year’s Sakura Genesis show when Ospreay set the benchmark and won the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. Following Kota Ibushi’s historic win at Wrestle Kingdom 15, The Golden Star proceeded to merge both the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Titles to form the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship.
After multiple successful title defenses, Ibushi ended up losing the title to Ospreay. The newly crowned champion was originally set to defend the belt at the Tokyo Dome against Kazuchika Okada. It now remains to be seen what decision NJPW will make regarding their world title.