Will Ospreay is one of the most accomplished stars in New Japan and he's perfectly happy where he's at.
But in 2016, he nearly joined WWE for the Cruiserweight Classic. Ospreay was still a free agent at the time and was set to compete in the Best of Super Juniors before potentially heading to the Cruiserweight Classic. However, things didn't quite work out for either party.
"[William] Regal calls me while I was filming a commercial and is like, 'Do you fancy doing the Cruiserweight Classic?' I was like, 'I'm interested, but I'm going to New Japan in April.' There was nothing signed that I was legally New Japan's property. I said, 'would you have a problem if I did New Japan?' Regal drops the line, 'Let me ask Triple H and I'll get back to you.' I'm like, 'What the fuck is going on?' Regal asked Triple H, he was fine with it. I would do the Super Juniors and then do the Cruiserweight Classic and then I would be free to do what I wanted. As it started to get closer to April, WWE said they wanted me full-time and I would have to go over there and be part of the system. I wasn't ready for that. It was a choice between WWE, NJPW, and TNA. TNA wasn't an option, I didn't want to go. My best bet was to go to NJPW, learn the tricks of the trade, and within my first year I knew it was the place for me. I told Regal, 'I'm not ready to sign on.' He asked if I wanted to do the Cruiserweight Classic anyway. I didn't want to do something unless I'm 100% committed and I wasn't. They were understanding. There have been phone calls since, but I'm just not interested. Especially what the current product is. Until things start to change, I don't think I'll ever be interested in WWE," Ospreay told Chris Van Vliet.
Ospreay believed he would lose in the first round if he had entered the Cruiserweight Classic. Kota Ibushi and Zack Sabre Jr, two men who went on to become NJPW staples but didn't sign with WWE, both lost in the semifinals of the tournament.
Ospreay elaborated on not wanting to join WWE as he's not ready to give over creative control to his character.
"I'm ready to experiment. I'm willing to gamble. That's the beauty of the position that I'm in. I can decide what Will Ospreay is," he said. "The moment I go to WWE, it's like, 'Yes sir, no sir.' When you're there...there are a lot of guys signed to WWE who just signed because it is WWE. It's their choice, they have their reasons. There are guys there who were coming up in the Indies and were the hottest thing at the time and then all of a sudden it's 'what are they doing now?' I'm more than willing to play around with this character until I'm ready to be like, 'I'm willing to roll the dice and let WWE take creative control over my character.' Money is nothing to me, as long as I'm getting by."
Ospreay is currently signed with NJPW through the summer of 2024.
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