AEW'S Will Ospreay Looks Back On When He Found His Footing In NJPW

"The Icon" Sting might be retired, but three major stars have joined AEW to add more star power in his wake: Will Ospreay, Kazuchika Okada, and Mercedes Mone. All three appeared in New Japan Pro-Wrestling before joining the promotion, with Ospreay and Okada being long-tenured members of the Japanese promotion. While speaking on "Talk is Jericho," Ospreay looked back on his early days in NJPW and recalled learning from their veterans, such as Katsuyori Shibata, Kushida, Okada, and Hiromu Takahashi before grabbing the brass ring after other top stars left.

"I feel like I finally found my footing in 2019 when Kenny [Omega] left, and the [Young] Bucks left, and Cody [Rhodes] left, obviously to set up AEW, and then obviously myself and Jay [White] stepped in, I found my footing when I wrestled Shingo [Takagi] in the Super Juniors."

"The Aerial Assassin" joined NJPW and its Junior Heavyweight division in 2016 after several years on the British independent scene. He won several accolades there, such as the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship and the Best of the Super Juniors tournament, before bumping up to the Heavyweight division, which was punctuated by him winning the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship.

Ospreay stated that he learned a lot from watching tapes of the former stars, including matches of Omega and Okada, and studied their pacing. He said his match with Takagi gave him a complete understanding of wrestling, and facing off with someone he admired as a kid was a surreal experience.

If you use any quotes from this article, please credit "Talk Is Jericho" and provide a H/T to Wrestle Inc. for the transcription.