Anyone that has been following the independent wrestling scene of the last few years will have noticed a spike in the overall aspect across the globe. Starting right here in the UK, indy wrestling has just been on an absolute roll and this year was it’s peak.
All over crowds were up along with match and show quality.
Looking at some of the performers, many were held in high regard anyway but in 2016 they really began to shine with some getting chances around the world at some of wrestling’s premier promotions.
Everyone will have a choice of their wrestler of the year be that on the indies, in Japan or maybe even the WWE or TNA. For me, Will Ospreay gets my vote and here’s why.
This young man has been setting the world alight, with great performances in the UK, Germany, America and Japan. The latter is where he signed a 2 year contract with NJPW and in his debut match there as part of the CHAOS stable he had a stellar match with IWGP Jr. champion KUSHIDA albeit in a losing effort. He would go on to wrestle in the Best Of Super Juniors Tournament, read on further down for more on that.
Will wrestled in some other notable tournaments this past year the first being in March over in Germany as he wrestled in the 16 Carat Gold Tournament which over the years has produced some great matches as far as Europe is concerned and the tournament has had some winners that have gone on to be top names in independent wrestling. In the first round Will defeated Shane Strickland in an excellent wrestling match and the two also had a enjoyable dance off, shame the music had to be edited for the VOD release. He went on to lose in the 2nd round to eventual winner Zack Sabre Jr. in of course, another excellent match.
Then in May we had the BOSJ where he faced Ricochet in a match that was talked about the world over for various reasons but as a fan of fast-paced cruiserweight type action I thought it was tremendous, as I stated, it was talked about the world over, more on that shortly. Ospreay went on to win the BOSJ which really topped off some excellent matches in the tournament. I mentioned Will’s match with Ricochet and the reaction it got, some of the negative reaction it got was from Vader, he didn’t like the, shall we say, structure of the match and this went on to be a back and forth debate on twitter between Vader & Will and of course fans would chime in too and eventually out of this came a match which took place on a Rev-Pro show in London. It wasn’t a great spectacle but Rev-Pro promoter Andy Quidan said “I had to do it”.
Tournament number 3 for Will was for me wrestling’s top tournament the PWG Battle Of Los Angeles which was in September, Will was in the 2015 one too where he performed really well but in this years tournament he went one better. in his first match this year he defeated Fenix in what you can imagine was an amazing aerial battle to go through to the next round, highlights HERE. On the second night he teamed with Ricochet & Matt Sydal to take on and defeat the Bullet Club combination of The Young Bucks & Adam Cole. WOW, this match, words cannot do it justice, really, seek out this match if you have not seen it yet but there are some highlights HERE. On the 3rd night Will got revenge of sorts over Zack Sabre Jr. by reversing a pin attempt for one of his own which saw him go on to the semi-finals. This is where PWG were smart and booked the first singles match since the BOSJ between Will & Richochet and as you can guess, this match was outstanding, Will defeated Ricochet with his ‘OsCutter’. This took Will to the finals where in a 3-way he would face old rival Marty Scurll as well as Trevor Lee, this was elimination rules and Will was the first eliminated via Marty Scurll’s chicken wing submission move with Trevor Lee assisted kicks.
On the recent ROH tour of the UK Will won the TV championship from Bobby Fish but dropped it to that proverbial pain in the neck of his, Marty Scurll later on the tour. And I am writing this just after ROH’s Final Battle which was held in New York where will failed in his attempt to regain the TV title from Scurll in a 3-way that also featured Dragon Lee. He would go on to wrestle at the TV tapings following the PPV that weekend.
Will really did tear it up all over in 2016, so many promotions and matches we’d be here all day talking about them so I’ll leave it here, suffice to say Will had a great 2016 and I am sure he’ll go on to have a great 2017 and beyond.
Please let me know your independent wrestler of 2016 I’d like to think Will is right up there on most people’s lists.