Will Ospreay has been crowned the winner of the New Japan Cup! ‘The Aerial Assassin’ defeated Shingo Takagi in the tournament final. However, his post-match actions have drawn almost as much attention as the win itself.
One of New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s biggest annual tournaments, the winner of the New Japan Cup earns a shot at the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. After a gruelling three-week tournament, only Will Ospreay and Shingo Takagi were left standing. Both men had a tough time making it to the final, as this year’s tournament featured 30 competitors.
Shingo Takagi had arguably the most difficult run of opponents in the tournament’s history. He faced off exclusively against New Japan Cup or New Japan Cup USA winners until the final. Takagi defeated two-time winner Kazuchika Okada, three-time winner Hirooki Goto, KENTA and EVIL to earn his place in the final.
Will Ospreay had a relatively easier, though still difficult, run of opponents. He defeated Hiroyoshi Tenzan, long-time rival Zack Sabre Jr., SANADA and David Finlay en-route to the final. With Ospreay and Takagi each holding a singles victory over the other, the stage was set for a huge clash for the trophy.
Ospreay was ultimately victorious. Hitting Takagi with a vicious Hidden Blade and then a Stormbreaker, the leader of the United Empire was able to get the win. However, in a shocking post-match attack, the tournament winner hit United Empire stablemate (and real-life girlfriend) Bea Priestley with an OsCutter.
After his win, Ospreay became only the second man in history to win both the Best of the Super Juniors and the New Japan Cup. Interestingly, his opponent for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship at Sakura Genesis, Kota Ibushi, was the first.
Sakura Genesis will take place on the 4th of April on NJPWWorld.