MLW made a huge splash on Thursday night as their Vice TV debut featured the major announcement that Will Ospreay was headed to the promotion.
On Saturday, October 2nd, MLW returned to its recent home of late, the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, for a huge card headlined by the highly anticipated title fight of Jacob Fatu vs Alexander Hammerstone. The card was packed with great bouts, the return of the Opera Cup tournament, and featured the appearance of MLW’s much-awaited women’s division. But, what didn’t happen live in the Philadelphia crowd was the introduction of MLW’s newest signee, who is perhaps their biggest one to date. On Thursday night, as MLW aired parts of Fightland for its Vice TV debut, Court Bauer delivered on the big signing he had been teasing earlier in the day.
— Court Bauer (@courtbauer) October 7, 2021
Bauer’s tweet raised some eyebrows, especially as he mentioned MLW’s newest signee was someone a “certain billionaire” was “tripping over himself to undermine it.” Of course, there are just two billionaires in wrestling, Tony Khan and Vince McMahon, and both of them have been linked to MLW’s mystery signing in the past.
As fans speculated who the signee could be, names like Bobby Fish, Braun Strowman, Bronson Reed, Buddy Murphy, Bray Wyatt, and Tony Nese were thrown around. And many of those names made sense. Wyatt is a hot free agent who has been heavily linked to AEW in recent months, Strowman is someone MLW had publicly been in negotiations with, and Fish was making his debut with the promotion as part of the Opera Cup. All good guesses, but all wrong guesses as Bauer’s major signing was one no one seemed to see coming.
— FIGHTLAND on VICE TV (@MLW) October 8, 2021
The 28-year-old Will Ospreay has been one of wrestling’s top international stars ever since he was barely 20 years old. Ospreay’s high-flying style, unmatched by anyone else at the time, catapulted him to superstardom, first in the UK, then in Ring of Honor, and then globally as he became a highly sought after free agent. WWE wanted him for their inaugural Cruiserweight Classic in 2016 but Ospreay turned them down as he had already decided on going to New Japan Pro Wrestling. In fact, in an interview Ospreay did years later with Chris Van Vilet in 2020, he expressed having no interest in going to WWE given the current state of the product. At the same time, Ospreay, the former IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, and 3x World Junior Heavyweight Champion, had expressed wanting out of Japan as well, showing interest in working fulltime in the United States. So, in September of this year, Ospreay made his debut on the U.S.-based NJPW STRONG.
Due to MLW’s working relationship with NJPW, several wrestlers have been able to perform for both promotions including most notably TJP and Tom Lawlor. While it is unclear if Ospreay will be coming to MLW under those same conditions or if he’s going to be a contract wrestler, it is certain that this is a huge get for Bauer’s promotion. Ospreay is an incredibly exciting performer and brings with him a built in audience who will tune in to watch him each and every week.
MLW has been gaining momentum lately and the involvement of Will Ospreay will no doubt move that needle even further for them. He is exactly the kind of name recognition talent that MLW needs as they look to continue to grow and establish themselves amidst a land of giants in the wrestling sphere.