Few announcements can stir as much excitement and speculation as the signing of a top-tier wrestler to a major promotion in the world of wrestling. This exact scenario unfolded recently, shaking the foundations of All Elite Wrestling (AEW). Tony Khan, AEW’s President and CEO, set the wrestling community abuzz with his announcement on *Dynamite*. He proclaimed that “one of the best wrestlers in the world” would be signing with AEW at the Full Gear event, igniting a whirlwind of fan theories and debates. As the Pay-Per-View (PPV) event approached, Khan elevated the anticipation, transforming the promised signing into what he termed a “Blockbuster Signing.”
The mystery surrounding the new addition was fueled further by Khan’s descriptions, which evolved from “known + respected” to dubbing the individual a “huge star.” This strategic ambiguity kept the wrestling world on its toes, eagerly awaiting the revelation.
The suspense culminated on November 18, during the Full Gear event, when the identity of the much-hyped signing was finally unveiled. The wrestling world welcomed the arrival of “The Aerial Assassin” Will Ospreay, confirming the speculations and ending the fervent guessing game. Ospreay, renowned for his tenure and spectacular performances with New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), marked a significant acquisition for AEW, aligning with the promotion’s ambitious growth and its commitment to showcasing world-class talent.
Ospreay’s arrival at the PPV was nothing short of cinematic. He made his presence known by signing the contract held by Tony Schiavone in the ring, a moment that symbolized a new chapter in his illustrious career. However, Ospreay was clear about the specifics of his engagement with AEW. He confirmed that his role as a full-time AEW star would only commence once his obligations with NJPW concluded in February 2024. This revelation indicates a respect for his existing commitments while also building anticipation for his full-time involvement in AEW.
In a compelling twist, Ospreay didn’t just sign the contract passively; he issued a challenge. He urged Tony Khan to bring his best wrestlers and be ready for Ospreay’s return in 2024. This assertive approach not only showcases Ospreay’s confidence but also sets the stage for exciting potential matchups and storylines within AEW. His shout-out to next year’s All In event in London further cements his intention to be a pivotal part of AEW’s future.
The announcement, which had been shrouded in mystery, was accurately reported by Andrew Zarian of the Wrestling Observer on the eve of the event, despite rampant speculation and numerous theories circulating online. Zarian’s report served as a precursor to the official unveiling, adding a layer of credibility to the rumor mill that often accompanies such high-profile wrestling news.
Post-event, Ospreay shared his thoughts and motivations behind his decision to join AEW during the post-show press conference. Reflecting on his new beginning with AEW, Ospreay expressed a deep sense of trust and connection with the organization’s leadership. “I’ve built up and trust and rapport with Tony [Khan],” he stated, emphasizing the crucial role of personal relationships in the wrestling world. This comment underlines how decisions in this industry are often influenced not just by financial or career prospects but by the quality of interpersonal connections and mutual respect.
Ospreay’s decision to join AEW was more than a professional choice; it was a move that considered his family’s well-being. He candidly shared, “Right now, this is the best decision for me and my family. I’m not interrupting my kid’s school, my Mrs. can see her parents.” This acknowledgment provides a rare insight into the personal sacrifices and considerations that wrestlers often have to make, balancing the demands of a high-profile career with family responsibilities.
Reflecting on his time with New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), Ospreay expressed deep gratitude and recognized the significant impact it had on his growth as a performer and individual. “I’ve spent eight years of my life in New Japan. I was a very immature young man and I came into the business, I don’t think really prepared for what was to come,” he remarked. This humility and recognition of his personal journey underscore the transformative nature of his experience in NJPW, which shaped not just his wrestling persona but his approach to life and career.
Ospreay’s tenure with NJPW wasn’t just about professional growth; it was a journey of self-discovery and evolution. He acknowledged this evolution, saying, “With everything with New Japan, I’ve grown up in front of them. I can’t thank them enough.” His heartfelt thanks to NJPW highlights a wrestler’s emotional connection to their wrestling home and the deep sense of gratitude for the opportunities and experiences it provided.
However, Ospreay made it clear that his journey with NJPW has not reached its end. He maintained, “That doesn’t mean I’m done. I can still, with Tony’s blessing, I can still do some dates. It just has to be right.” This statement reflects the fluid nature of wrestling careers, where allegiances and commitments can intersect, allowing wrestlers to honor their past while embracing new opportunities.