Match Review: Dick Riley vs. Will Ospreay
January 13 2018
We’re in Kingswood, Gloucestershire at Pro Wrestling Chaos. I like Chaos as a promotion but they rarely have the kind of matches that you’d go out of your way to witness. However with the attitude Will Ospreay has launched into 2018 with his matches are quickly becoming unmissable.
Dick Riley vs. Will Ospreay
Will is 24 years old and has the world at his feet but he still feels the need to wrestle everywhere and he steals the show every single fucking time out. I’ve criticised him for his lack of intelligence but that’s social media stupidity. His in-ring is smart. His opponent here is Dick Riley. He’s a local wrestler from the south/south west and he’s not yet had the chance at exploring the bigger, better known promotions.
Ospreay, attired in Spiderman style gear, actually does a Spiderman walk across the ring. He has this knack of seeing something and being able to imitate it effortlessly and perfectly at the first attempt. Will’s only in-ring weakness is his verbal selling. I’m never convinced by his “owww, it hurts” approach. Riley is far more convincing in his selling while Ospreay is better off demonstrating his incredible range of offence. It’s something he’ll need to find a way around eventually if he wants to be considered a true great. He’s certainly a guy responsible for the revolution in wrestling style that the Indies are experiencing and with Ricochet in NXT, it’s soon to hit the big leagues. Ospreay makes a point of not doing anything showy here so that the first big move of the match is a tornillo to the floor from Riley. It changes the dynamic of the match. Ospreay could blow him away with flips if he wanted to but Riley has to look like a threat. Ospreay does a fine job of not taking Riley that seriously, while also putting on a match that’s entirely 50-50. It’s hard to do but he makes it look so easy.
Just Will Ospreay doing Will Ospreay stuff.
He could literally steal all of Sabu's moves and actually hit them properly. pic.twitter.com/q7hPxLlsDM
— Arn~! (@ArnoldFurious) February 5, 2018
There is an underlying comedy tone, concerning the phallic names of both wrestlers (Dick vs. Willy), and they do a great job of playing to that but also not letting it overwhelm their story. It’s there but it’s not important. When they get into Will’s pre-planned sequences, trading (yes, trading) standing single man Spanish Fly’s, the match goes into overdrive. Anyone who can keep up with Ospreay can have a sensational match with him, almost by default and Will’s sequences are always fresh despite many of them being the same. It’s weird but his stuff is so jaw dropping that it always works. He’s certainly fixed a major issue in his game since wrestling in Japan; Will’s strikes are brilliant now.
Also his sense of timing and when to slow it down and saviour the moment have improved greatly. He has all this energy inside but he rations it out and works crowds far better now than even a year ago. His elbow pad removal before the Decapitation Elbow is wonderful stuff. “Off with his head”. All that. That could be his finish. It’s that good. I’m glad this match doesn’t have too many head drops in it. Will needs to protect his neck. Rainmaker sets up the Oscutter and Ospreay scores the win. Good performance from Dick Riley. He’s a talent. Will on the other hand is off the charts right now. He’s having ‘must see’ matches every time out.
Final Rating: ****
Will Ospreay is a once in a generation talent. However wrestlers who wrestle his style don’t get to be old wrestlers. Look at Dynamite Kid, an innovator of the hard-bumping, high flying, hybrid wrestling that’s so popular now. In a wheelchair, stricken by poverty. Ospreay has a bright future but he should be under no illusions about the longevity of his career. In order to make sure he’s not a brickie in his early 30s he should save as much money as possible. Plan for a future that doesn’t require him to wrestle. Keep improving his reputation, already a done deal thanks to work in New Japan. At some point he should definitely sign for WWE, where the big money can be made. And he should probably be aiming to retire about a decade from now. Anything over mid-30s is a bonus. If he’s still wrestling I’ll be surprised but his rare type of talent; it burns bright but it doesn’t burn for long. Another option is a change in style and he keeps showing he can do that too. He can work the mat, he can strike, he can do it all. The more versatility I see from him (check out Ospreay vs. Sabre from Rev Pro’s Walthamstow show) the more I start to believe he could still be here in ten years and still having great matches. I hope so because he’s one of the best wrestlers in the world right now. Top 5, easily. Hell, when it comes to difficulty levels and high floor he might be better than everyone.
It used to be I’d criticise Ospreay for stupid things but the more I see of his in-ring, the smarter he’s getting. Now when I criticise him for stupid things it’s purely selfish because I don’t want him to get hurt. I want to see Ospreay wrestle until I’m an old man. I want to be picking up a pension and checking out Will putting a beating on some young punk who’s invented a new way to flip out of the ring. At the end of the day all the innovation in the world will only get you so far but Will has ascended to that next plateau. So love him or loathe him, you have to respect his work.