Will Ospreay vs. Chris Ridgeway from SWA July 25th 2015
Post by Rob Reid:
Ever since Ospreay became the name guy on the UK independent circuit, he’s made a habit of touring the smaller third tier UK promotions and being matched up against their local highly thought of prospect. Last November at the Shropshire Wrestling Alliance (which has since been absorbed into the VII family of promotions) his challenge was the twenty two year old Chris Ridgeway.
The story of this one was Ospreay taking Ridgeway too lightly and thinking that he could beat Ridgeway at Ridgeway’s area of strength, that being his strikes. Roughly the first third of the match centred around a striking battle, in which Ridgeway really shined, until eventually Ospreay realised he wasn’t going to be able to best him at his own game and began breaking out the flying he’s become so well known for. However the early exchanges managed to slow Ospreay down just enough to allow Ridgeway to repeatedly claw his way back into the match when it looked like Ospreay was gaining momentum and on his way to putting him away. This set the stage nicely for a hot finishing stretch, which perhaps went too long but nonetheless felt very satisfying and entertaining.
I thought Ridgeway looked really good here; he definitely impressed me. While he didn’t feel like the most seasoned of wrestlers, which makes sense considering he debuted late 2012, there was definitely a lot to like about his performance here. He could do with working on his positioning a bit as once or twice he seemed half a step away from where he should have been, with the result being Ospreay’s usually crisp offense looked a tad ‘off’, and there were times when it seemed like he was rushing into his offense. However those are things that can be and often are improved upon with experience, and there were enough positives on display here to make me want to pay attention to his growth as a performer. I would tentatively describe his style as having strong style leanings (something I wouldn’t do for 90% of the current NJPW roster) with a heavy strike and throw emphasis, and it’s definitely something that sets him apart and ahead of the swathe of promising wrestlers around his age coming through in the UK at the moment. He’s definitely one to keep an eye on, and this match is definitely worth a watch if you want to get ahead of the curve with regards to him. ***3/4