Big Update On Will Ospreay's NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 16 Status

The latest on Japan's new travel ban - and how it could impact NJPW's foreign wrestlers.

Will Ospreay Wrestle Kingdom 16
NJPW

UPDATE (1 December - 13:45 GMT): Ospreay has since tweeted that he will be in attendance on 5 January, having proclaimed that Shingo Takagi, Kazuchika Okada, and COVID-19 cannot stop him.

Japan's new travel ban for foreign visitors could have implications for NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 16.

Said ban came into play today, with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida banning entries in the wake of the Omicron COVID-19 variant's emergence. In addition, returning Japanese citizens from Great Britain and 13 other countries and regions are to face stricter quarantines upon re-entering Japan.

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This could impact New Japan when it comes to booking foreign talent for upcoming shows, including Wrestle Kingdom (4, 5, and 8 January 2022). Japanese citizens and those with an address in the country are able to travel back, but not necessarily foreigners who don't fit those criteria.

Dave Meltzer wrote for the Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Online that commentator Kevin Kelly should be able to make the shows. Will Ospreay, however, is questionable.

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Ospreay is due to headline Wrestle Kingdom 16's second night against the winner of Shingo Takagi and Kazuchika Okada, who fight for the IWGP World Heavyweight Title the night before. Speaking on today's Wrestling Observer Radio, Meltzer notes that some people currently scheduled to appear at WK are confident they'll be allowed to travel, but it's all up in the air at the moment.

Another belief within NJPW is that wrestlers like Jeff Cobb and Tama Tonga, who have competed in Japan for the bulk of the year, will be allowed to return to the country. For now, though, everything is unclear.

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Takagi vs. Okada and Ospreay vs. the winner are the only two bouts to be announced for WK16 thus far.

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WhatCulture's Senior Wrestling Reporter, Presenter and Editor. Formerly Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @andyhmurray.