(Almost) 5-Star Match Reviews: WALTER vs. Will Ospreay – OTT 4th Anniversary Show (Oct. 13, 2018)

wrestling walter ospreay ott 2018

Pro wrestling has its fair share of big markets and pockets of fans all over the world. So far in these match reviews of mine I’ve revisited great matches that took place in wrestling’s four biggest markets: the US, Japan, Mexico, and Canada. But there’s one market that hasn’t gotten enough attention so far: Europe.

It turns out that our dear friends across the Atlantic have a huge wrestling scene and have their own big stars and top promotions. I’ve heard some great things about the European pro wrestling scene so I figure I’d revisit one of the best matches of the past decade and let you, dear readers, decide if diving further into those wrestlers and companies is worth your time.

Thus, today we look back at the big singles match between WALTER and Will Ospreay from Over The Top Wrestling (OTT)’s Fourth Anniversary Show.

As a reminder, I am reviewing Five Star and almost-Five Star wrestling matches as rated by Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer. It goes back to the 1980s and I’m going to pick different matches from different eras to see how they look today. Check out previous entries in my 5 Star Match Reviews series right here.

The story

When WALTER beat Jordan Devlin for the OTT World title, there was a sense of despair among the OTT fans and on the European wrestling scene in general. The ‘Imperium’ name for WALTER’s stable in WWE NXT wasn’t chosen at random; it came from WALTER’s status as this imperial wrestler. He dominated each and every promotion he wrestled in and collected world titles like he was the 2010s version of Big Van Vader. To him, OTT’s world title was just another piece to his collection.

But to Ospreay, it was something more. He cherished OTT and its top prize because they had sentimental value to him. Even though he had risen to an important spot with New Japan at the time, Ospreay still had a special place in his heart for OTT. He vowed to be the Rebel Alliance to WALTER’s Galactic Empire; he wanted to be the new hope that would bring salvation to a promotion ravaged by WALTER’s dominion. At least, that was the story OTT went with.

But would Ospreay be able to back up his words? He talked a big game, especially when he called WALTER out as a guy collecting accolades just so he could get his foot in WWE’s door like so many others before him. But for all of Ospreay’s passion and determination, he was entering the ring with a man that outweighed him by around 100 pounds and who hit with full power and no remorse.

It was another case of David vs. Goliath, speed vs. power. And would this re-telling have the same ending with David standing over Goliath? Or would the monster continue his unrelenting match forward?

The match

This match originally took place on October 13th, 2018. It was rated ****3/4 out of five by the Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer. Let’s see how well it holds up now.

This is for WALTER’s OTT World Championship. The bell rings as a loud ‘f**k you WALTER’ chant echoes throughout the arena. Ospreay goes some quick kicks but WALTER absorbs them like they’re nothing. He tries a quick take-down but again WALTER powers out. Ospreay goes for another take-down but WALTER counters into a single-leg crab, only for Ospreay to escape quickly. He rushes WALTER again but WALTER places him on the apron and pats him on the head like a child. That angers Ospreay as he changes in with an elbow, but WALTER fires back with his own elbow that drops Ospreay instantly. WALTER lands a clothesline and some stomps as Ospreay seethes in anger and starts fighting back. Ospreay leapfrogs over WALTER and goes for a monkey flip but WALTER catches him and lands a big stomp to the chest. WALTER crushes Ospreay with stomps and foot chokes. He returns the favor from earlier by leapfrogging over Ospreay and goes for a boot, but this time Ospreay catches him. Ospreay takes WALTER down and wails on him. He gets the crowd to their feet with an explosive barrage of strikes. Ospreay goes for a springboard move but WALTER catches the rope which sends Ospreay falling. Great counter there.

WALTER literally kicks Ospreay out of the ring and when he returns WALTER stomps on his neck. A big scoop slam gets WALTER a two-count and applies a brutal neck crank to try and keep Ospreay grounded. Ospreay fights to his feet but WALTER shuts him down and kicks his head in mocking fashion. Ospreay hits a defiant forearm but WALTER answers with another big elbow that sends Ospreay across the ring. WALTER whips Ospreay into the ropes but Ospreay counters with a handspring enzuigiri out of nowhere. WALTER escapes the ring. Ospreay lands an over-the-rope moonsault press to the outside.

Back in the ring, Ospreay lands a springboard forearm for a two-count as the crowd remains behind him. Ospreay lands Bryan-style chest kicks but WALTER catches him on the third attempt. Ospreay ducks a big chop and slaps WALTER hard in the mouth. He hits a strike combination and goes to the ropes for a springboard attack, but WALTER chops the hell out of the back of his neck. WALTER pins but only gets two.

WALTER lands a seated splash to Ospreay’s chest to knock the wind out of him and hits an elbow to Ospreay’s face. Ospreay tries fighting back but WALTER hits one of his trademark chops to the chest. But Ospreay doesn’t fall; instead, he tanks it and asks for more. WALTER obliges and chops him incredibly hard again, but Ospreay remains defiant and hits his own chop. So WALTER carries him to the corner and chops him against the top turnbuckle and foot chokes him on the top rope. WALTER lands Sheamus-style forearm clubs against the ropes and continues to mock Ospreay whenever he can. Ospreay fires up again and lands another flurry of strikes but WALTER drops him with only a single chop for another two-count.

Ospreay fires back after another round of WALTER’s mockery and lands a chop. WALTER has this funny look on his face as if to say, “really? You want to go there?” as Ospreay lands another chop. WALTER drops Ospreay again with a big boot and goes for a butterfly suplex but Ospreay escapes. Ospreay charges at WALTER in a corner but gets elbowed, but then hits a flip kick and an enzuigiri. WALTER goes for a running dropkick but Ospreay jumps over him and lands a foot stomp. Followed by a standing shooting star press and a diving moonsault. Ospreay pins but WALTER kicks out. Ospreay goes for his springboard Os-cutter but WALTER catches him in the Tombstone position. Ospreay escapes with an enzuigiri and lands a springboard dropkick to the back of WALTER’s head. Wow, that was critical. WALTER looked like he suffered whiplash from that kick. Ospreay lands a Rainmaker. Shades of Okada. But WALTER doesn’t even flinch. Instead, WALTER bitchslaps Ospreay and lands a Tombstone Piledriver and mocks Okada’s pose (it was around this time that Okada publicly praised Ospreay as a future world champion and the two of them were in the same stable). WALTER goes for his own Rainmaker. Ospreay ducks and connects with his. Both men go down as Ospreay maintains wrist control. He lands some vicious knee strikes to WALTER’s face as the crowd jumps to their feet. Shooting star—no, WALTER dodges and lands a huge shotgun dropkick. Ospreay goes careening out of the ring.

WALTER removes the stairs of the entrance in preparation for some big move as Ospreay looks to be catatonic. Powerbomb onto the entrance ramp by WALTER. The referee checks on him to see if he can continue. WALTER isn’t done. He goes for a powerbomb off the entrance ramp. But Ospreay escapes and kicks at WALTER’s massive legs and baseball slide kicks him. Ospreay regains control of the match with a running flip dive off the ramp onto WALTER (and the floor).

WALTER tosses Ospreay into the ring, blocks a forearm, and applies a sleeper hold against the ropes. Ospreay escapes using a shoulder armbreaker and a thrust kick to WALTER’s head. WALTER ends up hung in the ropes as Ospreay lands a springboard shooting star press. Followed by a diving one from the top rope. But Ospreay wants to hit one more. He soars through the air…but WALTER gets his feet up and boots Ospreay in the face and rolls into a grounded sleeper hold. Ospreay fights out with all his might. He somehow gets to his feet as the crowd erupts in cheers. WALTER transitions into a powerbomb. Ospreay escapes. WALTER goes back to the sleeper. Ospreay catches the ropes. WALTER traps his arms and lands a huge German suplex. WALTER goes to the top rope for a splash but takes too long and Ospreay cuts him off. WALTER chops Ospreay down but Ospreay fights back with another handspring kick. Ospreay tries a super hurricanrana, but WALTER counters into a Superbomb. Damn WALTER obliterates Ospreay with a powerbomb from the top rope. The referee counts one, two, thr—no, Ospreay kicks out at 2.9. WALTER goes back to the sleeper. Ospreay’s arm falls once…twice…no, Ospreay keeps fighting. He gets to his feet…only to eat a sitout Tombstone piledriver from WALTER. One, two three! Walter wins! Wait, no, Ospreay gets his foot on the ropes. The crowd points to his foot as WALTER celebrates. The referee notices it and reverses his decision. WALTER refuses to relinquish his belt thinking he won fair and square and tosses the referee aside. He lifts Ospreay to his feet to continue mocking him but Ospreay enzuigiris him in retaliation. Ospreay grabs the belt and teases hitting WALTER with it. Then he drops it and lands a flurry of head kicks. Springboard Oscutter. One, two, thr—no, WALTER kicks out at 2.9 this time.

Ospreay stomps on WALTER’s face and goes for his Stormbreaker finisher. WALTER powers out so Ospreay kicks his head again, only for WALTER to answer with a decapitating lariat. One, two, no, Ospreay kicks out again. The crowd chants for Ospreay and boos the hell out of WALTER as WALTER smacks Ospreay as hard as he can. WALTER trash-talks Ospreay and winds up for a lariat but Ospreay counters with a flip into a Ligerbomb! Amazing counter by Ospreay. One, two, no, WALTER kicks out. Ospreay goes to the top rope. WALTER cuts him off. Head-butt, followed by a lariat from the top rope. Shades of Hansen vs. Kobashi! Diving splash. One, two, three! Walter retains the title.

Winner and STILL OTT World Champion after 26:50: WALTER


That was a fun David vs. Goliath match with great action that saw both guys play their roles perfectly. Ospreay got a hero’s welcome and the crowd never left him as he fought as hard as he could against his mammoth opponent. But not even Ospreay, with his daredevil acrobatics and explosive strike flurries, could keep WALTER down long enough.

WALTER was just terrific here. Not only was he great at being a heel, but he was great at being a classic heel. He was the antithesis to Ospreay in every way. Whereas Ospreay was flashy, explosive and ‘modern’, WALTER wrestled in a slower, more deliberate, and drawn-out manner. WALTER made the most out of everything he did and took plenty of time to mock Ospreay and get under his skin. In doing so, he got Ospreay to make rash decisions and hit him with everything he had. And once WALTER kicked out of every one of Ospreay’s big move that Ospreay could conceivably land on WALTER, it was only a matter of time before WALTER used his size and reach advantage to land a decisive blow on Ospreay.

WALTER’s more simplistic approach was more effective than Ospreay’s artistic and speed-based wrestling philosophy. He is SO GREAT at being the cocky and arrogant monster heel that dares his opponent to hit him harder knowing it won’t be enough. He just knows how strong he is and that his opponent isn’t shit and he makes sure the crowd sees that as well. It was fun seeing WALTER get hit and brush it off and then take another hit and hit back even harder. WALTER’s so great in that role that even this clearly pro-Ospreay crowd couldn’t help but cheer for WALTER towards the end. WALTER was a classic badass here, and it’s so refreshing to see someone showcase toughness and grit over acrobatics and speed.

Unfortunately, Ospreay’s style was once again a real problem in the match. Even though he had a great underdog spirit and showed tremendous dynamism and variety, he still had his flaws whereas WALTER didn’t. Ospreay was wildly inconsistent with pretty much everything he did, especially how he sold and how he paced his comeback. He crammed so much offense into short bursts that he had to move at lightning speed to get all of it in. That in turn undersold WALTER’s offense and made it look ineffective. A great example was when WALTER powerbombed Ospreay onto the stage, which the commentators said was ‘as hard as anything’. It was a huge bump, one that made the referee check to see if Ospreay was alright. And despite the short build-up, it was still seen as a big move.

And what was Ospreay’s response? Did he slow down like a good wrestler would? Did he struggle to lift WALTER up? Did he scream like he was in extreme agony? No, instead, a minute later he hit three shooting star presses perfectly and at high speed as if nothing happened.

Just like that, Ospreay turned the match into more of a choreographed routine and away from being a semi-realistic fight. Even though he tried to right the course towards the end, the match kind of went off the rails by that point anyway. The match lost its sense of believability as Ospreay ventured further and further into the realm of surrealism and exaggeration. From there the match just deflated and kept going past its dramatic peak, leading to a rather disappointing ending that wasn’t the peak it should’ve been.

But to be honest, that was just one obvious problem. Otherwise the match was pretty damn awesome and definitely lived up to the hype.

Final Rating: ****3/4

If only Ospreay wasn’t so hellbent on shoehorning his nonsensical acrobatics and changed how he wrestled based on what happened to him as the match progressed. Had he done that, this would’ve been an even better match than it already is. WALTER did everything right here but unfortunately Ospreay still did a few too many of his trademark silly tricks that robbed this match of that special something that it needed to become something truly amazing.

There have been many great David vs. Goliath wrestling matches over the decades and this one is no exception. But what makes this one particularly fun is that in this case Goliath wins and proves to the world that David isn’t as great as he and his legions of fans say he is.

Thanks for reading. You can email me with any questions or comments, and be sure to check out my 5-Star and Almost 5-Star Match Reviews series here.