#OspreayVsOrton: Randy Orton Teases Match with Will Ospreay in 2020

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Credit: WWE, NJPW

Randy Orton has never wrestled Will Ospreay. He’s never shared a ring or even a company with Will Ospreay. And yet, thanks to the magic of Wrestling Twitter, these two are far from strangers. It all started with a simple interaction on the blue bird brand in May 2017. Now, two years later, Orton and Ospreay are back at it, this time with friendly banter suggesting the Viper might be looking for an opportunity to wrestle the Aerial Assassin sometime in the not so distant future.

By now, it’s pretty well known that Randy Orton’s Twitter game is strong and almost always manages to cause a stir. The lifetime WWE superstar, Orton’s tweets have raised eyebrows on more than one occasion, especially as it relates to his future with the company he’s been with nearly 20 years. Even seemingly innocuous Twitter replies from Orton to Cody Rhodes (like joking about a Legacy reunion, recommending Netflix shows, or talking about their mentor/mentee relationship) have led people to over-analyze what Orton might be inferring. It’s no secret that Orton and Rhodes are still good friends, which of course means the groundwork is laid for the Viper to leave WWE and join his old bud in All Elite Wrestling…At least that’s what wrestling Twitter would say and have said.

Randy Orton knows how to rile people up in 280 characters or less, that’s for sure, but no doubt his biggest Twitter moment came when he retweeted a Rip Rogers post breaking down and oversimplifying indie wrestling with a simple caption, “…dive.”

Who would have thought one word could have launched an entire storm Orton’s way? The “…dive” controversy brought fans and indie wrestlers out en masse, defending their art and in some cases, mocking Orton’s own style of wrestling. While he was not the only wrestler to respond, Will Ospreay, known worldwide if for nothing other than his flippy showcase match with Ricochet a few years ago, became the face of the movement, even printing and selling “…dive” t-shirts.

In a way, it made sense that Will Ospreay became the face of the movement, especially when hearing how Randy Orton responded to the backlash that came from his tweet. A month or so after he tweeted “…dive,” Orton appeared on a radio station to explain what was meant and not meant by his comments. At the time he was working with AJ Styles and as Orton explained, Styles does dives, so did several of the other guys he worked with before him. But it was what Orton said next that while maybe not directed at Ospreay, could easily be attributed to him.

“A lot of these guys go out there and they’re gonna break their neck at 23 years old doing stuff they shouldn’t be doing.”

Randy Orton went on to elaborate, taking the stance that many did when Ospreay/Ricochet went viral, believing dives to be athletic, but not in a way that advances the story in the ring or focuses on the psychology aspect old school guys like Rip Rogers taught wrestlers about for years. While the exchange with Will Ospreay did feel contentious at times, both guys made clear how much they respected each other. In the end, it was simply Twitter banter, one which both men moved on from and in Ospreay’s case, likely even benefited from as far as raising his profile-wise. At the very least, he benefited in his bank account as “…dive” shirts sold like crazy on his site.

Will Ospreay never seemingly took offense to Orton’s “…dive” comment or his “apology” and subsequent comments that followed. As he told ESPN, he thought they were funny. But even still, it must have come as a surprise to Ospreay when, out of the blue, or in this case, “outta nowhere,” Orton directly responded to a motivational quote post that Ospreay made, before seemingly suggesting the two of them have a match in June 2020. And unselfishly, he even put Ospreay’s name first in the hashtag to promote their upcoming dream match: #OspreayVsOrton. Ospreay responded in kind saying he loved the idea and even suggested that Orton ask for some time off from WWE to come over to Japan and make it happen. Orton finished the exchange saying he’d talk to the powers that be on Tuesday since he wasn’t booked for Raw Reunion, and judging by the #wtf he used, was not happy about it. Expect to see him RKO some legends at the event in retaliation…

While wrestlers suggesting cross-promotional Twitter matches is nothing new (see New Day/Elite, Tama Tonga/Roman Reigns and Matt Hardy with practically every tag team in wrestling), there is something about this one that holds interest. Now, it could just be wrestling writers overthinking Orton’s tweets as has been the case so many times before, but this feels different. Mostly because Randy Orton put “06/2020” out there and a little research shows that is the month that his current WWE contract expires.

With the previous AEW rumors and Orton stoking flames by saying he was willing to listen to offers from other companies, perhaps his return to WWE is not as much of a lock as it would have felt just a few months ago, when reports noted that a new contract was on the table that he was expected to sign. But that was in February and it’s been all quiet on that front as far as if Orton has or has not re-upped with WWE. Him casually throwing that date out there in the tweet seems to suggest he hasn’t and perhaps he won’t. Now, that said, that’s a big leap to make off of one tweet.

It’s hard to see Randy Orton anywhere else really. A third-generation wrestler, Orton has been with WWE since day one. He’s a grand slam champion, has won 13 world titles, is a two-time Royal Rumble winner and one-time Mr. Money in the Bank. He’s one of the highest-paid performers in the company, has a deal that includes a cut of merch, a private tour bus and limited dates. He’s pretty much got it made at this stage of his career. But perhaps that’s why it makes as much sense that Orton might be contemplating a move elsewhere. He’s done everything in WWE, but in the world of wrestling, there’s a whole world out there with no shortage of no opponents. While it is unlikely Randy Orton would ever step away from WWE long-term, it seems he’s at least mulling over the idea of testing the waters. Or, he’s just trolling fans and having fun.

Either way, come June 2020, we’ll have our answer.

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.

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