Impact Wrestling’s biggest show of the year, Bound For Glory, is fast approaching, and “Speedball” Mike Bailey is upping his game, as he’s in a featured match against Will Ospreay on the card.
“The pressure is on every time I wrestle Will [Ospreay],” said Bailey in a recent interview.
Ospreay is definitely in the conversation for 2023 Wrestler of the Year. Bailey has no problem with that — but wants some kudos of his own, too.
Therefore the hype for their bout on October 21, 2023 in Cicero, Illinois, at BFG, is warranted.
“When you think of real workhorses in the world of professional wrestling, when you think of the two people that travel the most, that are able to put on consistently awesome, fantastic, action-packed matches, it’s myself and Will Ospreay,” he said. “I’m sure there’s a couple other names you could throw into the mix. And I mean, there’s a couple people that are doing awesome things in their own right, but in terms of just pure quality of in-ring work, there is no one like Will Ospreay and I.”
With the high expectations for this match, Bailey is feeling calm as a clam and not letting those expectations weigh him down. “This is going to be our fifth singles match… It feels like this epic clash has expectations that in theory couldn’t be met. However, this is just what he and I do. I mean, the expectations are there because we set them there, and it’s something that we both do in a very, very calculated way.”
When asked to send a direct message to Ospreay, Bailey thinks that they will be able to do all the talking in the ring.
“Everything’s been said. I feel like we’ve known each other long enough, and we have a mutual understanding. I’m sure he will [have something to say], because he’s a little bit more of a sensitive fellow than I am. And I’m sure he’ll have some thoughts, and he’ll find something to get offended about in the lead-up to this and why he feels like he shouldn’t be having this match or should be having a bigger match or whatever Will thinks.” Bailey said. “We’ve known each other long enough, and I feel like no matter what is said in the lead-up to this, there are things that we will both know, and we will meet in the ring… We’ll look at each other and know that this is two of the best wrestlers in the world, if not the two best wrestlers in the world about to have one of the greatest matches of all time. And that is the understanding, whether he acknowledges it or not, whether he says it or not. I know he thinks it, and that’s kind of all there is to it. And I feel like I don’t have to say much more than that.”
Bailey was signed to Impact at an independent show in Mississauga, Ontario, in October 2021, and he’s had time to reflect on the last two years of his career with the promotion. There’s one moment which makes him proud of his body of work. “There’s a lot of moments that I did not expect to happen. Winning the X Division Championship at the 20th Slammiversary, that was a bigger moment than I could have ever hoped for. However, I think there’s still a lot left to come”
He shared some lofty goals. “My goal remains the same, which is I want to hold every single championship in Impact Wrestling. I want the World Championship and the X-Division Championship at the same time.”
With two years under his belt at Impact, and almost 18 years total, Speedball sees himself as someone who commands respect but is still very much a baby in the locker room. “I think in terms of wrestling, I am someone who has worked very hard on my craft for a very long time and has been around the world. So my name certainly holds weight and I command a lot of respect. However, in terms of Impact Wrestling, I feel like a baby.”
Even with near two decades of experience, Bailey finds himself looking up to veterans. “If I’m to compare myself to someone like Chris Sabin, who was on episode one and on episode 1000 of Impact! Wrestling, I feel like he he is a veteran to me. He is someone that is truly inspirational in terms of consistency and longevity.
Another is Frankie Kazarian, who “has been around for an incredibly long time and has not slowed down in the least. He still goes as hard as he ever went. That’s really what’s fantastic about Impact Wrestling. Different paths, different levels of experience, all mixed together.”
As Impact sees a crop of young and eager talent, Bailey has someone in mind when it comes to facing in the squared circle. “I think Bhupinder [Gujjar] is really someone that that is destined for great things,” he said. “I mean, he’s really relatively new to professional wrestling. But I mean, he has an amazing background, kickboxing and bodybuilding in India and bringing that to Impact Wrestling.”
Bailey further elaborated that it would also improve his in-ring skills to face Gujjar. “And he’s someone I would like to step into the ring now while he’s still young. Because, you know, iron sharpens iron and I think I would make him better. I think he would make me better as well. But I really I think Bhupinder is really destined for great things.”
With Impact gearing up for an international tour in the UK, Bailey is ready to also travel around the world and make a splash on the wrestling scene. “Even before that match with Will Ospreay, I’m touring Australia for a couple weeks. But in the middle of that, I’m making a detour to Japan to go to Sumo Hall and fight Lio Rush and Hiromu Takahashi for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion.”
Bailey thinks a win there would solidify his position at Impact for the rest of 2023. “I think that if I could win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, then bring that back to Bound for Glory, defeat Will Ospreay, then, I mean, that would put me in a really, really good position for November and December, right?”
Impact has always had a following in the UK, and Bailey is looking forward to experiencing it first-hand. “Impact has history in the UK. I have as well, and I know that the wrestling scene in the UK has always been red hot. And I know that whether I’m there or not, Impact is absolutely going to have some great shows.”
Bailey singled out the recently announced Leon Slater as someone to watch out for while Impact Wrestling is in the UK. “Leon Slater was just announced as participating on the Impact tour, and I think he just turned 18,” Bailey said. “In fact, last year when I went to Rev Pro, I wrestled with Ospreay, and then the very next night, I had a singles match with Leon Slater, which was regarded by many to be one of his breakout matches.”
A veteran and yet not a veteran, Bailey has put some thoughts into what the latter stages of his life could look like. “Yes, of course I think about it all the time, and I feel like I’ve been kind of building towards that. So first off, I don’t intend to ever stop wrestling.” Technological and medical advances could allow him to wrestle longer. “We’ve seen professional wrestlers still be able to perform and get older and older as the technology improves in terms of in-ring performances and people keep getting better and wrestling longer and longer.”
With that in mind, Bailey has some side projects he would like to keep exploring. “Ever since I started getting some international experience and having things I’ve learned to bring back to Canada, I’ve been doing seminars and teaching. And I really love that aspect of professional wrestling.” Bailey added that his past experiences have inspired him to help younger talent. “I feel like things were difficult for me coming up where I didn’t have a great trainer. So I take a lot of pride in telling young wrestlers a lot of the things I wish I would have been told when I was younger. It could have saved me a lot of heartache. So training is definitely something I’d like to do.”
Bailey will also continue on his Twitch account as he loves interacting with fans and talent alike. “I’m on Twitch. I love doing interviews like this. I love talking about pro wrestling. I think the wrestling world as a whole does not give enough credit to all the great minds that have great ideas and thoughts and feelings and opinions about professional wrestling.”
Be sure to listen to the entire interview on Sunday Night’s Main Event.
TOP PHOTO: “Speedball” Mike Bailey at Impact Wrestling’s Multiverse United 2 on August 20, 2023, at the 2300 Arena, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by George Tahinos, https://georgetahinos.smugmug.com
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