Former NJPW Star Karl Fredericks Makes WWE Debut

Amid speculation of who will be next to make the jump from New Japan Pro-Wrestling to WWE after Karl Anderson and JONAH (aka Bronson Reed) did so, a former NJPW of America star quietly made his first appearance for WWE NXT.

Karl Fredericks made his way to the ring during an NXT live event in Fort Pierce, Florida, staring down Axiom before leaving without saying a word. While many fans in the audience were seemingly unfamiliar with Fredericks, his presence was noted by fans on social media.

Fredericks' debut comes after questions regarding his future in professional wrestling circulated following his departure from NJPW last summer. The NJPW L.A. Dojo alumnus was best known for becoming the first foreigner to win the company's Young Lion Cup in 2019. The Shibata apprentice beat out the likes of Ren Narita, Clark Connors, and Shota Umino to be crowned the winner of the tournament at NJPW Destruction Tour in Kobe 2019.

However, injuries and travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic caused Fredericks' momentum to wane as he graduated from being a Young Lion. That ultimately led to his lack exclusion in the 2022 G1 Climax tournament, something that Fredericks expressed his frustrations about on Twitter shortly before his NJPW departure.

While it remains unclear what role Fredericks will have in WWE, his debut garnered the attention of some of his peers. Notably, Grayson Waller commented on the NXT Instagram post documenting the former Young Lion's debut, saying, "Finally they brought in a young boy to carry my bags."