For the last several years, Karl Fredericks has been a staple of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s U.S. expansion, being one of the first wrestlers to train at the LA Dojo under New Japan legend Katsuyori Shibata. But as the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end.
Early Monday morning, Fredericks released a statement regarding his future with the promotion.
“As of today, August 1st, I am no longer under contract with New Japan Pro-Wrestling, and I will not be re-signing with the company at this time,” the statement read. “Though there is a disappointment in the ending of this chapter, I am grateful for the last four years traveling the world and growing with my best friends.
“I want to say thank you to the company for the opportunities, and especially thank you to Shibata-San for believing in me and bringing me along his journey with the LA Dojo. Last but not least, thank you to my fans and to NJPW fans for your support over the years. I hope you will continue to support me along my path, wherever that may lead.”
— Karl Fredericks • カール・フレドリックス (@karlfredericks_) August 1, 2022
The news does not come entirely out of left field. Responding to a fan who wanted to see him in either the G1 Climax or New Japan’s World Tag League, Fredericks didn’t hold back.
“You, like many, many others, are waiting,” Fredericks tweeted on June 11. “And it means the world to me. But no different than you, I am subject to NJPW. And NJPW doesn’t believe in me, nor do they respect the work that I’ve done here the last 4 years. I fear that we will be waiting for many years to come.”
You Like many many others are waiting. And it means the world to me. But no different than you I am subject to NJPW. And NJPW doesn’t believe in me nor do they respect the work that I’ve done here the last 4 years. I fear that we will be waiting for many years to come. https://t.co/0ciAea8foX
— Karl Fredericks • カール・フレドリックス (@karlfredericks_) June 12, 2022
Fredericks hasn’t appeared for New Japan since May 15, when he defeated AEW star QT Marshall at New Japan Strong’s Philadelphia tapings. He had been scheduled to team with former opponent Christopher Daniels in a tournament to crown the first-ever New Japan Strong Openweight Tag Team Championships.
However, Fredericks never appeared in the tournament, with Daniels instead teaming with Yuya Uemera. The duo would be eliminated in the first round by Aussie Open at New Japan Strong High Alert in Charlotte, North Carolina, last weekend. While not confirmed, some believed Fredericks was removed from the tournament due to his comments on Twitter.
A seven-year pro from Reno, Nevada, Fredericks wrestled on the west coast independent scene for several years before he began training at New Japan’s newly formed LA Dojo. He would go on to work the World Tag League in 2019, teaming with Hirooki Goto, and appeared poised to be a regular in Japan before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. He continued to work New Japan Strong in the states through the spring of this year, while also working indies and making a couple of appearances on “AEW Dark” in May.
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