WWE has slowed down its recruiting process for top independent wrestling talent over the past year, placing a heavier emphasis on homegrown talent trained via the WWE Performance Center. But it looks like they may have gotten their hands on a top prospect anyway, as PWInsider is reporting former New Japan Pro Wrestling star Karl Fredericks was recently spotted at the Performance Center down in Orlando. Fredericks was trained in New Japan's LA Dojo in 2018 and won the Young Lion Cup in 2019, though his attempts at winning any championships in NJPW Strong have always come up short.
Fredericks' voiced his frustration about being left out of this year's G1 Climax earlier this summer, then confirmed in August that he was leaving New Japan after four years with the promotion. The report of Fredericks popping up appeared right around the same time Shawn Michaels confirmed with My San Antonio that WWE was still looking to recruit independent talent.
"We are still reaching out to other people with experience that have wrestled on the independent scene or been out in Japan or in other companies. That is something NXT will continue to do in the future. Nothing is off the table. We simply want to continue to find people that are just as passionate about the WWE product as we are," Michaels said.
With NXT 2.0 now reverting back to just NXT, Michaels also indicated that some booking philosophies will change as well — "I will say that Hunter trusts me quite a bit and I have sort of a great deal of freedom to do what I think is the best thing for NXT and our talent here. But, I can't speak ill of Vince or any of the other people. They have all been good to me over the years, and I always tried to give them everything I can. So, that isn't going to change. But, Hunter and I's thought process is certainly more in line, so I don't find myself having to ask him a lot of questions or if this or that is OK to do, or what do you think of this? He has given me a great deal of freedom down here, which I appreciate. But, the good thing is we are best friends, and we are going to talk all the time. But, nine times out of 10 we are on the same page, so I think that makes it easier for everyone involved and it certainly is a more streamlined process. I think everyone is encouraged by that and there is a great deal of excitement from a talent standpoint as well."