Ex-NJPW Prodigy Spotted At WWE Performance Center

Now a free agent, this former NJPW prospect has been seen on WWE turf...

Karl Fredericks

Former New Japan Pro Wrestling star-in-the-making Karl Fredericks has been spotted at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida.

This is per PWInsider's Mike Johnson, who reports that the former Young Lion was at the PC sometime earlier in the week. Fredericks, 32, is currently a free agent following his NJPW contract's expiration on 1 August.

Karl announced his NJPW departure himself on that date, tweeting:-

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. Though there is 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 thank you to the NJPW fans for Your support over these years. I hope You will continue to support me along my path wherever that may lead.

Prior to this, June saw Fredericks seemingly express frustration at being omitted from this year's G1 Climax tournament:-

Fredericks had been in NJPW's system since 2018, when he joined the company's newly-rebooted LA Dojo alongside Clark Connors and Alex Coughlin, training under Katsuyori Shibata. He started gaining significant traction the following year, emerging as one of the brightest prospects in wrestling and winning NJPW's revived Young Lion Cup, later teaming with senior NJPW roster member Hirooki Goto on the World Tag League Tour.

Parked in the United States at the COVID-19 pandemic's Spring 2020 onset, Fredericks remained active on New Japan's US-based brand, Strong, nonetheless. His last bout for the promotion was taped on 15 May. Post-NJPW, he has worked a solitary indie show, defeating Kevin Blackwood for Prestige/West Coast Pro on 3 September.

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Senior Reporter

Andy has been with WhatCulture for six years and is currently WhatCulture's Senior Wrestling Reporter. A writer, presenter, and editor with 10+ years of experience in online media, he has been a sponge for all wrestling knowledge since playing an old Royal Rumble 1992 VHS to ruin in his childhood. Having previously worked for Bleacher Report, Andy specialises in short and long-form writing, video presenting, voiceover acting, and editing, all characterised by expert wrestling knowledge and commentary. Andy is as much a fan of 1985 Jim Crockett Promotions as he is present-day AEW and WWE - just don't make him choose between the two.