SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
By PWTorch Staff (Sean Radican & James Caldwell)
As A.J. Styles would say, Kota Ibushi “bet on himself” leaving his home country of Japan for an opportunity with WWE.
Ibushi exited New Japan for a chance to join WWE’s inaugural Cruiserweight tournament, and now has signed an NXT-level deal, PWTorch learned Friday.
Ibushi wrestled at Thursday night’s NXT TV tapings to signal an increase in his involvement with WWE beyond the Cruiserweight tournament.
PWTorch also learned that Gran Metalik (Mascara Dorada in Mexico) has agreed to a deal with WWE following his successful debut in the Cruiserweight tournament.
Metalik (Dorada) has been a mainstay in CMLL for a decade and toured with New Japan in recent years. Metalik’s relationship with Finn Balor (formerly Prince Devitt in NJPW) brought Metalik to WWE.
– WWE also has several tournament wrestlers on their radar for potential signings.
Included are Zack Sabre, Jr., Cedric Alexander, Lince Dorado, Akira Tozawa, and Jack Gallagher.
The signing process will likely take months and they would all finish their indie dates and/or other commitments before reporting to WWE’s Performance Center if the deals go through.
The overseas signings are especially complex and could take longer than the wrestlers that reside in the U.S.
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