WWE Reportedly Tried To Buy Pro Wrestling NOAH To Start NXT Japan

WWE has been open about its goal to establish Performance Centers all over the world, and it has been reported that they are looking at Japan as the future location of an NXT brand. According to Dave Meltzer on Wrestling Observer Radio, WWE tried to take a step towards creating NXT Japan by attempting to buy Pro Wrestling NOAH.

Meltzer reported that WWE contacted and tried to purchase multiple Japanese wrestling companies as the basis for NXT Japan, but he only named NOAH specifically. He said that he had not heard that any of these deals went through, but the NOAH purchase attempt was one of several that did not work out. He also mentioned that he was hearing WWE was looking at some big names to hire as trainers for the Japan Performance Center but didn’t name these names.

Meltzer didn’t mention when WWE attempted to buy Pro Wrestling NOAH, but the first and only public interaction between the companies was when Kenta returned to NOAH for a match in the summer of 2018. NOAH was bought by LIDET entertainment earlier this year and has relationships with two Western wrestling companies, Impact and MLW.

Besides lending Kenta to NOAH, WWE has publicly worked with a few other Japanese wrestling companies in the past few years. They let Toni Storm wrestle for Stardom, whose talent has also recently worked in ROH and AEW, while still the NXT UK Women’s Champion. Meiko Satomura wrestled in the Mae Young Classic, was a guest trainer at the Performance Center, and Sasha Banks trained at her Sendai Girls dojo while off WWE TV.

On the men’s wrestling side, WWE recently hired Kendo Kashin as a trainer. They also allowed Akira Tozawa to return to Japan to wrestle for Fight Club Pro in Korakuen Hall and Tozawa and Apollo Crews sent in video messages that were played on Dragon Gate 2oth anniversary tour shows. (Not only ex-Dragon Gate, current WWE wrestlers sent in those videos though – Shingo Takagi also did one full of L.I.J. iconography.) In the near future, WWE United Kingdom Champion Walter will return to Big Japan Pro Wrestling to team with Daisuke Sekimoto against fellow big guys Yuji Okabayashi and Yuji Hino.

We’ll update you if and when more NXT Japan news emerges.