NJPW Star Came “Really Close” To Joining WWE

Kazuchika Okada & Jeff Cobb NJPW

Jeff Cobb has become something of a mainstay in New Japan Pro-Wrestling and has even appeared in AEW in the last 12 months. However, the star has now revealed that he almost joined WWE.

Speaking in a new interview with Steve Fall for WrestlingNews.Co, Cobb recalled getting phone calls from WWE, including William Regal, as far back as early 2020. The former IWGP World Tag Team Champion added that as conversations continued he almost signed with the company in the summer of 2021. During this period, Cobb was also offered a deal by AEW.

“It just so happened, right before the pandemic in 2020, I started getting phone calls. William Regal would call me. Brian Kendrick would call me. ‘Hey, is it cool if we pass your number to [WWE Senior Director of Talent Development] Canyon Ceman?’ I’m always open to talk to people, and entertain talks. This was around the time New Japan and I were figuring out a contract situation. At the same time, AEW offered me a contract as well.

This is the first time where I ever felt like, ‘Oh my Gosh.’ I was the new girl in high school and all the guys want to be with me. It was really cool. I got really close, maybe in the summer of 2021, I was FaceTiming Canyon Ceman a couple of times, maybe June or July, and it got pretty close. I got to hear what they offer and at the end of the day, I chose what I was doing as opposed to going after the money and people were giving me a lot of grief for that.

At the end of the day, I can make a great living being in Japan and doing a couple of appearances here and there. It may not be like WWE The Rock money, but I’m a low maintenance kind of guy. I don’t need millions and millions of dollars, although people are like, ‘You’re stupid for not taking it.’ The good thing about it is, a few months after a bunch of conversations with Canyon is when he got fired and a huge dumping of the roster happened.

Looking back, I think I made a good choice because if I went there, six months later, I could have been released and crawling back to another company for a job. New Japan definitely took care of me during the pandemic when they didn’t have to. We still got paid. If they’re loyal to me, I’m going to be loyal to them,”

Why Didn’t Jeff Cobb Join WWE?

Continuing on, Cobb explained that there was one particular message from Ceman that rubbed him the wrong way.

“Canyon Ceman said to me one time through text, ‘Hey, listen, if you come work with us, you’re going to make a lot of money and, unlike other companies, we pay our talents.’ That is such not a cool thing to say.”

Canyon Cemam was released by WWE back in July 2021.

Jeff Cobb was most recently in action at NJPW New Year Dash!! 2023 when he teamed with Aaron Henare in defeat to Kazuchika Okada and Kenny Omega.

The NJPW star appeared on AEW television multiple times in 2022, wrestling on Rampage and at NJPW x AEW Forbidden Door.

H/t to Fightful