Jeff Cobb is a classic New Japan Pro Wrestling strong man. His in-ring skills have gotten him noticed by WWE recruiters on multiple occasions. While Cobb has been offered generous contracts, the NJPW star declined each time. The NJPW star cited the creative freedom and the wrestling culture in Japan as reasons for refusing the huge offers. It looks like there was one time he came close to stepping foot inside a WWE ring.
Jeff Cobb recently appeared in an interview with Steve Fall of Wrestling News. It was there that he recalled talks with WWE prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cobb revealed that he was in deep talks with the WWE’s Senior Director of Talent Development, Canyon Ceman. Cobb passed up on WWE’s offer and got a lot of flak from friends and family. In hindsight, Cobb was happy with his decision, as a substantial amount of wrestlers were laid off due to WWE’s COVID-19 budget cuts.
“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,”
Jeff Cobb also recalled a time when Canyon Ceman tried to sway him with money and put down NJPW in the process. Cobb was very put off by the statement, and his loyalty NJPW is what reinforced his decision to pass up on the offer.
“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.”
Jeff Cobb was last seen at the NJPW New Year Dash when he partnered with Aaron Henare to take on Kenny Omega & Kazuchika Okada. For more updates, stay tuned to Ringside News.
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