WWE had a lot of interest in several top NJPW stars earlier this year, which included former IWGP World Champion Jay White, who ultimately signed with AEW.
Another name that WWE had interest in was Tama Tonga, who wrestled WWE’s Karl Anderson at Wrestle Kingdom 17 earlier this year, capturing the NEVER Openweight Championship.
It was reported back in January that WWE had interest in Tonga, with there even being some tentative creative ideas pitched for him, but he has since become a victim of the unofficial WWE ‘hiring freeze’, with the company not maintaining contact with him.
In an update from Fightful Select (subscription required), Tama Tonga is currently working without an NJPW contract, and is technically a free agent.
The report also notes that, despite WWE not maintaining contact due to the hiring freeze, WWE higher ups have continued to have interest in bringing him in.
Tonga has continued to work in NJPW without a contract for several months, with him dropping the NEVER Openweight Championship at NJPW’s Wrestling Dontaku show to the new Bullet Club leader, David Finlay.
Jay White, who WWE did not sign, has formed a new spin-off Bullet Club named ‘Bullet Club Gold’ in AEW with Juice Robinson.
WWE also showed interest in former NWA Worlds Champion Nick Aldis amid his free agency, but he also was not signed due to the unofficial ‘hiring freeze’ in the company.
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