JONAH (Bronson Reed) Talks Navigating Free Agency, Winding Up In IMPACT And New Japan STRONG

JONAH talks about navigating free agency and landing in IMPACT and NJPW STRONG.

Bronson Reed went from being the NXT North American Champion and having dark matches during main roster events to being released by WWE in the span of two months.

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Despite only having a 30-day non-compete clause, the man now known as JONAH waited about 90 days before making his first moves appearing in NJPW’s American branch, NJPW STRONG and appearing at IMPACT Turning Point and laying out former World Champion, Josh Alexander.

Speaking with Sean Ross Sapp in an exclusive interview, JONAH discussed how is currently feeling in his career and why he chose New Japan as one of his first landing spots, saying that the promotion entered his mind first once he was released.

"When my time was up with NXT, the first place I thought of was New Japan Pro Wrestling. I wrestled for NOAH for quite an extensive stay for 2013, 2014, 2015, so Japan has a place in my heart when it comes to professional wrestling. When the time is right, I'll be back in Japan for New Japan Pro Wrestling. Right now, I'm going New Japan STRONG shows and it's great. It's a great mix. The last STRONG just had Josh Barnett against one of the Young Lions. Getting to see the Young Lions and the way they progress and the way they are taught in LA Dojo is something that I always put over and let people know, 'that's how you do it.'"

Talking about fielding offers during free agency, JONAH admitted that there was a time where he felt very desired, revealing that once he got his immigration sorted, he began to feel that the world was his oyster and now, the non-exclusive deal he has with NJPW and IMPACT excites him as he will be able to showcase his range and his ability to be a top-level performer.

"I guess I did (feel like the belle of the ball). The most frustrating thing for me was, I just had to get stuff with immigration sorted. Once that was sorted, it was sort of 'the world is my oyster.' New Japan is a place I always wanted to go to and the prospect of IMPACT as well, being able to do that because I have a non-exclusive deal, is something that is great for me as the wrestler that I am. I get to showcase my style on various shows and that makes me happy."

He added, "My loyalties are to New Japan first and now with IMPACT on board, they are up there as well. I wanted to make sure I could do both at the same time and not step on one or the other's foot."

Discussing his immigration being the reason he waited 90 days to begin competing again, he admitted that for a brief period of time, dealing with immigration can be a scary process.

"I did have the 30-day no-compete, but it literally took another 60 days to have my immigration filed. A lot of people didn't realize that this is what a lot of international people go through. Even to get to WWE, it was a long process, months on end just to get to WWE. Being released is the same thing. It's a scary thing, very scary. I had all the faith in the world that wrestling companies were going to want to use JONAH, but at the same time, there are legalities and loops you have to jump through. That's the scary thing."

Once it was time to start figuring out where he was going to land moving forward, JONAH revealed that it was Rocky Romero who reached out first. The former NXT star says he doesn't want to ever stop wrestling so for Rocky to reach out immediately meant a great deal to him to know that he could continue moving forward.

"Rocky was the first one to...when it comes to when I was first released, a lot of people reached out because it was quite a shock and I had a lot of people from WWE, NXT, lots of people just reach out, but the first one who reached out to see if I was interested in working somewhere, was Rocky. That meant a big deal to me because I am one of those guys that doesn't ever want to stop wrestling. This year, with immigration and being released, I didn't wrestle for three months and it was so strange to me as someone who wrestles every weekend. He was the first one to reach out to me. From there, with dealing with IMPACT and other companies, I also relay stuff through Rocky as well. He's a busy man. I could be wrong, but in one week he did New Japan STRONG, AEW, and IMPACT."

He later added, "Rocky was the first person to contact me and that was just after I was released, maybe a few days. I was in talks with IMPACT maybe a couple of weeks after that with D'Lo Brown. He is who I first touched base with, he contacted me. I was contacted elsewhere as well, but some things don't work out and these are the places that I am."

Speaking about his IMPACT debut, he reveals that he was supposed to join the company at Bound for Glory but couldn't make it due to immigration issues.

"It was all due to immigration and legalities. For me, I understood that Bound For Glory is one of their biggest shows. You had the IInspiration debuting and there is so much happening on that one show that it wasn't at all a detriment for me to debut at Turning Point. I think it was actually quite fitting at a show called Turning Point and I attacked Josh and left a complete statement. It was a perfect piece of business."

Now, JONAH has a major appearance upcoming for New Japan STRONG during their final taping of the year which will be an event titled “Nemesis.” JONAH is looking forward to mixing it up with the NJPW roster.

He singled out David Finlay as someone he was looking forward to wrestling because of his connection with Finlay’s dad. JONAH also named Finlay’s tag partner, juice Robinson, and Jay White as other names he wants to mix it up with

"Finlay was definitely one of them. I had been able to work with his dad in a coaching and producing aspect, so as soon as I saw I could work with Finlay and wrestle, I said, 'this is going to be great. I know how his dad works and I know how he works.' I'm all for that style of wrestling. Juice is one of them. He's great. I'm not sure what you consider stateside, but Jay White, he's been here for the last year or so and is someone I would like to get in there with. I look at the roster and I am intrigued with the younger guys as well. Alex Coughlin and some of the Young Lions I can get in the ring with as well."

Nemesis will take place on December 9 at the Vermont in Hollywood, California. Fightful will have results of the event after it is taped.

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