WWE has reportedly reached an agreement with Japanese promotion, Pro Wrestling NOAH, on a talent sharing deal. The agreement will see Hideo Itami return to the company he first made his name for.
According to the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, WWE and NOAH reached a talent-sharing agreement at least as it concerns Itami. The wrestler formerly known as KENTA, will return to NOAH for a show in August.
WWE and Pro Wrestling NOAH Reach Deal For Hideo Itami/KENTA
Kenta Kobayashi, better known to WWE fans as Hideo Itami, has struggled to become relevant in WWE. He spent 13 years in Pro Wrestling NOAH previously, winning their Junior Heavyweight Championship on 3 occasions. Near the end of his career with NOAH, Itami would enter the heavyweight division and win the GHC Heavyweight Championship as well. Itami signed with WWE in 2014 but injury woes caused him to lose momentum on the NXT roster.
The wrestlers Itami shared the roster with in NXT have all been on the main roster for some time now. Finn Balor, Shinsuke Nakamura, Tyler Breeze, and even the Ascension were some of the top names in NXT at the time.
Itami dropped his KENTA name when he debuted for NXT. Before his first match, he announced he would be going by the name Hideo Itami. The name translates to “Hero of Pain”.
Eventually, Itami’s lack of success led to a heel turn. In 2017, he was moved to the cruiserweight division on 205 Live. On Tuesday night, Itami moved closer to his first shot at the Cruiserweight Championship by defeating Buddy Murphy and Mustafa Ali in a 3-way match. The win likely moves Itami into a position to be the next to challenge Cedric Alexander for the title.
WWE will run two shows from Tokyo on June 29th and 30th next week. Shinsuke Nakamura will challenge for the WWE Championship each night.