Things haven’t gone according to plan for NXT Superstar Hideo Itami since his arrival in WWE.
The Japanese sensation made his NXT debut in September of 2014, and brought with him a ton of hype and notoriety. Itami had already made quite the name for himself in professional wrestling prior to WWE, performing all around the world under the moniker “KENTA.”
Known for his strikes, technical ability, and intensity, KENTA was exactly the kind of performer Paul “Triple H” Levesque was looking for when he began building the powerhouse brand that NXT was soon to become.
WWE Legends Hulk Hogan and Jimmy Hart welcome Hideo Itami to WWE
(Photo Credit: WWE.com)
In May of 2015, after being positioned as one of the faces of NXT, but before the ball that was his promising career in WWE could ever really get rolling, Itami badly injured his shoulder. After being out of action for more than a year, he would make his return to the ring in June of 2016, only to be seriously injured again soon after.
Finally healthy, Itami is on the verge of living up to the hype that surrounded him upon his arrival in WWE. He’s currently one of the best heels in NXT, a personality change that better suits his intense nature.
In-ring wise, Itami has been fantastic as of late. His match for the NXT Championship against Bobby Roode at NXT TakeOver: Chicago was a high point. A bout with Oney Lorcan on an episode of NXT perfectly showcased the toughness that Itami brings to the ring each and every time his steps through the curtain. Everything Itami does in the ring is believable, which is an art that not a lot of men or women in the wrestling world have mastered as well as he has.
NXT Superstar Hideo Itami sets up Oney Lorcan for the Go To Sleep, a maneuver Itami invented
(Photo Credit: WWE.com)
Looking at this weekend’s SummerSlam lineup, an Itami showdown with Aleister Black is circled in my mind as a potential “match of the weekend” contender. The two best strikers in NXT, if not the entire WWE, going at it in the middle of the ring in front of a hot Brooklyn crowd is an exciting prospect, to say the least.
Itami possesses all of the tools needed to be a major player in WWE. He can work a good match with anyone, he’s extremely fun to watch, and his character work continues to improve over time. If Itami can manage to keep a clean bill of health, there is no doubt that he can find success inside of a WWE ring.
Are you a big fan of Hideo Itami? What do you think the future holds for the man from Tokyo, Japan? Let us know on Twitter, @TheRumbleRamble.