It seems like forever since KENTA signed with the WWE and excited fans everywhere. However, the news just broke that Hideo Itami is leaving the WWE and might get his official release very soon.
Hideo Itami reportedly finished up with his last WWE commitments last night on SmackDown Live and after the show, he took photos with numerous wrestlers with the comment, “Thank You.”
Why is Hideo Itami leaving WWE?
PWInsider reports that he has asked for his WWE release and that when it is granted, which it should be soon, Hideo Itami will officially leave the WWE after just less than five years with the company.
Before he entered the WWE, KENTA was one of the most exciting wrestlers on the planet. His matches with Daniel Bryan in Ring of Honor were some of the best wrestling matches the company had ever seen.
KENTA then made his debut in WWE NXT by changing his name to Hideo Itami (this was before the WWE had no problems with wrestlers bringing their characters to the company).
It was exciting and dream matches were surely on the way.
After signing in July 2014, Hideo started his climb up the ladder of NXT. He even competed at the Andre the Giant Battle Royal at WrestleMania in 2015.
However, a rash of injuries halted his upward momentum. He was out after undergoing shoulder surgery from May 2015 until June 2016.
He came back to NXT television in 2017 but while he was out, names like Finn Balor and Shinsuke Nakamura signed with the WWE and Itami was a forgotten man.
He moved on to 205 Live and looked ready to rebound and pick up his career but he never really got very far there. His last WWE PPV appearance came on the pre-show at the Royal Rumble when he lost to Buddy Murphy.
What is next for Hideo Itami/KENTA
Hideo Itami is 37 and will be a huge pickup for whichever promotion signs him. There is a chance he could end up in AEW, as another former WWE creuiserweight signed there in Neville (PAC).
Seeing a KENTA vs. PAC feud could be huge for AEW fans.
Another option is going back home. He would be a huge signing for New Japan Pro Wrestling, NOAH or even All Japan. He will have to wait out his 90-day no-compete clause, but fans will want to keep an eye on where KENTA pops up next.
Hideo Itami is the second WWE superstar to announce this week that he is leaving the company, as Dean Ambrose is leaving the WWE as well.