In the last few weeks, we have seen several WWE talents ask for their release. From The Revival to Dean Ambrose, several stars are thinking about moving on. We can now add Hideo Itami (KENTA) to that list.
According to a report from Fightful.com’s Sean Ross Sapp and Jeremy Lambert, Hideo Itami (formerly known as KENTA) has given his notice to WWE and has reportedly been granted his release with a 90-day no compete clause.
If this is the case, Itami’s last match with WWE was a losing effort against Akira Tozawa on 205 Live. Itami’s last pay-per-view appearance was at the Royal Rumble, losing in an excellent four-way match for the cruiserweight title.
Itami, a world-renowned star before his WWE career, was largely plagued with injuries since arriving in WWE, and then used in only minor programs. He’s reportedly requested his release over dissatisfaction with the creative direction WWE had taken his career. In recent months, reports about the dissatisfaction of various talents in terms of creative have surfaced, with the biggest being Dean Ambrose requesting his release.
In the case of Itami, who was once considered one of the best wrestlers alive, you would have to think that being relegated to 205 Live and not being one of the top stars would be quite frustrating. In Pro Wrestling NOAH, KENTA was one of the top draws in Japan, as a multi-time GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion, and one time GHC heavyweight champion. KENTA has also had a history of success in Ring of Honor and other promotions, representing NOAH.
Wherever KENTA ends up, you can expect that he will be welcomed with open arms, and I expect he will be a major asset to any promotion he works for. A return to NOAH would make the most sense, especially since he could rekindle his rivalry with Naomichi Marufuji, but there also happens to be a big show running in Las Vegas about 90 days called Double or Nothing. Time will tell where he ends up, I wish KENTA the best of luck and look forward to seeing him wrestle again soon in the future.