The news of KENTA signing for the WWE sent shockwaves around the wrestling industry, as the company obviously meant serious business when they snapped up an international sensation who also happened to be one of the finest wrestlers on the planet.
There were big question marks of the KENTA signing, with his age and the then-inability to speak English not playing to his advantage. This was not helped by the fact that his innovated moves – such as the Go To Sleep – were already in use and he would have to tone his style down anyway.
But nevertheless the fans were and still are excited – as they should be because The Wrestling Observer Newsletter has reported that KENTA is being set up as a huge star in NXT.
However KENTA will no longer go by the same name as many expected he would.
The one piece of news the fans were hoping to avoid came true on Thursday’s NXT Special; Takeover II. KENTA did make his televised debut inside the ring - where he displayed his excitement at being in the WWE - but he also confirmed a change in name.
From now on in his WWE career KENTA will go by the name Hedio Itami. He was also interrupted by – and took out – former NXT tag team champions The Ascension.
Judging by the reports, this will be the first of many big moves for Itami as the company want to make him a huge star on NXT so that he will already be a big name when, not if, he jumps to the main roster.
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The WWE already put Hulk Hogan next to Itami when he was signed in Japan as they know Hogan puts fans in seats. One interesting rumour involves sticking Ric Flair with Itami but that hasn’t been confirmed and should only be treated as a rumour at this stage.
If they do go through with this, it’s because the company know fans watch Flair and if Itami is with him, they’ll know he is somebody to look out for as well.
A perfect example of a NXT star making an impact on the main roster took place earlier this week. When Adrian Neville hit the impressive Red Arrow you could see the amazement of the fans that were sat in the first few rows, clearly they didn’t watch NXT and were left gobsmacked.
This is what they want to do with Itami, leaving the main roster fans in awe when he eventually makes his debut. His impressive move-set will speak volumes considering other current and former stars are using manoeuvres he innovated.
There are certainly exciting times ahead not only for us NXT and main roster fans, but the stars of the WWE that want to work with him.
The chance to work with Sami Zayn and Neville will be a fans dream, whilst the fans are still counting down the days we finally get to see Daniel Bryan go at it again with Itami, whilst Seth Rollins and Cesaro are other brilliant match-ups.
Fans will assume that Itami will only get a big push because merchandise sales will go through the roof. Of course that is a massive advantage but Itami is genuinely talented. It’ll be interesting to see which feuds he is placed in this early in his career.