Pro Wrestling NOAH’s Naomichi Marafuji has announced that WWE Superstar Hideo Itami is returning to NOAH. Marafuji vs. Itami (as KENTA) will take place on their “Flight” show at Sumo Hall on September 1st.
As first reported last week on the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, WWE now has a working relationship with NOAH and Marafuji was adament that KENTA appear on their 20th anniversary show to work a match with him.
Itami has been with WWE since 2014. Unfortunately he spent a good portion of his time in NXT on the inactive list before finally being called up to 205 Live last year. Itami has been working as a heel more recently but now fans will get the opportunity to see Itami return to his old form as KENTA as he returns to wrestle in NOAH for the first time in 4 years.
Author’s Take: With WWE signing numerous talents from Japan (more specifically NJPW) over the past couple of years it’s no secret that Japanese wrestling in general as generated a huge buzz in the US in recent years. I’m sure Vince and Triple H have monitored the success that NJPW has had here in the US with its new partnership with ROH and are looking to establish a stronger presence in Japan as New Japan has done here in America.
This also seems like the beginning phases of a NXT: Japan which Triple H has recently discussed trying to launch in the future.