In the weeks following Mike and Maria Kanellis, The Revival, and Dean Ambrose (disputed) – all informing WWE of their desires to leave the company, it is now being reported that Hideo Itami asked for his WWE release this week. He finished up on Tuesday night’s episode of 205 Live in a losing effort to Akira Tozawa. The talk backstage was that Itami will actually be granted his release, pending a 90-day no compete clause.
Itami (who was the top star of Pro Wrestling Noah for years under the ring name KENTA) made his NXT debut on September 11, 2014, at NXT TakeOver: Fatal 4-Way when he was introduced to the crowd by NXT General Manager William Regal. He would go on to team with Finn Balor in a feud with The Ascension before feuding with Tyler Breeze throughout early 2015.
His NXT career was derailed in May 2015 when he suffered a shoulder injury that kept him out of action until June 2016. Four months after his return, he suffered a neck injury that kept him out of action until April 2017.
Upon returning to the brand, Itami feuded with Bobby Roode over the NXT World Title. Itami would go on to feud with Kassius Ohno and Aleister Black before getting lost in the shuffle at the end of 2017. On November 21, 2017, it was announced that he would be part of the 205 Live brand. Itami made his main roster debut on the December 18, 2017, episode of Raw, helping Balor against Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel.
Itami entered the 2017 Cruiserweight Championship tournament but was defeated by Roderick Strong in the first round. He would wrap up his WWE career by eating the pinfall in Sunday’s 4-way Royal Rumble Cruiserweight Title match to Buddy Murphy and losing to Tozawa Tuesday night.
UPDATE: It looks like Hideo has wasted no time addressing this story on Twitter:
— KENTA (@HideoItami) January 30, 2019
Sir Mitch Says: Obviously, if Itami is indeed leaving we would expect him to return to Noah and truth be told they really need him back as the company (like most other pro wrestling companies in Japan not named NJPW, Dragon Gate or Stardom) have been really struggling in recent years.