It’s Saturday so time for the latest instalment of ’This Week in Wrestling’, the sixth of 2018. Today, Brian looks at Hideo Itami and shares all the best viral content he’s stumbled upon this week.
Kenta catch a break?!
In July of 2014, WWE announced that it had made a major international signing. Japanese great Kenta was signed to a WWE developmental deal. WWE even went as far as to send both Jimmy Hart and Hulk Hogan to a house show in Osaka, Japan to make the signing official.
At the time, it seemed like a slam dunk for WWE. The company got their hands on one of the hottest and most talented Japanese stars at the time. Not only would Kenta help elevate NXT to new levels but also broaden their fan base in Japan. Initially, when Kenta was introduced to the NXT audience, he was given a new name in ‘Hideo Itami’ and a translator in Sho Funaki.
Despite the changes, Itami was set for big things in NXT and WWE as a whole. That is until he suffered a very serious shoulder injury that took Itami out for well over a year. He developed some complications with the surgically repaired shoulder and stayed out longer than expected. During his absence, several other NXT stars came and went and moved on to bigger things in their careers.
When Hideo Itami finally came back, he started back at the bottom of the card. After his career was slowly gaining back traction, Itami was injured again. While not his fault, it was yet another setback in his career. After about six months of inactivity, Itami returned again and this time was catapulted to the top of the NXT pecking order. He would challenged Bobby Roode for the NXT title in a losing effort.
Itami would turn heel and be involved in various matches and feuds but nothing too spectacular. Ultimately, Itami was called up to the main roster with just a little fanfare. After a tag match on Raw with Finn Balor, Itami was sent to the cruiserweight division. Seemingly a demotion of sorts. He would wrestle a match against The Brian Kendrick and use the GTS (Go to Sleep) but accidentally potatoed Kendrick, injuring him.
It was yet another unfortunate incident in what seemed like several in his WWE career. Just this past Tuesday on 205 Live, Itami was entered into the cruiserweight title tournament and lost in the very first round to Roderick Strong. While a really good match, Itami is once again left with nothing. 2018 has been a really big year thus far for Japanese talent in WWE. Both Asuka and Shinsuke Nakamura won their respective Royal Rumbles and will headline Wrestlemania.
Then there is Hideo Itami, a talented wrestler all but forgotten since his big contract signing just a few years ago. Itami certainly has the talent to compete at a high level but has the ship sailed on his WWE career? Only time will tell, but as of right now, Hideo Itami’s WWE career has been compared to the original Sin Cara’s. And that is not a good thing.
Daniel Bryan introducing his daughter Birdie to a wrestling ring…
A young ‘Lars Sullivan’ before his NXT days…
A high school football photo of Marty Lunde.(#65) He, of course, would go to become ‘The Enforcer’ Arn Anderson.
During the Super Bowl halftime show with Justin Timberlake, the Velveteen Dream made a cameo! 😉
The traditional championship belt Triple H sends to the winners of a sporting event.
You had one job on WWE’s Twitter account and you messed it up!
Um, I am not quite sure what exactly is going on in this picture of Goldust and Mandy Rose. I’m sure Goldust doesn’t mind though.
An MNM reunion and man do I dare say they look better now than ever before?
Yes, there really is a Roman Reigns hotel located in India.
Ric Flair filmed a KFC segment at the 2018 Royal Rumble. Little known fact: Flair so dressed like Colonel Sanders back in the 1970’s too.
Brock Lesnar through the years…
The ‘Iceman’ King Parsons furniture commercial
All previous ‘This Week in Wrestling’ pieces can be read here.