Hideo Itami’s run in WWE NXT hasn’t lived up to expectations. That’s not a knock on the main at all. It’s just been an unfortunate set of circumstances and bad luck. When Itami signed with WWE in July 2014 it was a huge deal because he was a big name in Japan known as Kenta Kobayashi or simply KENTA. The move to WWE caught people by surprise because it meant that Triple H, WWE’s head of talent relations these days, was seeking out the best talent in the world no matter where they are from whereas in the past WWE usually avoided big names from Japan.
There have been significant injuries for Itami including major shoulder surgery in 2015 that put him on the shelf for a year and a neck injury last year. He’s also been surpassed by fellow Japanese wrestlers. Since he joined the company, other Japanese stars like Shinsuke Nakamura and Asuka joined in the years that followed and they have become much bigger stars that became champions in NXT and are now on the main roster. What about Itami? Will that time ever come for him?
According to PWInsider, there is a plan in place for Itami to move to the main roster and join the Raw brand as part of the Cruiserweight division. It was noted that putting Itami in the Cruiserweight division and on 205 Live has been pitched several times, but there isn’t a set date for when it might happen.
A move to Raw and 205 Live would make Itami a main roster wrestler on a full-time basis. When Itami does appear on Raw, it wouldn’t be his first time on the main roster. That’s because he debuted on the main roster at the WrestleMania 31 battle royal in 2015. He didn’t win, but it was a great moment for him and WWE made this amazing video about it.
Since Itami currently isn’t part of the NXT Takeover War Games card in November, it would be easy to move him to the main roster at any time. It’s just a matter of when WWE decides to get him up there and what kind of role he could have.
Itami has been a face for most of his WWE run, but his heel turn has shown another side of him this year and he is thriving in that role. I think WWE would have confidence in him in either role considering his experience and abilities to have a great match with anybody. I hope things work out for him. After all he’s dealt with in the last four years, he deserves it.