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.