Hideo Itami requests release from the WWE, per report

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/01/30/hideo-itami-requests-release-from-the-wwe-per-report/

The latest performer to give notice to the WWE is Hideo Itami (Kenta Kobayashi), which was first reported by Fightful.com on Tuesday night.

Itami wrestled on Tuesday’s episode of 205 Live, losing to Akira Tozawa where it is believed he finished up with the company. After the match, he posted “Thank you” on Twitter. WWE producer Adam Pearce added, “Thank you for your efforts, dedication, and professionalism. I always respect you”.

The 37-year old, formerly known as KENTA, was one of the cornerstones of Pro Wrestling NOAH where he wrestled for 14 years before leaving in 2014 for the WWE.

He was a product of the All Japan system but quickly left with most of the roster when Mitsuharu Misawa left the promotion to form NOAH in the spring of 2000. He formed an elite level tag team with Naomichi Marufuji, who would become his career rival. He rose to become GHC heavyweight champion in January 2013 and held it for close to a year.

In 2014, he accepted an offer with the WWE and was introduced by Hulk Hogan during a WWE event that year in Osaka. He reported to Florida and debuted on NXT in September 2014. The high point of his WWE career came at WrestleMania 31 as a participant in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

Injuries hurt his WWE career as he suffered a terrible shoulder injury in May 2015 and due to complications with rehab, did not return for 13 months. Just months after his return in 2016, he suffered a neck injury during an NXT live event where he took a powerslam and landed badly. He would miss another six months.

Itami was called up from NXT in November 2017 and assigned to 205 Live where he has spent the remainder of his time. He was part of this past Sunday’s fatal four-way match at the Royal Rumble with champion Buddy Murphy, Kalisto, and Akira Tozawa.

Fightful reported that he was expected to be granted his release pending a 90-day no-compete clause.

As much as I might want to say that this coming on the heels of the Ambrose news signifies some sort of turning point, they’re very different cases. Itami’s run of injuries was difficult to watch and his failure to go beyond that Battle Royale spot can’t be heaped at the feet of main roster or 205 creative. This does seem like a mutually beneficial parting; here’s hoping he can have a nice late career run in Japan as things wind down for him.

Pro Wrestling NOAH was just purchased by a company that presumably is going to invest money into it, and I think KENTA is going home. I doubt WWE wants to set a precedent of granting a release to someone even with KENTA’s position in the company to go to AEW, ROH or New Japan.

We all know by now, that WWE won’t release him even if he ask for his release. WWE isn’t taken any chance with his contracted talent and if they can keep them from going anywhere else they rather pay them for doing nothing then releasing them

So Itami is pretty much stuck in WWE until is contract run out.

The very report you’re responding to and every other one reporting on the story says it’s expected WWE will grant him his release. He’s already changed his name back to ‘KENTA’ on Twitter and tweeted “Thank You!”…yet here you are (again) making bold declarations that have no basis in reality.


I had completely forgotten he was on the roster until I saw him in the 205 Live pre-show match on Sunday. Going to 205 Live is the equivalent to going to the abyss. Injuries doomed him in WWE. He also looks to have gained a bit of weight, which could be a sign of lack of motivation or inspiration for his WWE work.

No need to get all mad about it, i gave a opinion based on wwe history of not releasing people. So if it’s true that he got his release, more power to him, he one of the rare one that was able to get his release and prove how not important they think he is to the company.