Hideo Itami

Quick question: What’s the deal with Hideo Itami? I admit I never saw his work in Japan, but I was excited to see him debut in NXT just based on the good word of mouth. However, I found him immediately disappointing, just kind of dull in the ring and a little sloppy. It seems the fans have reacted the same way, he just doesn’t seem to be getting over like I expected him to.

Am I missing something? Was he significantly better in Japan, and if so, what happened?

​Yeah, Itami was much better in Japan as KENTA, mostly because he’s having trouble making the audience connect with him in the ring, unlike Nakamura or even Kota Ibushi. They (the audience that is) are still willing to give him chances to win them over at least, but it appears to be a really difficult transition to the different style for him, and I don’t know if he knows the solution. There was a short while there where he and Finn Balor were a tag team in NXT and then suddenly Balor just surpassed him and never looked back. That being said, common wisdom is that Itami was the guy who was going to get the NXT title from Owens in Japan before he got hurt, so maybe HHH was willing to roll the dice with him. Hopefully the return from injury and having someone like Austin Aries to work with will give him that missing "it" that’s been lacking for this entire run.