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Hideo Itami returns at NXT Winter Haven

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen the former KENTA.

A month after winning an Axxess battle royal to earn a WrestleMania moment (on the pre-show in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal won by Big Show) in Santa Clara, California, a shoulder injury sidelined him.

He was written off in kayfabe by a still-unsolved parking lot attack, while his recovery took longer than expected due to unrevealed setbacks which ended up keeping him out of action for more than a year.

As of tonight’s NXT house show in Winter Park, Florida, Hideo Itami is back. Both he and his fellow countryman Shinsuke Nakamura teased a return this week, and for tonight’s main event, he joined TM61 for a six-man tag main event against NXT champ Samoa Joe, Wesley Blake & Tino Sabatelli.

Random, yes (but it is Itami vs. Joe!). And he’s back!

Your eyes aren't deceiving you, #HideoItami is BACK! #NXTWinterHaven

A photo posted by WWE NXT (@wwenxt) on

Bummer that he’ll miss the Japan tour for the second straight year (although I suppose he could hop on a plane and make Saturday’s show), but good news for NXT and possibly the main roster. With the draft coming up, WWE may opt to pull the trigger the 35 year old veteran.

Or, he could fill the gaps about to be created by the departure of Finn Balor and others when the rosters split on July 19.

Either way, it’s great to see him back!

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