It’s not confirmation of Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s item which indicated WWE could be entering into an ongoing partnership relationship with the Japanese promotion, but the announcement by Naomichi Marufuji that Hideo Itami would be returning to Pro Wrestling NOAH to face him for his 20th anniversary show could certainly be a step toward that.
Before signing with WWE in 2014, Itami was synonymous with NOAH, where as KENTA he was their GHC Heavyweight (once) and Junior Heavyweight (three times) Champion. When Marufuji made the announcement in Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall on June 26, fans chanted KENTA as the current 205 Live Superstar was show on the big screen in front of a WWE logo:
So far, as far as we know, this is a one-time deal to allow Itami to work the Sept. 1 Flight event with his long-time tag partner and rival Marufuji. But in addition to possibly kickstarting an alliance between WWE Developmental and NOAH, it will also give The ‘E something to promote while All In is happening. Triple H can also use it to get some attention on his cruiserweight brand, where Itami has emerged as a heel title contender while working a ‘Reality’ Era angle which started in NXT using rumors he’s dissatisfied in WWE and wanting to return to Japan.