NXT and 205 Live’s Hideo Itami has reportedly requested his release from WWE, and while PWInsider says they haven’t granted it yet, word is they plan to.
It seems pretty official, in part because of what we’ve seen on social media. Itami changed his handle back to his ringname from Japan & the indies (KENTA, a stylized version of his real name, Kenta Kobayashi). And the men & women he’s traveled with since he was one of Triple H’s first big NXT signees are saying their goodbyes.
Mostly in the form of replying to what looks like his farewell tweet:
Thank you.— Mustafa Ali / Adeel Alam (@MustafaAliWWE) January 30, 2019
Thank you Kenta and thank you Dean.— Rusev (@RusevBUL) January 30, 2019
Thank you @HideoItami.— Alexander Wolf[e] (@TheWWEWolfe) January 30, 2019
It was an honor to share the ring with you.
Or, like The Ascension’s Viktor, No Way Jose and CZW vet-turned-referee Wuertz did in addition to expressing their gratitude, by publicly offering the respect his character has been demanding since he returned from injury in 2017:
Worst day of my life.— Scott Dawson (@ScottDawsonWWE) January 30, 2019
Often by sharing times they f***ed with him on the road (if you follow NXT or SmackDown stars who post on social media while travelling, you know KENTA is very f***withable):
Go to sleep, now. I will always respect you. See you soon.— Scott Dawson (@ScottDawsonWWE) January 30, 2019
P.S. You’re very STIFF! pic.twitter.com/ueq7dmkY5q
And The IIconics were the queens of it:
This is bittersweet, because it’s clear at this point that injuries robbed him of a shot at main roster success, and toiling on the cruiserweight show isn’t going to pay him enough to make it worthwhile to be away from his family.
He should be happier, and NOAH will be getting a hell of veteran hand back.
Thanks KENTA. We’ve always respected you.