Photo courtesy: NJPW
KENTA recently spoke to Weekly Pro Wrestling magazine in Japan about his departure from WWE and arrival at New Japan Pro Wrestling earlier this month at Dominion.
He will still be based in the United States due to his family rather than moving them back to Japan.
When he was called up to 205 Live in November 2017 he was excited about the call-up but then things started to ‘deteriorate’. He mentioned the Cruiserweight title tournament in early 2018 after Enzo Amore left the company and the title was vacant. Itami lost in the opening round to Roderick Strong and noted that he could never really figure out who Hideo Itami was due to his lack of in-ring activity. He also felt his in-ring style suffered as a result of being told what to do and not to do and lost sight of his goals there.
He added that ‘no good memories come to mind’ on the experience at 205 Live and said he was ‘defanged’ there.
Regarding Pro Wrestling NOAH, he stated that he knew would be welcomed back but wanted to achieve his goal of succeeding at the international level and New Japan has that reach. He also stated his style is more of a throwback to the contemporary New Japan ‘house style’ and believes that’s a good thing.
He was nervous prior to his debut at Osaka-jo Hall and didn’t watch any matches prior, but did watch the three matches that followed (Dragon Lee vs. Will Ospreay, Kota Ibushi vs. Tetsuya Naito, and Kazuchika Okada vs. Chris Jericho).
Finally, he said he wants to have a match with Tetsuya Naito, citing the fact Naito is different than the version he met in 2014. The two had a time limit tag match with KENTA teaming with Masato Tanaka against Naito & Naomichi Marufuji in Tokyo.