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WWE/NJPW News: Former WWE star makes NJPW debut, wants to compete in the G1 Climax 29

Soumik Datta
09 Jun 2019, 16:45 IST

Katsuyori Shibata (left) and Kenta (right)
Katsuyori Shibata (left) and Kenta (right)

What's the story?

At tonight's NJPW: Dominion 6.9 show, former WWE star Kenta fka Hideo Itami made his shocking debut for New Japan Pro Wrestling.

In case you didn't know...

Prior to signing with WWE in 2014, Hideo Itami established himself as one of the mainstays of Pro Wrestling NOAH. During his time with NOAH, Kenta won the GHC Heavyweight and Jr. Heavyweight Championship and was also in a tag team with Shibata, back in the day.

Kenta was eventually released from WWE in February of 2019 and hasn't appeared for any wrestling promotion in particular. This will also be Kenta's first full run in NJPW, as the former NOAH veteran gets set to takeover another top Japanese promotion, having already conquered NOAH.

The heart of the matter

New Japan Pro Wrestling legend Katsuyori Shibata made another surprise appearance at tonight's Dominion 6.9 show, as the former Never Openweight Champion received a huge pop from the crowd at the Osaka Jo-Hall upon his return.

As it turned out, Shibata apparently didn't come down to the ring alone, as former WWE and Pro Wrestling NOAH legend Kenta accompanied him to the ring. The NJPW LA Dojo Head Trainer introduced Kenta to the Osaka audience and the latter within minutes confirmed that he wants to show New Japan Pro Wrestling what he's capable of.

Kenta eventually confirmed that he is G1 bound and will be competing in NJPW's biggest tournament of the year, which kicks off later this year.

What's next?

Kenta isn't the only former WWE superstar who announced his inclusion in this year's G1 Climax 29, as new IWGP US Champion, Jon Moxley also stated that he remains interested in competing in this year's G1.

The G1 Climax 29 begins on the 6th of July in Dallas and so far top NJPW stars such as Kazuchika Okada, Jay White, and Kota Ibushi have all been confirmed to appear on the card.

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