After being forced out of action for nearly a year and a half, Hideo Itami made his long-awaited return to an NXT ring several weeks ago. As one of Japan’s biggest stars, Itami’s decision to sign with WWE NXT in summer 2014 made headlines all over the world. Now, he’s back in the headlines by returning to the ring in the hopes of picking up right where he left off. This week, Itami sat down with WWE.com to discuss his return, the frustrations of being injured and his future goals.
WWE.COM: How did it feel to finally return to an NXT ring?
ITAMI: I’m so happy to be back. Words cannot explain how much it meant. But my goal is not just to be back in action; I’m also focused on reaching the next level.
WWE.COM: For those who were unfamiliar with your shoulder injury, what exactly happened?
ITAMI: I suffered a dislocated shoulder, which was a very tough injury. I have torn my ACLs in both knees and I’ve broken an ankle, but this is the longest I’ve ever been out of action in my entire career. It was the toughest injury of my life.
WWE.COM: I understand you had two different surgeries, which extended your time away from the ring, right?
ITAMI: Yes, I had the first surgery in May 2015 and a second one in February 2016. When I first suffered the injury, I thought I was only going to be out for six months.
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