• Video: Hideo Itami Goes Ballistic Following Loss To NXT Champion Bobby Roode: May 21st, 2017  |  Read More
  • NXT TakeOver: Chicago Results and Photos: May 21st, 2017  |  Read More
  • Video: Hideo Itami Challenges NXT Champion Bobby Roode At TakeOver: Chicago: May 20th, 2017  |  Read More
  • NXT Results and Photos – May 17th 2017: May 18th, 2017  |  Read More
  • NXT Results and Photos – May 10th 2017: May 11th, 2017  |  Read More
  • NXT Results and Photos – May 3rd 2017: May 4th, 2017  |  Read More
  • NXT Results and Photos – April 19th 2017: April 19th, 2017  |  Read More
  • WWE.com: The 10 Biggest Signings Of NXT’s TakeOver Era: April 15th, 2017  |  Read More
  • WWE.com: Hideo Itami Makes A Surprising Return To NXT: March 12th, 2017  |  Read More
WWE.com: The 10 Biggest Signings In WWE History

#8. Hideo Itami

When he was known as KENTA, this Japanese grappling expert was credited as both the inspiration and the greatest foil of mat masters like Daniel Bryan. And when WWE signed him, it was, to put it mildly, a very big deal. Interviews were commissioned, photos were taken, tweets were tweeted and congratulations were given, right up until the day he debuted. Independent acquisitions like Itami have become somewhat commonplace in NXT these days, though both his introduction — William Regal brought him out as KENTA and he became Hideo Itami before our eyes — and its buildup were unprecedented.

WWE.com: 16 Superstars To Watch In 2016

Blink and you may have missed Hideo Itami’s big WrestleMania moment, when the spark-plug Japanese NXT Superstar peppered Big Show with stinging slaps to the face in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. It’s worth a replay on WWE Network. A rabid master of the wrestling arts, Itami’s world-traveled pedigree — Daniel Bryan counts him as an inspiration — catapulted him to The Show of Shows before he even got to the main roster. Imagine what he’ll do once he returns from shoulder injury. — ANTHONY BENIGNO

Finn Bálor Gives An Update On Hideo During The Official WWE 2K Live Stream

Last week, while taking part in a Twitch live stream with 2K for WWE 2K16, NXT Champion Finn Bálor provided a small update on Hideo’s progress as he continues to battle back from a shoulder injury that he had suffered back in May.

How’s Hideo’s [shoulder] coming along?

Bálor: It’s coming along great, he’s making great progress. So hopefully in the next few months he’ll be back to full strength.

You can hear what he has to say about Hideo around the 38 minute mark on the video below. Huge thank you to Jennifer for passing this on.

WWE 2K16 Gameplay Footage Featuring Hideo

NXT Meet and Greet Photos – October 8th, 2015

Hideo, along with Funaki, was once again in attendance for NXT, during the tapings this past Thurday. This time, the two took time to meet with the fans and take photos before the shows. The photos have been uploaded to the gallery, which you can check out using the link below.

NXT TakeOver: Respect Coverage

Still on the injured list, Hideo was in attendance, along with former WWE Superstar Funaki to watch the historical NXT TakeOver: Respect event last night.

Toyko, Japan 2015 WWE Live Event Photos

Photos taken from the live show in Tokyo, Japan on Friday where Hideo hosted a special Hall Of Fame ceremony for recent WWE Hall Of Fame inductee, Japanese legend, Tatsumi Fujinami, have been added to the gallery.

NXT Results and Photos – June 24th 2015

Live Event Digitals > June 24th, 2015
Screen Captures > June 24th, 2015

Hideo Itami addressed the NXT Universe

Making his first appearance since the brutal parking lot attack that left him with a torn rotator cuff and forced him out of the No. 1 Contender’s Match at TakeOver: Unstoppable, Hideo Itami wasted no time in setting up his return to the ring. Though he will be out of action for 3 to 4 months, Itami issued a challenge to the winner of the NXT Championship Match between Kevin Owens and Finn Bálor on July 4 upon his return from injury.

As soon as the challenge was issued, Owens emerged to deny any accusations that he was Itami’s attacker, and demand an apology from Itami for calling him a “bad person” prior to TakeOver. After Itami refused, Owens stormed toward the ring, only to be cut off by Bálor. The enigmatic No. 1 Contender got the upper hand on Owens, but was blindsided by Rhyno, who viciously kicked him off the stage in a near repeat of their battle from earlier this month. Following the fracas, NXT General Manager William Regal announced that Bálor would take on The Man Beast in the main event!

WWE.com: Hideo Itami To Address The NXT Universe This Wednesday On WWE Network

As revealed on WWE NXT’s Twitter today, Hideo Itami will return to NXT this Wednesday to address the NXT Universe.

Itami has not been seen since before TakeOver: Unstoppable. The morning of the live special, Itami was attacked in the parking lot by a still-unknown assailant. The attack left Itami with a torn rotator cuff that required surgery to repair and forced him out of a No. 1 Contender’s Match.

The Japanese Superstar has been active on social media in the weeks since TakeOver, tweeting as he recovers and prepares for his return to the ring. Though his arm is in a sling, Itami returned to Japan to greet the WWE Universe and spread the word about the upcoming WWE Live tour in his homeland.

What does Itami have to say? Will he be able to shed any light on the attack that put him out of action? Find out on WWE NXT, this Wednesday at 8/7C, only on the award-winning WWE Network!