This week, Ring of Honor promised a major talent announcement for SuperCard of Honor XIV and boy did they deliver. After booking New Japan Pro Wrestling talents Jay White, El Phantasmo and Will Ospreay already, on Friday, ROH announced that KENTA would be going to Lakeland, marking his return to the company for the first time in over a decade.
Full details: https://t.co/TK7t4IuHzx
— ROH Wrestling (@ringofhonor) January 17, 2020
When KENTA (aka Hideo Itami) left WWE in 2019, all eyes were where he might land upon his return to Japan. The longtime Pro Wrestling NOAH star and eight-time champion with the promotion, KENTA instead chose to sign his first-ever contract with NJPW, having only wrestled there in the past as part of NOAH co-promoted shows.
KENTA’s NJPW in-ring debut came in the G1 Climax where he won his first four matches, including against opponents Hiroshi Tanahashi and eventual winner, Kota Ibushi. On the last night of the tournament, KENTA showed his true colors and made his allegiances known, turning heel and becoming the newest member of Bullet Club. Shortly after, he went on to claim gold in his first attempt, defeating Tomohiro Ishii for the NEVER Openweight Championship. In 2019, KENTA also took part in the World Tag League alongside partner and Bullet Club mate, Yujiro Takahashi. KENTA successfully defended his NEVER title for the rest of the year, dropping it at Wrestle Kingdom 14 against Hirooki Goto.
While KENTA has become an international star, mostly due to his time in Japan and his five-year stint in NXT, in 2005, it was Ring of Honor that served as the place for his American debut. KENTA defended his GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship at Final Battle that year and clearly impressed ROH brass in the process. In 2006, KENTA returned to wrestle 10 matches for the promotion, doing so against Roderick Strong, Austin Aries, Davey Richards, Samoa Joe and Bryan Danielson, who he wrestled against for the ROH World Championship at Glory By Honor. Over the next three years, KENTA continued to wrestle sporadically for ROH before returning to work another 10 matches in 2009. KENTA received another world title shot and a shot at the tag titles alongside Strong. In his final match for the promotion to date, KENTA defeated Chris Hero.
In Japan, KENTA has his sights set on the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship, having attacked new champ, Tetsuya Naito on the night after WrestleKingdom. But that will have to wait as KENTA heads to Lakeland for SuperCard of Honor, where he’ll have some Bullet Club backup.
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