Hideo Itami is the latest WWE wrestler to ask to be released.
According to a report by Fightful.com, Itami requested his release from WWE this week. Unlike others who reportedly did the same, the talk backstage is that he will be granted his release, pending a 90-day non-compete clause.
Itami wrestled tonight on 205 Live, losing to Akira Tozawa in the main event. Ariya Daivari, who he has been associated with on television, then turned on him, laying him out with a clothesline.
Fightful reports that Itami “finished up” on the show, which means that it’s his last match for WWE.
There was speculation that Itami was on his way out of WWE after he changed his Twitter name to KENTA — his ring name in Japan — a few days ago.
Not long after the aforementioned report was published, Itami tweeted, “THANK YOU.”
— KENTA (@HideoItami) January 30, 2019
It was also revealed on Tuesday that Dean Ambrose informed WWE management that he will be leaving following the expiration of his contract in April. The Revival, Mike and Maria Kanellis also recently asked for their releases, but got denied. The reasons for all of these decisions were reportedly creative frustrations, and Itami’s release request was motivated by the same rationale.
Itami, who was one of Pro Wrestling NOAH’s biggest stars, joined WWE in 2014 and was a part of NXT for several years. Despite coming in with much fanfare, Itami’s career with WWE got derailed by injuries that never allowed him to sustain any momentum. Itami suffered a shoulder injury that kept him out of action for over a year (from May 2015 to June 2016) and then suffered a neck injury in October 2016 that kept him out of action until April 2017.
Itami joined 205 Live in November 2017 and had some success, but never captured the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. He competed in a Fatal 4-Way Match for the Cruiserweight Championship at the Royal Rumble last Sunday, where he took the pinfall from title holder Buddy Murphy.