In unsurprising news, it appears as though WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and WWE Executive Triple H have clashed yet again, this time over new WWE addition KENTA. Vince has allowed Trips to basically run NXT how he wants, and has not stepped in often. However, it seemed that Vince got his way this time around to the major disagreement of Triple H.
The story goes that KENTA was coming in as a massively popular international wrestler. He was known primarily in Japan, a wrestling hotbed full of promotions that attract millions of eyeballs. KENTA made his way to the States a few times, as well as other areas in the world. He literally was possibly the biggest name in Indy wrestling out there. WWE has grabbed other stars. such as Kevin Steen and Prince Devitt, who had international fame, though none had the fanfare and respect as KENTA.
Triple H wanted KENTA to keep his name, as it would be helpful to use it to attract Japanese fans. WWE has had issues getting a Japanese audience; they previously brought in Yoshi Tatsu to help with this, as he was a popular NJPW star. However, WWE still has not been able to really gain much of an audience in Japan. This is why KENTA’s signing is so significant. He could help to slowly build up a Japanese following, allowing it to grow to point where WWE could do a lot of business with them.
Triple H felt that changing KENTA’s name would potentially hurt the ability to sell KENTA to the Japanese people they wanted to attract. While WWE was obviously impressed with KENTA — and they would probably have signed him years ago — due to his age, 33, most feel WWE signed him primarily due to his Japanese following.
The WWE Network being available in Japan would be huge for them if they could get people to buy it. KENTA being with WWE would only help the bottom line, as he is considered a major Japanese sports figure. Pro-Wrestling is still seen as a sport by many in Japan. If you watch some Japanese matches, you’ll know why.
Meanwhile, Vince McMahon wanted to change his name like he has with about 90 percent of the WWE roster. This was mainly so that they could market him and make him into a major star with the name they owned. WWE has been burned a bit recently with CM Punk, who owned his name, so it’s easy to understand why Vince wanted to change the name.
Triple H really wanted the Japanese fans to not feel disrespected by changing KENTA’s name. WWE did end up changing it to a name that the Japanese fans could be okay with, Hideo Itami. This is a name that Itami helped pick out himself. He claims that this name is a tribute to one of his heroes, so many fans who WWE would alienate might be okay with the move. WWE could always change his name back to KENTA when he comes up to the main roster, as many fans will obviously know him as KENTA and not Hideo Itami from the get-go.
Going off of his performance in NXT, it appears as if WWE is allowing him to use a lot of his moves. Two things he may not be able to use are the GTS and Anaconda Vice, two infamous moves popularized by CM Punk but were done by KENTA first. It appears as if they are allowing most everything else. However, it will be fun to see if WWE allows him to use the other moves. If they do not, what could KENTA come up with that would be better than the regular Japanese move of the double stomp to the chest?
[IMG Credits: Forbes.com, WWE.com]