WWE NXT star Hideo Itami had an impressive NXT campaign before going down with a shoulder injury around summer time. There was a big match he was set for where he would take on Tyler Breeze and Finn Balor in a triple threat match for the #1 Contendership for the WWE NXT Championship. It was a big honor for Hideo to get such an opportunity not even a year into his work with the company. It was said that Itami was planned to win the match.
From there, he would go to Japan and face Kevin Owens for the championship and beat him in his Japanese homeland. It was going to be a huge night for Itami, but his injury cut those plans short and they did an injury angle to push him into a storyline upon his return to the company. Finn Balor took his place and won the NXT Title in Japan. Itami attended the event and it was thought that he would have a role in helping Balor or Owens win, but WWE kept him out of the brawl.
Upon his return, he will likely go after the man who took him out of action. Hideo called out Kevin Owens at that time and said he had to have been the one to do it. However, Owens claimed he had nothing to do with the attack. That left two other men up for the spot of the attacker. Tyler Breeze or Finn Balor. Both Breeze and Owens are on the main roster which leaves Balor as the only person who really has a stake in what happened to Hideo, as pushing him out of the match left it a one on one match for him to get the victory.
However, with Balor being a face champion who is facing off with a recently turned Samoa Joe, Balor might be unlikely for the attacker even though that was the plan earlier on. Instead the NXT creative team may tap Joe for the attacker. This was actually his first night with WWE, so it does make some sense.
The big story regarding Hideo Itami is when he will return to the ring. According to Daily Wrestling News, both Itami and Funaki were in attendance for the NXT tapings this past week but neither athlete was used. Funaki actually went with Hideo on his trip to the Orthosports Clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, where Dr. James Andrews is located. He was at the Andrews’ clinic for a 15-day rehab last month, and Funaki was with him the whole time. This was most likely done so that Funaki could help him around the city due to Itami still learning English.
Hideo has gotten much better with his English, however since he is still learning and the south has a different way of speaking than the rest of America, Funaki was needed. Plus the two are said to be good friends.
Funaki indicated that Hideo Itami was making great progress in his recovery and could be back soon. This lines up perfectly with expectations as it was thought he would be out up to November or December. While there were some who thought he could be healed up by October, he would not be able to compete at that point as rehab would allow him to get better from a mobile perspective. This might allow Hideo to make his return at the NXT Takeover in London next month. However, it is not set in concrete that he will be back by then.
WWE could be waiting to bring him back for another reason, so we will have to wait and see. However, all indications are that Hideo Itami will be at the next batch of NXT tapings and should be working them.
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