Injuries have caused lots of things in professional wrestling to be changed over the years. It looks like that is about to happen to the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Hideo Itami has suffered some sort of neck injury, as reported by 411 Mania. He more than likely will be removed as a contestant.
On October 1, NXT did a house show where Hideo Itami and Shinsuke Nakamura, two former top stars in Japan, were paired up as tag team partners in a match against Riddick Moss and Tino Sabbatelli. Itami took a power slam wrong and some damage was done to his neck.
While a full diagnosis has not yet been officially revealed, the belief in WWE is that the injury is a very serious one. Some are saying that Hideo Itami could miss several months of action. Neck injuries are taken rather seriously because management does not want the performers to risk further damage.
Hideo Itami had already spent several months on the sidelines due to a serious shoulder injury. That derailed his career in NXT a bit and delayed his promotion to the main roster in WWE. This neck injury will force fans to wait even longer to see Itami competing on Monday Night Raw or Smackdown Live.
During the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, Hideo Itami was scheduled to team up with Kota Ibushi, another star from Japan that recently started working with NXT. The two of them were expected to go very far in the tournament as a way to appease the overseas fan base.
With Hideo Itami out, WWE is going to need to find a new tag team partner for Kota Ibushi or remove him from the tournament as well. A possible replacement for Itami could be Shinsuke Nakamura, as that would generate some interest.
While WWE has high hopes for Hideo Itami, some in management might view him as being injury prone. If that were the case, then there might be a chance that he could be released from his contract. Fortunately for Itami, he has a big fan and supporter in his corner in Triple H.
One of the biggest reasons why WWE brought Hideo Itami over to the United States was because they wanted to generate fan interest from people in Japan. Management had finally launched the WWE Network in the country, so they started making moves designed to increase the subscribers count.
That was one of the biggest draws about signing Shinsuke Nakamura. He was one of the top three stars in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Having him on the roster gives WWE credibility with overseas fans who are accustomed to a stronger style of wrestling. Nakamura also brought along star potential because of his natural charisma.
To expand their targeted demographics a little bit further, WWE also decided to seek out a female performer from Japan. They found one in Asuka. The 35-year-old veteran has grown to become one of the centerpieces of the NXT divas division. Asuka is the current reigning champion.
Wanting an even larger stable of performers from Japan, WWE decided to gauge the interest of Kota Ibushi. The former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion was willing to work a couple of matches for World Wrestling Entertainment, but he is not inclined to work the heavy schedule required.
Injuries are forever going to be a part of professional wrestling. It’s a tough industry to make a living in. Hideo Itami knows that, so he is going to have to decide on his future once he is done recovering from the neck injury. WWE also has to make a decision as well.
[Featured Image by WWE]