KENTA Comments On His Frustration Over WWE NXT Run, Facing Jon Moxley

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During a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, former WWE Superstar Hideo “KENTA” Itami commented on his run in WWE, and more. You can check out some highlights from the interview below:

On wrestling without a crowd: “I felt weird before the bell rang, but [no crowd] didn’t matter for me. Whether the fans are there or not, what I do is the same.”

On how he spent his time away from the ring: “I was just staying healthy and safe. I don’t know if you guys like my new hair, but I’m like the Justin Bieber now in this business. I don’t want to grow my hair, I just don’t want to go to an American barber. American barbers have the worst technology. I’ll cut it off soon when I can go to Japan.”

On if he asked to be in the New Japan Cup USA: “I said many times that I’m going to prove that I’m the best pro wrestler in this business. That’s why I’m here. I’ve had ridiculous past feelings here in America, and I want to get rid of that humiliation. That’s why this tournament is a great opportunity for me. And I want to get the [IWGP US Title] belt from Moxley. Honestly, a few years ago, Moxley and I were at different levels. But I don’t feel like that now.”


On what’s stood out to him about his work in the tournament: “I am hungry. I feel strongly that I will succeed in Japan. My enthusiasm and feelings about wrestling are what is different now.”


On a potential match with Moxley if he wins: “Life is funny. I think no one thought Moxley would do a match with me a few years ago. But if I win this tournament, it could come true. This is the best chance. I’ll shut up those who looked down on me. That is one of my motivations.”

On why NJPW is a better fit for him than NXT: “It may have been possible [in WWE] to satisfy myself as I was in the “world’s largest organization”. But as a wrestler, I now prioritize what I want to do. I can do what I want and where I want to now.”

On his WWE run and what his current inspiration is: “I’ve felt in my heart that the five years I spent in WWE were the most frustrating days of my life. I’ve talked about this, but I’ll always remember the humiliation in America. Being here reminds me of that regret. And when you’re not good, you tell yourself that. That is what inspires me.”

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