Hideo Itami's Path to Redemption...
...Leads to A Heel Turn!
While NxT gets prepared for their latest Takeover, a redux at Brooklyn where they had possibly one of their best PPV's [it's hard to tell when NxT keeps on producing such goods every single time]; One man is left out in the cold but prepares for what could be an intriguing storyline that could catapult him to the NxT championship.
I'm speaking of none other than the former KENTA; Hideo Itami. In the past year Itami saw himself in the back seat soothing an injury as NxT took another step towards WWE domination reaching out to fans worldwide and growing a base that has officialy signified it as the third brand of the juggernaut company. For a lengthy time it hasn't just been about developmental, but the past year or so with Takeover after Takeover, NxT has become a phenomenon unlike anything else attracting main event level world superstars.
Itami himself was the first of many. Post the Seth Rollins reign, Itami along with the likes of Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens and Finn Balor was handpicked as a special Triple H pet project for his baby; NxT and was set to be a big player not just with the yellow brand but beyond in his inevitable Main Event Debut.
However an injury threw all that away and has in fact left a hungry Itami part of a new land, his compatriots have walked the threshold and are now making their names on a larger scale on Monday Nights.
Itami brought Balor for back up, Itami also lost to Balor, Itami saw Balor become champion...
Now Itami wants Payback!
Itami thus returned to NxT in the past couple of weeks with a chip on his shoulder and a fire in his belly, dolling harder kicks than thought possible to his opponents. Something that the commentators have caught hold off and run with, signifying that Itami is due a major transformation. With his antics and personality, it might not seem so; but the right move for Itami would be a strong heel turn that sees him dominate NxT in a different fashion past from the brands current champion Samoa Joe.
Joe has been a ruthless monster ever since he turned his back on the fans and taken the title in his quest for utter dominance. His next match at Takeover Brooklyn sees him face the as of yet undefeated Shinsuke Nakamura. Nakamura should win this match, allowing Joe to deservingly move on to bigger things and make an Impact either on Raw or Smackdown Live.
These names are a bit of an itch for Itami, along with them; featured bouts in NxT's latest pay per view include the likes of world class athletes such as Bobby Roode, Andrade Cien Almas, No Way Joes and Austin Aires.
These are competitors along with Shinsuke and Joe that made their debuts well into Itami's stint and have most likely pushed him down the pecking order. It should be the final straw for the talented performer to take a turn to the dark side and take down all those who have wronged him; face and heel.
Not only that, the turn can fecilitate his eventual promotion to the main roster and reignite him to chase former friends Zayn and especially Finn Balor, the man he actually introduced to the NxT [in storyline] and who ended up overshadowing him.
A Japanese Dream Match that has never come to fruition. NxT is the breeding ground of Dream Matches!
Itami's quest first would be to capture the NxT title that has eluded him from none other than Nakamura, who is most likely to win the championship. It also adds another layer for the former Japanese star, after all Shinsuke Nakamura since his debut has been touted as not only the biggest acquisition but possibly the first ever Japanese star that could be a WWE World Champion and Wrestlemania Main Eventer. It would make Itami wonder, where he went to in the conversation.
A forgotten man creates for a great story of resurrection and redemption, add a twist of darkness to it and it boils with passion and intensity. That kind of story could do wonders for Itami as the Underdog tale or the Monster tale has done for Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe on the growing brand.
After all wasn't he the one who made his Wrestlemania debut first?
Anyways, while one can argue what value Itami holds to the company or that NxT is top heavy in terms of Heels [Bad Guys], this is indeed the best course of action for the man with the stiff kicks until it eventually leads him to realize his own self worth and become the man we know, love and respect.
Until then Itami is at an interesting juncture in both his character and the brand, so look to NxT's creative to fully utilize this to our collective entertainment.