WWE NXT: Title Reign is a Must-Have for Hideo Itami to Achieve Redemption


Now that he’s in the NXT Championship picture, it may be now or never for Hideo Itami to make something of his time in NXT.

On this week’s rendition of NXT, it became apparent that long-time mainstay Hideo Itami will be getting his shot at Bobby Roode’s NXT Championship in the near future.

This comes as some seriously good news for the Japanese sensation, who has been stricken with bad luck for the last two years in his efforts to make progress down in developmental – a place where many thought he’d flourish upon debuting in 2014.

To his merit, things did get off to a hot start with Itami defeating Finn Bálor to earn the opportunity to participate in the André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 31, but they started to go downhill from then on.

A debilitating shoulder injury would take Itami out of action for over a year, and not too long after his return to the ring, a botched powerslam at an NXT live event saw Itami out a further six or seven months with a neck injury.

Despite all that, it seems Hideo Itami is back in top form, and he doesn’t look to be wasting any time upon re-joining the NXT roster before picking his first opponent.

Jumping straight into the NXT Championship picture like we saw as he confronted – and laid out – Bobby Roode was the best possible scenario, because being on-and-off television for roughly two years is usually going to be a momentum-killer.

Plus, after seeing guys like Zayn, Owens, Bálor, Nakamura and Aries all come and go, it would be a shame for Hideo Itami to still be slumming it in the undercard of the brand he joined before most of those names even showed up.

At this point, the question of whether or not Hideo Itami should win the NXT Championship after so long is certainly on many people’s minds, as opposed to WWE just pulling the trigger and pushing him to Raw or SmackDown as soon as possible.

That said, the deck is immensely stacked on the main roster right now.

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Even without the recent call-ups from NXT, the chances of a guy like Hideo Itami – who, albeit incredible in the ring, has his undeniable flaws when it comes to the language barrier – to succeed in any division in WWE right now are slim at best.

On NXT, however, even with Drew McIntyre and Kassius Ohno both stepping forward as top babyfaces, Hideo has experience on his side. Experience like his translates well into the underdog story that has always gone hand-in-hand with pro wrestling.

Chances of success on the main roster aside, if Hideo Itami left NXT right now there’d also be very little to look back on with pride for him. His injuries have undeniably sullied the impact he made in his matches against Tyler Breeze, his role in the introduction of Finn Bálor and even his WrestleMania 31 appearance.

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As it stands, his mark on the brand is minimal, but if anyone deserves to look back with a sense of gratification after a long and tumultuous journey, it’s Hideo.

An NXT Championship reign would surely give him just that.

The only real problem here is that Bobby Roode is still just settling into his role as the top guy in NXT, and to lose the championship after such a short reign wouldn’t be ideal, but a performance artist like Bobby Roode belongs on the main roster anyway.

With the theatrics that accompanies him to the ring for his every match, Bobby Roode would be better than most at turning his debut run  into something “glorious” from the get-go, and thus he wouldn’t be stranded in either Raw or SmackDown should he lose the title and make the transition after NXT TakeOver: Chicago.

It helps that we already have three guys in Roderick Strong, Ohno and McIntyre who would probably benefit from a heel turn, so Roode’s position as the top heel would be filled relatively quickly. Andrade Almas could even play that role in the meantime.

Regardless of how we get there, Hideo Itami’s time in NXT is a story that requires a happy ending, and the only way to achieve that is if the man finally wears gold.

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What do you think? Should Hideo Itami finally get his hands on the gold, or should “The Glorious One” hold onto the NXT Championship for the time being?