As you should all know by now, KENTA has signed an exclusive deal with WWE and will begin his integration by reporting to the NXT Training facility. KENTA has competed primarily with Pro Wrestling NOAH and with Ring of Honor, holding multiple championships in each promotion and has been considered a top star of each promotion. In NOAH, he held a number of the GHC (Global Honored Crown) championships, a title earned due to high respect and dedication to the wrestling industry. Defeating top contenders and defending the championships regularly made the KENTA name a popular one on the independent circuit.
Not only is the acquisition important for WWE, but further proves the importance of indy wrestling as slowly we see many top names from the independent circuits being lured to the high life of World Wrestling Entertainment. Take Daniel Bryan and CM Punk. Two of the absolute biggest names in Ring of Honor became WWE Champions. Antonio Cesaro (aka Claudio Castagnoli), another man on his way to main eventing. With many others in WWE and within the NXT grounds, we see more and more indy stars bring brought in to mesh with their own homegrown talent.
Remember Ultimo Dragon? In WCW and in Japan the guy was a massive sensation. Multi-championship holder. How about Rey Mysterio? Again, WCW mainstay. They came to WWE. For a while Rey had enjoyed massive success, even becoming World Champion. Ultimo Dragon, floundered. Amounted to nothing more than a member of a failed Cruiserweight Division.
Could KENTA reach the same success as Daniel Bryan or the popularity of Antonio Cesaro? Will KENTA achieve mainstream success in the footsteps of Tajiri, or flounder in failure like Yoshi Tatsu?
Sounds like a cynical question, but if you take a moment to think about it, there is some sense here.
Tajiri, huge star in Japan and one of the household names of Extreme Championship Wrestling. After ECW wrestlers were taken in by WWE, Tajiri was a major player with the company. Holding numerous championships and involved in many high-profile matches with main eventers. It goes beyond titles. Everyone who was a fan of wrestling knows who Tajiri is. The Buzzsaw. He is remembered for kicking his opponents six-ways to Sunday. The Tarantula. For never disappointing in any match. He came from Japan and found success in WWE.
Tajiri found respect.
However, look at Yoshi Tatsu. Starting out in the WWE version of ECW he was billed as the next Japanese sensation, and no doubt he did awe with some high flying assaults which wowed fans… For all of three weeks. It was obvious his routine became mundane and repetitive like a John Cena moveset. The novelty wore off, fast. He was rarely seen on mainstream television and ultimately relegated to C-shows and NXT. Hell, when he was released back in June of this year, people was shocked, as they thought he was already let go.
Triple H is guiding WWE to raid territories and bring in the best of the independent talents. But what will happen when KENTA arrives in NXT? Will he be settled there long-term or will he be fast-tracked to the main roster. If the latter does happen, will he see a push and bring a novelty to the WWE ring, or will he stagnate and find his style to be unimpressive with the WWE fans?
Clock is ticking. Time will tell.