Since the announcement of WWE signing KENTA, it’s been expected that plans will be to use him in NXT before bringing him up to the main roster; the lesser known part of it all is just how much success he’ll experience.
Shortly after the contract was signed, it was revealed that Japan will begin airing NXT on satellite for the first time in preparation for KENTA’s arrival. WWE is trying to branch out into the rest of the world, sinking its teeth into untapped markets and markets that have not experienced the behemoth that is the WWE in excess. Japan has several different pro-wrestling promotions, like All Japan Pro Wrestling, New Japan Pro-Wrestling and Pro Wrestling NOAH, where KENTA made his name. The difference between all of these companies, quite simply, are the styles used in the ring.
If you’re a wrestling fan and you pay attention to the rest of the world or even just the indie scene in the states, you know that each promotion has its own way of doing things in and out of the ring. Japan is a lot more high flying, big spots, tons of finishers and a monstrous amount of near finishes in practically every match. WWE is more about trying to tell a story in the ring, slower paced; it’s less about wowing the crowd and more about reigning them in, at least throughout the majority of matches.
While a lot of Japanese wrestlers have numerous “finishers”, WWE makes sure that each wrestler only has one legit finisher, instead using several “signature moves” to wear their opponent down. Japanese wrestlers tease the crowd with every use of a finisher, often using other wrestlers and making them believe each time one is used that it’s the end of the match, only to have their opponent kick out time and time again. Basically most Japanese wrestlers are John Cena, never falling to the first or the third finisher. (I know that was a severe cheap shot, but it’s in good humor, don’t worry.)
KENTA is coming in to NXT in the very near future, most likely making his first appearance by the end of September, at the latest. Once he gets there, don’t be surprised if he’s pushed to the moon, because it’s going to happen, barring any injuries or setbacks in training. This is one of the most talented wrestlers in the world, and that’s not just blowing smoke; that’s a legitimate fact. Once he comes in, I’m expecting for NXT to throw a few of their lesser known stars at him, to build him up as the great talent he is, and then he’ll start going after the likes of Sami Zayn, Tyler Breeze and Adrian Neville. In saying that, don’t expect any of those three to be called up until well after KENTA arrives on the scene.
I’ve got my fingers crossed that when KENTA gets to NXT, they make quick work of getting him through the trough of lesser talent, building him to the heights that are anticipated for him. Pairing him against Neville and Zayn would be a brilliant move not because he’s a natural born heel or they’re going to turn either of those two current stars, but because of the talent that all three of them possess. Neville and Zayn both made a huge name for themselves in the various Japanese promotions, which would potentially allow them to mesh better with KENTA right away, legitimizing his signing and showcasing the sheer talent this man possesses.
He’s got to work on his English — a language he’s familiar with and can speak somewhat — in order to have the full impact he’s capable of. Most WWE fans are English speaking only, so they need a star they can connect with and understand, which is unfortunate but true. If he learns English and speaks it well, I give him a year or two before this Japanese born superstar becomes a beloved American icon, if he’s used right. In other words, no more token foreign character; just have him come in and dominate like I expect he will.