KENTA Narrowly Defeats Kota Ibushi in First Match Since Leaving WWE

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KENTA is back!

The former 205 Live Superstar returned to the ring Saturday night at the G1 Climax kickoff event in Dallas, competing for the first time since WWE granted his release in February. KENTA scored a monumental victory over the “Golden Star” Kota Ibushi, one of the best wrestlers on the planet today and considered by many to be a front-runner to win this year’s tournament.

KENTA, formerly known as Hideo Itami, shocked the world by appearing in a New Japan Pro-Wrestling ring last month at Dominion, announcing his intent to compete with the best heavyweights in the world and to win this year’s G1 Climax.

It was assumed by many that the former GHC Heavyweight Champion would be returning to Pro Wrestling Noah, and ultimately deciding to sign with his “home” promotion’s biggest competition was a somewhat controversial move, especially in Japan.

KENTA scored two points on opening night with his big victory over Kota Ibushi, but more importantly put away arguably the biggest competition for him in the A Block. His next tournament match is set for 7/14 against “The Ace” Hiroshi Tanahashi, which will of course be another great challenge for the former WWE Superstar who is looking to prove himself as one of the best in the world coming off a lackluster run on the biggest stage in wrestling.

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He’ll square off against the “Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada on 7/27 in a very interesting match. If KENTA can defeat the IWGP Heavyweight Champion he’ll be on the fast track to a title match post-G1. He’s also got Will Ospreay on 8/7 in Shizuoka in what could be another Match of the Year contender.