On the heels of his New Japan Pro-Wrestling debut, KENTA called out IWGP United States champion Jon Moxley on Thursday.
In an interview with Chris Charlton for NJPW's English podcast (h/t Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet), KENTA made it clear that Moxley is in his crosshairs: "I want to have a match with him [Moxley]. Cause now I'm not just stupid Hideo Itami. Now I'm KENTA. So I want to fight him ... kick his ass."
KENTA made a surprise appearance alongside Katsuyori Shibata at NJPW's Dominion on Sunday and announced he will take part in the G1 Climax tournament. Moxley also announced his intention to be in the G1 after beating Shota Umino to open the show.
The 38-year-old KENTA received his release from WWE in February after spending nearly five years with the company. He arrived to great fanfare as part of the NXT roster in 2014 as Hideo Itami, but he never reached the level most expected.
Shoulder and neck injuries cost KENTA a significant amount of time, and when he was finally called up to the main roster in 2017, he went to 205 Live instead of Raw or SmackDown.
KENTA found himself in the Cruiserweight Championship picture on a few occasions, but he was never able to capture the title.
Prior to signing with WWE, KENTA became a star in Japan with Pro Wrestling Noah, and he now has a chance to show he can be a top performer in Japan's premier wrestling company. A strong showing in the G1 and a win over Moxley would go a long way toward accomplishing that.
KENTA and Moxley may be in line to meet in the G1, but they could also feud over the IWGP United States title once the tournament ends, and KENTA would be an ideal candidate to win the belt when it is time for Moxley to focus solely on All Elite Wrestling.
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