It is being reported that following this week’s SmackDown Live tapings, Itami approached officials and asked for his release after becoming frustrated in his role. We understand he will be under a 90-day no compete clause.
His final appearance on WWE TV was on last night’s episode of 205 Live, where he appeared in a match with Akira Tozawa.
Itami signed for WWE in 2014, but his career in the company has been plagued with injury after injury and he has never been seen as a star. This came as a huge shame as he was once arguably the biggest star in NOAH in Japan before signing with WWE.
This could be a huge moment for other talent seeking their release, as it was our understanding that WWE was not keen of granting any releases while the threat of talent signing with AEW is so high.
WWE does have a working relationship with NOAH, so perhaps if Itami has informed them he intends to return their rather than head to a rival company, they may have been more lenient.
We wish Hideo Itami all the best in his future endeavors.