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Friday, May 16, 2014

Rumors that WWE have signed Japanese stars Prince Devitt and KENTA

Word has been making the rounds online that the WWE has signed two huge Japanese wrestling stars – New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Prince Devitt and Pro Wrestling NOAH’s KENTA. Numerous outlets have reported that Devitt has signed a contract with WWE though there has been less substantiation to the news that KENTA will be joining WWE. While no outlets have reported for certain that KENTA will join WWE, Pro Wrestling NOAH wrestler Takashi Sugiura confirmed to Tokyo Sports that KENTA will debut in NXT this summer.

Prince Devitt is an Irish wrestler with renown in both Europe and Japan. Devitt is a former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion and former leader of the Bullet Club – a villainous group of gaijin wrestlers that also features “Machine Gun” Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, The Young Bucks and most recently, AJ Styles. Devitt held the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight title for well over a year, defeating Low Ki in Nov. 2012 before recently losing the belt to Kota Ibushi at Wrestle Kingdom 8 in January. Rumors of WWE’s interest in Devitt have been circulating online for some time now and those rumors were recently given credence when he posted this image on his official Instagram account:

Devitt, keeping the IWC guessing

What further seemed to indicate that Devitt would be joining the WWE before too long was his loss to Ryusuke Taguchi at the “Invasion Attack 2014” iPPV where NJPW announced that if Devitt lost, he must leave the promotion.

The Devitt signing is interesting because he brings a lot of talent and athleticism to the table. Similar to Daniel Bryan in stature, Devitt is well versed in numerous styles and should have no problem finding a spot in WWE. It’s said that interest in Devitt rose greatly after William Regal gave a tape of Devitt wrestling current NXT Champion Adrian Neville (formerly Pac) to Triple H, which was what led to the WWE signing Neville initially.

Devitt is a young guy with a lot left in the tank and he could easily shake things up in the WWE just as much as the other rumored new WWE signee, KENTA.

KENTA, who formerly worked under his given name Kenta Kobayashi, is well-known to Japanese wrestling fans for his hard-hitting, relentless style. Fans of American independent wrestling should also be familiar with his work with Ring of Honor where he’s battled Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan), Nigel McGuinness, Tyler Black (Seth Rollins), and Austin Aries.

And while WWE fans may not be immediately familiar with KENTA, they know his work even if they don’t realize it. KENTA is known for using the Busaiku Knee Kick, the same running knee that Daniel Bryan uses as a finisher and also created the Go2Sleep that CM Punk used as a finisher (you know, back when he wrestled). I’ve also read that it is the great respect that Bryan and KENTA have for one another that led to Bryan using the running knee and KENTA using the LeBell Lock.

Though the rumors of KENTA joining WWE are still largely rumors right now, he does have a connection to the company (beyond his former work with Daniel Bryan). In January of 2014, he attended a training session at the WWE Performance Center with the blessing of Pro Wrestling NOAH. When it occurred, he claimed that he was not after a WWE contract but was fulfilling a dream of taking part in a WWE tryout. Sources are stating that KENTA will work his last Pro Wrestling NOAH show on May 17 at Korakuen Hall as he announced at an April 30 press conference that he would be leaving the company.

With such huge stars seemingly bound for the WWE, we could be seeing major changes in the landscape of the company. If true, both stars will report to NXT this summer and my guess is that it wouldn’t be too long before we see them on the main roster. I could easily see KENTA being paired with Daniel Bryan to immediately get him over – thanks to both Bryan’s popularity and their familiarity with one another from ROH. As for Devitt, we’re seeing lots of European stars coming to prominence in the WWE right now (US Champ Sheamus, Divas Champ Paige, IC Champ Bad News Barrett and Cesaro in the hunt for gold) so I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Devitt marshals that European starpower to take over WWE.


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An avid gamer and long-time pro wrestling fan, stay tuned to Grizzly Gaming and the Delco Elbow Drop for game reviews and pro wrestling news.

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