The New Japan Pro Wrestling website has published an interview with KENTA. Coming off a disappointing run with WWE as Hideo Itami, KENTA returned to NJPW last month at Dominion. He will be part of this year’s G1 Climax Tournament, which kicks off Saturday.

KENTA is speaking out about this next chapter of his career and is determined to show fans he’s still the wrestler who became a global star years ago.

“I don’t want to end it like this,” KENTA said about his career. “I want to try once more to bring my vision of pro wrestling to the world.”

“My Style Isn’t Really Like The WWE Style”

KENTA was lauded as a huge acquisition for WWE when he joined NXT nearly five years ago. For a variety of reasons, he never achieved his full potential there. He’s had a lot of time to reflect on what went wrong in WWE and is starting to make sense of it all.

“It’s hard to put into words but… it was a very tough five years,” he said. “I got hurt, and beyond that I was really grasping for something during that whole time. It’s like, I came into the company to bring my style of wrestling worldwide, but what that actually became was bending and adapting to what the company wanted. That’s important in a sense, but the strength and aggression that I bring to the table got lost. That’s a real shame.”

KENTA says he felt micromanaged in WWE, a sentiment echoed by many disgruntled stars like Jon Moxley.

“One person there might tell you ‘do it this way’, and then another would be ‘no, no, do it like this’. That meant my own personal vision just crumbled away. There are people who can do very well in that environment, but I just couldn’t.”

Now that he’s back in Japan, he hopes to awaken the strong style competitor within him and make an impact in today’s evolving wrestling landscape.

“My style isn’t really like the WWE style. There’s an aggression there that’s closer to Strong Style, my matches evolve in a more thrilling way. I think if I can fit in here, I’ll be able to awaken something that’s been dormant for a long time.”

G1 Climax 2019

KENTA has some stiff competition waiting for him in this year’s star-studded G1 Climax tournament, which kicks off this Saturday. Over the next five weeks, he has matches scheduled against the likes of Kota Ibushi, Hiroshi Tanahashi, EVIL, Kazuchika Okada, SANADA, Will Ospreay and Zack Sabre Jr.