Hideo Itami returned to Pro Wrestling NOAH this past weekend, taking on rival Naomichi Marufuji.
The match was put together as part of a celebration for Marufuji's 20 years in the wrestling business. The former KENTA and Marufuji have had countless of matches together dating back to 2000. It had been four years since they last appeared in the ring together as Itami headed stateside to join WWE.
Despite being under WWE contract, Itami was allowed to work Marufuji's 20th Anniversary Show with the blessing of Triple H. Speaking to Tokyo Sports, Marufuji expressed his gratitude to Triple H for allowing the match to happen.
"I really only appreciate it. At first, I didn't know what to do, but it ended in its best possible way. They (Triple H) gave permission for a mere Japanese wrestler's 20th anniversary and I absolutely want to repay it."
He continued by noting that it's possible he will have to repay the match down the line. NXT has used wrestlers for one-off appearances in the past, most notably securing NJPW star Jushin "Thunder" Liger for a bout against Tyler Breeze at TakeOver: Brooklyn.
“So I'm pretty busy, but if I get a call (as for a one match) in the sense of returning the favour, this time I definitely will go.There is no way to repay them, saying 'I do not need you' (laughs), there's a determination to express my gratitude to Triple H not only as a wrestler but as a man."
Marufuji defeated Itami after 34 minutes in their main event bout this past weekend. Itami currently appears on 205 Live.
(Credit to dartvader_one on Instagram for translating the Tokyo Sports article)