Itami would receive a "WrestleMania moment" of sorts when he took part in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal preceding WrestleMania 31. However, the first brush that Itami would have with any 'Mania came four years before he signed with WWE.
Before rechristening himself as 'Hideo Itami', he was KENTA, one of Pro Wrestling Noah's premier athletes and most gifted junior-heavyweight marvels. At the time of WrestleMania 26, KENTA was out of action with a long-term knee injury, but made the trip to Glendale in order to be present for Antonio Inoki's Hall of Fame induction. Joining him for the cross-Pacific journey were Jado and Gedo, the veteran New Japan tandem that would eventually become the promotion's well-regarded bookers.