Hideo Itami def. Sean Maluta
Hideo Itami made his long-awaited return to the ring and the Japanese striker did not disappoint. In his first match back in more than a year, Itami was faced with newcomer Sean Maluta, who was making his NXT debut after being knocked out of the first round of the Cruiserweight Classic by tournament favorite Kota Ibushi. On hand to witness the contest were Maluta’s fellow Cruiserweight Classic competitors Zack Sabre Jr., Tony Nese and Drew Gulak, all of whom are going on to the tournament’s second round.
Inside the squared circle, in the face of Maluta’s aggressive attack, Itami showed little to no signs of ring rust, unleashing his rapid-fire strikes on an overwhelmed Maluta. In the end, Itami prevailed after hitting a running knee for the pinfall.