Birthdate: Match 27th, 1967
Triple Crown Championship:
All Japan World Tag Team Championship with Mitsuharu Misawa:
All Japan World Tag Team Championship with Johnny Ace:
All Japan World Tag Team Championship with Jun Akiyama:
GHC Heavyweight Championship:
GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Championship with Tamon Honda:
Global Hardcore Crown Openweight Championship:
All Asia Tag Team Championship with Tiger Mask:
All Asia Tag Team Championship with Johnny Ace (Held 2 Times):
All Asia Tag Team Championship with Tsuyoshi Kikuchi:
Other Signature Moves:
Big Match Finishers:
One of the most popular wrestlers in puroresu history, Kenta Kobashi would enter All Japan just as the old guard was fading and would lead them to become one of the most successful promotions in the 1990s. Through the 90s, Kobashi would prove that he was one of the most intense and talented wrestlers in the world, as he put on classic matches with wrestlers such as Stan Hansen, Mitsuharu Misawa, Toshiaki Kawada, Jun Akiyama, and many more. Kenta Kobashi also helped in the formation and success of a new promotion, as NOAH became one of the top Japanese promotions with Kobashi as their champion. Still wrestling today, there is little doubt that Kobashi is one of the greatest wrestlers still actively competing and with his Burning Spirit he is sure to continue dominating for many years to come.
Debuting in 1988, Kenta Kobashi showed promise at a young age. As is the tradition in Japan, Kobashi did not immediately jump to the main event, but slowly worked his way up the card. After years of opening events and seconding the stars of All Japan, Kobashi finally won his first Championship in 1990 - the All Asian Tag Team Championship. While not the most prestigious Championship, it did allow him to have longer and more important matches on the cards and he quickly turned into a crowd favorite. Teaming with Johnny Ace, Kobashi dominated the mid-card, and it was only a matter of time until he moved into the main event picture.
During the early 90s, the face of All Japan was changing. Giant Baba was getting older, and he was no longer able to put on singles matches. Around that same time, Jumbo Tsuruta was diagnosed with Hepatitis, and he too was no longer able to actively wrestle as a main eventer. Luckily for All Japan, they had three wrestlers that were more then willing to carry on the workload: Kenta Kobashi, Mitsuharu Misawa, and Toshiaki Kawada. With Stan Hansen and Steve Williams' help, all three would become legitimate contenders for the Triple Crown Championship. By 1993, all three would have cemented themselves as the main faces of All Japan and they would continue to be for the next seven years.
Unfortunately, Kobashi did not immediately find success as a singles wrestler. In 1993 and 1994, he would suffer losses to both Williams and Hansen and for the time was still a step behind Misawa and Kawada. He didn't let it bother him though, and Kobashi continued finding success in the tag team division. With Misawa, he would win the Real World Tag League from 1993 to 1995 and hold the All Japan World Tag Team Championship a total of six times from 1993 to 1998.
Finally, Kobashi was able to win the Triple Crown for the first time when he defeated Akira Taue on July 24th, 1996. Even though he would drop the Championship to Misawa in a classic encounter six months later, Kobashi was no longer lagging behind his friend Misawa and his rival Kawada. Kobashi would defeat Kawada for the Triple Crown on June 12th, 1998... but again, it was Misawa who topped him and would regain the crown. In over eight years of encounters, Kobashi had not managed to pin Misawa's shoulders to the mat in a Championship match. Kobashi would one day beat Misawa for the Championship, but it would not happen for another five years.
In the meantime, Kobashi continued finding success in All Japan, as he would win the Triple Crown again from Vader in 2000. Kobashi would hold the Championship until June of 2000, when Japanese wrestling changed suddenly and dramatically. After Giant Baba (the founder and owner of All Japan) died in 1999, his wife Motoko Baba took the reigns of All Japan and began making changes that other wrestlers did not agree with. Misawa voiced his concerns, and in turn was demoted from the decision-making committee. This was the last straw, and so he and 23 other wrestlers from All Japan (including Kenta Kobashi) split off and formed a new promotion: Pro Wrestling NOAH. His old nemesis Kawada did not come with them, and Kobashi has not had a match against him since the split.
Misawa and Kobashi now had the daunting task of making a successful new promotion. Kobashi soon began a feud with Jun Akiyama, who had debuted almost 10 years prior and was considered a potential ace of NOAH. Akiyama and Kobashi had paired together in All Japan to twice win the All Japan Tag Team Championship, but now were pitted against each other. In the year 2000, both Akiyama and Kobashi would score victories over each other, and Akiyama was boosted up the card due to his encounters with Kobashi. This would end up being more important then originally thought, as the years of abuse on his body would finally catch up to Kobashi.
Throughout his career, and especially when he was younger, Kobashi used the moonsault as his finishing maneuver. As we now know (from both Kobashi and Mutoh), doing hundreds of moonsaults over 12 years can do terrible damage to a wrestler's knees. Kobashi was barely able to walk by early 2001, and he finally decided to have surgery. He would be out of action for over a year as he slowly healed. Finally, by late 2002, Kobashi was back in full form. On March 1st, 2003, Kobashi would get another shot at Misawa, and this time for the GHC Heavyweight Championship.
In what is considered by some one of the best matches of the decade, Kobashi would defeat Misawa for the GHC Heavyweight Championship when he delivered the Burning Hammer on Misawa. Kobashi would go on to hold the GHC Heavyweight Championship for over two years, defeating literally every major wrestler in NOAH. Along the way he had excellent matches against his old foes Akiyama and Taue, and also defeated some of the younger wrestlers such as Yoshinari Ogawa, Yuji Nagata, and Takeshi Rikio.
People ask, "What is Burning Spirit?" It sounds to some like a silly gimmick, but no one that has ever seen Kobashi in the ring would hold that opinion. One of the fiercest and most intense wrestlers to grace the squared circle, Kobashi not only has the wrestling ability and charisma to captivate a crowd but also demands the same from his opponent. Even though Kobashi is hampered by long-lasting injuries and will never be 100%, once he steps in the ring he brings everything he has. Leaving a permanent mark in the business, Kobashi was an integral part of the All Japan boom in 1993 and 1994, the head-dropping phase in 1998 and 1999, and the growth of NOAH from 2003 to 2005. A warrior to the end, Kobashi is a living legend and deserves every ounce of praise that he is given by his fans all across the globe.