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, also known by his ring name Kenta (stylized as KENTA), is a Japanesemarker professional wrestler currently signed to Pro Wrestling Noah, where he is a former three-time Global Honored Crown  Junior Heavyweight Champion.

In professional wrestling, Kobayashi has won several championships in his career: the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship, which he held on three occasions, as well as being one half of the GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions twice; once was the inaugural reign with longtime partner and rival, Naomichi Marufuji, which saw the two hold the title for almost two years, as well as a reign with protégé, Taiji Ishimori.

After starting his career in All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW), Kobayashi's home promotion is considered to be Noah, his destination prior to the departure of wrestler's from AJPW but due to Noah's involvement in the Global Professional Wrestling Alliance, a global organization of cooperative promotions that allow their competitors to travel abroad to other companies, he has wrestled extensively in previous years in Americanmarker promotion Ring of Honor (ROH).

He initially performed under his real name, but due to potential confusion with his mentor, Kenta Kobashi (in both English and Japanese), he dropped his surname, only to use his given name, which he spells with Roman letters in all capitals.


Pro Wrestling Noah


Prior to wrestling professionally, Kobayashi had a variety of athletic backgrounds, practicing baseball and kickboxing; the latter came to be a strong foundation in his wrestling style often referred to as shoot style. Kobayashi made his professional wrestling debut on May 24, 2000 against future ally and rival, Naomichi Marufuji, in All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) to compete in their junior heavyweight division. He did not remain in the company long as Mitsuharu Misawa, acting president of AJPW, decided to secede from the company following a dispute with other forces, thus leading to Misawa forming his own company, Pro Wrestling Noah. One of Misawa's focuses in his new promotion was the junior heavyweight division, which never was treated with high regard in AJPW despite the successes in other promotions. Being sidelined with injuries for the majority of Noah's first year of operation, Kobayashi made his return in July of 2001, simply named Kenta.

Kenta's first involvement in a championship situation came when Naomichi Marufuji was forced to vacate the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship after suffering a knee injury; Kenta entered into the tournament held to determine a new champion. He advanced to the finals by defeating Kotaro Suzuki and Tsuyoshi Kikuchi before losing to Yoshinobu Kanemaru on the Navigation with Breeze Tour. Following his relative success in the tournament, Kenta had an increase in his popularity, and he joined his mentor, Kenta Kobashi, in his faction, Burning.


March 1, 2003 saw Kenta team with Naomichi Marufuji for the first time against Makoto Hashi and Yoshinobu Kanemaru in a winning effort. They began teaming regularly as the two entered into a tournament to christen the first GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions during the company's Accomplish Our Third Navigation tour; they went to win the tournament by defeating junior heavyweight veterans Jushin Liger and Takehiro Murahama in the finals on July 16. While defending the tag titles, Kenta continued his venture in hopes of winning the GHC Junior Heavyweight title once again on November 30, 2003, in an unsuccessful bid against Takashi Sugiura.

As part of a reward for the way Kenta performed, he earned himself a trial series of seven matches going into the next year, seeing Kenta able to challenge more established stars in an attempt to elevate his status in the wrestling world. Kenta began his trial series on the First Navigation tour, beating Juventud Guerrera. This was followed by a defeat to Yoshinari Ogawa and another against Jun Akiyama. The final match of the series was a loss against Marufuji in October. While the series was taking place, Kenta and Marufuji made more defenses of their titles, against a number of challengers: El Samurai and Ryusuke Taguchi, Yoshinari Ogawa and Kotaro Suzuki, Suzuki and Ricky Marvin, Marvin and Suwa and, on Noah's first Tokyo Domemarker show, against Kendo Kashin and Takashi Sugiura. Their reign as champions came to an end after almost two years by Kanemaru and Sugiura after the latter pinned Kenta.

Kenta's first major rivalry in singles competition began in March of 2005 following a dispute with Suwa, which led to a series of confrontations between the two, including a violent match that ended in his opponent getting disqualified for assaulting the referee. This led to Kenta getting one more chance to challenge for the Junior Heavyweight title against Yoshinobu Kanemaru on July 18, which saw him win the title. He made his first defense two months later against Suwa, then against Kotaro Suzuki as his alter ego, Mushiking Terry. Simultaneously, Kenta began teaming with Katsuyori Shibata as The Takeover, challenging for the GHC Tag Team Championship, the heavyweight version of the company's tag team titles.

On March 5, 2006, Kenta faced a major challenge in Kenta Kobashi, which saw him lose following a Burning Hammer. This was followed by a loss of the Junior Heavyweight title on June 4 to Takashi Sugiura. This saw Kenta shift his attention to the GHC Heavyweight Championship, challenging Naomichi Marufuji, losing in a match which won numerous awards and accolades from the wrestling media.


Kenta spent the majority of his 2007 time in Noah wrestling a variety of tag team and six-man tag team matches with protégé Taiji Ishimori and Akitoshi Saito as partners. He saw most of his success with Ishimori as the two would have critically-acclaimed matches against a wide variety of competitors, including Ring of Honor (ROH) competitors on loan to the company due to the talent exchange agreement, the Global Professional Wrestling Alliance (GPWA), between ROH and Noah: the Briscoe Brothers, Davey Richards, and Bryan Danielson. As Kenta and Ishimori progressed as a unit, they entered the first NTV Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Tournament; in the finals they beat Marufuji and Kota Ibushi to win the tournament. They later challenged the GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions, Dragon Gate wrestlers BxB Hulk & Shingo Takagi, in a winning effort before losing them to Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Kotaro Suzuki., only to defeat the team to win the 2nd NTV Junior Heavyweight Tag Team League Tournament.

Following his loss of the tag titles, Kenta returned to competing in singles competition by defeating Bryan Danielson for his second GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship, which led to a match with Marufuji, who had won the AJPW World Junior Heavyweight Championship, to attempt to unify the titles; the match ended in a sixty-minute draw, keeping the titles in the hands of their respective holder, while gaining favorable reviews for their efforts by the media with some claiming it to be a Match of the Year. Kenta lost the title in February of 2009 to rival in their interpromotional rivalry with another member of the GPWA in the Kensuke Office, Katsuhiko Nakajima, only to win it back in the next month. In October Kobayashi was forced to vacate the title after suffering a knee injury, which will keep him sidelined for six to nine months.

Ring of Honor


Aside from competing in Pro Wrestling Noah, Kenta has been able to compete abroad in the United Statesmarker with other participating members of the GPWA. His first appearance in the country was with Ring of Honor, at Final Battle 2005, as a fan favorite, defending the GHC Junior Heavyweight title against Low Ki. He returned to the company the following year for Best in the World in New York Citymarker on March 25 where he and Naomichi Marufuji defeated the team of Samoa Joe and ROH World champion Bryan Danielson after Kenta connected with his finishing strike, the Go 2 Sleep on Danielson. Kenta returned for In Your Face featuring him in a three-way match against Joe and Danielson, which ended in similar fashion.

Kenta's first loss in the company came in the form of a tag team match, which saw his partner, Davey Richards, get pinned in a match against the Briscoe Brothers. This led to a series of matches with the two against each other, as well as reluctant partners. At Glory by Honor V: Night 2 Kenta received another match against Danielson for the ROH World title, which saw him submit to Danielson's signature hold, the Cattle Mutilation;


Kenta made his return to Ring of Honor on May 11 of the next year against Delirious in a winning effort. Ring of Honor made its pay per view debut with the show, Respect is Earned, teaming with Nigel McGuinness against Danielson and Takeshi Morishima in a losing effort; following the match, Kenta spent several months with the company competing against rival, Davey Richards and his contingency, the No Remorse Corps. Kenta made his next appearance on the Glory By Honor VI tour; the first night had him team with the GHC Heavyweight Champion Mitsuharu Misawa against Takeshi Morishima and Naomichi Marufuji, with the match ending in a thirty-minute time limit draw. The following night had Kenta wrestle Misawa for the GHC Heavyweight Championship in a losing effort.

Kenta made his return in 2009 against ROH World Champion, Nigel McGuinness in a losing effort at the company's seventh anniversary show. He returned a few weeks later to challenge Davey Richards once more, as well as make his second pay per view appearance for Take No Prisoners teaming with Tyler Black against Katsuhiko Nakajima and Austin Aries. Kobayashi was scheduled to return to ROH in November 2009, but was forced to cancel the appearances after suffering a knee injury.

In wrestling

  • Finishing moves
*Busaiku Knee Kick (Running single leg high knee strike)
*Go 2 Sleep – innovated
*Octopus stretch
  • Signature moves
*Cutter, as a counter to an opponent leaping into the corner
*Death Valley driver
*Fisherman buster, sometimes from the top rope
*Flapjack lift dropped into a modified cutter
*Inverted Go 2 Sleep (Inverted fireman's carry dropped into a high knee strike to the back of the head) – innovated
*Kenta Rush (Repeated slaps followed by a spinning reverse slap followed by a roundhouse kick to the side of the head and finished with the Busaiku Knee Kick)
*Multiple suplex variations
:*Bridging German
:*Bridging tiger
:*Double underhook
*Running arched big boot
*Scoop powerslam
*Sitout suplex slam, sometimes from the top rope
*Springboard or a missile dropkick
*Tornado DDT spun into a throat first flapjack onto the top rope
*Triangle choke
*Turnbuckle powerbomb

*Avalanche Busaiku Knee Kick (Electric chair hold by Marufuji followed by a diving Busaiku Knee Kick by Kenta)
*Powerbomb / Shiranui combination

  • With Katsuyori Shibata
*Touch the Sky (Springboard Doomsday Device / Electric chair hold by Shibata followed by a springboard clothesline by Kenta)

*"Art & Life" by Twista featuring Young Chris, Memphis Bleek and Freeway (Noah 2005–2007)
*"What You Know (Instrumental)" by T.I. (Noah)
*"Rey Mysterio Jr. Jam" by Ill Harmonics (ROH)

Championships and accomplishments


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