Saturday, June 15, 2024


Sōka, Saitama, Japan
Kenta Kobayashi
Height & Weight:
187 Ib

Titles Won:

  • GHC Heavyweight Championship
  • GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship (3 times)
  • IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship
  • NEVER Openweight Championship
  • New Japan Cup USA (2020)

He is known for his time in Pro Wrestling Noah where he was a one-time Global Honored Crown (GHC) Heavyweight Champion, three-time GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion, three-time GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion, and one-time GHC Tag Team Champion; 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. He was also the winner of the 2012 Global League and the 2013 Global Tag League tournaments.

Kobayashi started his career in All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW), before moving to Pro Wrestling Noah; through Noah’s involvement in the Global Professional Wrestling Alliance (GPWA), a global organization of cooperative promotions that allow their competitors to travel abroad to other companies, he has wrestled extensively in American promotion Ring of Honor (ROH).

He is also well known for his tenure in American promotion WWE where he worked under the name Hideo Itami (ヒデオ・イタミ) in the company’s developmental territory NXT and later in their cruiserweight exclusive brand 205 Live. A former amateur kickboxer, Kobayashi’s wrestling style is based upon strong kicks and strikes.

Kobayashi pioneered both the Go To Sleep and Busaiku Knee Kick finishing maneuvers, later popularized by CM Punk and Bryan Danielson, respectively. He returned to Japan in 2019 back under his Kenta ring name and made his NJPW debut, and has since held the NEVER Openweight Championship and the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship once each.

Notable Matches

vs. Takeshi Morishima at NOAH Great Voyage 2013 in Osaka

vs. Bryan Danielson on ROH, September 16th 2006

vs. Takashi Sagiura on Pro Wrestling NOAH, May 12th 2013

vs. Low-Ki at Final Battle 2005

vs. Naomichi Marufuji on Pro Wrestling NOAH, October 29 2006

Other Notable Achievements

GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship (3 times) – with Naomichi Marufuji (1), Taiji Ishimori (1) and Yoshinobu Kanemaru (1)

GHC Tag Team Championship – with Maybach Taniguchi

Days Tag Tournament (2011) – with Yoshihiro Takayama

Differ Cup (2005)

Global League Tournament (2012)

Global Tag League (2013) – with Yoshihiro Takayama

Matsumoto Day Clinic Cup Contention Heavyweight Battle Royal (2013)

One Day Six Man Tag Team Tournament (2002) – with Kenta Kobashi and Kentaro Shiga

Nippon TV Cup Junior Heavyweight Tag League (2007, 2008, 2010) – with Taiji Ishimori (2007, 2008) and Atsushi Aoki (2010)

Global Tag League Fighting Spirit Award (2014) – with Yoshihiro Takayama

Tokyo Sports Best Bout Award (2006) vs. Naomichi Marufuji, October 29, 2006[

Best Tag Team Award (2003) with Naomichi Marufuji

Outstanding Performance Award (2013)

Technique Award (2011)

Wrestling Observer Newsletter Best Wrestling Maneuver (2006, 2007) Go 2 Sleep

Tag Team of the Year (2003, 2004) with Naomichi Marufuji