Kenta Kobayashi is a Japanese professional wrestler signed with NJPW. He is best known for his work in NOAH and NJPW. He is the current IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion. He previously worked with WWE and appeared on AEW television.
Professional Wrestling Career
Pro Wrestling Noah (2000-2014)
Junior Heavyweight Division (2003-2012)
Kobayashi began his career in NOAH. He joined the stable Burning and wrestled under his mentor, Kenta Kobashi. In 2003, Kobayashi and Naomichi Marufuji teamed to enter a tournament to christen the first GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions. They won the tournament and the titles during their tour. In July, Kobayashi defeated Yoshinobu Kanemaru for the Junior Heavyweight Championship at Destiny. Kobayashi lost the title to Kenta Kobashi.
In 2007, Kobayashi spent the majority of his time on tag and six-man tag team matches. Following his loss of the tag title, Kobayashi returned to competing in singles competition by defeating Bryan Danielson for his second GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship. Kobayashi lost the title in February and won it back a month later. In 2010, Kobayashi made his return after relinquishing the GHC title.
In 2011, Kobayashi turned heel and joined Disobey. Kobayashi and Yoshinobu Kanemaru won the vacant GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. In October, Kobayashi won his third GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship. In December, Kobayashi tore his ACL and was sidelined for six months. In 2012, Kobayashi returned and defeated Magnus and Samoa Joe to win the GHC Tag Team Championship. However, they lost the title in less than 20 days. In November, Kobayashi won the Global League.
Heavyweight Division (2013-2014)
At Great Voyage 2013, Kobayashi defeated Takeshi Morishima for the GHC Heavyweight Championship. Kobayashi was champion for a year and had nine successful defenses in a year. In January 2014, Takeshi Morishima defeated Kobayashi for the title. In 2014, Kobayashi resigned from the promotion as he signed with WWE.
Kobayashi was able to wrestle for ROH under NOAH. He went to the states to wrestle top ROH stars such as Bryan Danielson, Samoa Joe, Davey Richards, and Austin Aries.
In 2014, Kobayashi was signed with WWE under the ring name, Hideo Itami. Kobayashi worked with NXT. At TakeOver R Evolution, Kobayashi teamed up with Finn Balor to defeat The Ascension. At TakeOver Rival, Kobayashi defeated Tyler Breeze. At WrestleMania 31, Kobayashi entered the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal and lost.
Kobayashi was sidelined due to another injury that kept him out for a year. At TakeOver Brooklyn II, Kobayashi confronted Austin Aries and delivered a GTS. Kobayashi was again injured, which kept him on the sidelines for six months. In April, Kobayashi returned and challenged NXT Champion, Bobby Roode. At TakeOver Chicago, Kobayashi lost to Roode.
Kobayashi turned heel and attacked Ohno. He started a feud with Aleister Black. At TakeOver Brooklyn III, he lost to Black. In December, he made his last appearance for NXT.
205 Live and Departure (2017-2019)
Kobayashi began working with 205 Live in 2017. He wrestled for a year and failed to capture the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. After five years with WWE, Kobayashi asked for his release from the company.
New Japan Pro Wrestling (2019-Present)
In June, Kobayashi debuted at Dominion. He took part in the G1 Climax as his debut. Kobayashi stayed undefeated for a month before losing to the IWGP Heavyweight Champion. Kobayashi did not win the G1 Climax.
On the last night of the tournament, Kobayashi turned heel and joined Bullet Club. At Royal Quest, Kobayashi won the NEVER Openweight Championship from Ishi. At Wrestle Kingdom 14, Kobayashi lost the title to Goto. At The New Beginning, Kobayashi challenged Naito for both championships and lost.
In August, Kobayashi competed in the inaugural New Japan Cup USA tournament and won by defeating Jeff Cobb and David Finlay. At Power Struggle, Kobayashi defeated Tanahashi to win the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship. He became the second Japanese wrestler to hold the title. Kobayashi made a handful of appearances for AEW and teamed up with Kenny Omega to face Jon Moxley and Lance Archer.
Championships and Accomplishments
|Number of Times
|IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship
|NEVER Openweight Championship
|GHC Heavyweight Championship
|GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship
|GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
|GHC Tag Team Championship