I thought I’d try something a bit different and actually cover some classic Pro Wrestling NOAH for a change. In the early to mid-00’s, NOAH was probably the most consistently great wrestling company in the world. It had a great Junior Heavyweight division anchored by the likes of KENTA, Naomichi Marufuji, Ricky Marvin and Yoshinobu Kanemaru, talented youngsters coming through the ranks such as Takeshi Morishima, Takeshi Rkioh, Mohamed Yone and Go Shiozaki, dependable veterans in the mid-card who could be relied upon such as Tamon Honda, Takuma Sano, Daisuke Ikeda and Akitoshi Saito, and most importantly a really good main event scene featuring the likes of Mitsuharu Misawa, Jun Akiyama, Yoshihiro Takayama and Minoru Suzuki.
However, the biggest star of them all was the man who held the GHC (The equivalent to New Japan’s IWGP) Heavyweight Title for two years from 2003 to 2005, having great matches with basically everyone along the way. That man was none other than Kenta Kobashi, the inventor of The Burning Hammer, an all-round elite level worker and a guaranteed first ballot Hall of Famer. Not only was Kobashi superb in the ring, but he was also a hit at the box office and NOAH enjoyed a lot of success during his reign.
The zenith of Kobashi’s reign was likely headlining NOAH’s first ever Tokyo Dome show in 2004, but he also enjoyed a spate of sell outs at Budokan Hall and defended the belt in a number of classic bouts, dragging top level matches out of basically everyone he faced ala Ric Flair during his Title reigns during the 80’s.
Personally I’d say Kenta Kobashi is probably my favourite wrestler of all-time. Whether it was coming up with inventive suplexes, flying through the air with a moonsault or just destroying his opponent with hard knife edge chops, Kobashi could seemingly have an epic and enjoyable match with practically anyone and he almost always elevated the people he wrestled. Losing to Kenta Kobashi in an epic bout would almost always raise the defeated opponents stock, not lower it.
What I like most about Kobashi though is his selling, his facial expressions specifically. Kobashi’s facials are possibly some of the greatest of all-time, as he could convey a mixture of pain, desperation, anger and defiance like almost no one else. It’s one of the reasons why I think Kota Ibushi is so good as well actually, as he can do similar with his own expert facial expressions.
So with intro’s out of the way, I suppose I best explain what this is going to be all about. During the late 00’s G+ in Japan put together a compilation of all of the matches from Kobashi’s GHC Heavyweight Title reign. I eventually picked this up on DVD, but some kind uploaders on YouTube have uploaded the whole thing for public consumption. I won’t post the link here in case I accidentally drop them in hot water, but a quick search should be able to bring it up rather easily.
Obviously the full video is close to 9 hours long, so I won’t be doing it all in one sitting. Basically, whenever I get the time I’ll upload 2 or 3 matches when the opportunity arises. I’m not expecting this to be a particularly regular thing due to all the other commitments I have, but it will be a nice side project that I can bust out now and then when I can.
So, with the longest intro in Blog history completed, why don’t we watch some chuffing wrestling?