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Kenta Kobayashi

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Kenta Kobayashi

KENTA at a Ring of Honor event in New York City
Ring name(s) Halimao
Hideo Itami
Kenta Kobayashi
Billed height 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)
Billed weight 82 kg (181 lb)
Born March 12, 1981 (1981-03-12) (age 39)
Sōka, Saitama, Japan
Trained by AJPW Dojo
Kenta Kobashi
Yoshihiro Takayama
Debut May 24, 2000

Kenta Kobayashi (小林健太 Kobayashi Kenta?, born March 12, 1981) is a Japanese professional wrestler. He is best known for wrestling under the ring name KENTA. He is currently signed to the WWE where he competes on their developmental territory NXT under the ring name Hideo Itami.

He is best known for his 14-year tenure with Pro Wrestling Noah. During his time in Pro Wrestling Noah, Kobayashi is a former one-time GHC Heavyweight Champion, three-time GHC Junior Heavyweight and one-time GHC Tag Team Champion. He also won the 2012 Global League and the 2013 Global Tag League tournaments. He was also one half of the GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions twice; his first reign was the inaugural reign with his longtime tag partner and rival, Naomichi Marufuji, which saw the two hold the title for almost two years. His second reign was with his protégé, Taiji Ishimori. He first wrestled under his real name, but because of potential confusion with his mentor, Kenta Kobashi (in both English and Japanese), he decided to drop his surname and only use his given name. He also spells his ring name with Roman letters in all capitals.

WWE (2014-present)

On January 27, 2014, he did a tryout at WWE's Performance Center in Orlando, Florida with Noah's blessing. [1] In a press release, he said that he was not looking for a WWE contract but he only wanted to fulfill a dream that he had to take part in a WWE workout.[2] On June 27, 2014, it was reported by Tokyo Sports that Kenta had signed with the WWE. During WWE's July 12, 2014 event in Osaka, they announced that they had signed Kenta during an in-ring segment with Hulk Hogan. Kenta will go to Orlando, Florida to continue training at the Performance Center and also work for WWE's developmental territory NXT.[3]

He debuted at NXT Takeover: Fatal 4-Way on September 11, 2014. He was introduced by William Regal. During his debut, he announced that his new ring name would be Hideo Itami, meaning "Hero of Pain".[4] He would then fend off The Ascension after they interrupted the segment to confront Regal.[5]

Itami would make his in-ring debut on the September 18 episode of NXT, defeating Justin Gabriel. After his match, he was attacked by The Ascension.[6] He would continue to engage The Ascension in brawls but he would end up on the losing side due to the numbers advantage. On the November 6 episode, Itami revealed his tag partner as the debuting Finn Bálor.[7]


  • Alianza Latinoamericana de Lucha Libre
    • Torneo Latino Americano de Lucha Libre (2013)
  • Tokyo Sports
    • Best Bout Award (2006) (vs. Naomichi Marufuji, October 29, 2006)[16]
    • Best Tag Team Award (2003) (with Naomichi Marufuji)[16]
    • Outstanding Performance Award (2013)[17]
    • Technique Award (2011)[18]
  • Wrestling Observer Newsletter
    • Best Wrestling Maneuver (2006, 2007) (Go 2 Sleep)
    • Tag Team of the Year (2003, 2004) (with Naomichi Marufuji)


  1. "International Star at the WWE Performance Center". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved 2014-7-10.
  2. "KENTA Discusses Why He Was at the WWE Performance Center". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved 2014-7-10.
  3. "WWE signs Japanese star Kenta to NXT". WWE. Retrieved 2014-7-12.
  4. "From gratitude to the griddle: Hideo Itami on NXT, IHOP and adjusting to life in America". WWE. Retrieved 2014-11-16.
  5. "Neville shocks, defies odds at NXT Takeover: Fatal 4 Way". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved 2014-11-16.
  6. "WWE NXT results - Sept. 18, 2014: Hideo Itami debuts, Titus O'Neil invades NXT". WWE. Retrieved 2014-11-16.
  7. "WWE NXT results - Nov. 6, 2014: Finn Bálor debuts to help Hideo Itami demolish The Ascension". WWE. Retrieved 2014-11-16.
  8. "Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) 500 for 2013". The Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved 2014-7-10.
  9. "2013年1月27日(日)". Pro Wrestling Noah (in Japanese). Retrieved 2014-7-10.
  10. "GHC Junior Heavyweight Title history". Retrieved 2014-7-10.
  11. "GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title history". Retrieved 2014-7-10.
  12. "GHC Tag Team Title history". Retrieved 2014-7-10.
  13. "「グローバル・リーグ戦2012 最終戦」11月23日(祝・金)後楽園ホール大会 試合後コメント". Pro Wrestling Noah (in Japanese). Retrieved 2014-7-10.
  14. "2013年4月28日(日)". Pro Wrestling Noah (in Japanese). Retrieved 2014-7-10.
  15. "「グローバル・タッグリーグ戦2014」各賞発表". Pro Wrestling Noah (in Japanese). Retrieved 2014-7-10.
  16. 16.0 16.1 "東京スポーツ プロレス大賞". Tokyo Sports (in Japanese). Retrieved 2014-7-10.
  17. "オカダが2年連続でプロレス大賞MVPを受賞!史上4人目の快挙だが、本人は「当たり前の結果」". Battle News (in Japanese). Retrieved 2014-7-10.
  18. "東京スポーツ プロレス大賞". Tokyo Sports (in Japanese). Retrieved 2014-7-10.

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