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[2006-03-05-NOAH-Navigate For Evolution] Kenta Kobashi vs KENTA

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KENTA vs. Kobashi - March 5, 2006

Excellent match as expected at the time. KENTA got to show the first-ballot HOFer just how much he had improved when they lost went at it in singles a year and a half earlier. In this one, he was able to inflict early damage on Kobashi's left arm, and he was it on like white on rice with numerous arm-bars and even kicking at it while the former GHC Heavyweight Champ was down.

Kobashi's selling of the left arm was mostly exceptional, constantly clutching at it after landing some bombs with it. I really appreciated that KENTA escaped Kobashi's stupid head-dropping suplexes, showing that he had done an effective job on him AND showing how much he had improved since their previous encounter. Mid-way in the match when Kobashi got control, his right arm was in such pain that he used his left-arm to deliver a DDT to the then-GHC Jr. Champ on the apron.

But despite how much better KENTA had become, no matter how much damage he had inflicted, even with him holding a championship that was considered prestigious at the time, he could not slay the icon. Kobashi was able to suck up whatever pain he had, with enough time passing in the match for it to slightly heal, and deliver his trademark bombs, including the corner Kobashi chops followed by Polish Hammer, plus his half-nelson and sleeper suplexes. Great match to elevate KENTA and remind the fans exactly one year after his epic GHC Heavyweight Title reign had concluded, Kobashi was still the shit. ****

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This tells a great story of KENTA being much more vicious, much more focused & much more complete than he was in their previous match in 2004. Here he borderline DOMINATES Kobashi at points, doing awesome work over him - Kobashi's comebacks were tremendous & the ending with him busting out the goddamn BURNING HAMMER was the perfect ending to the story this match told. I didn't like this as much as their 04 match, but it was still great. ****

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