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Kuniaki Kobayashi is a retired Japanese Junior Heavyweight professional wrestler. He wrestled numerous acclaimed matches against the first two Tiger Masks: Satoru Sayama and Mitsuharu Misawa.


New Japan Pro Wrestling (1973–1980)

Kuniaki Kobayashi debuted in New Japan Pro Wrestling in February 1973, against Masanobu Kurisu, at the young age of 17. Kobayashi stayed on the undercard, until he was sent abroad to North America in 1980.

North American Excursion (1980–1982)

Upon entering North America in 1980, Kobayashi's first stop was in Mexico, where he stayed until moving to the United States, in Los Angeles, where he wrestled under the name Kid Koby.

Return To NJPW (1982–1984)

Upon returning to New Japan in October 1982, Kobayashi was involved in a feud with Tiger Mask. Because of his anti-heroic actions, he became regarded as the "Tiger Hunter." He also allied with Riki Choshu, Masa Saito, and Killer Khan to form Ishin Gundan. In September 1984, Ishin Gundan left NJPW to form Japan Pro Wrestling.

All Japan Pro Wrestling (1984–1987)

Japan Pro Wrestling had a working agreement with All Japan Pro Wrestling. While there, Kobayashi feuded with Tiger Mask II, and he held the NWA International Junior Heavyweight Championship and the AJPW World Junior Heavyweight Championship.

Return to NJPW (1987–2000)

Upon returning to New Japan in 1987, Kobayashi won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship in August, before losing the title to Hiroshi Hase in December. In April 1989, he served as the first opponent of Jushin Liger (Keiichi Yamada's first match under the Liger persona). In 1990, he moved up to the heavyweight division. In 1992, he joined Shiro Koshinaka in forming Heisei Ishingun.

Between 1992 and 1993, Kobayashi had two surgeries to combat colorectal cancer. In 1999, he had surgery to combat liver cancer, which caused a giant scar under his chest. This and the treatments to combat the cancer forced him to discontinue his in-ring career. In April 2000, Kobayashi wrestled his final match as an active wrestler, losing to Jushin Thunder Liger. He received flowers from Satoru Sayama and a message from Mitsuharu Misawa.


Upon his retirement, Kobayashi has remained involved in puroresu, currently as caretaker of the New Japan Dojo. He occasionally wrestles in legends matches, including a series of matches in 2011 against Sayama and a team with him in 2013 against Atsushi Onita (who led the AJPW junior heavyweight division in 1983, before Kobayashi showed up). He would also do color commentary for NJPW shows.

In wrestling

Championships and accomplishments

  • PWI ranked him #256 of the 500 best singles wrestlers during the PWI Years in 2003.
  • Effort Prize (1978)

Luchas de Apuestas record

Winner (wager) Loser (wager) Location Event Date Notes
Gran Hamada, Enrique Vera and Kobayashi (hair) Los Misioneros de la Muerte (hair)
(El Signo, El Texano and Negro Navarro)
Mexico City, Mexico Live event 01981-06-07June 7, 1981
Kobayashi and Saito (hair) Coloso Colosetti and César Valentino (hair) Naucalpan, Mexico State Live event 01981-09-25September 25, 1981  
Los Misioneros de la Muerte (hair)
(El Signo, El Texano and Negro Navarro)
Takano, Saito and Kobayashi (hair) Mexico City, Mexico UWA Live event 01982-06-13June 13, 1982

External links

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