International Spotlight: KENTA
I'm really glad everyone is enjoying a light being shined on some stars not everyone is fortunate to know of and see. Thanks to being pretty swamped at work, I will now take a much overdue look at one of the greatest wrestlers today, current NOAH star and GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion KENTA!
Of all the people I've shined a light on and will so in the future, KENTA is one of two I have truly been blessed to see live. I lived over on the East Coast for a few years and was fortunate enough to attend a ROH show In New York.
The date was March 25 and the event was Best In The World. I watched KENTA and his partner Naomichi Marifuji defeat Samoa Joe and then ROH Champion Bryan Danielson. There are truly no words to describe seeing this man in person and I believe I watched one of the greatest wrestlers of all time perform.
KENTA debuted in AJPW(All Japan Pro Wrestling) in 2000, but didn't stay there long. Instead, he followed the late Mitsuharu Misawa when he left and created his own company, Pro Wrestling NOAH, where KENTA remains today. His first taste of success came in the form of teaming with Marifuji and winning the first ever GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions, and the two held the titles for two years.
Even during this time, KENTA was improving in a singles competition, being rewarded with a series of seven matches simply used to elevate his status. He took on the likes of Juventud Guerrera, Jun Akiyama, and Marifuji among others. He also continued to defend the tag titles as well as continue in his quest to become the champion.
It was also around this time KENTA ventured to the United States to wrestle for ROH. Though mostly in tag competitions, he has remained a fan favorite, and has put on some excellent matches with the likes of Bryan Danielson and more recently, Nigel McGuiness. I highly recommend these two matches for download.
KENTA has truly shined against his best ally and greatest rival, Naomichi Marifuji. These two have put on some great matches, as a team and in singles matches.
For me, their greatest match, and KENTA's greatest match, was in their title match in which KENTA lost in 2006. The speed, accuracy, technique and power these two showed in the match can easily rival a lot of matches hailed as the great matches today.
Another excellent match these two have had for me, the greatest 60-minute match I've seen, was when KENTA, as GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion took on Marifuji, who was AJPW World Junior Heavyweight Champion, in an attempt to unify the titles. It was unbelievable to watch these two go a complete hour, and rightfully received favorable reviews, even though it went to a draw.
For those who have no clue, this fantastic athlete is the inventor of the Go 2 Sleep, which he named as such. However, the original version is even more lethal. Instead of a knee to the face, it was a knee to the chest which just watching made you cringe.
There are some many moves to his arsenal that it's hard to name them all. A few standouts include a running high knee strike, the KENTA rush, a series of strikes and kicks to the head, and an Inverted G2S, where the opponent takes the knee on the back of the head.
Yes, it's true that if you wish to see a close version of KENTA in action, you need only to look at CM Punk, whose near complete move-set mimics KENTA's. I say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery as long as it's done right, and CM Punk does KENTA justice.
I truly believe KENTA is, without a doubt, the greatest "cruiser weight" wrestler today, if not all time. If any of the "big" companies ever got a hold of him, they'd have a true treasure.
For me, I hope he never steps foot in TNA or the WWE, because we all know the history of men his stature in these companies. It was truly an honor to see him wrestle live. It's a moment of real and true wrestling that has made me wish to see it again all over the wrestling community.
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