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TOP JAPANESE STAR TO WWE?

By Mike Johnson on 2014-04-30 05:57:23
It was announced this morning in Japan that Pro Wrestling NOAH star KENTA (real name Kenta Kobayashi, 33 years old) would be leaving the promotion, with his final appearance being 5/17.

As PWInsider.com broke in January, KENTA spent a week at the WWWE Performance Center, training and working out with developmental talents. Upon his return to Japan, he downplayed the time spent in Orlando, Florida, claiming he wanted to take part in WWE's training and a break in the NOAH schedule allowed him to do so.

In a blog entry, KENTA wrote, "It is indeed true that I have always been yearning for a spot in WWE, and I’ve always wanted to give it a try sometime. After all, you only live once. “I should have given it a try.” “I should have chosen another way.” I’ve had those regrets when I was in my middle and high school, and even after I got in to this business. I just did not want to regret later about something I haven’t tried, so I used my time off to participate in the WWE workout. The executives were at the workout, so perhaps I may have left a mark."

With the announcement that he is leaving NOAH, a promotion has he been with since it formed, the obvious question is whether KENTA is leaving for a WWE deal? Obviously, it's easy to assume such (and it's possible those assumptions are correct) but we don't have 100% confirmation on that.

KENTA debuted for All Japan Pro Wrestling in 2000 but quickly left for Pro Wrestling NOAH when the late Mitsuharu Misawa led an exodus of talent and management from AJPW to form his own company. Over the last 14 years, KENTA rose from an undercard talent to one of the best workers in the world and is credited with the creation of Go To Sleep, a move later popularized in the United States when former WWE champion CM Punk adopted it as his finishing maneuver.

Stateside, he is best known for appearances in Ring of Honor, including incredible bouts with Low Ki and then-ROH champion Bryan (Daniel Bryan) Danielson.

When KENTA returned to Japan following his one-week workout at the Performance Center, he claimed that he wasn't seeking a WWE deal but if one was offered, it would be something he would be interested in pursuing, noting his dream was always to wrestle for WWE.

In due time, we will see if that dream has come true, but the loss of KENTA is a major hole that NOAH will have to try and fill - one that won't be easy.

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