Kuniaki Kobayashi (小林邦昭 Kobayashi Kuniaki) 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 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 NJPW 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.
- Finishing moves
- Fisherman suplex
- Rear naked choke
- Signature moves
- Baseball slide
- Savate kick
- Spin kick
Championships and accomplishments
- NWA Hollywood Wrestling
- NWA Americas Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him #256 of the 500 best singles wrestlers during the PWI Years in 2003.
- Tokyo Sports
- Effort Prize (1978)
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
- 5 Star Match (1985) vs. Tiger Mask II on March 9
- Match of the Year (1985) vs. Tiger Mask II on June 12
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||June 7, 1981|||
|Kobayashi and Saito (hair)||Coloso Colosetti and César Valentino (hair)||Naucalpan, Mexico State||Live event||September 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||June 13, 1982|||
|Akira Nogami (hair)||Kuniaki Kobayashi (hair)||Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan||NJPW Fighting Spirit 1996 - Day 2||February 3, 1996|
- Profile at Puroresu Central . Puroresu Central. Retrieved on 2013-12-03.
- WIA hobby site, rated No.256 of 500 wrestlers Retrieved 31 May 2011
- Centella, Teddy 2015-06-06. En un día como hoy… 1981: Promociones Mora llega a la Arena México, Los Misioneros, pelones… Black Shadow se despide de Pantitlán (in Spanish). SuperLuchas Magazine. Retrieved on 2015-06-26.
- "Enciclopedia de las Mascaras". SignoSpanish. Mexico City, Mexico. September 2007. p. 31. Tomo V.