Could you ever picture Kenta Kobashi and Colt Cabana standing across the ring from one another? When one thinks of Japanese pro wrestling, a few images come to mind. Full-contact strikes.
High-impact wrestling moves. Wrestlers getting dropped on their necks. A sense of danger and legitimacy. A willingness to go to extremes, whether it’s to be serious or to be comedic.
Yet somehow, those two worlds – the serious and the comedic – clashed in Pro Wrestling NOAH. In one of the strangest examples of the ‘Forbidden Door’ ever, no-nonsense legend Kenta Kobashi took on…joker Colt Cabana.
Kenta Kobashi and Colt Cabana
How was it? Let’s find out.
Kenta Kobashi and Colt Cabana – The Setting
This took place on September 19th, 2011, LONG after Kobashi’s peak as an in-ring performer. Between 2006 and 2011, Kobashi experienced three major health problems:
- He lost a kidney to cancer but still returned to wrestling after being sidelined for over a year
- He had damage to both arms and was sidelined for six months
- He experienced serious nerve damage in December 2009 and was sidelined for 18 months, returning in July 2011.
By this point in time, both Kobashi and NOAH in general, were past their peaks. But Kobashi still soldiered on because NOAH needed him. And although NOAH’s glory days were gone, American wrestlers still toured with the company to gain experience.
One such a wrestler was Colt Cabana. Inside the ring, Cabana can best be described as a ‘goofy’ wrestler. He prefers comedy and silliness but can get serious when necessary. And that is what he had to do here.
Kenta Kobashi versus Colt Cabana – The Match Itself
There honestly isn’t much to this match save for its novelty. It’s another generic two-on-two tag match between two Japanese wrestlers on one side and two Americans on the other. But Colt Cabana decided to break up the monotony of NOAH’s serious style with (his take on) comedy.
Although there was some intensity remaining between Kobashi and Cabana’s partner Bison Smith, Cabana decided to start the match. This is Cabana’s only contribution to the match as a unique wrestler.
As Kobashi powers Cabana to the ropes, Cabana yells ‘NOOOO’ as loud as he can and sidesteps to avoid Kobashi’s chops. He’s playing the coward here, but for good reason: Kobashi’s chops are lethal.
Cabana does some slapstick/over-the-top acting to try and be funny with Kobashi. But Kobashi’s having none of it; he’s a serious wrestler and puts competition above all else.
Cabana does whatever he can to avoid getting chopped. And just when he thinks he’s safe, he turns around and eats a nasty knife-edge chop to the chest.
Kenta Kobashi and Colt Cabana
And that’s basically the extent of Cabana’s contribution to this match as himself. Once Bison tagged in, Cabana’s personality and sense of individuality vanished. From then on, it just became another NOAH tag match.
The only other parts of any note were Kobashi chopping Cabana around the venue and his own partner using him as a shield against Kenta Kobashi’s corner machine gun chops. But beyond those small fragments, one could swap Cabana with any other generic American indy wrestler, and this match would be the same.
While this isn’t some classic, there’s an interesting novelty to it. Cabana wrestling in NOAH is a surprise in itself. Cabana wrestling Kenta Kobashi in NOAH is stranger still. This is about as strange a pairing as seeing Kenny Omega drinking beer with Jim Cornette.
Still, though, wrestling’s full of unusual happenings, and this one is definitely one of them. At least Cabana can say he got chopped by Kenta Kobashi and survived.
You can watch the full match here.
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