Kenta Kobashi Pays Tribute To Classic Mitsuharu Misawa Match On Its 20th Anniversary

Of all the great rivalries in pro wrestling history, there has never been one quite like Kenta Kobashi vs. Mitsuharu Misawa. For nearly a decade, across both All Japan Pro Wrestling and Pro Wrestling NOAH, Kobashi and Misawa, two of All Japan's "Four Pillars of Heaven," had several of what many consider to be the greatest matches of all time. But they arguably saved their best match for last, which took place for NOAH, 20 years ago today.

While Misawa tragically passed away in the ring on June 13, 2009, Kobashi has settled into retirement, continuing to make sporadic appearances for both AJPW and NOAH. On the anniversary of his classic match with Misawa, Kobashi took to Twitter to remember their epic final encounter.

"Today is 20 years since the GHC [Heavyweight Championship match]... I hope this match will remain in everyone's memories and hearts forever‼︎" Kobashi tweeted. "(I hope it will remain in everyone's mind including the 5 Triple Crown fights in 95, [twice in] 97, 98 and 99... I lost all the Triple Crown fights but I fought with "determination" in each and every match...)" As noted by Kobashi, Misawa had defeated him in their previous five encounters for AJPW's Triple Crown Championship in the mid-90s. It was only in this final encounter that Kobashi would finally defeat his longtime rival, winning the GHC Heavyweight Championship with his legendary move the Burning Hammer. Kobashi's triumph arguably led to the greatest run of his Hall-of-Fame career, as he would go on to hold the GHC Heavyweight Title for 735 days, a record that stands to this day.