Strong Kobayashi


Real Name - Shozo Kobayashi
Birthdate - 1/15/44
6'2" 276 lbs. - Tokyo, Japan

Aliases - Taro

Athletic background - Weightlifting, Bodybuilding

Teachers - n/a

Professional background - IWE(`66-`74), Europe(`67), AWA(`70), New Japan(`74-`84)

Peak Years - `68-`74

Career Highlights - n/a

Serious Injuries - Back

Place in History - One of the big stars of puroresu in the post-Rikidozan years, who interestingly disappeared from the sport while many of his peers have not. While not much of a worker, Kobayashi had a certain charm as a big musucular Japanese man. While sumo had produced most of the early stars due to the crossover appeal, Kobayashi was something different and was pushed well. He had been a bodybuilder with some TV exposure and was scouted by the IWE upon its formation. He was made the #2 star under Toyonobori, who had long been the #2 heavyweight under Rikidozan. However, Toyonobori had financial problems and IWE had to cut him loose and Kobayashi stepped into his spot with Rusher Kimura sharing some of the duties. Kobayashi was able to work with every star the AWA, with whom IWE had an alliance, had to offer and that helped cement his place as a beating gaijins was all it really took back then. Amongst those opponents were Verne Gagne, Bill Miller, Wahoo McDaniel and others, so he had quality opposition. However, the IWE was destined to stay the third company as their stars were just not as good or marketable as Inoki and Baba. So, the slowing Kobayashi made a business move and jumped to New Japan. Placed in the main event seat immediately in a match with Inoki that would propel New Japan significantly and allowed Kobayashi one last hurrah. He remained with company for several years, but his body was broken down and he called it quits in `84.