How Misawa vs Kobashi ALMOST Happened In ECW

Stewart Harper

Mitsuharu Misawa vs Kenta Kobashi had one of the all-time great series of matches across All-Japan Pro Wrestling and Pro-Wrestling NOAH – but we almost saw them battle it out in the United States as well.

Paul Heyman revealed that he nearly booked two of the biggest legends in Japanese history against one another in ECW.

The former head of the company spoke to Joey Styles on an episode of the WWE Network special ECW Exposed, and was asked which foreign talent would he have liked to have brought into the company, after the success of the likes of Masato Tanaka and Tajiri.

Heyman then revealed that he almost had a deal to bring a match between the late Mitsuharu Misawa vs Kenta Kobashi at one of the greatest ECW PPV’s of all time – Heatwave 98.

The two Japanese star’s matches had been raved about in Japan but, as noted by Joey Styles later in the interview, tapes of these bouts were very hard to come by in the United States. This would have been the only time many fans could have seen the two wrestle in 1998 and would have certainly put on an incredible match.

“[Mitsuharu]Misawa vs [Kenta] Kobashi. I wanted Misawa vs Kobashi at an ECW Pay Per View. I almost had it for Heatwave 1998. Not that I’m complaining about this, but we had Rob Van Dam and Sabu vs Haybusa and Jinsei Shinzaki instead.”

Paul Heyman on a potential Misawa vs Kobashi match in ECW

Sadly, that match fell through, although details about why are scarce. Instead, Heyman managed to bring in two of the most exciting Japanese wrestlers at the time in Haybusa and Jinsei Shinzaki instead. They teamed up to take on Rob Van Dam and Sabu in a huge main event match.

Kenta Kobashi vs Mitsuharu Misawa

The matches between Misawa and Kobashi are considered some of the greatest of all time. Over a number of years, the year legends battled in a variety of matches that proved their greatness in the ring.

Over a series of bouts, they built up their matches on the foundations of the ones that came before. Creating counters to counters to counters, they rewarded fans who followed their careers and their legendary rivalry.

Their 2003 encounter is the highest rated match on Cagematch and was awarded five stars by Dave Meltzer. They had six matches against one another ranked over 9.00 rating on Cagematch, with three matches rated five stars or more by the Wrestling Observer.

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