This week saw the passing of one of the most intimidating wrestlers I’ve seen over the past few years, but because he never worked for WWE or TNA it’s hardly been reported.
Bison Smith was one of the many wrestlers I saw during the heady days of The Wrestling Channel here in Britain. A physically imposing specimen with his massive build and Mohawk haircut, Smith was competing in Japan for Pro Wrestling NOAH.
I have to admit that I never really paid much attention to NOAH back then, and I only began to follow the promotion sporadically when A-Merchandise sent me a few English language DVDs to review. These reviews included their tour to Britain in 2008. The big man impressed the hell out of me in matches against the likes of Mohammad Yone, and Mitsuharu Misawa.
Although he’d had some success on the Indie scene in America for me Smith really came to prominence in 2009 when he debuted for Ring of Honor. He was booked perfectly as the monster heel, interrupting matches and destroying jobbers while also targeting their top star, former World Champion Bryan Danielson. It was later revealed that he’d been brought in by the returning Prince Nana.
Smith died of a heart attack this past Tuesday in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He was just 38 years old.
Whenever I saw Smith I used to wonder just how he’d fare in the big leagues. Given his size and skill I always thought that he’d fit in perfectly as the all-destroying, all-conquering monster.
Sadly we’ll never know if that would have ever happened. Smith may not have been one of the best known wrestlers in the world but he certainly made this writer sit up and take notice.
Rest in peace Bison.