Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wrestler Bison Smith passes away

Bison Smith
Professional wrestler Mark Smith, a former offensive lineman at the University of Colorado, who was a star in Puerto Rico and for Pro Wrestling NOAH in Japan as Bison Smith, passed away from a massive heart attack in San Juan at the age of 38.

Smith broke into wrestling after being trained in Northern California by Donovan Morgan and Michael Modest. By 2003 he was a main eventer for the  International Wrestling Association in Puerto Rico, winning the group's World Heavyweight Championship on two different occasions.

His biggest success, however, was in Japan for Pro Wrestling Noah, where he earned the GHC Tag Team Championship a pair of times with partners Akitoshi Saito and Keith Walker.

"Incredibly sad to hear about Bison Smith," fellow wrestler Chris Hero wrote on Twitter. "Over the last 5 years he'd become like a brother. He was a big scary lookin guy w/ a heart of gold."

In the U.S, Smith's most notable impact came in Ring of Honor, where he feuded with Bryan Danielson, who is now WWE superstar Daniel Bryan, in 2009.

"Ring of Honor officials, management, and the locker room would all like to take this time to acknowledge the passing of one of our alumni, a former member of The Embassy, Mark “Bison” Smith," the company said in a statement.

"Late last night word began to travel that Bison, aged 38, had passed away due to cardiac issues shortly after returning from a tour of Pro Wrestling NOAH. Smith first debuted in ROH back in January of 2009 at “Full Circle” and competed regularly throughout the year until his final appearance in March of 2010 at “Phoenix Rising”. During his tenure with ROH, Bison primarily competed alongside The Embassy and had several memorable bouts against Bryan Danielson and The Necro Butcher.

"More importantly, during his short time in ROH, Bison touched the lives of many individuals as noted by the outpouring of memories on Twitter shared by many of those who crossed his path."
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