|Born||September 24, 1973
|Died||November 22, 2011
Carolina, Puerto Rico
|Cause of death||Heart complications|
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Bison Smith|
|Billed height||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Billed weight||280 lb (130 kg)|
|Billed from||Denver, Colorado|
|Trained by||Donovan Morgan
Mark Smith (September 24, 1973 – November 22, 2011) was an American professional wrestler, better known by his ring name, Bison Smith. He best known for his appearances with Pro Wrestling Noah in Japan; and World Wrestling Council and International Wrestling Association in Puerto Rico. In January 2009, he joined the American promotion Ring of Honor.
After being trained by Donovan Morgan and Michael Modest, Smith began wrestling on the independent circuit. He began competing for the International Wrestling Association in Puerto Rico in 2003, and has held the IWA World Heavyweight Championship on two occasions, the IWA Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship once, and the IWA Hardcore Championship one time. He also wrestled for Pro Wrestling Noah, and on May 23, 2008, he won the GHC Tag Team Championship with Akitoshi Saito and again on April 14, 2010, with Keith Walker. He also won the Global Tag League tournament with Saito in 2008. In January 2009, he debuted for Ring of Honor, where he was pushed as "unstoppable", before he joined Prince Nana's Embassy faction.
Early life and career
Smith was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. He began weightlifting at the age of 13. Smith played American football at the University of Colorado, where he was an offensive lineman. After his final year at college, Smith worked as a furniture mover. Smith later moved to California.
Training and early career
Independent and Japanese promotions
Smith toured in Japan first in July 2001. On June 7, 2003, Smith won the Pro Wrestling IRON Heavyweight Championship, by defeating Bart Blaxson, and held the title for nearly two years before he dropped it on April 28, 2005 to California wrestler Malachi. He competed for the International Wrestling Association (IWA) in Puerto Rico, where, on November 1, 2003, he defeated Glamour Boy Shane to win the IWA World Heavyweight Championship, which he held for over a month, before losing it back to Glamour Boy Shane. On July 16, 2004, he defeated Slash Venom to win the vacant IWA Hardcore Championship. He lost it later that month to Chet Jablonski. On September 25, 2004, Smith won the New Breed Wrestling Association's top championship, the NBWA Championship, when he and Morgan defeated B.J. Whitmer and ODB in a tag team match, where the person who won the pin, won the Championship. He competed sporadically for the next few months, and won the IWA Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship from Glamour Boy Shane on November 20, 2005. He held the Championship for over a year, before losing it to Slash Venom on December 12, 2005 in a steel cage match.
He began competing for the Japanese promotion, Pro Wrestling Noah, in 2005, where he competed mainly in tag team matches. He made his Pro Wrestling Noah debut on May 29, 2005, where he, Akitoshi Saito, and Takashi Sugiura defeated Akira Taue, Takuma Sano, and Jun Izumida. In his next appearance two days later, Smith and Low Ki were defeated by KENTA and Kenta Kobashi. He teamed with fellow Americans, and his trainers, Michael Modest and Donovan Morgan in June to defeat Takeshi Rikio, Muhammad Yone, and Yoshinobu Kanemaru, which was followed by a defeat for his team, also including Akitoshi Saito and Masao Inoue, to Mitsuharu Misawa, Akira Taue, and Jun Izumida. Smith didn't appear again in Pro Wrestling Noah until he went on a tour with them in November 2005, where he usually teamed up with fellow "gaijins", or foreigners, most commonly Low Ki. He also teamed with Nigel McGuinness, Doug Williams and Scorpio on various occasions throughout November and December 2005.
At the start of 2006, Smith returned to the United States, where he began competing for New Wrestling Superstars. In August 2006, Smith began regularly wrestling for Fusion Pro Wrestling. He also wrestled for the American Wrestling Federation (AWF), and on November 11, 2006, he won the AWF Heavyweight Championship by defeating Steve Gatorwolf. In July 2007, he returned to the IWA in Puerto Rico, where he won the IWA World Heavyweight title for the second time by defeating Chicano on July 15. He later lost the Championship to Blitz on September 30, 2007. In October 2007, while touring Japan with Pro Wrestling Noah, he suffered a broken breastbone. In 2008, he returned to Pro Wrestling Noah, and, with Akitoshi Saito, won the GHC Tag Team Championship on May 23, by defeating Naomichi Marufuji and Takashi Sugiura. Smith and Saito also won the Global Tag League 2008. On April 14, 2010, Smith teamed up with Keith Walker to win the GHC Tag Team Championship from Takeshi Rikioh and Muhammad Yone. On August 31, however, Walker's father died. Walker later chose not to immediately return to Japan, and on September 10 both Smith and Walker were stripped of the GHC Tag Team Championship. On January 15, 2011, Smith unsuccessfully challenged Takashi Sugiura for the GHC Heavyweight Championship.
Ring of Honor
Smith made his Ring of Honor (ROH) debut at Full Circle on January 16, 2009 in Manassas, Virginia by interrupting a match between Rhett Titus and Sean Denny, and attacking both men. The next night at Injustice II, Smith interrupted a match between Grizzly Redwood and Chris Escobar, and attacked both men. At the Caged Collision pay-per-view, which was taped on January 31, Smith attacked Bryan Danielson, during a number one contender's match, powerbombing him on the floor and giving him a concussion. Smith made his in-ring debut on February 6, at Proving Ground 2009 Night One. He quickly defeated Sal Rinauro gaining the victory with the Skull Vise Slam. The next night at Proving Ground Night Two, Smith gained his second victory, defeating John Kermon. On the March 4 edition of the ROH Video Wire, it was revealed that Prince Nana, a manager who had just recently returned to ROH, was controlling Smith. Smith had his first loss in ROH on March 13 at Stylin' and Profilin', when he lost to Danielson by countout. Smith made his debut in the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City in a losing effort teaming with the returning Jimmy Rave against Bryan Danielson and the returning Colt Cabana on March 21. Smith, with Rave and Ernie Osiris, then joined the newly reformed Embassy faction, led by Prince Nana.
Smith died November 22, 2011 in Puerto Rico due to heart complications. Smith was in Puerto Rico because he was due to fight Eddie Colon the same week during World Wrestling Council's Crossfire show. The event started with a tribute to Smith by Willie Urbina with the WWC roster in the arena.
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
- "The Big Buffalo"
Championships and accomplishments
- International Wrestling Association
- New Breed Wrestling Association
- NBWA Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Pro Wrestling IRON
- PWI Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Pro Wrestling Noah
- "Bison Smith". Purolove.com. Retrieved 2009-04-14.
- "Bison Smith profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-04-14.
- Caldwell, James (2011-11-22). "Other News: Bison Smith reportedly dies at age 38". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 2011-11-23.
- Oliver, Greg (November 23, 2011). "Bison Smith dead at 38". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved December 14, 2011.
- "Ring of Honor roster – Bison Smith". Ring of Honor. Archived from the original on January 13, 2010. Retrieved 2009-04-14.
- "Japanese Results – NOAH – May 29, 2005 – NOAH at Kitami Municipal Sports Center, Japan". Online World of Wrestling. 2005-05-29. Retrieved 2009-04-14.
- "Japanese Results – NOAH – May 31, 2005 – NOAH at Asahikawa Local Industry Center". Online World of Wrestling. 2005-05-31. Retrieved 2009-04-14.
- "Japanese Results – NOAH – June 4, 2005 – NOAH at Sapporo Media Park Spica, Japan". Online World of Wrestling. 2005-06-04. Retrieved 2009-04-14.
- "Japanese Results – NOAH – June 5, 2005 – NOAH at Sapporo Media Park Spica, Japan". Online World of Wrestling. 2005-06-05. Retrieved 2009-04-14.
- "Japanese Results – NOAH – November 18, 2005 – NOAH at Tokyo Korakuen Hall, Japan". Online World of Wrestling. 2005-11-18. Retrieved 2009-04-14.
- "Japanese Results – NOAH – November 20, 2005 – NOAH at Tokyo Differ Ariake, Japan". Online World of Wrestling. 2005-11-20. Retrieved 2009-04-14.
- "Japanese Results – NOAH – November 21, 2005 – NOAH at Miyagi Sports Center, Japan". Online World of Wrestling. 2005-11-21. Retrieved 2009-04-14.
- "Japanese Results – NOAH – November 22, 2005 – NOAH at Niigata City Gymnasium, Japan". Online World of Wrestling. 2005-11-22. Retrieved 2009-04-14.
- "Japanese Results – NOAH – November 26, 2005 – NOAH at Sapporo Media Park Spica, Japan". Online World of Wrestling. 2005-11-26. Retrieved 2009-04-14.
- "Japanese Results – NOAH -December 4, 2005 – NOAH at Yokohama Bunka Gymnasium, Japan". Online World of Wrestling. 2005-12-04. Retrieved 2009-04-14.
- "4/14 ..... Osaka Furitsu Gym #2 (Attendance: 1000)". Pro Wrestling Noah. Retrieved 2010-04-18.
- "Full Circle- Manassas, VA 1/16/09". Ring of Honor. 2009-01-16. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
- "Injustice II- Edison, NJ 1/17/09". Ring of Honor. 2009-01-17. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
- "Proving Ground 2009 Night 1- Coral Springs, FL 2/6/09". Ring of Honor. 2009-02-06. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
- "Proving Ground 2009 Night 2- Orlando, FL 2/7/09". Ring of Honor. 2009-02-07. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
- "Newswire For The Week of March 1st". Ring of Honor. 2009-03-03. Archived from the original on January 13, 2010. Retrieved 2009-04-15.
- "Stylin' & Profilin'- Collinsville, IL 3/13/09". Ring of Honor. 2009-03-13. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
- "7th Anniversary Show- New York, NY 3/21/09". Ring of Honor. 2009-03-21. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
- ""PWI 500": 101–200". Pro Wrestling Illustrated. 2010-07-29. Retrieved 2010-07-31.