My protege’s coming of age

Posted: March 6, 2011 in Professional Wrestling

This past week, Japan’s red-hot SMASH promotion released a surprising main event for their one-year anniversary show, SMASH.15 at the legendary Korakuen Hall in Tokyo on March 18.

The top of the bill at SMASH.15 will feature my Japanese FCF protege Hajime Ohara, who will go up against the departing KUSHIDA, who is bound for New Japan Pro Wrestling from April onward.

The bad blood between Ohara and KUSHIDA started back at SMASH.1 in March 2010, and has been building steadily over the course of the latter half of 2010 on through the beginning of 2011.  Both Ohara and KUSHIDA have been touted as the future of SMASH, and now that KUSHIDA is moving on to another promotion, this is Ohara’s last ditch opportunity to bury the hatchet with his adversary.

The ill feelings between Ohara and KUSHIDA really came to the fore when Ohara jumped ship from under allegiance to TAJIRI over to my side with FCF at SummerSmash 2010 last August in Helsinki, Finland.

In September 2010 at SMASH.8, Ohara teamed with FCF’s Jessica Love and Kagemanguro to face TAJIRI, Akira Shoji and KUSHIDA.  During that bout, the action between Ohara and KUSHIDA got out of hand, as both men tried to tear each other apart.  Due to the six-man nature of the match, the issue was left unresolved, as TAJIRI went on to pin Kagemanguro.

At SMASH.9 in October 2010, Ohara beat the living daylights out of KUSHIDA after his match with then-OVW Champion Mike Mondo, making a very personal statement thereby.  Ohara would go on to team with Jessica Love and former FCF Champion Heimo Ukonselkä at SMASH.10 to face ex-ECW/WWE star Super Crazy, Isami Kodaka and KUSHIDA in a hardcore six-man match.  KUSHIDA would end up pinning Love, once again leaving the issue at hand with Ohara unresolved.

At SMASH.13 in January 2011, Ohara teamed up with Jessica Love once again to do battle with KUSHIDA and Canada’s masked marvel, Mentallo.  In this tag team encounter, Ohara blasted KUSHIDA with his charging forearm dive strike, gaining the pin in the process.  Arguably, KUSHIDA was not happy with the way things ended in this match, and so SMASH booked another tag team match at February 2010’s SMASH.14 event, where Ohara teamed with FCF’s hottest rookie in Finnish history, Kristian Kurki, against KUSHIDA and Japanese rookie Yuji Kito.  Ohara would prove his dominance over newcomer Kito, pinning him in convincing fashion with his diving forearm strike once again, leaving KUSHIDA with his bitter taste of defeat from SMASH.13.

At SMASH.14, KUSHIDA shocked SMASH and his mentor TAJIRI by telling that he had been offered a contract with New Japan, and he had decided to jump ship.  Thus, at SMASH.15, the company’s 1st anniversary event at Korakuen Hall on March 18th, SMASH made the call to book KUSHIDA against Ohara in their long-awaited singles showdown.

This time, everyone can be guaranteed that there will be a definitive winner, mano y mano – no ands, ifs or buts about it – and you can be damn sure I will be pulling for my esteemed protege Hajime Ohara all the way in this one.

KUSHIDA and Ohara have come full-circle since SMASH.1, and one year later at SMASH.15 all the questions will be answered.

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