Posts Tagged ‘Hajime Ohara’

This past Wednesday night – March 14, 2012 – a somber mood set over Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, as Japan’s SMASH organization held its final show, closing its doors forever.

The capacity crowd on hand at Korakuen Hall watches the main event of SMASH.FINAL

Many people are both asking and wondering what has led to the closing down of the promotion, considering SMASH rose in its two-year run to become one of the leading puroresu organizations in Japan.  SMASH started from zero in March of 2010 and rose like a phoenix amongst both fans and media alike over the next couple of years.  Their events in Japan drew great houses and showcased some of the finest pro wrestling to be seen anywhere.  So what exactly is at the root of the demise of SMASH?

Starting the match off against Tajiri in classic wrestling fashion

Very simply, the answer lies in the divergent visions of SMASH president Mr. Sakai and SMASH creative director Tajiri for the company and its future.  As Mr. Sakai owns the SMASH name and its respective title belts, this rift and separation proved to be a fatal blow to the company.  Without the creative genius of Tajiri, SMASH would simply not exist.  Tajiri was truly the soul and heartbeat of SMASH, and for Sakai to continue without him would have been foolhardy and a questionable risk.  Thus, at SMASH.FINAL on March 14th when all was said and done after the main event, Mr. Sakai announced publicly that there will be no SMASH v.2 post-Tajiri.  SMASH is now finished.

Tajiri clamps a chinlock on Yours Truly

The video below narrates (in English) the meat of the matter rather well.

I am greatly honored to have taken part in the SMASH.FINAL main event alongside FCF Wrestling teammate Hajime Ohara against the team of Tajiri and Akira Nogami.  I think it would be safe to say that SMASH was built largely on the four of us and our contributions to the promotion, so having this tag team main event headline the final SMASH show in history is truly prolific.

Double-teaming Akira Nogami, I plant the elbow into the upper back as Ohara stays the course

I really couldn’t think of a better way to go out on a high note.  Being in the ring with three of my best friends in this often cold, dog-eat-dog business on a night that enveloped so much emotion and weightiness meant a lot to me.  We fought tooth and nail for 25:50 of a wrestling classic before Akira was able to nail Ohara with his Musasabi Press splash off the top rope to end the epic encounter.

Akira has me in the Old Boy submission as Ohara tries to make the save

The night prior to the SMASH.FINAL, I was able to be part of Akira’s birthday party at the world- famous Ribera Steak House.  Although we knew that the next night we would be facing each other in the fight of our lives, only the sense of mutual respect, admiration and friendship was present at our table.

At Ribera Steak House, toasting Akira's birthday with Josh O'Brien and Tajiri

Knowing that I have fought so many times in the same ring against esteemed opponents the calibre of Akira and Tajiri only heightens and strengthens the comraderie between us.  The quality of our matches has always been top-notch, and being able to bring out the best in each other, regardless of the outcome, is definitely a key element that spawns great friendships in our trade.

Akira eats a nasty spike piledriver from Yours Truly

I can only hope that Tajiri starts up a new wrestling company in Japan following the demise of SMASH, as the man is one of the smartest minds in our business, and if anyone can do it, Tajiri most definitely can.  Tajiri definitely knows what classic wrestling should be all about, and I will most certainly support him in whatever his future endeavors are.

Akira pins Ohara following a huge Musasabi Press in 25:50 of a wrestling classic

After the main event was said and done at SMASH.FINAL, SMASH Diva Champion Syuri also vacated her title, as the wrestlers came to the ring to bow out and say goodbye to all of their supporters and fans over the past two years.

A real sweetheart of a girl, Syuri was the last SMASH Diva Champion

The last SMASH Champion Dave “Fit” Finlay vacated his title last month at SMASH.25 after defeating Tajiri in a fantastic match.

The wrestlers pay their respects to the company and the audience at the end of SMASH.FINAL

I would also like to thank all of the SMASH fans personally this one, last time for allowing me to become a star in their country.  As I said at the SMASH.FINAL afterparty, Japan is the #1 country in the world for pro wrestling, and it has been a dream come true for me to become a household name and celebrity in Japan through my pro wrestling adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun.

The Finnish Embassy in Japan came out to see SMASH.FINAL


(Match photos my SMASH/SportsNavi Japan)

I just arrived back home from Tokyo a few, scant hours ago.  Yesterday, I took part in the gigantic SMASH.25 event at TDC Hall in Tokyo, teaming with FCF wrestlers Hajime Ohara and Jessica Love to face the ZERO1 trio of Masato Tanaka, Shinjiro Otani and Ikuto Hidaka.  In a fast and furious match, Tanaka scored the pinfall over Jessica Love with his sliding elbow strike in 12:40.  In the main event of the card, hard-nosed ring veteran Dave “Fit” Finlay retained the SMASH Championship (which he won from me on Nov. 24, 2011) defeating “The Japanese Buzzsaw” Tajiri in one of the most credible and awesome professional wrestling matches that I have EVER seen live in my life.  Also, Syuri finally defeated Kana for the SMASH Diva Championship in another absolutely stellar ladies match, that has to be seen to be believed.

Ohara also took Jessica and myself to eat at NOAH & PRIDE wrestler Yoshihiro Takayama‘s yakitori (chicken) Stomach Hold restaurant, which I must say has a brilliant name when you consider the fact that it is owned by a wrestler.  I had the pleasure of meeting the boss himself, who was a very friendly big man, along with his wife Natsuko, who helps run the place.  For anyone traveling to Tokyo, be sure to check out Stomach Hold, you will love the food there!

Hajime Ohara, Yoshihiro Takayama and StarBuck (photo: Satomi Kanau)

I also visited the world-famous Ribera Steak House in Tokyo with my Japanese friend Mr. Terasaki, and was pleasantly surprised to see my photo posted on their wall of fame alongside wrestling greats such as Bruiser Brody, Stan Hansen, The Funks, Dick Murdoch, Hulk Hogan and a slew of others.  All I can say is that it was a very humbling experience to join such esteemed company, knowing the significance of Ribera in the wrestling world.  The boss of Ribera even gave me a new black Ribera jacket as a present on this visit, and every wrestler worth his weight knows that those jackets are given like medals of honor to those who wear them.

Me with Veneno from Mexico at the SMASH.25 afterparty (photo: Shinobu Tanaka)

At the SMASH.25 afterparty, I was once again presented with gifts from the Japanese fans.  Among the items I received were seven DVD album box set releases, given to me my my superfan Mayumi, and a stunning framed portrait of my SMASH Championship win from October 2011, given by superfan Masa.  I must say that there is absolutely no other place on Earth that I am aware of, where the fans make the wrestlers feel like larger-than-life icons through their actions, such as noted above.  Just one more reason why Japan is indeed the #1 country for pro wrestling in the world, bar none, in my humble opinion.

Pointing to my photo on the wall of Ribera

I was also pleasantly surprised to see Finnish press from STT (, who were at ringside shooting the FCF vs. ZERO1 match for Finnish media coverage.  This came totally out of the blue, as I received an email upon landing in Japan from the STT people, claiming they had seen the article on me in Finnair‘s Blue Wings magazine, and of course SMASH.25 was plugged in that piece.  They got in contact with the SMASH office, received accreditation, and were part of the official press crew at the event.  In addition, members of the Finnish Embassy in Japan were on hand, rooting for FCF Wrestling, which was very cool indeed.

Next up, Winter War VI (Talvisota VI) on Saturday, Feb. 25 in Helsinki, where I face Finnhammer Halme as part of a huge card.  Talisota VI will be topped off by the first-ever TLC (Tables, Ladders & Chairs match) in Finnish history between gender bending fan favorite Jessica Love and the huge human tank Ibo Ten, and FCF Champion “Wildman” Heimo Ukonselkä defends his title against bad boy and media darling Johnny McMetal.  Eight matches altogether at Talvisota VI on Feb. 25, so be a part of the biggest show of the year in Finland this coming Saturday!

Buy your tickets online through or get them at the door!

I am very happy to announce that this week I will be returning to Japan for the first time since losing the SMASH Championship to Dave Finlay back at the end of November 2011.

On Sunday, February 19 at TDC Hall in Tokyo, I will team up with FCF Wrestling representatives Jessica Love and Hajime Ohara to take on the Zero1 contingent of Masato Tanaka, Shinjiro Otani and Ikuto Hidaka in a huge six-person showdown at SMASH.25.

It will be a great honor for me to step into the ring with especially Tanaka and Otani, who are two of the most revered pros in the game worldwide.  Many will remember Masato Tanaka’s match against Mike Awesome on the WWE version of ECW’s One Night Stand pay-per-view from 2005, while Otani was a legendary junior heavyweight in the early and mid-’90s with New Japan Pro Wrestling, holding both the WCW Cruiserweight Championship (beating the legendary Chris Benoit) and the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship in addition to a slew of others.