2010: The year I achieved THE dream

Posted: January 15, 2011 in Professional Wrestling

My lifelong goal in the professional wrestling industry has been to wrestle in Japan.  On July 24, 2010 – almost 16 and a half years after I made my professional debut as a wrestler in Calgary, Alberta, Canada – I finally reached that goal.  And not only did I reach it, I was given the opportunity to eclipse it.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought, that once I set foot on Japanese soil – in the highly respected rings of Puroresu, which Rikidozan once pioneered in the 1950’s – that I would be skyrocketed right to the top of their wrestling scene.

Yet, this is exactly what happened in 2010.

The father of Japanese Puroresu, Rikidozan

Japan’s SMASH organization believed in me so much, that they orchestrated me to the top of their cards, as a main player in this great game in their homeland.  They gave me an opportunity which many of my contemporaries would literally kill for.

Indeed, as traditionally happens in our sport, first a wrestler is tested on the undercards to see if they have the “it” factor, after which – if they do – they climb up the ladder one rung at a time.  Only certain international superstars like Kurt Angle, Hulk Hogan, Terry Funk and their like are positioned directly at the top when they come in initially.  In the past, that top gaijin – or foreign – spot was given to World Champions, who came to defend their represented honor in the Land of the Rising Sun.

So what made me stand out my first time in during 2010?  Why did the Japanese give StarBuck the top spot, instead of climbing up the ladder the traditional way?

I can only guess that the answer lies in the match that I had against SMASH mainman “The Japanese Buzzsaw” Yoshihiro Tajiri back on February 20, 2010 in Helsinki, Finland at FCF Wrestling’s Talvisota IV event.  Having toured the world in pro wrestling, adding 16 countries under my belt to date in this great sport, I have honed my skills against all kinds and styles and competition.  When Finland’s top nightclub chain SK Ravintolat made it possible to bring a top former WWE name to Finland to appear at Talvisota IV, I quickly chose Tajiri as my opponent.

Tajiri is unquestionably the most renowned Japanese wrestler to wrestle for the WWE monolith in the Y2K era, having spent six years under Vince McMahon’s umbrella.  Tajiri is also one of the craftiest pros in Japan today, due to his extensive international experience, and I readily rank him as one of my favorite opponents during my career.

At Talvisota IV, I was able to have an excellent bout against “The Japanese Buzzsaw”, which opened the doors for my entry into Japan.  Tajiri was convinced that I was a solid professional with a lot to offer, and he spoke well of me to his company, SMASH.

SMASH asked me to appear on July 24, 2010 at their SMASH.5 and SMASH.6 events in Tokyo, where I was booked to face Tajiri for the FCF Championship.  I walked away with the title, shocking both the media and the wrestling fans at large with my dominant victory.  I would go on to form a formidable team with Hajime Ohara, who was reborn as my protege during the summer and fall of 2010, as I was able to solidify a working arrangement between Finland’s FCF organization and SMASH in Japan.  I would go on to fight one of my greatest battles to date against 25-year ring veteran Akira Nogami at SMASH.8 in September, before I ended up losing the FCF Championship to Tajiri in an incredible rematch at SMASH.10, held at JCB Hall before 1200 screaming fans in Tokyo.

StarBuck locks Tajiri in the STF at SMASH.10 on Nov. 22, 2010 in Tokyo

The rest is history, as I enjoyed one of the greatest years in my life during 2010, achieving the apex of my personal professional wrestling goals.

I highly look forward to the great things 2011 has to offer, as I venture out to Japan again at the end of this month to wrestle once again, further benchmarking my status in Japanese Puroresu – the KING of sports!

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