Well, today is the last day of the year.  A fitting time to look back on the tumultuous year that has been 2013.

Personally speaking, it’s been the hardest year on many fronts in my life to date.  Sure, I’ve had both good and bad this year, but the dark side casts a major shadow on what has been 2013.  Some economic seers were predicting a shitstorm for this past year at the tail end of 2012, and lo and behold, that shitstorm came with sinister fury.  Financially, 2013 was a horrendous year.  The sooner forgotten, the better.  I really have no idea what is going to stem the tide and turn the course of the economy and job market, but something needs to happen — big time.  Maybe it’s just the foreboding clouds of impending doom that forecast the doing away with of cash money, moving society towards a total digital transaction empire.  Maybe it’s the speedy dissolvement of the middle class, ushering in a greater disparity between the those who have and those who have not.  Maybe it’s the last, great rush of the greedy and self-centered, the liars and the thieves, to capitalize on the few remaining remnants of everyone else’s piece of pie.  Whatever it is, it’s come to not only reach, but exceed the limit.  Stop already!

But yeah, there has been good in this past year, also.  I started 2013 off with a surprise engagement to my sweetheart, Diana, at a wrestling show in Lohja, Finland on January 4.  After my match against Ricky Vendetta, I took the house mic and proposed in center ring to my girl, leading to our marriage on March 13 in Espoo, Finland.  Diana told me that both numbers 3 and 13 have always had a lucky significance for her during her life, and it was her wish that we tie the knot on 13.3.2013.  It took me almost 40 years to reach marriage, but dammit, I finally found my diamond in the rough and took the head-first plunge!

IMG_2080

My parents pose with my brand spanking new wife and I

In March, I had the honor of representing my homeland of Canada in the Four Continents Cup of 2013 in Brugge, Belgium.  The match was a four-man random tag elimination bout, with wrestlers also representing Spain (Europe), Japan (Asia) and Ecuador (South America).  In the end, it boiled down to myself and Makoto Morimitsu of Japan, with my foe escaping my finishing piledriver attempt, capturing me in a rolling side cradle hold for the pinfall and win.  It was a hard-fought match that was eight years in the making, as I had originally faced Makoto in Italy back in 2005, where I left him laying the ring after my spike piledriver.

SB vs Makoto 02

StarBuck piledrives Makoto in the Four Continents Cup

I got to the critical age of 40 this past year, back on April 24.  My wife organized a surprise birthday party for me at my old friend and ex-Stoner Kings drummer Janne Kontoniemi’s Bar Chaplin in downtown Helsinki.  It was nice to see so many people turn up for the occasion.  That said, it really feels like at 40, my life may as well be half over.  I’ve been able to “live the dream”, as the boys call it in pro wrestling when one is able to enjoy a good modicum of success, rock all over the world with several of the bands I’ve fronted in, create characters with SONY music sensation Hevisaurus that have turned into a smash-hit all across Finland with kids far and wide, and a whole hoopla of other stuff.

Yet, somehow at the milestone age of 40, all of this feels somewhat … empty.  It’s strange.  When you think, that in the end, all you have ahead of you is an endless eternity that you cannot cancel out on, even if you’d have hoped, it all just becomes so very strange.  The words from my band Overnight Sensation’s song Fool Like You resound in my head: “If I could, I’d return to the womb … way the hell back to nothing, before I even set to bloom.”  Maybe it’s the hardships over the past year, but it makes one somber and philosophical.

In the Spring of 2013, I had the honor of facing WNC (Wrestling New Classic) champion, Osamu Nishimura, as part of a spectacular tag team main event in Tokyo, where I was paired up with my Synapse teammates AKIRA and Syuri against TAJIRI, Nishimura and WNC women’s champion Lin Byron.  My good friend, heart surgeon Dr. Hiroaki Terasaki, claimed that this was the best match that I had wrestled in Japan in his opinion.  I must say, that working against Nishimura in that match left me hoping I would have gotten a singles title match against the man over the course of this year.  However, the financial hardships that are troubling the west are also now being felt harshly in the east, and I didn’t get the chance to grapple solely against Nishimura, as he dropped the title to TAJIRI this past summer.

A show of respect between WNC Champ Nishimura and myself after our match.

A show of respect between WNC Champ Nishimura and myself after our match.

On May 11 in Espoo, Finland, I captured the BWA (British Wrestling Alliance) Catchweight title from Valentine, gaining a measure of revenge on my adversary for attacking my wife a couple of months earlier at an event in Helsinki.  My victory was bittersweet, as I had promised not only to take the title, but to send Valentine out on a stretcher for good measure.  I didn’t get to collect on the stretcher ride portion of it all, but that receipt is still coming, be assured of that.

2013 was a hard year also in the way of physical injuries, particularly the herniated disc between my C6-C7 vertebrae, which was diagnosed in mid-August.  I had been experiencing numbing pain in my upper left shoulderblade/trapezius/arm, and I am talking 24/7 pain that just wouldn’t relent.  I finally could take no more, and I went to one of Finland’s most highly-regarded sports physicians, Dr. Tuomo Karila, who had been the doctor for the Finnish wrestling team in the last Olympics.  That is when I understood the severity of my condition.  Had I continued to wrestle, especially in a highly-anticipated match against 190kg Cannonball Grizzly at the end of the summer, I would have risked paralysis.  I tried to snake my way out of a match in Gothenburg, Sweden, against local hero Conny Mejsel, but the President of GBG Wrestling, Lady Delores, demanded that I wrestle.  I was given a substitute, as I declined the hard challenge that Mejsel would surely present, and in lieu, I faced masked man Aguila Roja.  I trounced Roja, as I was irate that GBG wouldn’t let me sit the match out, due to my aggrevated injury, but at the end of it all, Mejsel appeared to save the day.  I beat Mejsel bloody with a folding chair, paying him back for conniving against me with the Bättre Folk contingent in FCF Wrestling back in the summer of 2013 in Helsinki at one event.  When I am fully healed, I will be more than glad to face Conny Mejsel, be it in Sweden or in Finland or any place for that matter.  All that said, I have still not fully recovered from my herniated disc, as of December 31 today, as I get pins and needles from time to time in my left index finger from the damage done to my disc.  Deadlifts, chin-ups and back squats are off limits for another three to four months, as this thing has to get properly healed up.

I got some good news from Oskari Pastila, the director of my Spandex Sapiens documentary movie.  Originally, the movie was slated to be out in January 2014, but lo and behold, the flick just kept getting more and more funding, which meant that more and more people were getting involved.  This of course meant that the release date of the film had to be pushed back to either Spring 2014 or Autumn 2014, since the summer vacation months do not warrant putting anything notable out.  So, for all of you who have been asking and wondering, now you know the lowdown on the situation.

Spandex Sapiens promotional artwork by Janne Yliruusi

Spandex Sapiens promotional artwork by Janne Yliruusi

In September, I returned to action in England for the first time in thirteen years at an event in Gloucester, entitled Wrestling Rampage.  I faced local hero Matt Jarrett aka The English Bulldog, dropping him with my trademark spike piledriver to get the duke in under 10-minutes of combat, as Jarrett suffered a neck injury during the course of our bout.  I was even asked to go to BBC studios, promoting our match-up prior to the event, which I thought was very cool, in addition to making local newspaper headlines.

The Citizen newspaper runs a big piece on my match

The Citizen newspaper runs a big piece on my UK match

September also signalled the release of my hard rock band Overnight Sensation‘s Life’s a Bitch album, which was released solely as a digital record in todays Internet market.  It’s sad to say, but by and in large, it seems that the day and age of the CD as a salable item is in its twilight period.  So much of everyone’s business has become virtual, that it’s downright scary.  Still, I am damn proud of the end result with Life’s a Bitch, which is a very catchy and solid rock album.

OS pormestari

I got to play director on my southern rock act Crossfyre‘s Devil’s Daughter music video, which I also did the storyboard and wrote the story for.  My wife even got a sponsorship for the girls in the video through mineral make-up company, Gaya Cosmetics.  The end result was stellar, as you can witness from the official video.

All in all, 2013 doesn’t sound too bad from the highlights mentioned above, but in many other ways, especially financially, this year is not one that I would like to revisit, outside of a few peak moments.  Only God knows what 2014 holds in store, as right now, it’s just a black hole with a huge question mark at the end of it.

Nonetheless, thanks to all my fans and supporters for keeping the faith alive and flame burning over the past year!  Let’s keep our thumbs up for 2014…

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