I have an inspirational story, one which will both enamor and enthrall a lot of readers.  As everyone knows by now, I am the pioneer of professional wrestling in Finland, dating back to 2003, when I became the first person ever in Finland to take the grappling game to a learning level.  I’ve coached pretty everyone and anyone who has ever come onto the scene out of Finland.  Back before we started domestic Finnish pro wrestling, it bears to be mentioned that there were a few strongmen and bodybuilders, who, being daring showmen as well, dallied in what very well may be considered as backyard wrestling to a large degree in the late 1990s.

There was a circle of four guys: strongman and former amateur champion Jouni Morsky (who wrestled as Normann the Viking), Tony Halme (who wrestled to international fame as WWF’s Ludvig Borga from 1994), bodybuilder Jyrki Savolainen (nicknamed “Indian” RIP; was trained for pro wrestling in Australia in the mid-’90s) and a guy called Boogie “Commando” Mustonen (who was a Finnish and European bodybuilding champion).  Out of the four, I got to know every one of them at some stage during 1997 through their “promoter”, a shyster-kind of fellow who had a few dealings with the Russian mafia.  His name was Jussi, and he was actually put down by the Russians after a deal of some sort went bad.  But it was Jussi who introduced me to Mörsky and to Boogie during the spring of 1997.

Boogie Commando from around 1996-1997

Boogie Commando from around 1996-1997

When I first met him, I thought Boogie “Commando” Mustonen was a big-headed bastard, who thought he knew everything there was to know about the wrestling business.  He had been trained by a bald-headed Andy-something-or-other in Australia in 1993.  I have no idea what this Andy fellow taught Boogie, because he didn’t know anything about the business, period.  The “matches” that the four various Finnish guys were having amongst themselves were far from professional wrestling.  They pretty much consisted of three moves, done to overkill: a bodyslam, a clothesline and an elbow smash.  Everything else was ramshackle brawling.  I was going to the referee between Mustonen and Mörsky in a 2/3 falls match that they’d have in Äänekoski, Finland that summer.  Boogie came across as proud, a real peacock, someone who just let you understand that you were beneath them.  That was 17-years ago, and now, after I met the man again this past week, I am glad to say that he has changed for the better.  Really, there has been a complete turn-around in the person of one Boogie Mustonen.

This past Thursday, I played a leading role in a television commercial shoot for a Sport & Spa hotel named Vesileppis, in Leppävirta, Finland.  It’s really an amazing complex, complete with a 1.4 km ski-track deep underground that you can use even in the summertime, a year-round ice hockey rink, full-blown pool and spa area and tons of outside sports activities and possibilities.  It’s like a nexus, a center for sports in the eastern Finnish province and area in which it is located.  In the commercial, I play myself, complete in wrestling gear, alongside the Vesileppis mascot, which is a ladybug.

The Vesileppis mascot named Spa and me, as I play Sport

The Vesileppis mascot named Spa and me, as I play Sport

Well, Boogie Mustonen literally lives across the road from Vesileppis Hotel, where the wife and I were stationed during my commercial shoot.  The owner of Vesileppis Hotel, a nice guy named Kimmo, wanted to organize a meeting between me and Boogie.  Kimmo told me that Boogie had changed a lot, that he had an entirely new lease on life, after going through some horrendously hard times in his personal life in recent years.  Mustonen has endured bowel cancer, he has had a kidney replaced, and he has gone through a blood poisoning episode, which led in turn to partial paralysis from the waist down for a period of six weeks.  In addition, he has a faithful, old English Bulldog named Möykky, who is on his last legs now.

Boogie's old, faithful buddy Möykky is on his last legs

Boogie’s old, faithful buddy Möykky is on his last legs

Now at age 50, the shit hit the proverbial fan for Boogie this past year, when after going through kidney replacement surgery, he still wanted to compete in bodybuilding one more time at the upcoming annual Fitness Expo in Lahti, Finland.  That is when his wife, Marjo-Nina, served him with an ultimatum, that she would file for divorce if he decided to risk his new, replacement kidney through bodybuilding competition anymore.  The bottom line is, that the worst thing you can do to a kidney is to deplete it of hydration, which is exactly what happens when competitive bodybuilders diet down to the bone, draining their bodies dry to be as cut and lean as possible.  Boogie saw the writing on the wall: game over.

Boogie poses with multi-time Mr. Olympia, Dorian Yates of the UK

Boogie poses with multi-time Mr. Olympia, Dorian Yates of the UK

Yesterday, as I was visiting Boogie at his home gym, he told me that he tried getting excited about discus throwing after his last bodybuilding aspirations went down the drain.  Discus didn’t do it for him, Mustonen knew it wasn’t his game.  Deep down, Boogie Mustonen knew who and what he was: a showman.  He was an entertainer, who loved being in the spotlight.  And something still ate at him, like acid on the soul.  It was his last match, a July 1997 bout against Tony Halme in Joensuu, Finland.  I was referee for their match, which can be seen in the three links below.  It’s not a good match by any stretch of the imagination.  It’s really quite terrible, a complete mess.  It also happened to be, unbeknowst to Mustonen, his try-out match for Otto Wanz’s gigantic CWA (Catch Wrestling Association, in operation 1973-1999) promotion out of Austria.  Had Boogie made good in the match against Halme, he very well might have gotten signed with Wanz, and he could have ended up making money in our business, but it was not to be.

Halme cursed underneath his breath to me after the outing, “Have you ever seen such a shit match?!”

He was right.  It was downright drivel.  Not the way a man wants his career in any field to be remembered.  No, everyone out their wants their last standout memory from whatever etaph along the road of life to be a proud one.  A tale that you tell excitedly about to your grandchildren one day.  That is the marker that you want to leave behind.

Boogie Mustonen never got to clear the table, nor to give his soul rest in this matter.  He never got to wrestle another match, a better match.  A good, final memory.

Tony Halme vs. Boogie Mustonen in Joensuu 1997, with me officiating

Tony Halme vs. Boogie Mustonen in Joensuu 1997, with me officiating

So here we are, in the year 2014, 17-years after the fact, and Boogie tells me that he wants it now.  He wants to come back and clear his name and wash clean his memory of the flop against Halme.  I am astounded as I listen to him.  He has passion in his voice, a determination.  He really wants this.  At 50, he’s not going to be denied.

So I tell him, “I will train you.”  I have the track record to make him take me seriously.  Boogie understands, that StarBuck IS professional wrestling here in Finland.  If you want to go to the top, you have to learn from the best.  And today, even at age 41, I can still say that with the knowledge that I have, I am the best here in this game.  So we did a trade: being a former bodybuilding champion, Boogie coaches me in fine-tuning my body, my chassis, with which I ply my trade.  In turn, I coach him in making a comeback match in Finnish professional wrestling.

Fine-tuning muscle-building techique with bent-over rows

Fine-tuning muscle-building techique with bent-over rows

I hope that Boogie Mustonen has the heart and drive to pull this one through.  Bygones are bygones.  The big-headed bastard from yesteryear has disappeared.  In his place stands a humble, ambitious, grown man, who wants to do his soul and pride right.  I want to support him every step of the way.

It's like the past never happened, Boogie is a great guy!

It’s like the past never happened, Boogie is a great guy!

 

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