Today marks 27 years since I started my in-ring, active professional wrestling career.

My first match was on January 7, 1994 at the Victoria Park Civic Center in Calgary, Canada. I worked against one of my coaches, Lance Storm, who went on to become a champion in ECW, WCW and WWE.

I recall how my good friend Chris Jericho, now with AEW, lent me a pair of his old tights that he wore alongside Lance in their tag team, Sudden Impact. Chris also gifted me my first pair of wrestling boots for that encounter, a pair of plain black ones, which I have somewhere in storage back in Canada to this day.

My match with Lance was seven minutes on the nose, and Lance pinned me after a competitive outing that I was afforded by hitting a jack-knife pin after a powerbomb. The guys in the dressing room clapped it up afterwards, including my other coach, Karl “Jason The Terrible” Moffat, Lenny St. Clair (AEW’s Luther), Beef Wellington, Jericho and others, claiming it was the second best match on the card that night. The top honors went to Beef Wellington vs. Chris Jericho in the main event.

So here’s to a look back at 27 years ago half a world away. Today, I run my own wrestling company, SLAM! Wrestling, in Finland and Estonia, as well as being an active wrestler at the age of 47, still able to pull 30-minute matches with ease.

Life is for living, so I embrace every day that the Good Lord gives me and I’m thankful for the 22 countries and four continents I’ve been able to ply my trade in, and thanks to all the bookers and promoters who made it possible!

(photos by Sam Leppänen, Sander Burmeister and Rob Haynes)

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