Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

Here at the end of 2017 as the New Year is about to turn a new page for all of us, I reflect back on what the past 12 months have meant for me personally and professionally.

I have to say from the bottom of my heart that this past year has been one of the best overall years for me on record, especially in terms of my professional wrestling career and movie actor ambitions.  I once stated that if I could do with my life what I dare dream, it would be to become a world-traveled professional wrestler, a touring rock artist and a movie actor.  Here, at the age of 44, I have achieved all of those things and more.  That is certainly something to be proud of, and I can only look to make the good things in life prosper and grow in the fact of each new challenge as life rolls on.

2017 saw me claim my 21st country in pro wrestling, that being Pakistan, this past May.  Pakistan is about as exotic as a location as it gets, and the treatment we got from the local PWE promoters was top-notch.  Five-star hotels, bodyguards and even a presidential suite were all in the offering, as we were treated like royalty by fans and organizers alike.  I was the only wrestler on the international roster out of the Nordics.

StarBuck with Syed Asim Ali Asmi PWE

With the big boss of PWE in Pakistan!

StarBuck vs. Bambikiller in Pakistan

Getting the upper hand on Chris “Bambikiller” Raaber in Lahore, Pakistan

My long-awaited autobiography, Battleground Valhalla, also came out in May through Crowbar Press in the USA, a highly-esteemed publisher of wrestling autobiographies, whose earlier releases include Donnie Fargo, Ole Anderson and Stand Hansen to name a few.  My book has sold great to this date, as I’ve even mailed out a ton of signed copies to folks far and wide who’ve asked for personalized copies.  My story also got released through Kindle on Amazon as a digital e-book, which was icing on the cake!

2017 was the year that I was named the inaugural Valhalla Nordic Wrestling Champion by ’80s pop sensation Samantha Fox and STHLM Wrestling out of Sweden.  After being lauded the honor of interim champion in (again) May, I went on to defeat a very capable up-and-coming young star in Timmy Force on July 8 in Stockholm to become the undisputed, first Valhalla Nordic champ.  This match was highly-praised by one of the heads of WWE, who was on hand, front-and-center ringside to witness this 30-minute classic that will go down as quite possibly the greatest match to date on Swedish soil.

StarBuck vs Timmy Force VALHALLA Nordic Championship 6

Timmy Force falls to my world-famous finisher, the jumping spike piledriver in Stockholm (photo: Fredrik Streiffert)

2017 was the year that I ventured into the studio with my reformed Stoner Kings band, recording new material after a decade of absence.  We even filmed the first-ever music video we ever did with the band for a single called Cro-Magnon, which was a very proud moment for me as the founder of Stoner Kings.

2017 was the year that I took three unprecedented vacations, something I had never done in that number per annum, in Morocco, Romania’s mountains, Spain and Thailand.  Thanks to my wife, Diana, for arranging these trips, as she’s quite the tour organizer and could easily be a commercial tour guide if she chose to do so.

2017 was also the year that I captured my fifth Finnish wrestling championship.  On December 2 in Helsinki at Finland’s biggest annual pro wrestling spectacular, Talvisota XII, I unseated Juhana “King Kong” Karhula in a 25+ minute mat classic, becoming a double-champion this year.

StarBuck FCF Champion 2017

StarBuck – FCF champion for the fifth time, December 2017 (photo: Marko Simonen)

2017 also saw me featured in two ground-breaking movie releases: It Came From The Desert and Rendel.  Both films have been sold worldwide now and have been dubbed in multiple, foreign languages like Japanese, German and Spanish.  My roles in both movies were incredibly intriguing and important characters, both of which for I was able to channel my vast pro wrestling experience into.

StarBuck in Rendel

My Russian mercenary character in Rendel has arguably the best fight scene in the whole movie

All in all, I can only be thankful for the awesome year that was 2017.  Even as a personal trainer and voice-over speaker, I accumulated several new clients and commissions.  As a graphic artist, several customers utilized my talents as a traditional illustrator.  With my voice, I was able to parlay my talents as a guest ring announcer at various boxing events, in front of new audiences.

Värityskirja kansi Vesileppis

The cover of a children’s coloring book for Vesileppis Sport & Spa hotel in Finland, featuring Yours Truly as the human lead.

I have said that for some unexplained, divine reason, particularly good things happen to me in seven year installments.  This year was one such waypoint.  My previous seven year boon was in 2010, when I debuted as a professional wrestler in Japan – my career goal – where I became a star on the national stage overnight.  Seven years prior to that in 2003, I started the entire professional wrestling phenomenon in Finland, bringing the fighting art form to this neck of the Nordics and teaching it to the very first class of Finnish students in history.  Seven years before that, in 1996, I moved to Finland from my homeland of Canada to begin rewriting personal life history and create a legacy which even I had no inkling of, nor the its magnitude, as the years would roll on.  That said, here at the very end of 2017, I can say with all humility and honesty, that I am the most accomplished and successful professional wrestler in history to this day out of Northern Europe.

I eagerly await to see what 2018 brings.  While the world at large seems to be headed into a maelstrom of uncertainty, I can honestly say that the Good Lord above has blessed my life and continues to do so.  All respect the Big Man upstairs.  For me, the proof is in the pudding!

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Well, ladies and gents, it seems that 2017 is turning out to be one of my better years in the wrestling game.

Firstly, my long-awaited autobiography Battleground Vahalla came out through Crowbar Press, and it has since been released on Kindle also!  This book has been selling great, and I am stoked about its success!

Shawn Khan Battleground Valhalla StarBuck

Shawn Khan, the Director of the Middle East and USA for Pro Wrestling Entertainment Pakistan, whom I wrestled for in May of this year, mugs with my autobiography!

Whereas this summer, I became the first-ever Valhalla Nordic Wrestling Champion, a title covering four Nordic countries (Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark), I also find myself as the number one contender for the Finnish FCF Wrestling championship title, with a title shot pending and upcoming on December 2 against current FCF titleholder Juhana “King Kong” Karhula at the biggest annual event in Finnish pro wrestling, Talvisota XII.

FCF Haastajalista_17.10

As of late this autumn, I’ve traveled on several occasions to Germany to wrestle, doing very well for myself there against the top European competition, against the likes of Pascal Spalter of Germany and James Mason of England.  Just this past weekend, I toppled Native American superstar and former WWE name Tatanka in Delmenhorst, Germany.

StarBuck vs. James Mason POW Germany

I had one hell of a technical match in Hannover, Germany on October 14 against POW Intercontinental champion James Mason.

On November 11, I will travel to Wittorf, Germany to wrestle a mammoth of a man in Voodoo from the UK at DWA Harley Night XVII, and on November 25, I travel to Moscow, Russia to fight at Wrestliada 2017, which is the biggest Russian pro wrestling event of the year on an annual basis.

DWA Harley Night 2017

In addition, I have some marquee gigs with my band Stoner Kings coming up on November 17 in Helsinki in support of Swedish heavy rock powerhouse Sparzanza at Nosturi’s Alakerta venue and on November 18 in Tallinn, Estonia at Rockstars, where Stoner Kings will be joined by Redneck Rampage from Estonia and Hold from Finland.

Stoner Kings 2017

Stoner Kings are back on the attack, with monsterously potent new music soon coming out! (photo: Marko Simonen)

Right now, I am in the studio with both my Stoner Kings and Crossfyre bands, as we have new music coming out at the end of this year also!

In closing, get this: the It Came From The Desert movie (based on the famous 1989 Amiga video game) that I play a key role in has now been sold worldwide, as far as Japan!  Add to that the fact that Finland’s first-ever superhero action movie Rendel has been scooping up tons of international acclaim and licenses, and I’d feel comfortable saying the snowball of momentum is super-hot right now!

It Came From The Desert JAPAN

Stay tuned, more infos coming soon!

Without further ado, here is the official theatrical trailer for Spandex Sapiens, the movie about Yours Truly that comes out in Finnkino theaters nationwide on June 17 in Finland.

Also, keep your eyes peeled for a huge feature article on the movie and myself, appearing soon in Finland’s largest newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, and there will also be a separate video segment with me on their website.

spandex_sapiens_premiere_poster

Be sure to go out and see the movie on the premiere week!  Let’s make history in the Nordics, and from here, spread it to the rest of the world!

For over a century now, professional wrestling has given spectators and fans worldwide a platform to voice their opinions and choose their idols and heroes, and conversely, choose their villains and anti-heroes.

For anyone who has ever seen the A&E channel’s “The Unreal Story of Pro Wrestling” piece from the late-’90s, there is a quote in there about the psychological impact of pro wrestling as a catharsis for the average person in modern society, offering a conduit to purge the soul through the role of the “face” or “heel” counterparts in any given wrestling match.  Pro wrestling is the last bastion of living folklore in a world that has arguably forgotten their heritage and roots, especially in the day and age of multi-culturalism, TV and film.

In pro wrestling, the viewer or fan is compelled to pick a side, living vicariously through the protagonist as they battle against the antagonist, and thereby being able to dispel any possible antipathies or angst that they might have.  It’s one of the last, great open forums of unconstrained and uncensored debate in today’s increasingly politically correct environment, where free speech is being drawn back and slowly, but surely, eradicated.

World culture and the media slant these days pushes the message hard that we must all be tolerant and “just get along”, as has been seen in Europe of late with the mass influx of refugees flooding the continent, along with current hot topics, such as transgender toilets in public schools and other institutions.  This same pitch has also crossed moral and ethical boundaries, with the gay rights and LGBT movement aggressively moving forward through Hollywood and TV culture at large, where formerly-noted minority groups are now not only given a regular platform, but they are pushed into the faces of everyone at large, whether you agree with it or not.  And you, regardless of your personal beliefs, are supposed to simply stand there and “accept” it.  Be tolerant.  Silently agree.  But don’t you dare publicly disagree!  Because if you do, the masses, who have largely been programmed by the media at large to think a certain way, will blackball you and ruin your good name!  Yeah, this is the paranoia and spirit of the day that we have arrived at.  People are damn afraid to speak anything that isn’t in line with the generally-accepted thought of the day.

jessica

Jessica Love, seen here, representing the transgender community at Helsinki Pride

The great thing about pro wrestling is that we all don’t have to simply “just get along”.  No, if you have a differing opinion than the person sitting next to you, you are free to voice that opinion loud and proud.  You can boo and cheer who you want!  You can freely choose a side to stand on.  Whatever resonates with your values system, you can pick that side and roll with it.  Let the warring parties fight it out in the ring and back whichever one tickles your fancy!

The “babyface”, or “face”, has traditionally been the good guy in pro wrestling jargon.  They represent the noble, honorable virtues and morals held to be true.  The “heels”, on the other hand, represent the bad guys.  They have traditionally been the unscrupulous bastards, who are only in business for themselves and they use the collective sentiment of the given day as their personal roll of toilet paper.

Now, all this brings me to a promo that I held yesterday at Helsinki’s Pressa Club during FCF Wrestling’s Wrestling Show Live! event, after transgender fan favorite Jessica Love and Finnish wrestling veteran Stark Adder proved victorious in a tag team outing.  I took the mic and proceeded to cut a verbal message to Jessica Love, who is my counterpart in just about every conceivable way, and also happens to be my main antagonist in this summer’s theater release of Spandex Sapiens, the movie about my life and pro wrestling travels around the globe.  While Spandex Sapiens is not a wrestling movie in and of itself, showcasing a much wider array of topics and meat on the bone besides pro wrestling, it does serve as a very open platform over the polarizing discussion of modern, overt liberalism vs. old school, conservative values.

StarBuck promo by Marko Simonen

My controversial promo at Wrestling Show Live! yesterday (photo: http://www.markosimonen.com)

This morning, when I opened my Facebook, I saw a private message for a certain wrestling fan asking why I opted to go heel yesterday.  I simply sat back, amused at this estimation.

Since when did standing for traditional values become a negative thing and something to be frowned upon?  Since when did being a real man, in the most traditional sense – standing for solid, unmoving principles – become a heelish thing to do?  Maybe I’m the one missing the boat here, but I just don’t get it.

I have not changed my views, opinions or message during my entire pro wrestling and media career.  Since 1999, when I first began getting media exposure to a larger degree, I have kept the same image and approach, regardless of what has been “in”, “hip” or “pop” at any given period in time.  I have stemmed the tide, stayed the course, and been consistent.  I have not wavered or changed my tune because of deriding opinions or attacks on my character.  Even back in 2006, when my Stoner Kings band released our Fuck The World album, I/we got blasted by certain medias and people, who completely shat all over our piece of business, but even then, I stood my ground and stood tall.  Nothing has changed.  In my estimation, this the measure of a man.  Say what you mean, and mean what you say.  Stand for what you believe in, regardless of who is against you or whatever is the popular consent of the day.

Spandex Sapiens horse

In the last Rambo movie from 2008, Sly Stallone’s John Rambo character summed up the message of the film in one, single, iconic line: “Die for nothing, or live for something.”

Me personally, I have done just that.  I have stood for traditional, masculine values in an ever-changing world and vastly convoluted age.  I have offered the iconic view of masculine forte, for better or worse.  It’s been the kind of prototype that kids could look up to, as I have heard several parents attest to.  I believe the man is the head of the household, the one that leads the dance with the girl, the one that takes charge and carries his own responsibility and stands like a rock for what he believes in.  Take it or leave it!  I make no apology.

So therefore, I come back to my promo regarding Jessica Love and the theater debut of my story, Spandex Sapiens, on June 17 this summer across Finland and Sweden.  Yeah, right up here in this neck of the woods, where PC thought reigns supreme and the gospel of tolerance of all kinds is espoused over and beyond reason.  And I find it peculiar, that my movie comes out just before Pride Week in Finland, where the exact demographic that “heels” on my kind of beliefs and traditional values will have it’s annual day in the sun.

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Jessica Love represents everything that Pride Week is about.  Jessica is the perfect posterboy/girl/person for the LGBT community and exudes the liberal sentiment of our current state of society, especially here in the Nordics.  In pro wrestling, especially for fans in the southern, capital region of Finland, along with a plethora of Swedes in cities like Gothenburg, Malmö and Stockholm, all find Jessica Love to be a sympathetic “babyface” to rally behind.  Indeed, you would be hard-pressed to find a more complete opposite of myself than Jessica Love.

So this summer, take a stand.  Choose a side!  If you believe in the man being the head of the house, and still believe that a man must be king in his own home, leading the charge and taking responsibility, standing where others fall, then I welcome you to my side.  Stand with me and represent classic, traditional masculinity!  If the Russel Crowe movie The Gladiator rang bell with you, then my call goes out to you!

If you vehemently oppose my train of thought or simply cannot stomach traditional societal roles, then I welcome you to join the opposing side with Jessica Love, where the colors of the rainbow shine brightly.

If being a real man in the classic, iconic, traditional sense makes StarBuck a heel, then so be it.  I have no misgivings and no regrets.

Get your tickets to Spandex Sapiens around the country at Finnkino theates HERE.  It all starts on June 17!!!

spandex_sapiens_70x100_premiere

On Friday, June 17, the day that Spandex Sapiens hits Finnkino movie theaters across Finland, there will also be a huge pro wrestling one day festival outdoors in downtown Helsinki in front of Tennispalatsi Finnkino theater.  Matches will start at 12:00 noon, with a series of three matches at the top of every hour, until 20:00 when the main event and apropo theme of the Spandex Sapiens movie takes place, as I wrestle against Jessica Love in the last slot of this eight-hour-plus action extravaganza!  Plus, remember folks, outdoors it’ll be free to the public!

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StarBuck vs. Jessica Love — LIVE on June 17 outdoors in Helsinki at Tennispalatsi @ 20:00

After over six years since the initial shooting began for the trek that would become my story on the silver screen, Spandex Sapiens finally had it’s grand world premiere in Helsinki this past Thursday!  And to be honest, what better place to hold the premiere than here in Finland, as the movie was funded with Finnish money and tells a tale about the pioneer of Finnish pro wrestling?  Rather apropos. I would wager to say!

Today, I heard the good news that Spandex Sapiens had won the “Audience Favorite Award” at this year’s Night Visions film festival in Helsinki, which ends today.  People genuinely seemed to be touched, moved or otherwise stirred by the movie, as I was witness to myself this past Thursday night, as I shook hands with movie goers after the premiere.

Having now seen the movie myself on the big screen, I must say that it truly is a powerful piece of cinema.  Several people have told me the same thing, “It was much better than I initially expected”, which, after so long of a time in the making and having so much money put into it, shouldn’t be too much of a shock.

FCF afterparty wrestling show at Gloria, Helsinki, Finland.

FCF afterparty wrestling show at Gloria, Helsinki, Finland.

I was especially proud to stand at the end of the movie, on stage with the producers, my family and a host of FCF wrestlers, for an open Q&A about the film itself.  Viewers presented a plethora of questions, and one that that was directed toward my father, Taimo, specifically had an impact on me.  Or moreso, my father’s answer to the question presented stirred me, as he said: “Michael said at one point that he wanted to become a role model for the young boys and teenagers of today.  Not some ambiguous figure who wants to be half male and half female, but a true embodiment of solid masculinity.”

That statement, in and of itself, also spoke volumes of the movie itself, and the impact of my personality and character in the film.  I was truly humbled to receive such high adulation from my own Dad in front of a host of strangers, acquaintances and friends alike.  It felt like I had done something right in my life, especially the following day afterward. when I ran into an online article about a 100% increase in gender role confusion amongst today’s children.

All that said, I have seen a clear change in the social consciousness of our modern age, where the lines of clear gender roles are being stealthily erased.  It is no longer accepted to call a spade a spade, or to have clear, dauntless black and white principles.  The world has become a melting pot of grays, or perhaps thought otherwise, a mixture of all of the colors of the rainbow, as it were.  Solid absolutes are being done away with, as people look to justify everything about their lives through relativism.  The only problem is that when absolute truth is done away with, the foundation of one’s society ultimately crumbles.  So there you have it, my brief moment of social commentary in the midst of this milestone of celebration.

FCF afterparty wrestling show at Gloria, Helsinki, Finland.

FCF afterparty wrestling show at Gloria, Helsinki, Finland.

On the night of the movie premiere, following the Q&A, we had an afterparty wrestling show at Gloria Cultural Arena in Helsinki, where I faced my counterpart from the Spandex Sapiens film, transsexual wrestler Jessica Love.  It was a damn good match, too, which was building to a classic, when the Musta Aukko (Black Hole) contingent of King Kong Karhula, “Executioner” Petrov, their manager Mr. Tapaturma and female cohort Julia Kyy all interfered.  As the heels beat down Jessica and I, Karhula took the mic directly thereafter and spouted something about being sick and tired of seeing my face in the spotlight, and in addition, having no regard for Jessica Love, who Karhula boasted he had beaten to a pulp on countless occasions.  Karhula blasted that now was his time, and that didn’t seem to sit all too well with his teammates.

FCF afterparty wrestling show at Gloria, Helsinki, Finland.

FCF afterparty wrestling show at Gloria, Helsinki, Finland.

FCF afterparty wrestling show at Gloria, Helsinki, Finland.

FCF afterparty wrestling show at Gloria, Helsinki, Finland.

FCF afterparty wrestling show at Gloria, Helsinki, Finland.

FCF afterparty wrestling show at Gloria, Helsinki, Finland.

FCF afterparty wrestling show at Gloria, Helsinki, Finland.

FCF afterparty wrestling show at Gloria, Helsinki, Finland.

FCF afterparty wrestling show at Gloria, Helsinki, Finland.

FCF afterparty wrestling show at Gloria, Helsinki, Finland.

FCF afterparty wrestling show at Gloria, Helsinki, Finland.

FCF afterparty wrestling show at Gloria, Helsinki, Finland.

Jessica and I took advantage of the confusion amongst our foes’ ranks and laced into them with a counter assault, sending them out of the ring.  I stepped up to the proverbial plate and challenged Petrov and Karhula to a tag team match right then and there against Jessica and myself, to which they eagerly accepted.  What followed was a donnybrook that saw Jessica Love pin King Kong Karhula with a double-arm DDT after a timely superkick assist from Yours Truly.  We put aside personal, philosophical differences to fight a common enemy and we came out on the winning end, which brings to mind something I have long held to be true: “I don’t have to like you to be able to do business with you.”

FCF afterparty wrestling show at Gloria, Helsinki, Finland.

FCF afterparty wrestling show at Gloria, Helsinki, Finland.

FCF afterparty wrestling show at Gloria, Helsinki, Finland.

FCF afterparty wrestling show at Gloria, Helsinki, Finland.

FCF afterparty wrestling show at Gloria, Helsinki, Finland.

FCF afterparty wrestling show at Gloria, Helsinki, Finland.

FCF afterparty wrestling show at Gloria, Helsinki, Finland.

FCF afterparty wrestling show at Gloria, Helsinki, Finland.

FCF afterparty wrestling show at Gloria, Helsinki, Finland.

FCF afterparty wrestling show at Gloria, Helsinki, Finland.

Spandex Sapiens’ world premiere was just the beginning.  From here, the film is sure to hit various international film festival stages and then get an official theater distribution release in Finland, come the spring of 2016!

All photos by Marko Simonenwww.markosimonen.com