This week on Friday, August 10, I will defend my Valhalla Nordic Wrestling Championship title in a long-awaited rematch against Timmy Force at an place called Under Bron in Stockholm.

StarBuck vs Timmy Force Valhalla Nordic title match Iron Man

It was last year on July 8, 2017 that I defeated Timmy in an all-time Nordic classic lasting almost a half-hour to become the undisputed Valhalla Nordic titleholder after being named interim champ by STHLM Wrestling owner Samantha Fox (YES, that Samantha Fox, famous pop star from the ’80s) and STHLM Wrestling president Messiah Hallberg.

Now, just over one year later in the same city where I won the strap, I’ll be defending it once again in a 30-minute Iron Man match, where the rules stipulate that the man with the most decisions within 30-minutes claims the championship.  Falls can be accumulated by pinfall, submission, countout or disqualification.  Once the time-limit expires, the wrestler with the most falls wins the match and lays claim to the Valhalla Nordic title.

Timmy Force put up a hell of a fight last year, wowing and impressing even the WWE staff that was on hand to witness our classic encounter, so I can only expect that he will bring his A-game to the championship match this Friday at Under Bron.

Timmy has had one year to get better, to improve his game, up the ante and work the kinks out of his collective machine.  Now, he has as good of an opportunity as he is ever going to get to vie for my title, so he’d better have put in the work if plans on having a chance against me in Stockholm.

This August 10 match will be my seventh title defense after winning the Valhalla Nordic championship back on July 8 last year.

Valhalla Nordic Wrestling Championship StarBuck vs Timmy Force.jpg

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Over the past year or so I have mulled over possibly starting my very own service revolving around pro wresting.  This summer, I decided to go for broke, as they say, and launch SLAM! Wrestling Finland.

SLAM! Wrestling Finland banner

SLAM! is an on-demand service that offers the client buying the show to choose the kinds of wrestlers that they’d want to see at their event.  Be it the muscular beefcake, the monsterous leviathan, the high-flier, female wrestlers, whatever it may be, we SLAM! Wrestling Finland supplies that demand and need.

The client also gets to decide what types of matches they want to see and host: singles matches, championship matches, tag team matches, Triple Threat matches, etc.  Plus, the client decides how many matches in total they wish to have at their event.

This approach to professional wrestling is revolutionary and I believe it offers people something completely outside the box.  Take a look at the just-released Story Behind SLAM! video below to get depth into the saga leading up to this venture:

Also be sure to take a look at our promotional trailer detailing the offering made possible through SLAM! Wrestling Finland:

The unique thing about SLAM! Wrestling Finland is that it puts the power into the client’s hands.  The client becomes the promoter and is able to get exactly the kind of product that they want for their money.

With my 25-years in the pro wrestling industry worldwide, I can get you, as the client, any kind of wrestler that you would like (outside of WWE, the talents of which are exclusively bound to only work for WWE).  You set the budget, we supply the line-up.  It’s as simple as that.

SLAM Wrestling Finland Betty Rose Tiny Iron Shanna

Clients can choose from attractive top European female wrestlers like Betty Rose from Sweden (left) or Shanna of Portugal (right), or monster men like Tiny Iron, who is a former bodyguard of popular musical artists such as The Black-Eyed Peas, Beyoncé and 50 Cent!

Go to SLAM! Wrestling Finland for more and take a look at our roster and show formats being offered for all kinds of events and happenings!

Contact us today for an offer for your event: info @ slamsports . eu

This upcoming Friday night, July 27 in the dead heart of Finnish summer, I will be taking on the challenge of not just one, but two opponents, at the same time in an FCF Championship Triple Threat match at Ropecon 2018 in Helsinki.

For those of you who don’t know, Ropecon is Finland’s largest annual role-playing and gaming convention, held at Helsinki’s Messukeskus Expo and Convention Centre.  It’s attended by tens of thousands of folks over the weekend in question.  For the third time, FCF Wrestling will be a part of Ropecon once again this year.

Ropecon 2018 Triple Threat

In the main event of FCF Sideshow: Ropecon Edition, I will be putting my prestigious FCF Championship title on the line against both #1 contender Stark Adder and #2 contender Salomon Strid in a Triple Threat bout.  That, of course, means that it’s every man for themselves, everyone against everyone simultaneously, and whoever gets the pin or submission walks out of Ropecon with the FCF title.

FCF title challengers summer 2018.jpg

Now, I’ve faced Salomon Strid and Stark Adder many times in the past.  They are no strangers to this time-tested dog of war.  But regardless, I have never faced both veterans at the same time.  This is the key factor in this match.  Both guys are hungry, both are former FCF champions and both want that title back again around their own waists.  If ever, now is the time that I’ll have to be slick and sly as I attempt to navigate successfully through these shark-infested waters on July 27.

What you have in this match are three of the very best wrestlers in all of Finland today.  You have the cream of the crop.  It could be anyone’s ballgame.

Be there, July 27, next Friday, with a start time of 20:00.

This past late autumn, we hit the studio with Stoner Kings in preparation for our forthcoming third studio album, which, granted, has been a long time coming. It was last in 2006 that we released our sophomore album, Fuck The World, and back in 2001 we released our debut, Brimstone Blues. Now, after making our comeback to gigging and recording in late 2016, we have orienteered ourselves, looking to make album number three come to fruition.
Stoner Kings gang vocals

Gang vocals for chorus lines (l-to-r): Joonas Vepsä, StarBuck, Hannu Leiden, Mikko Metsäruusi

Truth be told, I had written almost all of the songs for our forthcoming album already back in the first half of the 2000s, between Brimstone Blues and Fuck The World. A few of our newer numbers, such as Cro-Magnon and Bray With The Damned, are newer compositions of the past few years, but overall, most of the material that will make it’s way onto our third LP has its roots fifteen or so years back! These songs have been sitting on the drawer, packed away, unused and waiting for the right moment. If the wheel ain’t broke to begin with, there ain’t no use in fixing it, and therefore we’ve worked on honing these previously written, unreleased songs to resound with the Stoner Kings sound as it stands in 2018.
Joonas Vepsä Stoner Kings studio

Joonas lays down some mean and ornery guitar leads

Just this past week, we once again hit the studio under the auspices of producer Hannu Leiden and sound engineer Eero Kaukomies at both Sonic Pump Studios (where we laid down drums, bass and rhythm guitar tracks) and Content Union Studios (where we performed guitar leads and vocals) in Helsinki. We previously recorded with these fellas at the same studios in late 2017, the aftermath of which saw us release singles Cro-Magnon, Bray With The Damned, Universal and a remake of 2001’s Brimstone Blues favorite, Limbonic Void.
Rude Rothsten Stoner Kings studio

Rude pulls off some groovy bass lines

The new songs this time around that we recorded are entitled Bigger Louder Harder, Fucked A.D., Bringing Out The Dead and Damnation’s Own, the last of which we demoed with the third incarnation of Stoner Kings back in 2007 at Samu Oittinen’s FANTOM STUDIO in Tampere, Finland (here below).
I’m sure our followers and fans will be thrilled with the results of our new material, as some of it is more brutal than ever before, whereas select songs have melodic hooks and commercial appeal that will surprise you. Overall, however, you can expect the best Stoner Kings album to date, complete with the promise that we are bringing the roots of rebellion and counter-culture back to world of rock. Whereas everyone is so afraid of rocking the boat and kowtowing to the liberal ideology of modern day society, we are bringing in the counter-strike.
Stoner Kings in the studio

JJ and I listen like hawks to make sure everything goes down by the book

Rock music initially was dangerous, defiant and very much counter-culture oriented. It spoke out against the political undercurrents and popular ideologies of its time. Sadly, rock music has become nothing more than a corporate mule in our modern times, toting the ideocracy of the ruling class, extolling mass social sentiment and offering little more than cheap, lightweight chants to entertain indoctrinated neophytes. Rock has lost its soul. The danger is gone, the spirit is dead.
Stoner Kings are bringing in a revolution in this sense. It’s time. It’s damn time.
Our next gig will be on August 3 at Semifinaali in Helsinki with black metal legends Barathrum and punk rockers Blueintheface in a real mixed salad of a night, and at this gig we’ll have two session musicians filling on on bass and drums, as Rude and JJ are unable to attend due to summer engagements overseas in the USA.  Our original bassist Perttu “Gonzo” Sutinen will be making a one night comeback at Semifinaali and Mikko Metsäruusi from Black.44, with whom we played last year in Tampere, Finland at Jack The Rooster, will be filling in on the skins.  This is going to be a truly interesting night… come on out!!!

After a very fruitful weekend of wrestling, I am feeling better than ever right now!

It was just this past Saturday night on May 26 in Helsinki at Gloria cultural arena where I faced the feisty and ambitious challenge of a man nearly half my age in Mikko Maestro.  And not only did I face him and defend my FCF Wrestling championship title, I defeated my challenger in nearly 26 hard-fought minutes at FCF Wrestling‘s Wrestling Show Live! Omega event.  Some may question the way I won, but the bottom line is that I won.

Maestro was full of piss and vinegar.  He had prepared long and hard.  He’d gotten himself into prime ring shape.  He’d gotten his head in gear.  But still, after all was said and done, he couldn’t unseat the reigning champion, and therefore, you’re still looking at him!  And not only did I beat Mikko Maestro, I also took the liberty of firing his audacious ass after he immediately demanded a rematch following my win, considering that I am the FCF General Manager at this time.  You simply don’t cross the boss, and Mikko Maestro should have honestly known better.  And before the match ever took place, I told him this was his one and only shot… and it would be the shot that was going to miss.

Then on Sunday, May 27, I faced the challenge of my old rival Stark Adder at the Power Expo in the city of Lahti, Finland.  Adder had won a 12-man battle royal match earlier at the Power Expo that day to qualify as the challenger for my Valhalla Nordic wrestling championship and I was more than happy to face him again.  Truth be told, Adder and I always have hard, quality matches that can go either way.  It’s like a flip the coin, heads or tails.  This time, Adder ate a superkick in the ring corner that rocked his world to the core and allowed me to capitalize on the fact that he wasn’t all there anymore for the rest of the bout.  In the end, I put him away with a sleeper hold that I held onto like a pitbull, refusing to let go.  After a valiant struggle, Adder’s lights went out.  No one would have believed the match would finish on that note, but dammit all, when a veteran applies a sleeper, it’s not some useless, throw-away hold like it’s become for so many young pups these days.  Kids, you have got to master your craft and learn to apply your holds correctly, and that said, this sleeper was a finisher!

Right now, I simply can’t see anyone on the horizon who has what it takes to wrestle away my championship titles from me.  Like fine wine, I just keep getting better with age.  Next up, Germany in mid-June!

(Photos by Marko Simonen)

Check out the brand spanking new Stoner Kings mini-documentary and music video for our song Limbonic Void, shot by our good friends, pro video team Marko Simonen and Jarmo Katila.  Marko edited the video together, doing a helluva job!

This feature was filmed on March 3 this year at Helsinki’s Nosturi, as we opened for the legendary Fu Manchu from California, USA.  This gig was one of our definitive career highlights over the past 18 years since our inception, and we wanted to record it for posterity.

You can catch Stoner Kings LIVE next tonight, May 3, at Helsinki’s Bar Loose, as we play the prelim round of this year’s Tuska-Torstai band contest.  There are six bands in total on the bill – Stoner Kings, Grin, Saints For Mass Production, Licuation, The Nomad and Torchia – each showcasing their best wares, with the first act hitting the stage at 20:00 and us finishing last at 22:30.  Come on out and cast your live votes and help usher Stoner Kings to the main stage of this summer’s Tuska Open Air metal festival in Helsinki!

Stoner comic frame TEXT ALT

Drawn and inked by Yours Truly, digital colors by Crystal Hughes (www.jenired.deviantart.com)

Every once in awhile I do pieces for the pro wrestling community, especially the younger wrestlers coming up these days who have not been given true, old school educations on our business, to help them get a grip and understanding of what they need to know in order to have a chance at becoming a success in today’s pro wrestling marketplace.

It’s not an easy road.  Especially these days, the business is both flourishing and meandering at the same time: flourishing due to the number of shows being run every which where, but meandering due to the demise of the pay scale as well as the death of kayfabe, the lack of mentorship due to the small number of veteran talents still active in the game from whom to learn from, and the reluctance of promoters to pay out and invest in talents that will cost them more than the guys who work for next to free (or just plain free).

Thereby, I offer you all an educational interview with one of the modern guys who made it in our industry, Sam Adonis.  Sam is the biggest gringo to hit Mexico in about 20 years and has set the country on fire, drawing sellouts, causing all kinds of havoc and finding his niche in the ultra-competitive world of Lucha Libre.  Listen to what Sam has to say.  It might just help you along your path in this game that we call professional wrestling.

Lucha masks

Sam Adonis

Sam Adonis

Q: Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do this educational piece for the younger talents coming up in the wrestling world. Firstly, my heartfelt congratulations for all your success in Mexico. You must be the hottest gringo to hit Mexico since my old friend Corazón de León (Chris Jericho) made it big there back in 1993?

A: I’ve been so lucky with my success in Mexico. I looked at it as an opportunity. I have worked hard worldwide to get this spot. Like the rest of us, I wanted to make my mark in this business and do what I can to be remembered, so I wanted to try my luck in Mexico. Mexico is full of many foreigners at any given time, but I was lucky to catch a stride. Due to my general positivity towards classic wrestling, I embraced the role of a foreign villain and Trump sympathizer and it clearly took off. Being American during this political climate can create heat, but that mixed with my experience and work ethic has resulted in a huge impact for my career. The experience I’ve had here has made me a better wrestler, it’s given me name value worldwide, and it’s presented me with much more opportunity.

Q: You worked a lot in England, cutting your teeth for promoters like Brian Dixon of All-Star Wrestling, before you landed the Mexico deal. Where and what would you say were the places that prepped you the most for the stage where you are at in your career right now?

A: I’ve been lucky to grow up around the wrestling business. With my brother wrestling and my dad promoting, I’ve had a unique outlook at a young age. That was able to get me a WWE contract at age 21 (with FCW, the precursor to NXT). However, nothing on Earth will ever compare to my experience working for Brian Dixon. Wrestling full time some 3-10 shows a week over a 5 year span was how I was able to become “Sam Adonis.” Working with superb talents like James Mason, Dean Allmark, Oliver Grey, Rampage Brown, Robbie Dynamite and countless others gave me the edge to become a well-rounded pro. I credit all those guys for making me as good as I am. Ultimately my experience in the UK made me ready for CMLL. I cannot say enough how grateful I am for the opportunity to wrestle for Brian Dixon, 200 times a year, to help me get to where I am today.

Q: The very ”in” thing right now in our industry is the spot-oriented style, fishing for pops upon pops, arguably popularized and put over the top by the now-famous NJPW Juniors match between Will Ospreay and Ricochet last year. Do you believe this style is going to define the business from here going forward? Or if not, what do you believe will be the next big trend in wrestling?

A: 100% NO! I don’t believe that indie wrestling as a style defines anything in our industry right now. I see it as a sub-culture of wrestling. Your general public doesn’t even recognize that as a style, they don’t even know what that means. Coming from Finland, you can probably understand when I say that indie wrestling is like the black metal of professional wrestling. It might not be necessarily acceptable to the public and the masses. Either way, it’s always going to be a part of our business, something for the hardcore wretling fans. Wrestling has always been about storytelling. Good versus evil, cartoon characters, showmen, characters. Stories are defined by the characters in them. I think it would take more than just a couple of guys to change that general ideology and perception of professional wrestling. Many guys don’t know how to appeal to a mass market, so they do this “Indy style” to earn a keep in the wrestling world. Many of these guys are great at what they do acrobatically. I can’t do that style! I would always encourage guys to do what they can to make their money and make their mark in our industry. But this is our business and we need to protect it and take care of it and sometimes you need to think about the wellbeing of the business before the wellbeing of yourself. At the end of the day, wrestling comes and goes in cycles and whose to say that five years from now, heavyweight wrestling might be in the forefront again? However, Roman Reigns, Braun Stroman, and even myself are good examples of how the people gravitate towards the characters over the “wrestlers”.

Sam Adonis in CMLL

Sam heats up the Mexican crowd.

Q: To have a legitimate chance at having a career in the pro wrestling business in today’s market, what do you believe are the top things on the checklist that a wrestler needs to have ticked off in order to make a living at this?

A: It’s extremely difficult right now to make a living at pro wrestling. It’s completely different than it was 10 years ago when I began, and it’s even miles more different from when you began 25 years ago. It’s a completely different ballgame. I think at the end of the day in order to make it as a professional, the number one thing I suggest is respect. Respect the wrestling business. You need to give back to wrestling. If you take care of the industry, the industry will take care of you. Too many wrestlers will do anything to be noticed online, even if it means they disrespect wrestling along the way. I’m 6’4 and can do a 450. I could have been doing it for years and by now I would probably be the top name on the Indies. However I am heel! I respect pro wrestling more than anything. I believe that if you appeal to the public at large and not just the wrestling public — they are two different things. If you talk about European wrestling, you can talk the names of yourself or Chris ”Bambikiller” Raaber (Austria) and you guys would appeal to an actual public much before you would appeal to solely a wrestling public. It’s arguable that Will Ospreay or Marty Scurll might be more popular amongst the wrestling fans, however yourself or Bambikiller might have sold more tickets worldwide. I think you need to do your best to find a medium, respect the business, give back to it, but at the same time keep your general public happy, because they buy way more tickets than indy wrestling fans or hardcore wrestling fans. That’s the difference between a WWE event drawing 10 000 people and purely a hardcore audience wrestling event drawing 1000 people. The proof is in the numbers.

Q: What are the keys to staying healthy on the job, especially when your schedule starts to pick up if you manage to latch on to some success and get on a roll?

A: I’ve been super lucky because I’ve been able to maintain my ring style and my busy lifestyle to go with it and I’ve been able to take care of myself inside the ring. A lot of times you’ve got to pick your battles, so to speak. Again this reverts back to what I said about appealing to the public, as a good performer does not need to kill themselves for the wrestling fans. A good performer can tell a story and be dramatic without killing themselves and that’s why I’ve been able to wrestle upwards of four times a week as well as do all the travel the job requires. The Mexican rings are a lot harder than the rest of the world but I’ve been able to adapt and overcome and be able to take care of myself. I think that’s very important. There are a lot of guys like Ospreay and Ricochet but before long gravity is going to catch up with them and then guys like that who should be hitting their prime around 30 might find themselves on a downswing instead. It’s sad to say because they’re talented guys, but I feel you have to be able to take care of your body to make this a career and a lifestyle.

Q: Your in-ring persona in Mexico is very character-driven, aided greatly in part and put over by your use of the ”Trump card”, as you’ve been able to latch on to a hot political topic and turn it into a personal career asset. What advice would you give to young talents in terms of character work and finding their own ”voice” with their in-ring characters in order to become viable with the paying audience (and with promoters in general)?

A: I would say the most important aspect of any professional wrestler is developing a character of who they really are. I think that’s the biggest thing that’s lost in wrestling. Too many wrestlers focus just on their moves to realize that a John Q. Public paying customer doesn’t necessarily care about seeing someone doing shooting star presses or German suplexes. They like to see something that’s relatable, something that they understand. My Trump flag is not something that I need to be able to work, however it’s relatable to the Mexican public, and it’s turned a negative situation into a positive situation in Mexican pro wretling. I’ve been accepted because they can relate to the stereotypical racist American. It’s not necessarily my political views or what I try to push, however I know it can add some depth to the wrestling event and that’s why I made the most of it. I think every professional wrestler needs to find something that is relatable to the public and create a character that is you with the volume turned up, cliche as it is. It needs to be worth the price of admission. I can say that I don’t look like your average guy next door. If someone is going to pay to see Sam Adonis against Atlantis (CMLL luchadore), you know you are going to see high-class professional wrestling featuring two superstars, not two guys from next door copying what they’ve seen on TV.

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Sam flies onto a hapless foe.

Q: Ring awareness is a key element to navigating through any given match. How would you frame ring awareness for a young talent in order to make them understand its context and usage/application in practice?

A: I think ring awareness is the number one most misunderstood phrase in all of professional wrestling. Ring awareness is what all the greats had and what the generation past had, that our generation does not understand. The aspect of ”performance” has been misconstrued, as performing now has become a set idea of what they want to put forward in a match and not straying from that idea whatsoever. It’s more than ring awareness: it’s room awareness and audience awareness. It’s being conscious of what you’re doing at all times while doing it. A lot of young wrestlers are so caught up in the moment that someone in the audience could shoot someone with a gun and the guys wouldn’t notice. Being aware of what you do and being able to control your situation and keep all eyes on you at all times, that makes for ring awareness. I’m lucky in that’s what I’ve been good at. I’m not the most athletic, I’m not the most technically gifted, but because my ring awareness is on a level that most guys are not on right now I believe that is why I have had the success I’ve enjoyed. It’s the ability to control a room. This is why if I were to give advice to younger wrestlers, it would be more about getting your ring awareness down and making sure you’re an asset to the show and an asset to the audience in lieu of learning more moves.

Q: The storytelling aspect of pro wrestling has always been the key to making money and having a profitable business. If the story doesn’t resonate with the audience, no one will give a shit and the whole deal is dead in the water from the get-go. What are the main aspects to storytelling in a match from your perspective?

A: I could not agree with you more about the storytelling being the most important part of a match and sadly, most people do not understand that. The general philosophy is that it’s so easy to tell a story. I am a professional wrestler, I get paid to win, I get paid less if I lose, so I am trying to win. And I’m fighting somebody else that is also trying to win. A lot of times, it’s easier to keep people involved when the story is simple. Good versus evil always works. Of course, it’s easier when you have an audience that follows what you do, however, generally most people don’t care about professional wrestling. I would say that the easiest way to go about it would be to assume that no one in the audience has seen you or heard about you ever. It’s your job to tell a new story every night of the week, every match you have and explain and show those people who you are and what you are doing throughout the story of that match. It comes with your entrance and as you leave the arena. It’s your job to explain to those people watching, without words, who you are, why you’re there and why you’re doing it. That is the essense of storytelling in wrestling. I believe this is one of the most important aspects of pro wrestling, right up there with ring awareness.

Q: Jake ”The Snake” Roberts once aptly said that pro wrestling is like the masturbation of peoples’ emotions: it’s the rollercoaster ride before the climax that makes the whole shebang a satisfying experience. In order to master the art of manipulating peoples’ emotions, you must be able to control the crowd and have them eating out of the palm of your hand. Give me an effective 1-2-3 roll of punches that best draw the picture for the reader as to how to commandeer an audience from your success and experience.

A: This is something that is not easy. A lot of people think it’s easy and they think they understand, but they don’t. If wrestling was as easy as explaining how to do it right, we would have a lot more ”superstars” than we do right now. That’s the difference between the Jake Roberts’ and the Randy Savages and The Rocks and the great storytellers as compared to the other wrestlers that are worried about having a good match. My personal experience comes down to the fact that I’ve always had the ring awareness and the storytelling ability. I’ve been able to read the room and involve the audience in an entertaining manner. You want to draw them in with your personality — with who you are. This is something that can be done during your ring entrance. The music you walk out to is important, the faces you put on as you come out, those will captivate your audience. If you go out there as a normal person, it’s going to be a lot harder for you to captivate an audience. I would say that in order to invoke this emotion with people, you have to stay conscious of how to entertain and how to control an audience and control a room while not violating what professional wrestling is. Again, this is a lot harder to explain than it is for me to actually do and I would also say that this comes down to experience. Wrestling every day of the week for All-Star Wrestling in the UK honed my wrestling aptitude to become like an innate ability that I didn’t have to worry about anymore. When you wrestle so much, that becomes second nature. At the end of the day, I would say to guys to wrestle as much as they can, get as good as they can, get as comfortable as they can in the ring. A sad analogy, but it’s true for a lot of us, and I know you are the same: Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler is pretty real in certain aspects, such as your life becomes a reflection of who you are in the ring. Sometimes, I feel more at home in the ring than I do outside of it. The line between Sam Adonis and Sam Polinsky has been blurred, but that’s what it ultimately takes to make a great professional wrestler.

Q: Perhaps the singlemost important thing that a match must have is HEAT. Without it, there is no pop for the comeback and there is no satisfaction with the end result of any given match. You have become a master at drawing heat in order to have an audience engaged in your match. Describe to the people how to best generate heat…

A: Heat is something that can be a lot more complicated than people think it is. Most wrestlers think you can scream and shout at a fan and that’s heat. Generally, heat is just creating overwhelming circumstances for the babyface to overcome. Also, this is your chance to explain to the audience how in-depth your heel character is. For example, you can show what kind of backhanded tricks it takes to win your match. This is when you can go behind the ref’s back, when you can desperately pull yourself out of the way, or just basically explain to the audience that you are just not as good as the babyface. In my opinion, it’s always 100% important to respect the referee, because when you take away the referee’s authority, you take away your potential of getting heat and making the audience angry by breaking the rules. You can also add more depth to your heel character by staying on your opponent at all times.

Q: What advice would you give first and foremost to young talents looking to make it in our business today? It seems that all too many are willing to pay to play, fronting their own visa costs, airline costs and whatnot just to get a spot on the card. Methinks this is doomed to kill the business if it persists and promoters continue to ”go cheap.”

A: Sadly but truly, you are 100% correct about people paying to play. I absolutely hate it but I feel like it’s already taken that turn where it’s very difficult to go backwards. I think that now, so many wrestlers will not get opportunities without paying to play and it definitely takes opportunities away from guys like ourselves who have earned their chance to work in these various places. I would say for a young wrestler to wrestle as much as you can. For the up-and-comers, it’s too far gone to wait for your opportunities in these international markets. I would say for the first two to three years to look at it as an investment and work as much as you can and don’t worry about the money that you’re making. Because if you are serious in the end, you will end up making your money back. You will become a star due to the experience that you will gain in every match. But as far as staying professional and waiting, I feel that in modern times wrestling’s climate has changed so much that the guys would not be able to stay busy if they were to live by the old rules. Luckily, guys like you and me have been able to continue to make our money and get these international shows, but young wrestlers do not have that luxury.

A: Your brother, Cory Graves, works as a commentator for WWE. As the industry leader to this day, it’s still rather telling that the indy scene has had such a dramatic role on the evolution of the WWE style. They are arguably more indy today than I would have ever imagined, and this can only be a testament to the power of the Internet. Where do you foresee WWE heading in the next five years, both stylistically long-term, as well as in the way and slant that the product/game is presented?

A: We touched on this earlier when talking about the indy style. It might be the flavor of the week and people might be interested in it, however the heart of professional wrestling has always been good versus evil, good guy versus bad guy. I personally don’t believe this will go anywhere. Wrestling always evolves and there’s going to be fresh talent. Right now, the indy bubble and the indy style has peaked. It’s what people have liked, and now it’s at its hottest point, however as you’ve noticed, as have I, that a lot of people miss the classic style of pro wrestling. They enjoy ’80s style, they enjoy good guy versus bad guy, and now that the next generation coming along has taken it back to it’s roots, I feel that it will always come back to the basics. Wrestling will always be around, it’s not going anywhere. I feel that WWE will always use the whatever options they have as to the best talent available. I think it’s up to us as to what will become famous in the future. For instance, if wrestling gets hot in the next five years and Roman Reigns is still the top guy, all of a sudden that Roman Reigns style will take precedence on the indies and that will be our basis once again.

Q: What do you think it would take for any given organization to have a legitimate chance at competing with Vince anymore on a global scale? Is there even a snowball’s chance in hell of that happening?

A: I for one don’t think that it’s possible for anyone to ever compete with WWE… well, I can’t say never, ‘cos it’s always possible… however, if anyone has that in their mind, they will never succeed. The only way you could have a worldwide or nationally recognized wrestling company would be if that company were to be self-sufficient, not try to compete with WWE, deliver a product to the fans and basically catch fire. For instance, if a local independent had the right crew and was able to get the local TV, which was able to branch into national TV and grow from the ground up and sustain their growth, they could potentially sell to Disney or Paramount or some national touring company that could take it to the next level. That is the only way I feel it could be done. When wrestling promoters think that they’re going to end up becoming number two (to WWE), they generally end up making mistakes and when you try to work on budget that is that large, your profit deficit is generally something that’s too large to overcome. That looks like the trouble that TNA (Impact Wrestling) is in. It can basically never make back the money it’s already lost.

Q: If any kid out there has dreams of working in Mexico and making a name out there, what would be your best advice to them?

A: For anyone who wants to wrestle in Mexico my advice would be not to wrestle like a Mexican! A lot of wrestlers go down to Mexico to learn the Lucha style and they end up doing too many highspots or getting a mask. My drawing ability and star power comes from wrestling is all because I wrestle an American style in Mexico. It’s definitely helped my cause that I’ve not deviated from what I’m good at. Plus, be open-minded in learning to work with their talent.

Sam Adonis vs. Ultimo Dragon

Sam unmasks the legendary Ultimo Dragon.

Q: Everyone on the indies is scrounging for bookings and looking to get spots and opportunities. What would your best advice be to anyone in the hunt for bookings, to get matches under their belt, wrestle in different countries, etc?

A: This one is very easy. Just think outside of the box and make yourself marketable and be different. Everyone is such a wrestling fan that they think of what they want to do versus thinking of what the wrestling fans would like to see them do. Too many people wrestle for themselves or for the internet. Everybody wants to be like Fergal Devitt (WWE’s Finn Balor) or Will Ospreay but they forget that the wrestling fans already have these guys and they (Balor and Ospreay) are probably better than them. I’m a big fan of classic wrestling and classic wrestling has become ”new” again because it hasn’t been seen in so long, but I’m so different than everybody else out there that I can get work on these bigger independent house shows like House of Hardcore and New York Wrestling Connection just because I’m so much more different than everybody else trying to get on these events. That would be the number one thing I’d tell anybody looking to get more work.

Q: Thanks for your time and all the best from here on out in your wrestling endeavors. In closing, if there was one piece of advice that you would give to any given young wrestler, and one crucial piece of advice only, like a winning lottery ticket or the Midas touch, what would it be?

A: My single biggest piece of advice would be just to respect pro wrestling. Make sure you give everything you can to pro wrestling and look after it more than you look after yourself, because if you take care of wrestling it will take care of you. I do a 450 splash and for a 6’4” wrestler, that’s pretty big. I could have done that in every match over the past five years and I could be some indy darling, however I respect pro wrestling more than myself and I always want to do what’s right and although the journey might seem a little longer, I feel that it’ll pay off in the end. So please everybody, take care of the business, follow me on Instagram at SamElias89 and follow me on Twitter at @RealSamAdonis. Thanks so much, StarBuck, hope to see you soon and hope we can tear the house down together somewhere once again!