Posts Tagged ‘Akira Nogami’

I have really been blessed in my wrestling career over the past few years, after making it big in Japan, becoming a name and draw there in 2010.  I have had a load of fantastic matches during my time in the “Land of the Rising Sun”, bringing back the old school approach in my wrestling style to the Japanese fans, perhaps bringing to mind the golden days of acclaimed names in our business such as Harley Race, Ted DiBiase and Dick Murdoch between the 1970s – 1980s.

StarBuck vs Nishimura

In January 2011, I was voted by the readership of Weekly Pro Wrestling magazine as having the Match of the Year for 2010 in the SMASH organization against “The Japanese Buzzsaw” TAJIRI (from Nov. 22, 2010), and the runner-up ballot went to my match vs. AKIRA (from Sept. 24, 2010).  In 2012, the readership of Weekly Pro Wrestling magazine voted me as MVP of the Year in SMASH, plus I won the accolade for Match of the Year for 2011 in SMASH once again, this time against Dave “Fit” Finlay (from Nov. 24, 2011).

Here I offer up promos and videos of my personal favorite matches from Japan, which I have contested over the past three years.  Enjoy!

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StarBuck vs. AKIRA:

StarBuck vs. TAJIRI:

StarBuck vs. Genechiro Tenryu

StarBuck, TAJIRI, AKIRA vs. Keiji Mutoh, Shuji Kondo, BUSHI

StarBuck, AKIRA, Syuri (Team Synapse) vs. TAJIRI, Hajime Ohara, Kana

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After dominating the WNC (Wrestling New Classic) title tournament finals last month in Tokyo, my SYNAPSE teammate and new WNC Champion, AKIRA, has cordially invited Big Japan Wrestling standout star Shinya Ishikawa to join our ranks.

shinya

I fought against Ishikawa in a physical match, which I won with my spike piledriver, back in May 2011.  I was told that my bout against the rising star was likened to a vintage Harley Race match, in terms of psychology, as noted by my good friend, Dr. Hiroaki Terasaki.  The one thing I do vividly recall of the match with Ishikawa is the fact that he hit like a mule, and his “Dropkick from Hell” was aptly named, leaving me feeling like I had been hit by a baseball bat.  Below are some of the pictures from that event (photos courtesy of SMASH).

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Shinya Ishikawa’s SYNAPSE debut will be on January 25 at Shinjuku FACE arena in Tokyo at the next WNC event.

So now, SYNAPSE is fourfold strong: WNC Champion AKIRA, WNC Women’s Champion Syuri, StarBuck and Shinya Ishikawa.

Welcome aboard the winning team, Ishikawa-san!

In just over a week, I will be fighting for the first time in my career in a barbed wire grudge match in Japan for Wrestling New Classic.  My trio with AKIRA and Syuri will face the vengeance-hungry team of TAJIRI, Mikey Whipwreck and Kana, and there it is guaranteed that there will be blood.  It all comes down on August 30th at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.

From there, my team will do battle against TAJIRI’s trio on August 31st in Osaka and on September 1st in Toyohashi, and these encounters will also be barbed wire matches.  You can be sure that none of us will be the same after the dust settles next week across Japan!  My team is undaunted however, and we will show once again how we dominate, just as we did on our last tour of Japan.

First however, I will be gunning for my fifth FCF Championship title reign at DOMination 5 in Helsinki, Finland on August 24&25th, as over a two-day period a tournament will be held to crown a new titleholder.  It was 2010 last that I held the FCF crown, defeating TAJIRI in Tokyo on July 24 that year, before losing it back to TAJIRI on November 22, 2010 in Tokyo also.

In round one on Friday, August 24th, I will fight in the main event in a triple threat match against King Kong Karhula and “Wildman” Heimo Ukonselkä.  The winner of that match goes on the next night to advance to the semi-finals, and should they be victorious, the finals on the same night.

I will be leaving this coming Monday, July 30th for a wrestling tour with WNC (Wrestling New Classic) throughout Japan at the beginning of August.

On August 2nd at Shinjuku FACE Arena in Tokyo, I will team with AKIRA and Syuri will face TAJIRI,  Hajime Ohara and Kana in the Wrestling New Classic main event.  From there I move on with my new team to establish wrestling dominance in Osaka on August 3rd, Hiroshima on August 4th, Hakata on August 6th and Kagoshima on August 7th.

This past week, I wrestled in Rome, Italy at Rainbow Magicland, which is a huge theme park outside the city.  Every day about 10 000 people visit Magicland, and on July 24 IWS Wrestling ran a show at the establishment.  I wrestled against huge black wrestler Tiny Iron, who has been a bodyguard for bands like The Black-Eyed Peas, Beyoncé and 50 Cent.  I was disqualified in the match when Michael Kovac of Austria and Leo Cristiani of Spain interfered on my behalf.

“Half man, half amazing” Tiny Iron

This week on Saturday, July 28 I wrestle against Finnish academic standout and brash rookie Mikko Maestro in Kerava, Finland for FCF Wrestling at SummerSmash 3.

SummerSmash 3 in Kerava, Finland at 16:00 on July 28, http://www.wrestling.fi

As I wrote just a few days back, I dissolved Team FCF in Japan, the contingent I had with Hajime Ohara, after Ohara failed to produce in our last tag team match on July 15 in Tokyo.

I am proud to introduce my new teammates: AKIRA and Syuri!

Syuri, AKIRA and StarBuck

On August 2nd at Shinjuku FACE Arena in Tokyo, our trio will face TAJIRI, Ohara and female star Kana in the Wrestling New Classic main event.  From there I move on with my new team to establish wrestling dominance in Osaka on August 3rd, Hiroshima on August 4th, Hakata on August 6th and Kagoshima on August 7th.

More infos at the WNC website!

This past Wednesday night – March 14, 2012 – a somber mood set over Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, as Japan’s SMASH organization held its final show, closing its doors forever.

The capacity crowd on hand at Korakuen Hall watches the main event of SMASH.FINAL

Many people are both asking and wondering what has led to the closing down of the promotion, considering SMASH rose in its two-year run to become one of the leading puroresu organizations in Japan.  SMASH started from zero in March of 2010 and rose like a phoenix amongst both fans and media alike over the next couple of years.  Their events in Japan drew great houses and showcased some of the finest pro wrestling to be seen anywhere.  So what exactly is at the root of the demise of SMASH?

Starting the match off against Tajiri in classic wrestling fashion

Very simply, the answer lies in the divergent visions of SMASH president Mr. Sakai and SMASH creative director Tajiri for the company and its future.  As Mr. Sakai owns the SMASH name and its respective title belts, this rift and separation proved to be a fatal blow to the company.  Without the creative genius of Tajiri, SMASH would simply not exist.  Tajiri was truly the soul and heartbeat of SMASH, and for Sakai to continue without him would have been foolhardy and a questionable risk.  Thus, at SMASH.FINAL on March 14th when all was said and done after the main event, Mr. Sakai announced publicly that there will be no SMASH v.2 post-Tajiri.  SMASH is now finished.

Tajiri clamps a chinlock on Yours Truly

The video below narrates (in English) the meat of the matter rather well.

I am greatly honored to have taken part in the SMASH.FINAL main event alongside FCF Wrestling teammate Hajime Ohara against the team of Tajiri and Akira Nogami.  I think it would be safe to say that SMASH was built largely on the four of us and our contributions to the promotion, so having this tag team main event headline the final SMASH show in history is truly prolific.

Double-teaming Akira Nogami, I plant the elbow into the upper back as Ohara stays the course

I really couldn’t think of a better way to go out on a high note.  Being in the ring with three of my best friends in this often cold, dog-eat-dog business on a night that enveloped so much emotion and weightiness meant a lot to me.  We fought tooth and nail for 25:50 of a wrestling classic before Akira was able to nail Ohara with his Musasabi Press splash off the top rope to end the epic encounter.

Akira has me in the Old Boy submission as Ohara tries to make the save

The night prior to the SMASH.FINAL, I was able to be part of Akira’s birthday party at the world- famous Ribera Steak House.  Although we knew that the next night we would be facing each other in the fight of our lives, only the sense of mutual respect, admiration and friendship was present at our table.

At Ribera Steak House, toasting Akira's birthday with Josh O'Brien and Tajiri

Knowing that I have fought so many times in the same ring against esteemed opponents the calibre of Akira and Tajiri only heightens and strengthens the comraderie between us.  The quality of our matches has always been top-notch, and being able to bring out the best in each other, regardless of the outcome, is definitely a key element that spawns great friendships in our trade.

Akira eats a nasty spike piledriver from Yours Truly

I can only hope that Tajiri starts up a new wrestling company in Japan following the demise of SMASH, as the man is one of the smartest minds in our business, and if anyone can do it, Tajiri most definitely can.  Tajiri definitely knows what classic wrestling should be all about, and I will most certainly support him in whatever his future endeavors are.

Akira pins Ohara following a huge Musasabi Press in 25:50 of a wrestling classic

After the main event was said and done at SMASH.FINAL, SMASH Diva Champion Syuri also vacated her title, as the wrestlers came to the ring to bow out and say goodbye to all of their supporters and fans over the past two years.

A real sweetheart of a girl, Syuri was the last SMASH Diva Champion

The last SMASH Champion Dave “Fit” Finlay vacated his title last month at SMASH.25 after defeating Tajiri in a fantastic match.

The wrestlers pay their respects to the company and the audience at the end of SMASH.FINAL

I would also like to thank all of the SMASH fans personally this one, last time for allowing me to become a star in their country.  As I said at the SMASH.FINAL afterparty, Japan is the #1 country in the world for pro wrestling, and it has been a dream come true for me to become a household name and celebrity in Japan through my pro wrestling adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun.

The Finnish Embassy in Japan came out to see SMASH.FINAL

Soudesune!!!

(Match photos my SMASH/SportsNavi Japan)

European professional wrestling legend and 37-year ring veteran Dave “Fit” Finlay defeated me this past Thursday night, November 24th, at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo at SMASH.23 to become the new SMASH Champion.

photo by SMASH (from SportsNavi Japan online)

Finlay fought like a ravenous beast, putting me on the defensive for the whole match, which lasted 15:58 before the Irishman was able to put me away and pin me following his jumping tombstone piledriver.  The Japanese crowd responded in shock as Dave Finlay was announced as the new champion.

There are very few men in the wrestling business who are as brutal and remorseless in that ring as Finlay.  The man is a legend in this sport, and I brought my A-game, but it just wasn’t enough on the night of November 24, 2011 in Tokyo.

photo by SMASH (from SportsNavi Japan online)

Many are already calling my match with Finlay as the match of the year in SMASH, which is saying a lot, as there have been numerous great matches throughout the year.  For a fantastic look at the action from the SMASH.23 title match, check out the ringside photos here.

photo by SMASH (from SportsNavi Japan online)

I was also given the opportunity to face one of my all-time favorite wrestlers in Keiji Mutoh (aka The Great Muta) in Tokyo the night before SMASH.23 at All-Japan Pro Wrestling‘s event, as I teamed with SMASH compatriots Akira Nogami and Yoshihiro Tajiri to face the trio of Mutoh, Kondo and Bushi from AJPW.  I pinned Bushi in 13:48 of a hot match following my trademark spike piledriver.  Check out the photos from that match here.

photo by AJPW (from SportsNavi Japan online)

On a separate note, I heard the sad news about the passing of American superstar Bison Smith (found dead on Nov. 22 in Puerto Rico) while I was in the dressing room at the AJPW event.  Bison was a big star in Japan, and his death at 38 – the same age as I am – is indeed an early passing.  The cause was deemed to be heart failure.