Posts Tagged ‘Bernard Vandamme’

Last night in Helsinki we almost had a tragedy take place.  FCF Wrestling held it’s 10th anniversary of Finland’s equivalent of Wrestlemania, Talvisota X (Winter War 10).  With 500 frantic fans showing up to our mega-show, we had nine matches slated on the card, with the FCF title bout between champion Valentine and challenger King Kong Karhula in the main event.

However, earlier yesterday, we got word that my opponent for the evening, Chaos of Denmark, had been delayed in Copenhagen.  His SAS flight had left for Helsinki and had been turned back after take-off due to a fuel shortage.  SAS rerouted him through Prague later in the day, only to make it to Helsinki airport for 22:30!

Now just me personally, talking not only for myself but for the fans on hand, and in light of the significance of my imprint on the Finnish pro wrestling scene in general, as the pioneer of the sport in our country, for my match to have been left off the card of this 10th anniversary show would have been an all-time low.

Back in 2006, when the first, inaugural Winter War took place in Vantaa, Finland, I was the main event against Bernard Vandamme of Belgium for the Eurostars European championship.  At that event, I won the European title for the first time in my storied career, putting Finnish pro wrestling and FCF as a company on the continental wrestling industry map.

bernard powerslam

The night I took the European title off of Bernard Vandamme in 2006

Now, 10 years later, the boys that were in the opening match of the very first Winter War in 2006 found themselves at the top of the card, in the advertised main event of Winter War / Talvisota X this year, a decade later.  Valentine and King Kong Karhula had one hell of a match last night, which stands to be applauded on all levels, and I was amazed at the public reaction to the newly-turned Karhula as a babyface.  It seems that the Finnish fans really vouched for him and have taken him as a fan favorite fore-runner.  Pitted against one of the greatest heels ever – if not THE greatest heel ever – out of the Nordics, Valentine, both challenger and champion tore the house down with a multi-faceted, highly intricate and masterful match.  Valentine retained his strap, but Karhula won over the entire audience with a moral victory.

About half-way through Valentine’s match with Karhula, Chaos arrived at the Töölö Sports Hall, rushed to the venue via taxi to make it for our advertised match.  He had changed into his wrestling gear during the ride to town, and he was primed and ready to go 15 minutes before our match went on.  Talk about a near-miss!

My Eye of the Tiger theme music began to play and I wondered if Chaos and I could follow the stellar main event match set by Valentine and Karhula.  Still, as a 22-year veteran, I knew I could be certain of what I could produce.  I was also dead-certain of what my opponent could produce.  We had an issue to attend to, a rivalry that crossed national boundaries.  I wasn’t expecting a high-flying match or a technical showcase.  No, what I was expecting was a WAR.  And a war I got!

Chaos lambasted me from behind with a steel chair from the blindside as I made my ring entrance, beating me six shades of senseless before I even knew what was going on!  The man tore into me, literally like a pit bull, unrelenting and vicious in his assault.  I found myself literally fighting for my life in there.  There was no surcease, no slowing down, as Chaos just kept the pressure and heat on me.

Yet, I wasn’t succumbing.  I wasn’t laying down or staying down.  This was Winter War 10, dammit!  Winter War, my personal brainchild and concept, which has since been branded and recognized as the most important pro wrestling event annually in the country of Finland!

StarBuck vs Chaos Winter War 10 (3)

Chaos blasts me with a mean uppercut! (photo: Timo Muilu)

My adrenaline started kicking in.  I struggled hard to clear my head of the cobwebs of Chaos’ vicious assault.  I got in one punch… then another… and another.  I rallied hard, fighting back with the intestinal fortitude of a dozen Finnish war veterans that fought hard to retain Finland’s independence in 1940.  I wasn’t just fighting for my professional wrestling heritage in this country, I was fighting for every person at the Töölö Sports Hall that rallied with me.  Every punch and blow that I could land was delivered with the force and emotional investment of the people that believed in me and my personal contribution to pro wrestling in Finland since 2003.  All of a sudden, my fight became larger than life itself in that moment.

StarBuck vs Chaos Winter War 10 (2)

A brief rally that didn’t last too long, but did the damage intended! (photo: Timo Muilu)

I finished the first Winter War with my head held high back in 2006, and I wasn’t willing to leave the ring last night with anything less than that same feeling and raw emotion.  I finally nailed Chaos in the face with a boot as he charged me in the corner.  With the Dane stung, I blasted him with a second rope clothesline that would have done former WWF world champion Bret “Hitman” Hart proud.

After a spirited last-ditch, desperation comeback, I got caught out on the outside of the ring by Chaos, as he ran my kidneys hard into the ring apron.  Rolling me back into the ring, Chaos hit his trademark moonsault and damn near crushed my legs on the landing.  It would be hard to kick out, with my thighs knotted up, but kick out I did!

TSX Chaos moonsault

Chaos hits a mean moonsault on my fallen corpus (photo: Xeniya Balsara)

 

Chaos picked me up for a side back breaker and then ascended the ropes for another huge moonsault, which he hit perfectly across my chest cavity, knocking the wind out of me.  He went for the cover, but just barely, I managed to kick out once again.

At this point, Chaos seemed to be scrambling for ideas, so he went after the steel chair that he used before the start of the match to beat me senseless.  Bringing the chair to the ring, he prepared to blast me with it, but I hit a superkick into the chair, sending the steel into Chaos’ face and knocking him senseless for a change.

Now was my time.  It was now or never.  I hoisted Chaos for my trademark spike piledriver and dropped him with the very maneuver that has put away competition all over the world during my wrestling travels in 20 countries worldwide.  But… he kicked out!!!

TSX piledriver

My piledriver has a match-ending odds on favorite rate of about 98% (photo: Xeniya Balsara)

I was stunned.  Hardly ever had anyone… anyone at all… kicked out of my spike piledriver.  In Japan, “The Japanese Buzzsaw” Tajiri managed to kick out of my piledriver once, and once only.  On that night, Tajiri became the FCF champion back in 2010.  But such are so scarce occasions, that they only happen once in a blue moon, or perhaps, as with most, only once in a lifetime.

I blasted Chaos with yet another spike piledriver and that was finally enough to put away the tough bastard at Winter War 10, as the audience counted with every slap of the referee’s hand against the mat, as Chaos’ shoulders were pinned for the 1-2-3.  And my goodness, the sound of the pop that the live audience emitted at that point could have been registered on the Richter Scale!

What could have been a disastrous night on many levels turned into one of the most satisfying and memorable matches of my 22+ year pro wrestling career.  Thanks to everyone who was on hand, and for those who weren’t, there is a DVD of this event in the works, which will be out in the coming months for sale!

Winter War veterans

The FCF Wrestling veteran crew that has taken part in every single Talvisota / Winter War to 2006 -2016: (left to right) King Kong Karhula, StarBuck, Valentine, Stark Adder (photo: Satu Tapaturma)

 

Advertisements

What a heck of a weekend we’ve had with Crossfyre up in Lapland, the northern hemisphere of Finland!  On tour with Crossfyre, we brought the flavor of southern rock and classic rock in general to the north, and boy, did the people up here LOVE IT!

The band gets ready for Friday night's gig in Levi.

The band gets ready for Friday night’s gig in Levi.

With a back-to-back set of gigs in Levi and Kuusamo respectively, we witnessed the good vibes catch on in droves both nights, with all manner of folk dancing the night away in front of the stage.  Indeed, we play adult-oriented rock, but that said, anyone from their twenties to their sixties seems to dig our sound, regardless of where we play.  That said, we really must be doing something right.

The restaurants and establishment walls at Hullu Poro were embellished with our gig adverts.

The restaurants and establishment walls at Hullu Poro were embellished with our gig adverts.

On Friday night, we pulled into Levi on the outskirts of Kittilä, after a near-20-hour drive from Helsinki.  Our newly revamped Crossmobile turned heads left and right, with its snazzy tape-job, sponosored by Mad Croc Energy Drinks.  It was a couple of years back that we wrote the theme song for Mad Croc’s motor racing division worldwide, and since that time, we’ve developed a great working relationship with the energy drink giant.

Crossfyre's official tour van, The Crossmobile!

Crossfyre’s official tour van, The Crossmobile!

The Hullu Poro Hotel and resort in Levi has to be seen to be believed.  It is honestly one of the coolest, most endearing places visually and atmosphere-wise, that there is to be seen and experienced in Finland.  As a trivia note, in January 2009, I won my second Eurostars European wrestling championship title from Bernard Vandamme of Belgium at Hullu Poro Arena in Levi, so that place carries a lot of significance to me personally.

Our gig venue in Levi at Hullu Poro.

Our gig venue in Levi at Hullu Poro.

Our Friday gig at Hully Poro was a capacity biker bash entitled WILD RIDE.  It’s an annual event, and this year, Crossfyre was the band of choice to play the happening.  Top-of-the-line hotel rooms, wickedly good food and high-class cuisine on the house and a tremendous atmosphere capped off this outing.  And I have to say: our cover of ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man” always gets every ass in the joint moving like an ant farm.  There’s just something to it that works every single time out.  That’s probably because the original itself is such a great song to begin with!

This chick told me "Good grief, you've got one foot in the grave already!"

This chick told me “Good grief, you’ve got one foot in the grave already!”

Our second gig last night in Kuusamo at Ravintola Veijo was stellar, also.  A real gritty bar in feel and vibe, Veijo is the kind of place rock bands want to play at.  With a population of around 16 000 people, Kuusamo doesn’t have a lot happening, so when something notable hits town, you better believe the town folk are going to show up!  And show up they did, a packed house at that!  Here, we got to see how another carefully chosen cover song, Golden Earring’s “Twilight Zone”, sank into people like a hot knife through butter.  Me personally, I want to see us cover that song on our next album after our current Iron Horse release, in support of which we have been touring all summer long.

Thanks to all the fine folks that came out to see us do what we do best this past Friday and Saturday in Northern Finland.  And ladies, hehee…I’m sorry: as a married man, I’m no longer on the playing field!  Just a good reminder, as we head out to our other northern gigs next weekend in Saariselkä at Santa’s Village and Ivalo respectively.  Tomorrow, I fly back to Helsinki out of Oulu, to perform my WWE wrestling commentaries for Eurosport television in Finnish, and then on Thursday I fly back up north to continue rocking the Arctic Circle!

The atmosphere at Veijo's pub in Kuusamo was off the charts!

The atmosphere at Veijo’s pub in Kuusamo was off the charts!

 

Well, I didn’t manage to claim my third Eurostars European wrestling championship this past Sunday night in Holland.  I came oh, so close, but alas, no cigar.  I had Belgium’s Bernard Vandamme on defense for the bulk of the 21:10 of the title match that we wrestled at Dutch Pro Wrestling‘s biggest event of the years, Grand Slam 2014, but in the end, I got caught out with a crossbody dive out of the corner that Vandamme just barely managed to keep me down with for the final three-count.

Telling Vandamme that he's got it coming to him

Telling Vandamme that he’s got it coming to him.

I have an outstanding issue with Vandamme, over the fact that he managed to upset me for the WNC (Wrestling New Classic in Japan) championship back in March this year, and I have not even gotten my rematch for that title.  Vandamme is a double champion right now, holding both the WNC and Eurostars European championships, and as I am a two-time titleholder of the Eurostars title, the Eurostars championship committee decided that I was up for their title this time in Holland, and the WNC title was not part of the picture.

Looking to make Vandamme tap ... he didn't.

Looking to make Vandamme tap … he didn’t.

Vandamme and I have a long and storied history against one another, dating all the way back to the latter half of 2006, when we first grappled.  We’ve fought in many countries and had some classic battles, and somehow, the issue is still there between our parties.  This past Sunday night in Poeldijk, Holland, was another chapter in our rivalry, which will go down in the history books with Vandamme retaining his gold, which brings to mind what former WWF commentator Gorilla Monsoon stated back in the day, “close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.”

Butterfly double-underhook suplex plants Vandamme for a nearfall.

Butterfly double-underhook suplex plants Vandamme for a nearfall.

Holland was my 19th country in professional wrestling to date over the past 20-years, and I would like to extend a huge thank you to the entire DPW organization, who were all incredible folks and a true pleasure to work with!

I’m very excited about wrestling in Holland in two weeks time, which marks my 19th country in the grappling game.  More importantly, it marks my comeuppance against reigning Eurostars European wrestling champion and WNC champion, Bernard Vandamme of Belgium.

SB vs Bernie

It was just this past March 8 in Helsinki, Finland, that I unceremoniously lost Japan’s WNC (Wrestling New Classic) title to Vandamme in just under two-minutes, in what can be argued to be a huge upset.  It made international headlines and it most definitely shocked every fan on hand at FCF Wrestling’s Talvisota VIII event that night.  It left a bitter taste in my mouth, and for a moment, I thought I’d be getting my rematch for the WNC strap when I first heard about Dutch Pro Wrestling booking Vandamme as my opponent for June 1 on their biggest show of the year in Poeldijk, Holland.

However, being that I am a former two-time Eurostars European champion myself, defeating and losing that championship to Vandamme in 2006-2007 and 2009, the Eurostars wrestling office decided it was time for StarBuck to get another shot at continental supremacy in Poeldijk at DPW’s Grandslam 2014 mega-event.  This decision overrode Japan’s WNC organization’s rematch clause, and so, the June 1 match will be for the Eurostars title only, regardless of the fact that Vandamme is a double-champion at the moment.

December 2, 2006 - the night I first defeated Vandamme for the Eurostars title in Vantaa, Finland

December 2, 2006 – the night I first defeated Vandamme for the Eurostars title in Vantaa, Finland

Personally speaking, I am highly looking forward to this showdown.  Vandamme and I have a long and storied history, going back to 2006, when we first locked horns.  We have had a tenacious feud, one that has spanned from west to east, from Europe to Asia, and like the proverbial thorn in my side, Vandamme is still prevalent as an adversary in my career eight years later.

I will be more than ready to strip Vandamme of his Eurostars European title on June 1, just as he stripped me of the WNC gold a few months back.  I will walk into Grandslam 2014 and let loose the full measure of my personal vindication and wrath on the person of Bernard Vandamme, and I will walk out of Poeldijk as the new Eurostars champion.

How’s that for “an eye for an eye”, Bernard?  Deal with it!

This past weekend, I wrestled in Brugges, Belgium for Eurostars.  We had a huge audience of nearly 800 screaming fans on hand, main evented by Bernard Vandamme (whom I lost the WNC title to just over a week ago in Helsinki) vs. Eurostars European champion, Cybernic Machine, in a “loser-must-retire” match.  The feud between Vandamme and Cybernic has been going on for three years already, stemming back to when Cybernic captured the European title from Vandamme, and now this past weekend, it reached its climax.  Cybernic machine was ushered into retirement, and Vandamme became a double-champion, holding both the WNC and European titles now.  This win makes Vandamme a 5-time Eurostars European champion (two of those wins have been over Yours Truly, in 2007 and 2009).

Bernard Vandamme, the new European wrestling champion (photo: City Brugges)

Bernard Vandamme, the new European wrestling champion (photo: City Brugges)

In the semi-main event of the card, I faced a promising young 18-year-old talent from Andorra, named Tyson Heel.  The kid honestly looked in great shape and had the muscular structure of a 25-year-old serious trainer, but my veteran savvy and experience just overpowered him.  I fell the young man with a superkick for the pin, after he missed a top rope flipping senton.  Heel hung in there, though.  I have to give it to him, he was ambitious, but it was too little, too late for him.

Tyson Heel put up a game fight against Yours Truly (photo: City Brugges)

Tyson Heel put up a game fight against Yours Truly (photo: City Brugges)

This coming weekend, I gear up to wrestle in Hannover, Germany for EPW at Hanger No. 5, so get ready Deutschland!

After a hellacious night of wrestling warfare in Helsinki this past weekend at the biggest yearly event in Finnish professional wrestling, I found myself losing … and losing big!

I entered the event with my head held high, a dual-champion, representing both Britain and Japan. However, after the dust had settled, I left the ring dejected, having lost both the BWA Catchweight title to Valentine, as well as the WNC championship to Bernard Vandamme. To add salt to my wounds, I also lost the services of my wife, Miss D, as my ringside valet, since the stipulation in the match with Valentine was that should I lose the match (and BWA title), my wife’s career would also be on the line. In other words, FCF Wrestling’s Talvisota VIII was a royal flush for me … right down the proverbial shitter.

Firstly, the long-awaited Stretcher Match that I had with Valentine was a war that I gladly accepted and looked forward to. After the match, his face was marred and his front tooth chipped, after all that he and his Bättre Folk cohorts instigated against my wife and I over the past year. This was a bittersweet revenge for me, and although I lost the match, which could only end in a pinfall, I gained my measure of retribution. Valentine used a foreign object, which I heard were brass knuckles, on my ribs, and in the end, threw salt into my eyes before nailing his Code Breaker finsiher to pin me down for the win. After I was able to shake the stinging from my eyes, I paid Valentine back in spades, piledriving him three times – two of those head-first on a steel chair. Valentine was carted out of the ring with his newly-acquired BWA title draped unceremoniously across his prone carcass. Miss D even got her own personal comeuppance against Valentine’s Bättre Folk valet, Barbie, slapping the devious wench to the canvas after the match. I was happy over all of the dished out retribution, even in defeat.

StarBuck vs Valentine collage TS8

However, my WNC title defense against Belgium’s powerhouse Bernard Vandamme was an even more bitter pill for me. I was battle-weary, but Vandamme demanded his match immediately after I duelled Valentine. With the heart of a hero, there was no way I was backing down. I fought with all I had, but Vandamme was fresh, and he laid the heat on hard and heavy. It took just under two-minutes for my assailant to score the victory, with an Oklahoma Stampede powerslam. Lo and behold, in one fell swoop, wihtin one night, I lost two championships.

StarBuck vs Vandamme collage TS8

Now, in this life, there is no up without the down, no happiness without sadness, and no good without evil. Everything is relative, in addition: the higher you climb, the further down you have to fall. After reaching the pinnacle, the top of the mountain, the only way is down. No one stays on top forever.

So now, in the face of this monumental, personal defeat at Talvisota VIII, starts the climb back up the mountain for this wayfaring, battle-worn ring veteran. But mark my words, I will rise like a phoenix from the ashes. My ego and spirit are too strong to be denied.

It wasn’t only me, that suffered a crushing loss at Talvisota VIII. The FCF Wrestling championship changed hands at the event, as the incredibly-popular champion Tuho Torvinen lost his prestigious title to ”Wildman” Heimo Ukonselkä. Ukonselkä played a very aggressive and dirty game against Torvinen, laying the champion out with the butt of his battle axe, which is a part of the Wildman’s gimmick regalia during his ring entrances. Torvinen’s bell was visibly wrung, and the man was never able to fully regain his senses and sustain a prolonged flurry of offense. In just over 10-minutes, Ukonselkä countered Torvinen’s football tackle charge, nailing the champion with a powerful big boot to the face, after which the winning pinfall was academic.

Perhaps the lesson to be learned here is, that as Iron Maiden once sang, ”The evil that men do lives on and on.”

Yet, like a phoenix, the good will rise from the ashes. Just watch us.

I just came home last night from a tremendous few days in Tokyo, where this past Thursday night, February 27, I defeated my long-time nemesis “The Japanese Buzzsaw” Yoshihiro Tajiri for the WNC (Wrestling New Classic) championship title.

StarBuck WNC photo 01

Our match was grueling and hard, as Tajiri laid his kicks into me so hard that I thought I was a soccer ball.  He went after my arm, the psychology of which I only understood later on in the match when I attempted to first hoist Tajiri for my trademark finisher, the spike piledriver.  He was able to escape by capturing my weakened arm on the lift portion of the move, trapping me in a unique submission attempt.  I made a rope escape, and moments later, as Tajiri charged me, I caught him out with a hotshot, landing his throat on the top rope, after which I immediately captialized with a successful spike piledriver for the pinfall and victory.

Tajiri kicks awat at me (photo by Yuichi Kojima)

Tajiri kicks awat at me (photo by Yuichi Kojima)

This win puts good ol’ StarBuck into the wrestling history books, as the fourth WNC champion in history, behind Akira Nogami, Osamu Nishimura and Tajiri.  On a personal note, this victory was incredibly sweet for me, as I returned to Japan after a nine-month absence, during which I had to rehabilitate my herniated neck.  In my first match back to Japan since May 2013, the fans at Shinjuku Face arena in Tokyo exploded in support of Yours Truly, rallying behind with much support as I claimed the WNC title.

The piledriver spells title victory! (photo by Yuichi Kojima)

The piledriver spells title victory! (photo by Yuichi Kojima)

Tajiri and I have had our wars, and I highly respect him as one of my greatest opponents ever.  In 2010, we traded the FCF championship back and forth a couple of times.  In 2011, I defeated Tajiri in the finals of the SMASH title tournament to become the first SMASH champion.  Now, in 2014, I was able to go over Tajiri to claim the WNC championship.

With my friends Mayumi and Dr. Terasaki at Antonio Inoki's famous Saka Bar

With my friends Mayumi and Dr. Terasaki at Antonio Inoki’s famous Saka Bar

It should also be noted, that at the end of the night, after I had won the title, my Synapse teammates entered the ring and Akira Nogami took the mic, announcing that our group is disbanding and going our separate ways.  I would like to thank Akira, Syuri Kondou, Yusuke Kodama and Horizon (the latest member of Synapse) for the times that we had as a unit.  I never fought alongside Kodama or Horizon, as they joined the team after my last tour of Japan in May 2013, prior to my return now this past week, but with Akira and Syuri I team on numerous occasions.  We were a dominant in 2012-2013, but all good things must come to an end, and so it is with the tale of Synapse.  No bad blood, no remorse, no regrets.  A friendly parting, with mutual respect displayed by all.

Synapse's last stand (photo by Michiro Tomita)

Synapse’s last stand (photo by Michiro Tomita)

More infos: www.wnc-pro.com

linestar

Now, this coming Saturday at Winter War VIII (Talvisota VIII) in Helsinki, Finland, the WNC organization has demanded that I defend my newly-won crown against the challenge of former European wrestling champion, Bernard Vandamme!

I already have a gruelling Stretcher Match against Valentine for the BWA title, and with my wife’s valet career riding on the line, so this new development means double duty for me on the night of March 8 in Helsinki!

I will have to be training like an animal all this week to get ready for the double-edged sword that awaits me.  You can be sure that Vandamme remembers 2006, when I tood the Eurostars European championship from him at the first first Talvisota event in Vantaa, Finland, and this means Vandamme would be hungrier than ever to redeem himself against me now with the WNC title riding on the line.

I am not turning away any challengers, however, regardless of the circumstances.  Bernard Vandamme can bring it on, because this old war horse is waiting for him.  The Alpha Male, try to take his piece of meat away from him.TSVIII_starbuck_vandamme

TSVIII_jullari