Posts Tagged ‘Denmark’

This past weekend on Saturday, January 16 in Helsinki, FCF Wrestling started the grappling year off with an event called Wrestling Show Live, at which I experienced something I usually don’t run into almost anywhere.  I got mugged.

I had one hell of a dandy match, teaming with Finnish ring veteran Stark Adder, to do battle with current FCF champion, Valentine, and Ricky Vendetta.  I have to say that all four of us were on fire that night, and the capacity audience on hand at Pressa Nightclub responded accordingly.  In the end, Adder eeked out a surprise win over Vendetta, leading into what I am sure will be a long-awaited singles match between the two of them, formerly known as the team of The Constrictors, at the biggest annual event in Finnish pro wrestling on March 19 in Helsinki, Talvisota X.

Wrestling Show Live FCF (1)

Adder pins Vendetta

Wrestling Show Live FCF (2)

Yours Truly controls Valentine

After our tag team win, we let the dust settle and the sweat cool down, taking care of business post-match, hitting the showers, getting dressed and heading back on home.

Well, this is when the proverbial shit hit the fan.

FCF’s documenting film crew was shooting random extra material for a possible DVD release down the road as I exited the building, heading to my car, with my wrestling bag in tow.  I certainly didn’t expect to see Norway’s tag team champions, the behemoth-like Gods of War – Bjorn Sem and Hannibal – waiting, as it were, for me on the other side of the door.  The video below speaks for itself and shows what happened in the ensuing moments…

As you can hear on the video, Bjorn Sem says “Greetings from Chaos.  This was a receipt for last summer in Denmark.”

For anyone who doesn’t know, I had a cage match scheduled against my old foe and former Danish wrestling champion Chaos in Denmark last August 22.  At the last minute, Chaos got our scheduled match changed to him against former WWE/TNA wrestler Ken Anderson.  To add salt to that wound for me, which was already a slap in the face, Danish Pro Wrestling put me into the match as special guest referee.  Well, I let Chaos and DPW know exactly what I felt about being shut out of competing in that cage match, as I lambasted Chaos with a superkick, following which Ken Anderson easily pinned the man.

Referee

I got relegated to officiating, as Chaos tried his luck against TNA’s Ken Anderson.

I admit, my temper got the best of me, but no one messes with my professional pride.  Chaos should have honored his booking commitment and wrestled me inside of that steel cage, but instead, he wanted to test himself against someone that he had never wrestled against before in Ken Anderson.  I just refused to let it slide.

Well, I guess I should have known better.  I should have guessed that my actions my come back to bite me in the ass down the line.  And down the line was the night of January 16 in Helsinki.  Chaos sent out an obvious hit on my person, and the chosen hit men were the Norwegian tag team champions.

Chaos

Chaos is obviously looking for a fight.  Mean, nasty, ornery.  That’s me, too.

Now, however, Chaos has got to know that I won’t let sleeping dogs lie.  We’ve fought each other tooth and nail over the years, and I have to admit that Chaos is one of the nastiest, hardest hitting badasses I have ever come across.  The man is a former Danish national amateur wrestling standout, in addition to being one of the hardest hitters in all of pro wrestling.  Yet, he should know who he double-crossed in Denmark this past summer to set off this series of events.

Chaos needs to be looking over his shoulder now, because the next one is on me.

 

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This past Saturday night in Randers, Denmark, I stepped into my first cage match in my 21 years in the pro wrestling business.

Truth be told, I have been looking forward to wrestling a cage match all my life, as when I was a teenager, I used to watch tons of these kinds of matches on television.  I was enamored by the cage match above all other kinds of “gimmick” matches in pro wrestling.

I recall sitting back and seeing the NWA [National Wrestling Alliance] put on the War Games double cage matches in the summers between 1987-1989 as part of the Great American Bash July-August national tours.  I remember Ric Flair falling to Ronnie Garvin in a cage match in Detroit back in the latter half of 1987, only to win it back in a cage re-match at Starrcade that very same year in Chicago.  Then there was Hulk Hogan vs. “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndoff inside of a steel cage on WWF’s Saturday Night’s Main Event on NBC, as I would stay up way past my curfew back in those days to watch spellbound as the muscular heroes and villains battled it out inside the steel.

Alas, in 1994, I became an active professional wrestler, a raw rookie at the time with great hunger and a drive to spread my wings in this fantastic wrestling industry.  My ambition and travels would take me to places like Egypt, Japan, Poland, Estonia, Spain and many points in between, spanning 19 countries and four continents to date, before I would be able to grapple inside the structure that always caught my imagination as a strapping young lad: the steel cage.

This past Saturday night in Randers, Denmark, the dream of wrestling inside the steel cage came true, thanks to Danish Pro Wrestling [DPW].  What was originally billed and slated to be me vs. multi-time Danish wrestling champion Chaos, was changed just two weeks prior to the event as me vs. The Beast from Sweden, and Chaos vs. Mr. Anderson from TNA (ex-WWE, Ken Kennedy).

Beast slams StarBuck

As I have extensively documented here on my website and blog, I have been actively training and coaching The Beast since February of this year, as the Swedish phenom has taken the wrestling world in the Nordics by storm.  I understood that I was prepping a dangerous man with all the tools to be a mega-star in the industry, at 1.93m tall and 115kg of pure muscle.  I never saw the inevitable day coming this quickly, when I would have to step into the ring to face my prized protege, but I took to the change of plans like an old pro would and should.  Win, lose or draw, it was just business this past Saturday when The Beast and I stepped into that steel cage to do battle.

StarBuck forearms Beast

I have to say that with 21 years in the game under me, I had the decided veteran’s advantage, which played greatly into my favor against the relative inexperience of The Beast.  However, what he lacked for in experience, The Beast more than made up for in aggression and quickness.  For a man that stands 1.93m tall, this guy moves like a panther.  It was quite challenging to negate his agility and speed, and I had to pull a few old hat tricks to get the duke in the end.  And yes, you read and understood that right: StarBuck beat The Beast inside of the steel cage when all was said and done.

This was The Beast’s first pinfall loss since debuting this past February in pro wrestling.  However, even as The Beast himself knows, there is no shame in falling to time-tested, world-traveled veteran like myself.  With more experience and miles down the line, it very well might be another story.  Yet, this past weekend, history was made.  The Beast found out that all men are mortal, and for every predator out there, there is another animal that will take them down.  This is what we call the law of the jungle.

StarBuck pins The Beast

So summa summarum, all my respect goes to The Beast for putting up the fight of his career so far.  This was nothing personal, just business.  The Beast was put on the spot by DPW when the promotion changed plans from StarBuck vs. Chaos to StarBuck vs. The Beast.  I do not have a personal agenda or beef with The Beast, and this cage match and its result does not pose any issue for me in my dealings with the man.

However, I do have an issue with Chaos.  Not only did he prefer to disrespect me by choosing to change the advertised card from StarBuck vs. Chaos in the cage to Mr. Anderson vs. Chaos, but DPW also rubbed that salt of this swerve into my open wound by putting me in the cage with them as special referee after my match against The Beast.  I barely had time to even drink before officials shoved a referee’s shirt in my face and told me to gear up and go back out to officiate the main event between Chaos and Anderson.  Being the pro that I am, I suited up and went out to do my job.

Referee StarBuck

However, I did not let sleeping dogs lie.  When Chaos hit his trademark moonsault on Anderson, I counted one, two … and then nothing.  I simply got up and turned around, showing everyone that if I was shafted in my scheduled and advertised match Denmark’s most beloved superstar, then I could play the game also.  Chaos took exception to my actions, as I knew he would, and in turn, I superkicked him into oblivion, putting him down for Anderson to claim the winning pinfall.

So the bottom line is this: Chaos still has a date with destiny with his old nemesis StarBuck.  He might have engineered the card to stroke his own ego this past weekend, but now, he has a little thorn in his side also.  Sooner or later, Chaos is going to have to step into that ring with me, because his hurt pride won’t let this one go.  And next time, there will be no change of plans at the last minute.

Ken Anderson wins

(Photos by Jytte Kristensen)

Wow … I got the news about a week back, that my upcoming, highly-anticipated cage match – the first of my long wrestling career – would be changed from me facing multi-time Danish champion Chaos, to me facing the breakout rookie star whom I have trained over the course of this year, Sweden’s hottest new property, The Beast!

The Beast stares down Harley Rage in a big match in Gothenburg, Sweden

The Beast stares down Harley Rage in a big match in Gothenburg, Sweden

I receive this news with mixed emotions. Firstly, I have taken a vested interest in prepping and coaching The Beast for his trek from the submission wrestling and MMA field into the world of pro wrestling. I took The Beast on as my pet project, proving that under my coaching, I could mold a superstar out of the man. I saw a world of potential in the guy when Stockholm wrestling promoter Chris Salhgren sent him to me for training at the beginning of this year. After all, he had an impressive resume already built up by the time that he was sent my way.

The Beast had gone to a time-limit draw in MMA against Sweden’s top export in that sport, Alexander Gustafsson, only to lose narrowly by judge’s decision. He had been a top star on the Swedish version of the reality competition show Gladiators, and he had nabbed the bronze medal in the 2014 Swedish national submission wrestling championships. In other words, I had one hell of an athlete to work with in my quest to mold him into a pro wrestling powerhouse.

The Beast

I have to admit: I didn’t see this one coming. I’ve even formulated a friendship in addition to my mentorship with the man. I have seen first-hand how disciplined and strong this guy is. It’s downright scary. I have a lot of respect for The Beast, and I am sure that the feeling is mutual.

However, on August 22 in Randers, Denmark, I have been scheduled to meet this man inside of a 16-foot high steel cage, the first such match of my long and storied wrestling career. In truth, I have waited my entire life to wrestle inside of the cage. Ever since I was a youth, the cage matches between Ric Flair and Ronnie Garvin, Hulk Hogan and Paul Orndorff, the War Games matches of late 1980s NWA lore and such have been amongst my favorites. Before the eventual day comes that I have to hang my boots, one of my penultimate goals has been to grapple inside the cage, and now that day is here. But I never expected it to be against someone that I took on as my personal project.

The coach and the protege.

The coach and the protege.

Initially, I was slated to face and old foe that I have grappled against many times in the past in Chaos. He and I have battled it out many times, and our matches have always been slobberknockers. I was firmly in the understanding that he and I would make wrestling history on August 22 in Denmark. However, just a week back, those plans went out the window, as the Danish Pro Wrestling [DPW] booking committee decided to change the card and put former TNA/WWE star Mr. Anderson (Ken Kennedy) against Chaos, with me against The Beast under them.

Now that’s all fine and dandy, I really have no problem with that. However, this does mean a change in my personal approach and coaching as it pertains to The Beast. He has now become a foe, an adversary, regardless of how indirectly that all transpired. I simply cannot afford to walk into the cage on August 22 against this man and teach him all that I know. That simply would not make any sense nor would it work in my favor.

I've faced big men like the executioner-like Pyöveli Petrov, who have fallen to finishers like my superkick (photo: Jarmo Katila)

I’ve faced big men like the executioner-like Pyöveli Petrov, who have fallen to finishers like my superkick (photo: Jarmo Katila)

From here on out, The Beast is on his own. I’ve given him the foundational tools that he needs to work with. However, come August 22 in Randers, Denmark, it will be a trial by fire for The Beast. Sure, he might have me outweighed by almost 20kg. He’s got a good 15cm height advantage on me. He’s much more powerful than me, he’s arguably more explosive and his reach exceeds mine. Yet, with all of these things against me, there are some things that he doesn’t have over ol’ StarBuck.

Firstly, The Beast does not have the experience that I have. I’ve been all around the world, a champion all over. I’ve faced them all, from big to small, both rookies and vets. I’ve learned to navigate through all kinds of waters. Secondly, I have a diverse bag of tools in my repertoire to draw from. I am not a one-trick pony. I can spot an opening anywhere, and I will not fail to expose a weakness when I see one. Thirdly, I have only taught The Beast what he needs to know, as in the role of the student he has been on a need-to-know basis. In the initial stages of his career, he needs to grasp the basics. Right now, The Beast owns a very rudimentary set of tools. I wouldn’t have done him any favors, had I force-fed him more knowledge than he could chew at any given point. That puts me in the driver’s seat, despite the imminent threat that he poses on the surface going into this huge cage match.

August 22 is going to be monumental in both of our careers. For me, it will be my first cage match, one that I have looked forward to all of my career. For The Beast, it will be the supreme test for him, as he will have to face his mentor before being ready and equipped enough to tackle my kind of professional experience.

Whatever happens on August 22, I just want The Beast to understand that it’s nothing personal. This is just business. Let the chips fall where they may.

What a week it has been!  In the heat and the heart of the Scandinavian summer of 2014, I ventured out with my wife Diana to Langå, Denmark to commandeer an intensive 5-day pro wrestling training bootcamp.  I had students attending from four different countries, as far away as Scotland to students from Sweden, Denmark and Germany.  All in all, 21 participants showed up at the start of the week, this past Monday, when we set off.  At the end of it all, about 16 were still actively participating, pulling through, right to the end.

langaa-station

As is the case in every single pro wrestling schooling that I have been a coach in, a certain number of folks always drop out.  That is the law of nature: only the strong survive.  That said, I am damn proud of the kids, ranging from age 12 to 26, who toughed it out til the bitter end.  Well, the end wasn’t so bitter, because the payoff for those who pulled through was a student show in front of parents and close friends, by invitation only, this past Friday.  I served as the special referee for all of the student matches, making sure everything was on the up and up.

Yours Truly donning the official's uniform

Yours Truly donning the official’s uniform

I was particularly impressed with the natural aptitude of a few of the trainees on hand this past week.  I feel compelled and even obligated to mention something about them, because they deserve props.  There were a couple of young men from northern Sweden who showed up, and both of these guys had natural, innate talent.  You could see the potential of greatness in them.  They absorbed everything like a sponge, retaining what they had learned in quick order.  It is a true pleasure to coach people like this, because it is very rewarding for the coach to see that someone just “gets it.”  Then there was a young man named Duncan from Copenhagen, who attended a similar camp I coached in Denmark back in 2009, five years ago.  At the time, he was a skinny, not so athletic kid.  I told him what he needed to do to get himself into the kind of condition that he needed to be in, should he still want to aspire to his dream of becoming a professional wrestler.  Well, five years later, this young man shows up in shape, having slaved away in the gym for the past several years, conditioning his mind to be disciplined.  Someone like that deserves all my respect, and that is saying a lot, because the kid is still an unproven talent in the wrestling world.  A couple of very talented young, rookie wrestlers from DPW (Danish Pro Wrestling, the parent company that organized this training camp), a pair of cousins, really showed incredible potential also.  I am talking about the kind of talent that you either have, or you don’t.  Given time, these kids will go far in the pro wrestling business, because they have the heart for it.  A young man from Scotland showed incredible character and personality skills, with a gimmick that legitimately had spectators crapping their pants in fright.  Simply based on ring presence alone, this guy, wrestling name Switch, should by all accounts have a solid chance at getting a healthy amount of bookings based on his uniqueness and character strength.

Fake or Break camp 2014 Denmark, the final line-up that pulled through to the end (with veteran ace wrestler Chaos 2nd to my right and Poul Roest 2nd to my left)

Fake or Break camp 2014 Denmark, the final line-up that pulled through to the end (with veteran ace wrestler Chaos 2nd to my right and Poul Roest 2nd to my left)

I would like to extend a big hand to the promoters of DPW, Poul Roest and Kim Tinning, a couple of great guys who do their damndest to push their talent to achieve a higher level of aptitude and professionalism.  In closing, the name of this intensive training camp was Fake or Break.  That is a very fitting title, although it sounds a bit misleading, because if you cannot take the pain, blues and agony that goes along with this CONTACT SPORT, then you simply do not belong in our business.  Fake it is not, Break you just might.

Showing the ropes to the students with top Danish wrestler Chaos

Showing the ropes to the students with top Danish wrestler Chaos