Posts Tagged ‘European Champion’

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!

 

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The other night I just landed back home after my latest tour of the “Land of the Rising Sun” this past week, wrestling in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya.  The Wrestling New Classic (WNC) cards that I fought on with my team Synapse (StarBuck, AKIRA, Syuri) also featured some interesting new acquaintances: 62-year old legend Gran Hamada, Zero-1/ECW star Masato Tanaka, MMA star Koichiro Kimura, former NJPW Jr. Heavyweight Champion El Samurai and current WNC Champion Osamu Nishimura.

At 62-years of age, Gran Hamada is a legend in his own time (especially in Mexico)!

At 62-years of age, Gran Hamada is a legend in his own time (especially in Mexico)!

On May 24 in Tokyo, I teamed with AKIRA and Syuri to defeat the trio of WNC Champion Nishimura, TAJIRI and WNC Women’s Champion Lin Byron.  AKIRA pinned TAJIRI after a Musabi Press off the top rope, right after I hit the spike-piledriver on “The Japanese Buzzsaw”.  I have to say that Osamu Nishimura is a heck of a wrestler, and I thoroughly enjoyed wrestling against him, as our styles meshed very well.  Nishimura expressed interest in joining our Synapse contingent after the match, after some miscommunication in the six-man match, after TAJIRI mistakenly thrust-kicked Nishimura late in the bout.  We didn’t commit to his wish as of yet, but Nishimura did say that he is bringing my old arch-nemesis Michael Kovac of Austria to Japan next month.  Kovac beat me for the TopCatch European Championship back in September 2011, and there’s still a good deal of heat between our parties, so I am not too excited about the developments that Nishimura is looking to push with his personal agenda now…

A show of respect between WNC Champ Nishimura and myself after our match.

A show of respect between WNC Champ Nishimura and myself after our match.

We hit the road for Osaka on May 25, where AKIRA and I lost a heated match-up against The Big Guns (Zeus and The Bodyguard), who are almost like Japan’s version of The Road Warriors.  The Bodyguard pinned AKIRA after the opposition hit a double-chokeslam on my tag team partner and I was unable to break up the pin.

On the WNC tour bus, AKIRA awaits arrival in Osaka, where we have our next match.

On the WNC tour bus, AKIRA awaits arrival in Osaka, where we have our next match.

Former WNC Women's Champion Syuri washes some midnight laundry in Osaka.

Former WNC Women’s Champion Syuri washes some midnight laundry in Osaka.

May 26 saw us land in Nagoya, where I teamed with Syuri in a mixed tag encounter, against rookie Masaya Takahashi and Makoto.  I pinned Takahashi with my spike-piledriver in about nine-minutes to bring our team to victory once again.

Having a good time at Rikidozan's former chef's restaurant in Tokyo.

Having a good time at Rikidozan’s former chef’s restaurant in Tokyo.

I also had the pleasure of dining at the famous Hong Kong restaurant, headed up by the former chef of Rikidozan, Japan’s pro wrestling pioneer from the 1950s.  The photos on the establishment’s wall tell of the famous Antonio Inoki vs. Mohammed Ali match from 1976.  The real catch in that tale was the astronomous amount that New Japan Pro Wrestling, under whose banner the match was held, had to pay to Ali, to the tune of 10 billion Yen.  That equates to about 10 million USD.   New Japan paid off their debt a couple of years back, after over 35-years of carrying that financial monkey on their backs.  Talk about someone leveraging themselves into a huge personal win situation!