Posts Tagged ‘FCF Wrestling’

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)

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Alas, last night in downtown Helsinki, I watched a young man that’s become a thorn in my side defy the odds.  Last night at FCF Wrestling‘s Late Night Wrestling Show Live, Mikko Maestro put up the fight of his life and came out on top of the challenger’s list for the FCF championship title.

I’ve tested this kid before, put him in the pressure cooker to see if he’d break, but he just keeps showing that he wants it and he comes back for more.  At Talvisota XI over a year ago, Mikko got ambitious and wanted a match against me — his great idol from back in the day when he decided to become a pro wrestler — and although he put up a spirited fight, things didn’t pan out so well for him when all was said and done:

Well, here we are, over a year later, after Maestro’s rise through the ranks over 2016, following a few years of inconsistent floundering.  I’ve always vouched for those who have and show heart in our business, as I believe it is the single most deciding factor in the potential long-term success of any given talent.  And that said, Mikko Maestro has shown himself to have heart.  A lot of heart.

Yet, despite all of his heart, I don’t see this kid being ready to take on the oldest dog in the yard and man that mentored and taught him, namely Yours Truly.  However, regardless of that fact, Maestro gets his long-awaited title shot opportunity at my FCF Wrestling Championship finally this spring, on May 26 at Helsinki’s Gloria Cultural Arena.

dav

Last night, I brought in my old buddy from Norway, the big and burly Bjørn Sem, to put Maestro though the meat grinder.  I still don’t know how Maestro managed to survive the beating that Sem gave him, catching the big man in a sudden Uranage (Rock Bottom) for the upset pin, after which I decided to go out and superkick Maestro’s head off.  It was a message, plain and simple, that you don’t cross the boss.

StarBuck and Mikko Maestro pic 1

At the end of the night, there was a top contender’s Fatal Fourway match that Maestro qualified for, upon surviving Sem, featuring Stark Adder, Salomon Strid and Vili Raato.  As if by collusion, Maestro even managed to pick up the win in that encounter, hitting another Uranage on Strid to steal the victory.

So now Mikko Maestro is the number one contender officially, waiting for his shot at my FCF Wrestling Championship title.  Well, on May 26, he gets his chance.  Just remember this Mikko: be careful what you wish for ‘cos you might just get it.  And what that “it” is remains to be seen on May 26.

(Maestro vs. Sem match photos by Marko Simonen)

This past weekend on Saturday night, February 24 in Leppävirta, Finland, a huge rock & wrestling event called Rock Fight took place.  This concept goes back a decade to 2008, when the first Rock Fight took place at the Nosturi club in Helsinki with United Underworld and Stoner Kings, whereas the second Rock Fight took place the following year in 2009, also held at Nosturi, with Silver Moth and Sparzanza offering up the metallic musical fare.

Alas, come 2018, it was time to bring back Rock Fight, this time in a new venue and in a new town.  Legendary Finnish punk rockers Klamydia and controversial rap artist Petri Nygård were the artists this time around.  In addition, we had six international-quality matches on the show, featuring FCF Wrestling talent in addition to European wrestling stars, as promoted by Nordic Wrestling Events in co-operation with Vesileppis Areena in Leppävirta.

In the main event of this huge Rock Fight event, I put up my esteemed Valhalla Nordic Wrestling Championship title against the gigantic 191cm/190kg Demolition Davies of Germany, with 7-time Finnish heavyweight bodybuilding champion Boogie Mustonen as special guest referee.  This is notable for the fact that in Boogie’s last pro wrestling match ever back in July 1997 in Joensuu, Finland, I was the referee for his match against the late Tony “Ludvig Borga” Halme (as seen in the video below).

Demolition Davies was a huge threat and an enormous hurdle for me.  Although I trained hell-a-hard for this main event, pushing some damn heavy weights to prepare in the gym, it was very challenging to try to move Davies around.  With that amount of girth and pure mass, I had to find a different approach.

Davies managed to bloody me mid-match after he ran my head into the steel ringpost and then proceeded to headbutt me over and over again with his haggard mask, splitting my epidermis wide open.  I’ll be the first to acknowledge that thankfully guest referee Boogie Mustonen was a bit slow getting into position and also in making his counts, because it managed to buy me some time and make my kickouts.

Davies’ corner avalanche absolutely crushed me and his big splash knocked the wind out of my sails.  Running into the man felt like hitting a tree.  Davies put up one hell of an intimidating fight, but finally, in the end, I got a second wind and was able to make a sustained rally before Davies cut me off at the pass with a huge Black Hole Slam, followed by a devastating cannonball in the ring corner.

The one big mistake that Davies did, however, was jawing and bitching at referee Mustonen for his slow counts, which obviously threw my challenger off kilter.  Once Davies started shoving Boogie, it was only a matter of time that the 7-time bodybuilding champ would explode.  And explode he did with a huge forearm smash that knocked Davies over my fallen torso, enabling me to make a leverage pin on the German giant as Boogie made the count.  Three seconds later, I was still the Valhalla Nordic Wrestling Champion.

Rock Fight was a hell of a great time, as in excess of 400 fans came out to see the event.  Thanks to everyone that bought a ticket to see the event!  Here’s to hoping we’ll see Rock Fight for the fourth time in the future!

ALL PHOTOS BY MARKO SIMONEN (www.markosimonen.com)

I’ve been very blessed over my wrestling career.  I’ve been able to step into the ring with some of the most talented, superb and acclaimed wrestlers on the planet.  It’s been a boon, as the fact is that the only way anyone ever gets better at anything is to compete/play/face others that are better than you.  If you manage to not only hang in there but up the proverbial ante while you are at it, you cannot help but get better at what you do, be it music, chess, engineering, cooking, MMA or pro wrestling.

You take pieces of every single match that you have and absorb the best parts of each outing to make yourself a more complete athlete and wrestler.  With this in mind, I’ve been able to learn boatloads by being in the ring with world-class names over my 24-year career such as Dave “Fit” Finlay, Keiji “Great Muta” Muto, Naomichi Marufuji, Super Crazy, “The Japanese Buzzsaw” Yoshihiro Tajiri, “Native American” Tatanka, Akira Nogami, Genechiro Tenryu, Al Snow, D-Lo Brown, Ultimo Dragon, Lance Storm, Chris “Bambikiller” Raaber, Michael Kovac, Masato Tanaka, Bernard Vandamme, Doug Williams, James Mason, even WWE’s longest reigning champion in over 20 years, Asuka, and a literal litany of others.

They say in our trade that you are only as good as your last match.  Well, if that is the case then age is indeed only a number, as I’ve consistently been able to produce some of the best match-ups of my career here in my mid-40’s.  That said, I’ve got one of the sternest challenges of my entire career ahead of me next weekend on February 24 in Leppävirta, Finland at an event called Rock Fight.

Davies vs StarBuck ROCK FIGHT banner

I believe the biggest man that I’ve been in the ring with was the monsterous Alofa the Wild Samoan, son of the legendary Afa the Wild Samoan, who tipped the scales somewhere between 150-170kg back in 2005 when I faced him in Monza, Italy.  In that match, Alofa came crashing down on my head with all of his weight as I failed to move out of the way in time, crushing my head between his considerable weight and the canvas.  What immediately followed was my fifth career concussion at that time, which I valiantly fought through on auto-pilot, finishing the match, which ended finally in a DQ or count-out as we fought outside the ring.

Now, on February 24, I face a man even bigger than Alofa.  My opponent at Rock Fight, Demolition Davies, is 191cm tall and 190kg of pure malicious intent and meanness personified.  Davies isn’t just a big man, either.  He’s been a champion the world over and right now he’s one of the best big man wrestlers in all of Europe.

Demolition Davies

I’ve been training incredibly hard in preparation for Davies next weekend, pushing some big weights in the gym, performing multiple compound movements to get myself ready for this latest challenger to my Valhalla Nordic Wrestling Championship title.  I’m going to use every single bit of wrestling knowhow that I’ve amassed over a quarter-decade in this game, all of the bits and pieces of the lessons learned against the masters along the way, to navigate and survive against Demolition Davies in order to walk out of Vesileppis Arena in Leppävirta, Finland on the evening of February 24 with the Nordic title intact.

If you’d like to witness one of the sternest challenges of my professional life, I’d recommend that you come out in person get your tickets NOW!

Rock Fight lehtimainos A4 preview

 

Having been in the pro wrestling industry all across the globe for a good quarter-century, I thought to write a handbook or guide of sorts for young wrestlers and newer talents in – or just coming into – the wrestling business, based on what I’ve seen and experienced over my career.

I do this partially out of necessity, as I’ve seen the younger stock damn near kill the ”business” side of the industry for the other workers out there, and in part as a public service to give back to the industry where it stands today.

When I say this guide was born out of necessity, I say so mainly out of the fact that the ”professional” side of our industry is suffering tremendously, even though there are more shows taking place now than at any time in recent memory. Yet, the pay scale is one of the facets being demolished and many a newer talent is to blame for this, be they promoters or workers. I’ve also seen the near-death of actual etiquette in terms of how to carry one’s self in the business, which should be addressed for the welfare of the industry at large. With this in mind, now is the time to listen up, so let us commence with this free, but invaluable, 101 in How To Handle Yourself In Pro Wrestling!

Lesson #1: Act Like a Pro

How to Look in Pro Wrestling

Now kids, boys and girls alike, working for free just to get bookings and paying to play is not the way to go if you want a future in any trade. Earning your stripes and paying your dues while working for nil to free is one or two year period, at most. Back in the day when this business was still a real trade that supported a workers’ family, if any said talent undersold themselves intentionally just to get booked, or if they sabotaged a comrade in the territory by underselling themselves just to get booked, they risked getting the living shit beat out of them by the locker room.

It’s called PRO Wresting for a reason. The Pro word is there to let you understand that you should have the intent of making as much coin at it as you can over the course of your career. You must learn to make yourself valuable. Your work must be worth something. If not, why should anyone pay to see you?

Get real wresting gear, invest in yourself.  Get a good looking pair of tights, singlet or trunks made.  Buy a quality pair of real wrestling boots.  Look the part.  Do not wrestle in sneakers and shorts, to say nothing of a t-shirt.  If you look like a punter, you deserve to be treated like a punter.  If you don’t have enough sun around your climes to get a natural tan, then either hit the solarium or get a spraytan for any and all wrestling shows that you might be booked on.  I cannot stress this enough: look the part.  Look professional.

Now, I understand the way the world is going. I understand that all across the board, in live music, in the postal service, in the construction sector, etc. the jobs are increasingly going to those who will work harder and longer for less pay. This, however, is pure sabotage and is destined to end badly for everyone. You can always negotiate down, but it’s freaking hard to negotiate up. There’s always someone who will do the job for less, as you all know. Make yourself and your personal piece of business so valuable that promoters and fans are going to be willing to pay for your talents, but also, know what the pay scale is. Know your place on the pay scale, based on your experience, number of matches worked, past accolades, current profile and overall value on any said, given card. It’s not grand on the indies these days, by any stretch. Like former WCW wrestler PN News, aka Cannonball Grizzly, so aptly stated back in 2013 in a locker room in Germany: ”I might be a whore, because I sell my body for money. At least I’m not a slut who gives it away for free.”

There have been several gaijins (foreigners) over the last few years who can be held accountable for killing the once extremely profitable wrestling promised land of Japan. These newer faces went in, paying their own three-month visa, paying their own flights, sleeping on dojo floors and making next to nothing in pay just to play superstar and say they’ve wrestled in Japan. Talk about being a mark! It makes me sick to my gut. By the same token, the promoters who took them up on their offers are just as guilty. They collectively killed Japan for the rest of us, for the veterans included, who deserve to make a reasonable living at this game after sacrificing their bodies for so many years. Japan used to be a place, along with Mexico, where a good hand could make a decent chunk of change and maybe even put some of it away in savings. Sayonara now to that notion.

Moral of the story: you must act like a pro to be considered a pro. Period.

Lesson #2: Make Yourself Valuable

AJ Styles

AJ Styles is a classic case of a guy whose work ethic and skills made him valuable, so that he was able to reach the pinnacle of his profession.

Get your look in order. Invest in a gym membership and an experienced, knowledgeable personal trainer if you don’t have the know-how to build your body up to be muscular and strong. You will need that strength in the ring, I assure you, and the look is your aesthetic sales pitch. It’s the mirage of the product before delivery to your audience, after which it’s up to you to you produce — looking like the Big Mac on the menu board, or like the sorry, flattened burger that very well might get handed to you. People do not want to see jabronies that look just like them. If the guy changing your oil at Jiffy Lube could just as easily be a member of Motley Crue, then you have a perception problem because the star aura is sorely missing. Pro wrestling is meant to be bigger than life. Always has, always will be. That said, this is the exact same epidemic that has flattened out and deflated the aura, mysticism and grandeur of rock music at large, in addition to spoiling beauty pageants where the girls actually have to be a cut above the status quo to qualify, to allowing professional politicians into public office who fail to represent the interests of the public at large in any way and just capitalize on personal gain at your expense.

My old coach, Lance Storm, once so appropriately stated that a wrestler need three things to even have a fighting chance at making it in the pro wrestling business: 1) the look, meaning body and image, 2) the actual ring skills and 3) charisma to make people either love or hate you, but no middle ”they’re okay, I guess” ground.

If you lack in any of the three attributes aforementioned, get busy filling in the blanks, because while you’re daydreaming, someone else is hustling and doing what has to be done. And as they say, the early bird gets the worm (read: bookings).

Lesson #3: Don’t be a Mark

bullshit

Pro wrestling is a bullshitters’ business. Don’t be fooled, everyone is ”working” the next guy, because no one wants to risk losing their spot or moving a peg down. Everyone is looking out for number one. Many would sell their mother down a river to get a foothold over you. Al Snow once aptly said, as we were touring Egypt back in 2009: ”There are no brothers in this business, only business associates”.

Don’t be too gullible for your own good. Take everything with a grain of salt. Believe it only when you have your plane tickets in hand or when you are actually at the said show. Everything up to that point is just talk, and talk is cheap. Truth be told, only after you’ve actually been paid your agreed on wage can you really believe it.

Also, don’t be a mark for yourself. Just because you know how to play the game doesn’t make you King Midas. Don’t think that you are God’s gift to wrestling just because you might look like a million dollars or you can do a reverse 450 Firebird Splash. Don’t think you are indispensable. Don’t think that just because you’ve bought 10 pairs of tights and four pairs of boots that you are somehow better for it than the guy that just has one pair of each.  Never take anything for granted. Stay humble. Be a good sport. Don’t be an egomaniac. Have a strong ego that drives you, but don’t let your ego control you.

Lesson #4: Pro Wrestling is still Territorial

El Ligero

El Ligero of England

You’ve probably heard a million times that the territories died back at the end of the ’80s. Still, the way the wrestling business and promoters operate today is highly territorial. For example, if you live in a place like Finland, at the ass end of the world like myself, and a promoter can get four guys crammed into a car out of Germany to go wrestle in Italy, who do you think they will choose? Hmm. A guy like me, here in the worst possible demographic area on the map, will have to have his shit together and all his sales arguments in line, be relevant and credible and bringing something of salable use to the table, if he hopes to score gigs in the face of this aforementioned, stark reality.

When I say wrestling is still territorial, I’ll break it down for you: a promoter is looking to make as much money as possible and in doing so they look to cut their costs. The promoter will try to take the cheapest route possible, acquire talent from nearby, just like the four-to-a-car model I mentioned, and they will sometimes even try to skimp on offering accommodations if they are able to do so, having you drive back home in the middle of the night. Yes, there are places where the talent gets treated like circus animals, even to this day. Therefore, if a promoter can keep their costs down by taking in talent from right next door, then for you to be considered from several countries away… well, you had better have something that the promoter and their show really needs. You visage on a poster better sell an adequate amount of tickets to cover your costs or you had better have the kinds of skills that make other people (read: local wrestlers of said promotion you wish to work for) look good. Or then you had better be politically important. Or then, you had better have a name in the wrestling business. Unless you are a younger talent with a name like Will Ospreay (read: a well-known internet darling) you can forget the last line I just wrote.

Lesson #5: Pro Wrestling is Ruled by Cliques

The Cliq

If you don’t know the impact of this group, then get busy on Google.

If you don’t belong to a clique, part of somebody’s group of inside faves, your chances of getting booked are slim and rare. I didn’t say slim to none, I said slim to rare. It’s the truth, even if it is a sorry state of affairs. There are shitloads of great guitarists out there who are just as good as Steve Vai or Alexi Laiho who never get anywhere or reach greater acclaim. They simply don’t belong to the right social circle and they aren’t the darlings of a certain clique, so they are shut out of the larger window of opportunity. It’s often not what you know, as valuable as that is, it’s who you know. Age-old wisdom that is, as Yoda would say.

I don’t say this as an exhortation of any sort, that you should start kissing ass and buttering up the nearest influencer, as most of these people can smell you coming a mile away. I would advise you to simply be diligent, hustle, be humble, listen, constantly improve your game and ask for the advice of those ahead of you in the game, carry the veteran’s bags and even get them coffee, and keep putting in the best effort you possibly can each and every time you go out there and step into a ring. It’s called the law of sowing and reaping. It’s the path that I took and I can tell you that it sure as shit ain’t the fast track. It took me a lot longer to get my due and get noticed, because I never kissed asses and never played locker room politics. I invested in making myself the best wrestler I could be. I got the whole package together and honed it down to a proverbial ”T”. I built up my resumé and got my personal piece of business down so solid that it became valuable. Remember: value comes to value, always. My work and ultimately my reputation stood as my calling card. Then, certain circles began letting me in, simply based on the quality of my work and my working ethic, plus the fact that I wasn’t a trouble-maker and I was dependable. I know, the path less taken doesn’t sound very sexy and it doesn’t offer instant gratification.

Still, you can try the asskissing route if you want to try short-cutting your way to the top. No guarantees that it’ll work, however. And I won’t even get into the bookers and promoters who might try implying that you trade sexual favors for bookings. Be forwarned, they are out there. Have the dignity to say NO, even if it comes at the cost of getting booked.

Lesson #6: Every Match is a CV Match

Never ”take the night off”. Never ”just wing it”. Invest yourself in making each and every match as good as you possibly can. Think of what elements you and your opponent bring to the table and tell the best story that you can with those elements in mind.

Remember: you never know who will see your bout. I say this again, because it is pivotally important: think of what elements you will need to apply to best tell the intended story of your altercation. Don’t think that you need to showcase every single move you know, nor ”get all your shit in”. No, you need to tell the story of the match. And not every match needs to be a five-star affair. Maybe that’s not the purpose of your match in the big picture of the overall show. Maybe your position on the card requires something else from you.

Still, you need to come out of it looking like a star, but so does your opponent. Remember, you are only as good as the person that you are in the ring with. If they look like shit, you look like shit. And if you need that last one explained, you need to go back to wrestling school under a better coach.

Lesson #7: Be Adaptable and Always Keep Learning

Adam Flex Maxted

Adam “Flex” Maxted

I’m reminded by a young man I met while on a wrestling tour of Pakistan last year. His name is Adam Maxted from the UK. Adam is very young in the business, but he already has a million dollar body. He’s invested his time in the gym. He’s hungry to learn, constantly taking part in seminars of old warhorses like Marty Jones, always looking to up his game. And voilá… in less than one year since I met him, the kid is already IPW All England champion in the UK and has an upcoming match booked against Rey Mysterio for one of the largest companies there this coming March. Believe me when I tell you: you do not get chosen to be booked against a guy the likes of Rey unless you have all of the various pieces of the puzzle together. Adam deserves all the credit in the world for being a model example of hustling his ass off, being humble, keeping his ears open and being able to learn from constructive criticism. He is on the fast track to becoming a big name in our industry, and he will have earned it by the sweat of his brow, once that inevitable day comes. And once that day does arrive, Adam will have people like Marty Jones to thank, because he has been taught the essentials of what it reads on the marquee: WRESTLING.

The same applies to you. No matter who you are booked against, know your groundwork. Know how to actually wrestle. If your match falls apart, the highspots aren’t going to save you. Garbage wrestling isn’t going to save you, either. The name of the game is still wrestling at the end of the day. Can you pull it off?

Here at the end of 2017 as the New Year is about to turn a new page for all of us, I reflect back on what the past 12 months have meant for me personally and professionally.

I have to say from the bottom of my heart that this past year has been one of the best overall years for me on record, especially in terms of my professional wrestling career and movie actor ambitions.  I once stated that if I could do with my life what I dare dream, it would be to become a world-traveled professional wrestler, a touring rock artist and a movie actor.  Here, at the age of 44, I have achieved all of those things and more.  That is certainly something to be proud of, and I can only look to make the good things in life prosper and grow in the fact of each new challenge as life rolls on.

2017 saw me claim my 21st country in pro wrestling, that being Pakistan, this past May.  Pakistan is about as exotic as a location as it gets, and the treatment we got from the local PWE promoters was top-notch.  Five-star hotels, bodyguards and even a presidential suite were all in the offering, as we were treated like royalty by fans and organizers alike.  I was the only wrestler on the international roster out of the Nordics.

StarBuck with Syed Asim Ali Asmi PWE

With the big boss of PWE in Pakistan!

StarBuck vs. Bambikiller in Pakistan

Getting the upper hand on Chris “Bambikiller” Raaber in Lahore, Pakistan

My long-awaited autobiography, Battleground Valhalla, also came out in May through Crowbar Press in the USA, a highly-esteemed publisher of wrestling autobiographies, whose earlier releases include Donnie Fargo, Ole Anderson and Stand Hansen to name a few.  My book has sold great to this date, as I’ve even mailed out a ton of signed copies to folks far and wide who’ve asked for personalized copies.  My story also got released through Kindle on Amazon as a digital e-book, which was icing on the cake!

2017 was the year that I was named the inaugural Valhalla Nordic Wrestling Champion by ’80s pop sensation Samantha Fox and STHLM Wrestling out of Sweden.  After being lauded the honor of interim champion in (again) May, I went on to defeat a very capable up-and-coming young star in Timmy Force on July 8 in Stockholm to become the undisputed, first Valhalla Nordic champ.  This match was highly-praised by one of the heads of WWE, who was on hand, front-and-center ringside to witness this 30-minute classic that will go down as quite possibly the greatest match to date on Swedish soil.

StarBuck vs Timmy Force VALHALLA Nordic Championship 6

Timmy Force falls to my world-famous finisher, the jumping spike piledriver in Stockholm (photo: Fredrik Streiffert)

2017 was the year that I ventured into the studio with my reformed Stoner Kings band, recording new material after a decade of absence.  We even filmed the first-ever music video we ever did with the band for a single called Cro-Magnon, which was a very proud moment for me as the founder of Stoner Kings.

2017 was the year that I took three unprecedented vacations, something I had never done in that number per annum, in Morocco, Romania’s mountains, Spain and Thailand.  Thanks to my wife, Diana, for arranging these trips, as she’s quite the tour organizer and could easily be a commercial tour guide if she chose to do so.

2017 was also the year that I captured my fifth Finnish wrestling championship.  On December 2 in Helsinki at Finland’s biggest annual pro wrestling spectacular, Talvisota XII, I unseated Juhana “King Kong” Karhula in a 25+ minute mat classic, becoming a double-champion this year.

StarBuck FCF Champion 2017

StarBuck – FCF champion for the fifth time, December 2017 (photo: Marko Simonen)

2017 also saw me featured in two ground-breaking movie releases: It Came From The Desert and Rendel.  Both films have been sold worldwide now and have been dubbed in multiple, foreign languages like Japanese, German and Spanish.  My roles in both movies were incredibly intriguing and important characters, both of which for I was able to channel my vast pro wrestling experience into.

StarBuck in Rendel

My Russian mercenary character in Rendel has arguably the best fight scene in the whole movie

All in all, I can only be thankful for the awesome year that was 2017.  Even as a personal trainer and voice-over speaker, I accumulated several new clients and commissions.  As a graphic artist, several customers utilized my talents as a traditional illustrator.  With my voice, I was able to parlay my talents as a guest ring announcer at various boxing events, in front of new audiences.

Värityskirja kansi Vesileppis

The cover of a children’s coloring book for Vesileppis Sport & Spa hotel in Finland, featuring Yours Truly as the human lead.

I have said that for some unexplained, divine reason, particularly good things happen to me in seven year installments.  This year was one such waypoint.  My previous seven year boon was in 2010, when I debuted as a professional wrestler in Japan – my career goal – where I became a star on the national stage overnight.  Seven years prior to that in 2003, I started the entire professional wrestling phenomenon in Finland, bringing the fighting art form to this neck of the Nordics and teaching it to the very first class of Finnish students in history.  Seven years before that, in 1996, I moved to Finland from my homeland of Canada to begin rewriting personal life history and create a legacy which even I had no inkling of, nor the its magnitude, as the years would roll on.  That said, here at the very end of 2017, I can say with all humility and honesty, that I am the most accomplished and successful professional wrestler in history to this day out of Northern Europe.

I eagerly await to see what 2018 brings.  While the world at large seems to be headed into a maelstrom of uncertainty, I can honestly say that the Good Lord above has blessed my life and continues to do so.  All respect the Big Man upstairs.  For me, the proof is in the pudding!

Does that headline ring a bell? Maybe a reminiscent throwback to the first half of the 2000s and a certain black athlete named Booker T in WWE?

What Booker Huffman – wrestling name Booker T – was referring to in his promos, where he would spout off on the stick about this very slogan, was his five reigns as pro wrestling world champion.

Well, after last night at Finland’s biggest annual pro wrestling mega-gala, Talvisota XII, I can claim the same thing. Five time! Five time! Five time! Yes, last night, I became FCF wrestling champion for the fifth time in my long and storied wrestling career, defeating a very game titleholder in a man I despise, yet respect after this war, Juhana “King Kong” Karhula.

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In a Finnish grappling epic for the ages, lasting 25:35, this monumental main event last night was laced in tension, drama and malicious intent. Karhula had stated prior to our showdown that he couldn’t foresee the both of us continuing with FCF Wrestling after this title-vs-title war, where I put my Valhalla Nordic wrestling championship up against his FCF wrestling championship.

Well, once the dust had settled and my hand was raised triumphantly in victory, yet again showcasing that no one can survive my jumping spike piledriver, Karhula had to back up his words. He bowed out, left his boots in the ring and called it a day.

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Well, good riddance, say I. We’ve had our differences over the past years, escalating in the grand finale that we fought last night before a sold-out house, packed with rabid, impassioned wrestling aficionados. That said, our differences are the type that can’t be resolved, and in this light, I bid Karhula adieu, sans any bells or whistles. Sayonara!

I’ll give the man credit, though, as I believe you must always give credit where credit is due: Karhula fought like his life depended on it. And his professional life, at the very least, most certainly did depend on the outcome of this match.

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I’ve been in countless wars over my near-24 year pro career, and this was one of those matches that’ll stand out in my memories when I tell my grandchildren one day about the monolithic Nordic battles of lore that their grandfather once fought as the greatest, most celebrated professional wrestler in history out of northern Europe. A man who would even make his Viking ancestors proud.

So shout it out with me: Five time! Five time! Five time!

I hate to be the one who told you so, and not that I want to toot my own horn, but TOOT, TOOT!

Bow to the new KING, because the ascension has now taken place!

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ALL PHOTOS BY MARKO SIMONEN (www.markosimonen.com)