Posts Tagged ‘FCF’

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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One week from today, it’ll be time to lace up the proverbial boots and step into the pro wrestling ring for the first match of 2016.  Just this past week, on January 7, I passed my 22-year mark since my first live wresting match as an active competitor.  Now, here in 2016, this old dog is still alive and kicking.

Hell, I’m sure there are some that would just wish an old warhorse like me would die out and fade away, but that just ain’t happening.  Not yet.  I will be the one to dictate when and where, barring serious injury or an Act of God.

side buck

There are days that I wonder how long I will want to keep up actively wrestling.  There is a limit to all things, a bump card that keeps filling up, and every year, I just have to find a way to wrestle smarter and navigate better.  It’s a challenge, but one that I embrace.  After all, at heart, I am a fighter.

At 42-years of age, I look at many contemporaries in our business and size myself up against them.  Old friends like Chris Jericho are a mere couple years older than me, and still in good stride, able to compete at the highest level.  My old wrestling coach Lance Storm of Storm Wrestling Academy in Calgary, Canada, gets in the ring daily with his wrestling students and has actual matches against them to help them improve, and Lance is three years my senior.  Heck, when I lost the SMASH championship title to Dave “Fit” Finlay in 2011 in Tokyo, the legendary Irishman was just over 50 at that point, and he ran me ragged!

04

Dave Finlay was an absolute beast inside of that ring past the age of 50!

Alas, here in 2016, I sit at my desktop computer, writing this blog, and I ponder my own situation.  I’ve been at this grappling game for a good number of years now, putting in the miles, flying here and there, up against the best competition around the globe.  I look at a guy like Keiji Muto in Japan, a man whom I look up to greatly for his legacy and longevity in our business, and see how beat up his knees are past the age of 50 now.  I think of guys like Triple H, in his mid-40s now, wrestling a very limited schedule, with only a few shots a year at most.  And then there is The Undertaker, who continues to hang on, also grappling a mere few times a year, as everyone asks when his last Wrestlemania moment will be.

As a veteran, it’s hard to hang it up, because at the heart of it all, we are all fans of this game.  Look at Terry Funk, the legendary old NWA World champion and hardcore wrestling legend.  He could never exorcise the wrestler out of his system, and the number of his announced “retirements” has been baffling.  That’s because Terry Funk loves pro wrestling.  Just like the other veterans out there, who refuse to die out and fade away.

I recall Bret “Hitman” Hart saying in his autobiography, that he never wanted anyone to see him wrestle as an old fart, past his due date.  I can relate to that, as it becomes a matter of personal pride in your own legacy and accomplishments.  You don’t want to be in a place where you are just a shell of what you used to be at your prime.  As long as you can produce top-notch matches and carry your personal piece of business with your head held high, I say go.  Don’t let anyone stop you.

And so it is in 2016, that 22 years into the pro wrestling game, I look at the date of January 16 at the Pressa Club in Helsinki.  I look at the match I will have that night and the tag team partner that I am paired with that evening: Stark Adder.

Adder is another veteran, a year older than Yours Truly, but equally a warhorse of high fortitude and morale that keeps the flame alive.  We’ve fought each other numerous times over the past decade, and we have nothing but the highest mutual respect for one another.

Now, on January 16, Adder and I will join forces to do battle with Adder’s former tag team partner and ex-protege, Ricky Vendetta, and his partner, FCF champion, Valentine.  This is a huge tag match on paper, a monumental bout that will see Adder and Vendetta lock horns for the first time since Vendetta turned on his former mentor about a half-year ago.

I warmly welcome you all out to Helsinki on January 16 to see what very well may be deemed as “The Veteran’s League”, as we clash with the kind of opposition that will surely translate into a classic match at the Pressa Club in Helsinki, with a showtime start of 18:00 and doors opening at 17:30, tickets 20e/person.

valentinericky_adderbuck

I thought to write a breakdown of the things I witnessed from a coaching perspective at FCF Wrestling’s Jatkosota 2015 event in Helsinki this past weekend. Since many people don’t really understand the nature of the beast that is professional wrestling, maybe this will help to shed some light on the game, and folks just might be able to grasp how incredibly demanding the sport is on so many levels.

In the opener tag match which I was a part of, I was really impressed with the physical aggression of King Kong Karhula, who tagged with Pyöveli Petrov. The big man is undoubtedly at the top of his game right now after spending 10 years in the sport to date, as his timing is impeccable, every single move and all of his execution is full-out and in-pocket. He has all the bases covered: the character, the charisma and the ring skills. I would be surprised if WWE didn’t take a serious look at this guy in the very near future. The way Karhula brutalized my tag team partner Sly Sebastian in our tag match made me feel sorry for little Sly. Mean and nasty in the ring, Karhula is one to watch for, and promoters in Europe should seriously consider booking him, regardless of the financial struggles that most of the continent has been facing for quite some time already.

King Kong Karhula

The Beast’s power displays in his match against Jessica Love were impressive, to say the least. Especially catching Jessica’s top rope crossbody and turning it into a jackhammer in one fell swoop for the winning pinfall was a thing to behold. This big man is developing at an alarming pace, and he is another one that WWE should be keeping their eyes on, and dismantling fan favorite Jessica Love gives The Beast major momentum right now.

The Beast

The hunger, spark and fire shown by young newcomers Jami Aalto and Joey Impact was a thing of beauty to behold in their match against Stark Adder and Ricky Vendetta. You can really see that these two rookies ”want it.” They want to grasp the brass ring and make a real impression on the fans, in their quest to become stars in this grappling game. Both Aalto and Impact showed incredible drive, heart and passion as they gutsily fought the experienced duo of Adder and Vendetta, who are the most cohesive unit in FCF Wrestling today and one mean team. I predict a bright future for these kids. Keep it up!

Joey Impact vs. Ricky Vendetta

After suffering a brutal beating at the hands of ”Wildman” Heimo Ukonselkä, Mikko Maestro faces a transition akin to that undergone by Kurt Angle somewhere around the year 2000. Angle was a comedy wrestler in WWE at the time, and in his feud with Triple H, he had to step it up and find his serious game face. Maestro simply cannot continue as a light-hearted, fun guy after the way Heimo abused him. He will have to find the reserves deep down to become more that what he is now, if he hopes to stand toe-to-toe with Ukonselkä. Now is the time for Mikko Maestro to change his game.

Mikko Maestro brutalized by Heimo Ukonselkä (Photo: Mats Havia 2015)

Mikko Maestro brutalized by Heimo Ukonselkä (Photo: Mats Havia 2015)

The triple threat tag team match between HC Andersen & Robert Holmström, The Luupää Brothers and Murskaaja Mieto & Tohtori Ioni had one competitor outshine everyone. Vili Luupää showed the kind of timing, fire and fluidity in his hot tag comeback, that I have last seen Daniel Bryan do something similar when he was feuding with The Shield in WWE a couple of years back. I really have to give props to Vili Luupää, who is another one grasping for the elusive brass ring right now.

Vili Luupää vs. Tohtori Ioni

The women’s triple threat match was short and sweet, but the girls really showed some pizzazz and spice while they were in there. For a long time, pro wrestling has been coined ”the grunt and groan game”, and one thing that matches must have is audibles and noise (since no one likes to watch sports or movies with the sound turned off). Julia Kyy (main audibles here and best character presence overall), Sara Elektra and newcomer Regina really put in a spirited effort for the few minutes that they had, before Robert Holmström interjected himself in the match and drew the kind of heat from the audience that borders on being criminal. Holmström has that ”asshole” kind of quality to his ring character that people find easy to hate, and it should be interesting to see how he fares against the girls, because that seems to be his intergender modus operandi now.

Julia Kyy

France’s Jimmy Gavroche and FCF champion Valentine had one of the best pure wrestling matches that I have seen in a long, long time. I felt that Gavroche really pushed Valentine to his fullest potential and visa versa. It’s a thing of beauty to see the marquee done right, and the name on the marquee reads ”wrestling.” Tight ring work, well-paced and holding solid match psychology, this was a worthy main event. Gavroche has great fire and body language and I can understand why it is easy for the audience to get behind him, even if he is a foreign wrestler coming in against one of FCF’s own. There were so many false finishes in this match that it kept everyone on the edge of their seats. It was really something to see live, which is exactly how professional wrestling should be enjoyed. Big props to both men for an incredible effort. I also have to state, that I was really taken aback at how the fans responded to The Beast coming out after the match to stare down Valentine, as the audience erupted into a completely spontaneous ”Beast is gonna kill you!” chant that continued even after The Beast left the ring and went to the back. There’s something very volatile brewing here!

Jimmy Gavroche vs. Valentine

Be sure to come out for the next FCF Wrestling event in Porvoo, Finland on June 5 at the city’s #URBCULT happening, as there is nothing quite like the live experience that the game provides. Take a look at this fantastic video to see exactly what I’m talking about and we hope to see you next time!

Not many people understand the world of pro wrestling, as they either misconstrue it as completely bogus and a mock-sport or they don’t understand it at all.  Let me say right out of the blocks, to quote former multi-time WWE/WCW champion Bret Hart, that “pro wrestling is a lot more real than people care to think.”

In this light, I offer up the following perspective read, as Sweden’s hottest rising star “The Beast” came to Finland last week for coaching with Yours Truly before facing transsexual wrestling standout Jessica Love at FCF Wrestling’s Jatkosota 2015 event in Helsinki this past Saturday, May 2.

The Beast

In the fastest rise that I can personally recall, The Beast is stepping up his game like few others have done to date, making an indelible mark in his wake.  As I’ve coached The Beast, I’ve witnessed him develop at an incredible pace.

Beast’s MMA and submission wrestling background, along with his past as a TV Gladiator, has definitely worked in his favor.  Beast took a couple of nasty hits in training that would have put any normal man on the sidelines, nearly tearing his latissimus muscle and cracking his spine, but this guy pulled through on sheer focus and guts alone.  Talk about Teflon!

The Beast vs. Jessica Love

My faith in the man rose considerably after I saw him persevere regardless of the immense pain he was in due to the mishaps in training.  Beast has shown an great amount of coachability and humility, absorbing his schooling like a sponge.  Regardless of his past sporting and media merits, he leaves his ego at the door when it comes to learning the craft of pro wrestling, and that is a very honorable trait.  Like legendary Four Horsemen member Arn Anderson once said, “It’s gut check time!”, and every single  pro wrestling trainee and active wrestler alike will get to this “gut check” stage in their grappling trek when the pain is so great that you question going on.  The Beast had his first serious gut check this past week, and he persevered without flinching or shying away from taking the next step in his training.  Read Beast’s blog on the matter (in Swedish) HERE.

This guy is one to watch.  I wrote a blog about him over a few weeks back, and it bears to mention that promoters out there should be keeping their eyes open with this big guy.  If his heart stays in the game, regardless of whatever setbacks might come his way, he is going to really become something in this game.

Tapout is a word that is familiar to most nowadays. In addition to being a top MMA clothing line, it is also an indicator of conceding a match due to the pain becoming too great to withstand. In short, submission.

It is in this light that I would like broach the subject of my upcoming, long-awaited submissions-only match with one Ricky Vendetta at Talvisota IX in Helsinki on February 7. Ricky has had a field day for the better part of last year, boasting and gloating at my personal expense after scoring a few tainted victories over me after I suffered the worst defeats of my career at 2014’s Talvisota VIII.

Vendetta catches me in a Samoan Drop (photo: Marko Simonen)

Vendetta catches me in a Samoan Drop (photo: Marko Simonen)

I was on an emotional low, a personal downturn. I had lost my wife as my ringside valet due to a contract stipulation set forth by Valentine, who also underhandedly took the since-terminated Nordic Openweight title from me at Talvisota VIII. On the same night, I was set to make another title defense, putting my newly-won WNC championship on the line against Bernard Vandamme of Belgium. I lost that match also, along with the WNC belt. This set off a downward spiral for me, one which I had a hell of a time digging myself out of.

Ricky Vendetta came to prey on the remains of a deflated StarBuck, starting at FCF Wrestling’s Jatkosota 2014 event, when he managed to pin me in a six-man tag team match. At Snacky Slam in July, Vendetta managed to do a repeat in another six-man bout. I have to admit that the belligerent ”Finnish Doberman” was really getting under my skin at this point. Then, in a singles match in September in Helsinki, Vendetta and I met one-on-one and he managed to injure my ribs and claim yet another underhanded victory.

Ricky Vendetta claims to be the "Finnish Doberman" (photo: Marko Simonen)

Ricky Vendetta claims to be the “Finnish Doberman” (photo: Marko Simonen)

But all that said, Ricky Vendetta has come to the end of his ego parade. He’s still a young man, a four-year pro. Sure, he’s got a world of talent, but he also has a misguided sense of self-worth. He sees himself bigger than his britches allow for. So I made a promise already last year, one which was directed to young Vendetta, and one which I have not yet been able to fulfill. That gets rectified at Talvisota IX this February 7 in Helsinki at the Helsinki Sports Hall in the city’s Kallio suburb.

Talvisota IX represents the biggest pro wrestling extravaganza of the year in Finland. It is our Wrestlemania. The night when the spotlight shines brightest of all, when one can stake out and claim their marquee moment. Ricky Vendetta has that great opportunity, to make this old dog of war snap and tap out. To claim his hoped for spot, without any tainted additives, to claim a clean, concise victory over Yours Truly. No more shenanigans, just a one-night war of hostility that can only end in submission.

I've perfected my Rebel Lock crossface submission just for Vendetta! (photo: Mara Backman)

I’ve perfected my Rebel Lock crossface submission just for Vendetta! (photo: Mara Backman)

Ricky, I welcome you at Talvisota IX. I’ve been waiting for this one for over a half-year now. Come and get what’s coming to you!

Talvisota IX -wrestling show

7.2.2015

Helsingin Urheilutalo, Helsinginkatu 25, Helsinki

Doors: 17:00, showtime 17:30
Tickets at the door: 20e

With another year gone in the history books, I’d like to glance back and assess the past 12 months both personally and professionally.

The last two years have really been life-altering times of change for me. In 2013 I got married, starting a new chapter of my life. Professionally speaking, 2014 signalled the end of the WNC (Wrestling New Classic) organization that I grappled for, marking the close of an era there also. The financial crunch in Europe began to sting and affect businesses across the board, spreading to Asia, including professional wrestling. Less shows were in the offering and the money just wasn’t there. I find myself amongst the hard-nosed veterans of the grappling game who find themselves working a limited number of dates due the poorly paying scene in general, not counting a few decent promotions on the grappling map who are still putting out top dollar for top talent still. 2014 was no cake-walk for independent pro wrestling, folks.

Yet, 2014 was musically one of the better years that I recall as of late. With my southern rock act Crossfyre we blazed across Europe and all around Finland over 2014, having one helluva time! We toured Poland, Estonia and Germany at the start of the summer and hit a slew of summer festivals and biker gigs to boot domestically. I got to see Lithuania and Latvia in transition between countries on tour and overall it was great experience. Crossfyre really evolved even further over 2014 as a working man’s hard working band, and for that, I am proud.

2014 started off with a bang, as fast food giant Subway had me play the lead and do the voice-over for their American Steak House Melt sub sandwich. I got to play my redneck self, complete with my Michael Hayes-like finger mannerisms, familiar to wrestling fans far and wide, who’ve seen ”The Rebel” StarBuck in action.

2014 also marked my 20th anniversary since debuting as an active combatant in the world of pro wrestling. On January 7 this past year, my old wrestling coach Lance Storm sent me a public message on Facebook, congratulating me on my career milestone. It was Lance who was my first opponent, whom I had a very decent 7-minute match with back in Calgary, Canada in my debut bout. Since that time, I’ve gone on to see the world, kick ass and take names far and wide. Thank again, Lance, for setting me off on that fantastic journey!

Speaking of pro wrestling, FCF started off 2014 with a bang on January 11 in Helsinki, as my four-man team of Mikko Maestro, Sly Sebastian, Kristian Kurki and Yours Truly downed the team of Valentine, Conny Mejsel, Steinbolt and Robert Holmström in a hellacious Survivor Series-style elimination match. This tag bout stands out as one of my personal favorites from 2014, as everyone clicked on all cylinders and the action was hot and heavy-handed.

In another huge tag team outing, I teamed with FCF’s King Kong Karhula against the duo of Sweden’s Conny Mejsel and Harley Rage in Gothenburg on February 1, which turned out to be perhaps the hottest tag team match that I have ever wrestled. I am speaking solely about fan reaction to the bout here, but I am in no way undermining the quality of the wrestling in that match. Everyone brought their A-game to the show, and I am glad that my Spandex Sapiens movie producer Oskari Pastila was able to come and film the bout, because this crowd and atmosphere was most definitely worth capturing on film.

The Gothenburg fans went bananas when their hero Conny Mesjel got the upper hand on me.

The Gothenburg fans went bananas when their hero Conny Mesjel got the upper hand on me.

Speaking of Spandex Sapiens, premature expectations had the 100-minute documentary movie about my persona and wrestling career coming out in 2014. Yet, director Pastila decided to wait out the possible financial commitments of various third parties before tending to the actual release, and thus, the movie debut was delayed until 2015. Now, the release has been set for autumn 2015 and all signs are go at this point. I personally can’t wait! In addition, 2015 will mark the return of Mad Max to the silver screen, as Fury Road comes out in the summer. When I was a kid, Mad Max: The Road Warrior was my favorite movie.

2014 also saw Yours Truly doing a guest DJ spot on Finland’s top rock radio station, Radio Rock. This was a personal milestone for me, much like getting featured in an exclusive article in Hustler magazine several years ago (true story!) about my wrestling career (Hustler publisher and boss Larry Flynt has always been an icon to me as an anti-establishment kind of guy who swims against the stream at large). I got the opportunity to play whatever I wanted, chosing obscure songs by lesser-known bands like Living Sacrifice, Bolt Thrower and even my own bands, Overnight Sensation and Crossfyre. Talk about a great PR opportunity!

February 27, 2014 was a huge day for me in my wrestling career. I defeated ”The Japanese Buzzsaw” Tajiri for the WNC championship in Tokyo, capturing my second title in Japan to date (I became the first champion in SMASH history back in October 2011, also defeating Tajiri then in a tournament final). Tajiri is arguably my greatest nemesis of all time, over the entire span of my wrestling career. He and I have waged numerous wars, both in Japan and Finland, and I am honored to have had such a great fighting chemistry with him.

One week after winning the WNC title, I hit an all-time career low, as I lost both the WNC championship and the BWA (British Wrestling Alliance) Catchweight belt in the same night at FCF Wrestling’s biggest annual showcase event, Talvisota VIII, on March 8. With my wife Diana as my wrestling valet, I also put her career on the line against Valentine in what I can now assess was a bad case of overconfidence on my part. Valentine pulled out a tainted win, complete with brass knuckles, as I lost the BWA title to him. Immediately thereafter, Belgian powerhouse Bernard Vandamme demanded that I wrestle him and defend the WNC title. Never one to back down from a fight, I valiantly did my best, losing in grand fashion in two minutes. It was possibly the lowest point of my career, and it haunted me for the rest of the year in all of my Finnish matches. I can see now, that it was psychologically a demon and monkey on my back, losing my wife as my valet, along with two championships, in one night. In 2015, I plan to rid myself of that jinx for good.

I was able to grapple again in Belgium in March 2014, this time laying waste to a promising young rookie named Tyson Heel out of Andorra, along with a return to Germany to wrestle for EPW. Things were going great for me outside of Finland, as the wins kept coming, but my jinx returned when FCF’s Jatkosota 2014 rolled around on April 12 in Helsinki once again. In a six-man tag team match, my team of Sly Sebastian, Kristian Kurki and myself lost to Heimo Ukonselkä, Stark Adder and Ricky Vendetta when Ukonselkä assisted Vendetta in gaining a pinfall over this disgruntled Rebel. Ricky Vendetta would go on to brag and boast about gaining the biggest pin of his career, shooting his mouth off all throughout 2014 at my expense. Vendetta became a real thorn in my hide at this point.

I became embroiled in a bitter rivalry with young Ricky Vendetta this year (photo: Marko Simonen).

I became embroiled in a bitter rivalry with young Ricky Vendetta this year (photo: Marko Simonen).

2014 marked my 19th country in pro wrestling, as I went to Holland to wrestle for a fabuolus company called Dutch Pro Wrestling on June 1 against Bernard Vandamme. I was out looking to avenge myself and beat Vandamme into the ground, but as fate would have it, Vandamme found a way to thwart my end goal, eeking out another victory over Yours Truly. That WNC title loss really stung bad after that repeat defeat, I can assure you!

On June 8, I had the pleasure of playing the 2014 Harley-Davidson Super Rally in Tallinn, Estonia with Crossfyre. We had the main stage, we got to meet Mr. Bill Davidson of Harley-Davidson Motorcycles, and we got to treat throngs of bikers from all across Europe to our special southern rocking brand of rock’n’roll from the north. Top of the line hotel, top treatment, top spot on the event line-up = no complaints!

Bill Davidson mugs between me and Crossfyre's session bassist Sami Salminen.

Bill Davidson mugs between me and Crossfyre’s session bassist Sami Salminen.

The summer of 2014 signalled the end of the WNC organization that I wrestled for in Japan. Tajiri, Akira Nogami, Yusuke Kodama, Rionne Fujiwara and a couple of other wrestlers moved on to Keiji Muto’s Wrestle-1 organization, while everyone else from WNC went their own, separate ways. I was saddened to say goodbye to my old Synapse teammates Syuri Kondou and Akira, with whom I enjoyed a tremendous chemistry. We travelled a lot of miles up and down the roads in Japan, kicking asses and taking names for almost two years together. It was a memorable time, and Synapse will always live on in my memories as a unit that I was truly happy to be a part of.

The summer gigs that we played with Crossfyre live strongly in my memories, as I mentioned at the start of this blog. The summer of 2014 was awesome and we really rocked all summer long, as the lyrics to a certain song go. The shows we had in Poland especially warm my heart, as we had Polish audiences dancing on tables and losing their inhibitions (in a good way!) every single night. Poland was one helluva time! I also warmly recall going for a kebab after our gig on the Reperbahn in Hamburg, Germany with a black 74-year-old jazz and blues musician, whose name now escapes me. Talk about experience and the wisdom that only comes with years!

Photographer Igor Uciński captures one of the best shots of me on stage in Poland.

Photographer Igor Uciński captures one of the best shots of me on stage in Poland.

The summer of 2014 also saw FCF Wrestling join forces with fast food restaurant Snacky in Finland for an event called Snacky Slam at the end of July. This show was held outdoors, and we had more media exposure through Snacky for FCF than I recall en masse in recent years. Finland’s top entertainment magazine, 7 Päivää, jumped in as the media sponsor for the event, proving to be the ideal, perfect match in terms of hype. I am proud as punch of the promo work that FCF and myself got to do through 7 Päivää, and the vast, new audiences reached thereby. It was at Snacky Slam that Ricky Vendetta was able to gain yet another tainted win at my expense in a six-man war, featuring myself along with Sly Sebastian and Mikko Maestro against Vendetta, Stark Adder and Pyöveli Petrov in a super-hot match that had the Snacky outdoor audience rocking. Adder was the pivotal man to assist Vendetta this time, leading to the pinfall win for Vendetta over good ol’ StarBuck. Ricky Vendetta was really beginning to piss me off at this point.

In August, I had the pleasure of coaching a week-long training camp for young wrestlers in Denmark. I was able to take my wife along for this trip, and we had our official summer vacation in the process. Danish Pro Wrestling organized the camp, and I had kids from four different countries attend. I saw some real potential amongst the 21 participants that busted their asses that week, and I am sure the world of pro wrestling will be hearing from some of them in the future.

The summer of 2014 also allowed me to mend the fence with Boogie Mustonen, the seven-time Finnish heavyweight bodybuilding champion. Boogie had trash-talked Finnish pro wrestling and my personal legacy many years ago on a certain Finnish bodybuilding online forum, and I had taken personal offense to his derogatory comments. You see, Boogie had once wrestled in the neighborhood of about 20 matches, after getting his training in Australia around the mid-’90s. Since speaking out less than favorably about Finnish pro wrestling, Boogie had amended his opinions and views. Back then, Boogie had never really understood the pro wrestling business, and his career was cut prematurely short after failing to convince in his match against Tony Halme (Ludvig Borga in WWF) in Joensuu, Finland back in July 1997. I had been the referee for that specific match, and it had been Boogie’s tryout bout to get into Otto Wanz’s CWA promotion (Austria) back then. To make a long story short, the match was flop. Boogie went on to concentrate on his bodybuilding career and Halme went on to become a boxer before getting into politics and then eventually killing himself in early 2010.

It's like the past never happened, Boogie is a great guy!

It’s like the past never happened, Boogie is a great guy!

I had a blast doing another TV commercial shoot during the summer, this time for Vesileppis Sport & Spa Hotel. Hotel manager Kimmo had been the promoter for FCF’s Karjalan Turpakäräjät show in Nurmes, eastern Finland back in October 2012. Kimmo thought StarBuck would be a great fit as a main actor alongside Vesileppis Hotel’s ladybug mascot, to provide a comical contrast. The end production speaks for itself, so take a look…

During the summer, I also got to do a TV commercial shoot for Finland’s biggest dairy manufacturer, Valio Ltd., with NHL ice hockey legend and Stanley Cup winner, Teemu Selänne. The double exposure of both Subway and Valio definitely lay down some serious exposure for me in preparation for my Spandex Sapiens movie next year, as my mug will be familiar to the entire nation pretty much. As the Bible says, the Lord works in mysterious ways!

2014 was a bit of a transitional year for my hard rock band Overnight Sensation, as we have been focusing on writing new material by and in large. We only had a handful of domestic gigs this past year, and granted, we could have done more. Nonetheless, we are planning on releasing a mini-LP of sorts featuring our new songs with our current drummer Jesper in 2015.

On the 13th of September, I finally had the chance to gain a measure of retribution on Ricky Vendetta here in Finland, as we met in a singles match in Helsinki. Yet, Ricky didn’t want to face me square-up. Earlier in the evening at FCF Wrestling’s Syyskuun Selkäsauna, I introduced the new debuting Class of 2014 to the fans present at Hotel Presidentti. Seven new trainees had passed their 2014 schooling to enter the world of professional wrestling, and during this presentation ceremony, Ricky Vendetta chose to attack me with a monkey wrench in his hand. In the ensuing melee, he bruised my ribs, leaving me at less than 100% for our singles match later that night. Regardless of my best efforts, Vendetta thwarted yet another bullet and managed to gain another tainted win over me. I had promised to make Vendetta tap out for his insolence, not content with just pinning him. I promised to make him scream for his life and submit. That is still going to have to wait for another day, and luckily, my opportunity lies in achieving that goal at FCF’s Talvisota IX event in Helsinki on February 9, 2015, when I will face Vendetta in a submission-only match!

I had the pleasure of returning to Japan again on October 10 for my good friend and former Synapse tag team partner Akira Nogami’s 30th anniversary show in Tokyo. Whereas I celebrated 20 years in pro wrestling this year, Akira’s landmark was a decade better. In the main event of Akira’s 30th anniversary card, I wrestled against my old friend Nogami and also against Pancrase founder Masakatsu Funaki in a triple threat match. I got to find out first-hand about Funaki’s legendary kicks, which I felt on numerous occasions during that match. In the end, even I was astounded at the fact that when all was said and done, I had pinned Akira at his own anniversary show! Japan has always been a very special place for me, and my favorite country to wrestle in, and this event once again reminded me just why that is.

lineup Akira 30th anniversary

Akira’s 30th anniversary show line-up

 

On November 1, traveled to Stockholm to fight Ken Malmsteen in a Last Man Standing match. I took it upon myself to teach Malmsteen a stern lesson about respect for the way that he disregarded and cheapshotted former Swedish Olympic hero, Frank Andersson. Frank had wrestled in WCW and New Japan way back in the day circa. 1993-1995 or thereabouts. He had made his comeback to pro wrestling this past year in Sweden, challenging Malmsteen to a match for the Swedish wrestling championship after Malmsteen first cheapshotted him when Frank was a special referee in a prior bout. Frank went on to make good and capture the title, but after the match he was diagnosed with a concussion after a loaded uppercut from Malmsteen in their match. On November 1, I beat Malmsteen from pillar to post and was well on my way to busting him open good and proper. Malmsteen got hold of the STHLM Wrestling title belt and blasted me in the face with it during our no-DQ outing, which sliced my head open, instead. After yet another shot with the title belt to my wounded head, I was unable to get to my feet by the referee’s 10-count, and the match was awarded to Malmsteen. At least I did manage to soften up Mr. Malmsteen for Frank Andersson the next time they meet…

I was thinking I had Ken Malmsteen beat (photo: Johannes Tegner).

I was thinking I had Ken Malmsteen beat (photo: Johannes Tegner).

On November 7, I travelled to France for the first time in five and a half years, which was a welcome return to fight for Wrestling Stars. I had become accustomed to wrestling mixed tag matches with Synapse in Japan over the past couple of years, and this time I teamed with the feisty Miss Agathe against French fan favorite Jimmy Gavroche and Sara Elektra from Finland. I don’t think Sara had ever been rag-tagged so badly in her life as in that match, and it was a valuable lesson for her about the relentless world of pro wrestling. I have always had the same philosophy with training and wrestling, regardless of whether it’s been a man or woman. Pro wrestling is an incredibly hard and remorseless grind physically, and if there ever was a thing called Sexual Equality, the world of pro wrestling is such a place. Hell, I recall facing multi-time Japanese women’s wrestling champion Kana on several occasions a couple of years back, and her kicks were on par with those thrown by Masakatsu Funaki!

On November 15, I celebrated my 20th year in pro wrestling with The Roast of StarBuck at Hotel Presidentti in Helsinki. Although January 7 was officially my anniversary career landmark, FCF Wrestling wanted to toast and roast my contributions to the grappling game at year’s end. Many names from my past dropped by to grill me, including media personality Wilma Schlizewski, Renne Korppila of Radio NRJ, my uncle Lasse, former amateur champion Jouni Mörsky and FCF’s Valentine and Robert Holmström. The best verbal jabs were dealt by Holmström, Valentine and Korppila, who had no mercy on my poor person. Regardless, I was a good sport and hung in there for the duration, until once again, Ricky Vendetta tried to ruin even this occasion as my wife Diana gave me a closing blindfolded lap dance. Vendetta tried to assault me with the trophy FCF handed to me as a commemorative token, which I was able to avoid and then procede to lay a beating on Vendetta, sending him scurrying out of the ring to await his final judgement at Talvisota IX this upcoming February 7, 2015 in Helsinki.

To cap off my eventful 2014, I was asked by Europe’s biggest MMA organization M-1 to ring announce their M-1 Challenge 54 / ACB 12 event in St. Petersburg, Russia on December 17. I did the ring announcing for the M-1 Semi-Finals in 2010 in Helsinki, and M-1 president Vadim Finkelchtein recalled that I did a great job for his organization then. One of the things that I have always prided myself on is having a strong voice and dynamic delivery. This has proven to be an asset for me over 2014, as I have had a slew of voice-over jobs through Finland’s oldest voice-over agency, Dictum.fi. I was once again able to parlay my talents and offer my voice to ring announcing for the M-1 Global live stream of their event from St. Petersburg. I was told the organization was more than happy with my work this time also, and hopefully we’ll be able to work together in 2015.

Yours Truly in a snazzy suit ring announcing M-1 in St. Petersburg.

Yours Truly in a snazzy suit ring announcing M-1 in St. Petersburg.

Thanks to all my fans for the support over 2014. 2015 should be even bigger and better, as the Spandex Sapiens documentary movie about me hits the silver screen this autumn. Stay tuned to http://www.starbuck.fi for developments and all the latest!

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!