Posts Tagged ‘feud’

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

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

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

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

bernard powerslam

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

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

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

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

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

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

StarBuck vs Chaos Winter War 10 (3)

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

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

StarBuck vs Chaos Winter War 10 (2)

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

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

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

TSX Chaos moonsault

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

 

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

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

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

TSX piledriver

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

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

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

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

Winter War veterans

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

 

Finally, after nearly a half year of aggravation and hounding, Yours Truly finally shut the big mouth of one “Finnish Doberman” Ricky Vendetta.  At last night’s Talvisota IX pro wrestling extravaganza in Helsinki, I finally made good on my 6-month long promise to make my nemesis tap out.  And tap out he did!

Talvisota-IX-wrestling-show-17

After 18:20 of a hellacious Submissions-only match, I trapped Vendetta in my Canadian Crossface aka Rebel Lock submission hold, similar to what fans will recall fellow-Canadian and former WCW/WWE champion Chris Benoit using, to make my opponent concede the match.  Chalk up another credo for Canada!  I would argue that our country’s stock has proven itself once again.  Being a Canadian-Finn, I feel confident in transposing these kudos across continental lines in light of this latest victory.  Crossface central!  I think I will take this hold and make it part of my regular repertoire from here on out!

Talvisota-IX-wrestling-show-18

Ricky Vendetta gave it all he had.  Let’s give the young man credit.  He believed he could, but in the end, he just couldn’t.  There’s no shame in that, in putting your best foot forward, yet proving it was not enough.  Ricky Vendetta just learned that there is no substitute for experience.  The veteran advantage.  When StarBuck gets focused, the game it essentially over.  Period.

Talvisota-IX-wrestling-show-11

There was enough pain. blues and agony in this match to last a whole year.  I firmly believe that I made up for nearly a year’s worth of setbacks in this single match alone.  That’s saying a lot!

Talvisota-IX-wrestling-show-21

Next up: Bring it on, whoever is waiting in the wings to make a name at the expense of one “The Rebel” StarBuck!

What a noteworthy event Syyskuun Selkäsauna was for FCF Wrestling this past Saturday in Helsinki!  First and foremost, the MMA barrier in Finland has been breached and busted now with the arrival of Tuomas “Unbeatable” Simola.  For anyone who doesn’t know, this guy has an astounding MMA record of 77-0-1.  Now, he has stormed the gates of FCF Wrestling, issuing an open challenge to anyone in the FCF locker room to take him on.  Take a look at this video from the event to see it all go down:

We had the new Class of 2014 make their debut at the show.  Actually, five out of seven students made their debut, of which only one – Julia Kyy – was able to claim a victory.  Nonetheless, this new group of students showed heart and good fighting spirit, which is a good case to build on, heading into the next FCF event upcoming on November 15 in Helsinki.

Syyskuun Selkäsauna also saw the departures of both Aurora Flame and El Excentrico, who are moving out of Finland to try their luck abroad in the wrestling world.

Yet, amidst all of the hulabaloo (as the people in Finland say), the one thing that left a bitter aftertaste was the underhanded chicanery of Ricky Vendetta, who assaulted me with a monkey wrench during my introduction of the Class of 2014 to the live audience, causing a hairline fracture in my ribs.  I had to get taped up for my match against Vendetta that night, and I am lucky that my physiotherapist friend Tuija Pelkonen from Lihashuoltamo was on hand in the audience.  I had asked her to come, since we were filming some things with my cornerman for the evening, former 7-time Finnish bodybuilding champion, Boogie Mustonen, and I needed Tuija’s expert advice on some of Boogie’s medical operations, since Boogie wants to return to pro wrestling next year.

Ricky Vendetta vs StarBuck FCF Wrestling Ricky Vendetta vs StarBuck FCF Wrestling Ricky Vendetta vs StarBuck FCF Wrestling Ricky Vendetta vs StarBuck FCF Wrestling Ricky Vendetta vs StarBuck FCF Wrestling

Ricky Vendetta really did a damned dirty thing, attacking me in his orchestrated manner.  There was no way that I was backing out of my match against Vendetta.  Not after he has spent all spring and summer this year boasting about pinning me twice in tag team matches, after other opponents have offered him timely assists in making those wins come about over myself.  Syyskuun Selkäsauna was supposed to me the moment of retribution for Ricky Vendetta as far as I was concerned, but he managed to thwart my plans by injuring my ribs before the match ever took place.

In the match, Vendetta assaulted me straight from the opening bell, blindsiding me and laying it on heavy.  I had to literally fight for my life, looking for every opportunity and small opening to make a comeback, and finally, I was able to catch him out at one critical moment of the match, turning the tide for a short spell.  Vendetta however assaulted my ribs with knees and kicks again and again, and soon, I was back down trying to find air.  I managed to trap Vendetta in a crossface submission, which I will now purpose to take as my hold of choice in my quest to make Ricky boy tap out, as I have promised to do.  Heck, I’ll even christen my version of the hold and call it the Canadian Crossface, or the Rebel Lock!  How about that, Ricky Vendetta?  Put that in your pipe and smoke it, as you think of the inevitable hour when StarBuck clamps that Rebel Lock on you and makes you wish you were back in your mother’s arms, nursing like a baby!

Ricky Vendetta vs StarBuck FCF Wrestling Ricky Vendetta vs StarBuck FCF Wrestling Ricky Vendetta vs StarBuck FCF Wrestling Ricky Vendetta vs StarBuck FCF Wrestling Ricky Vendetta vs StarBuck FCF Wrestling

Vendetta’s cornerman and tag partner Stark Adder ran interference at the most crucial moment of the match, just when I had Vendetta tapping out to the crossface!  Luckily, my cornerman, Boogie Mustonen, saw to it that Adder was eliminated from the equasion, but not before Vendetta was able to jab me with a shoulderblock to my damaged ribs and sneak in an illegal leverage pin, which, for the life of me, I cannot understand how the referee did not see.  Even the fans at Hotel Presidentti were howling disparagingly at the official for the crappy call, and rightfully so.  How the ref could have been so ignorant of Vendetta’s feet on the ropes as illegal leverage in making the pinfall is beyond me!

I have to admit that Vendetta is determined, at any cost, to try and make me a stepping stone in his wrestling career.  Yet, after this past weekend, he is going to have hell to pay for choosing this latest route of indiscretion.  I will not stop until I have beaten this young, belligerent bald-headed punk within an inch of his life.  It’s one thing to aspire to greatness.  It’s another thing altogether to miscalculate the cost of getting there.

Ricky Vendetta has now posted a check that his body cannot afford to cash.

It’s been brewing for quite awhile now.  Since April of this year, a young, brash (albeit beligerant) wrestler by the name of Ricky Vendetta here in Finland has been boasting high and mighty about how he managed to pin a 3-time European wrestling champion in myself.

Vendetta’s hunger to rise to the top in his chosen field cannot be slighted.  I was once his age, in the same situation as he finds himself now: hungry and determined, willing to take any risk, regardless of its price tag, to achieve greatness.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m actually honored.  Honored to have this young doberman pup come after me, as the oldest dog in the yard, looking to take my mantle.  I welcome his challenge, and I will take great personal pride in ripping him apart, as I re-establish to Ricky boy who exactly he has chosen to meddle with.

The thing about young men is this: they become blinded by their ambition.  Life has not yet taught them the hardest lessons of all.  They are in the learning phase, the educational phase of what it takes to really be called a Man.  During this rite of passage, from youth to full adulthood, a young man takes unwitting risks, the kind that will ultimately cost him dearly.  I should know.  At 41-years of age, I can look back on my own life and see these same lessons scattered about.  In hindsight, I can clearly assess what each and every step cost me, what battle scars they left on my being in their wake.

StarBuck vs Ricky Vendetta StarBuck vs Ricky Vendetta StarBuck vs Ricky Vendetta StarBuck vs Ricky Vendetta StarBuck vs Ricky Vendetta

Ricky Vendetta has a world of talent.  He has the kind of burning heart for the pro wrestling business that I have seen few exhibit here in Finland, where I am the founding father and pioneer of our grappling game.  Over the past 11 years, all the way back to 2003, I can count on one hand the other Finnish contemporaries that have tunnelvisioned and set themselves to succeed and achieve like young Mr. Vendetta.  That’s saying alot.

I believe it becomes a literal obligation for mature men to pass down the life lessons that they have learned along this path of mortality to those who are following behind them.  It’s called mentorship, and the lack of such in today’s self-serving society is all too obvious.  All too many young men, and even grown men, don’t have a damn clue.  They wander about aimlessly, not sure of their masculinity, their power, their calling or their talents.  It’s sad, really.  In this light, those who “have it” are morally obligated to pass it on and educate those who are still searching for their personal pot of gold, potential, or what have you.

Ricky Vendetta is going to learn the hard way what it is like to earn your stripes in this game of life.  That lesson will be afforded to him inside of our sacred squared circle, the testing ground of guts and intenstinal fortitude.  It’s a place where men are broken, where boys find themselves missing their mothers.  It’s a ruthless stage, where the wheat is mercilessly separated from the chaff.

StarBuck vs Vendetta SYYSKUUN SELKÄSAUNA

On September 13 in Helsinki at FCF Wrestling’s Syyskuun Selkäsauna event, Ricky Vendetta’s shallow boasts about going over not once, but twice, on the patriarch of Finnish professional wrestling, “The Rebel” StarBuck, will come to an abrupt end.  I will not only punish young Ricky, as a father would his son, I will make him submit and scream for his life.  This is a personal vendetta.

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

Telling Vandamme that he's got it coming to him

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

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

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

Looking to make Vandamme tap … he didn’t.

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

Butterfly double-underhook suplex plants Vandamme for a nearfall.

Butterfly double-underhook suplex plants Vandamme for a nearfall.

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

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

SB vs Bernie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Looking back on my extensive wrestling career, I can say I’ve had a lot of great opponents.  Some of those opponents have offered me feuds to remember for a lifetime, matches that I will one day tell my grandchildren about.

Many notable foes come to mind over the years, whom I have had the pleasure of doing battle with: former ECW world champion Steve Corino, ex-GSW champ Michael Kovac, EWA world champion Chris Raaber,  my former FCF teammate Hajime Ohara, multi-time Eurostars European champion Bernard Vandamme, former FCF champion Stark Adder, just to name a few.  Yet, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the most notorious feud of my wrestling career has been with one “Japanese Buzzsaw” Yoshihiro Tajiri.

Tajiri is, without question, the most persistent adversary I have ever fought.  We have duked it out over the FCF championship – putting that title on the map globally as one of the top trophies in our industry today – on a couple of memorable occasions; we have fought over the SMASH championship, which I won in a tournament final in Tokyo, defeating Tajiri in 2011; and now, on February 27  in Tokyo once again, I will face Tajiri for the WNC championship, should he retain his title after a defense against Hiro Tonai on February 23, just days before our showdown.

WNC poster Feb 2014

There’s something to be said for Tajiri as a trailblazer and main mover in the wrestling industry.  The man is undoubtedly the most prominent Japanese star in WWE history, being well-featured for nearly six-years and Smackdown and Raw broadcasts, having held the WWE US, WWE Cruiserweight and WWE tag team championships.  Tajiri’s trademark kicks have become the stuff of legend, and his famous Buzzsaw Kick has given me more headaches than I care to remember.  The man has a brilliant mind, and is one of the smartest people that I have come across in our industry.  I have a lot of respect for Yoshihiro Tajiri, and I believe the feeling is mutual.

Now, on February 27 at Shinjuku Face arena in Tokyo, once again, it will be another chapter in the ongoing war between Tajiri and myself.  I still clearly remember a couple of concussions that this man gave to me in the heat of battle, in 2010 and 2013.  Tajiri kicked one of my front teeth out of my mouth in 2012, which is something that is hard to forget.  We have beat each other from pillar to post, from Europe to Asia, and we are still at it, four years after it all began at FCF Wresting’s Talvisota IV event back on February 20, 2010 in Helsinki.

StarBuck vs Tajiri HELSINKI

The night that it all began in Helsinki, Talvisota VI (photo by Kari Helenius)

I personally highly look forward to this next encounter with “The Japanese Buzzaw”.  I sincerely hope he retains his WNC title against Hiro Tonai on February 23, because I need to pay Tajiri back for some of the damage that he did to me previously, as aforementioned.

This feud is one for the ages.