Posts Tagged ‘Japan’

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.

The cultural significance of PURORESU.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I will be leaving tomorrow for a WNC (Wrestling New Classic) tour of Japan.  I will be wrestling once again alongside AKIRA and Syuri in our SYNAPSE team, and at least one of the matches on the tour features our trio against that of “The Japanese Buzzsaw” TAJIRI, WNC women’s champion Lin Bairon and WNC champion Osamu Nishimura at Shinjuku Face arena in Tokyo.

The schedule reads May 24 in Tokyo, May 25 in Osaka and May 26 in Nagoya.  For all the fine folks and great wrestling fans in Japan, you can see the locations and venues on the poster below.

WNC summer tour poster 2013

Dave "Fit" Finlay

This coming week on Thursday, November 24th in Tokyo, I will face European ring general and legend Dave “Fit” Finlay at SMASH.23.  Finlay will surely be one of the toughest, sternest challenges I have met to date in my entire active ring career, as I’m set to defend the SMASH Championship against the Irishman at Korakuen Hall in the main event of the aforementioned card.

Finlay is perhaps best known from his latest tenure in WWE, where he was the United States Champion in 2006, defeating Bobby Lashley for the honors.  Finlay was a road agent and trainer for WWE, particularly coaching the WWE Divas over the years, improving their game considerably.  Prior to his stint in WWE, Finlay was the TV Champion in WCW, defeating Booker T in 1998 for the strap, in addition to a multi-time champion around Europe.

Finlay is largely considered one of the toughest SOB’s out of Europe to ever lace up a pair of boots, and he has hurt of a lot of people in the wrestling business inside of that ring.  Believe me when I say that I have the highest respect for Finlay as a professional wrestler, and I am taking my SMASH Championship defense against him at SMASH.23 very seriously.  Anything less would be foolhardy, and StarBuck is nobody’s fool.

In addition, I will be facing one of my favorite wrestlers of all-time in Keiji Mutoh at the All-Japan Pro Wrestling event at Korakuen Hall on Wednesday, November 23, as I team with SMASH superstars “The Japanese Buzzsaw” Tajiri and Akira Nogami to face the All-Japan trio of Mutoh, Shuji Kondo and Bushi.  Many fans will recall Mutoh as The Great Muta from the NWA in 1989-1990 and WCW periodically throughout the 1990’s.

I cannot begin to describe the kind of elation and happiness I am feeling, coming home to Finland last night as the very first SMASH Wrestling Champion in Japan, defeating one of my greatest opponents ever, “The Japanese Buzzsaw” Yoshihiro Tajiri in the finals of the SMASH title tournament on Friday night, October 28 at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.

I have faced Tajiri several times in the past in both Finland and Japan, and every time our matches have been hard, physical clashes.  This final match last Friday night in the SMASH Championship tournament finals was no exception.  No, this one was WAY harder than ANY single one of our past, classic encounters.

We all know that many critics of professional wrestling vocally criticize our game as being “fake” and/or theatrical.  I find that kind of slander disparaging, and I would love to have those same critics step into a Japanese wrestling ring and feel the kind of punishment that we experience as professionals inside of that squared circle.

That said, my match against Tajiri on October 28 was one of the stiffest, most hard-hitting, SMASH-mouth affairs of my career.  Tajiri’s trademark kicks were brutal and his forearms and punches rocked my jaw.  I have to believe that “The Japanese Buzzsaw” felt the same at the other end of the equation, as the fighting spirit in our championship final bout was most definitely REAL.

Neither one of us held anything back, as we traded offense and fought a very even bout, going back and forth, neither competitor really gaining a clear-cut advantage over the match that lasted 15:12 before I dropped Tajiri with two vicious spike piledrivers after just barely kicking out of his Buzzsaw Kick.

After the match, both of us just lay on the mat, wasted from the physical toll of our bout.  Both of us took – and dealt out – one hell of a beating to one another in the quest to become the first-ever SMASH Wrestling Champion.  Both of us gave it our all, and I can only very humbly say that I am honored by my huge title win over a tremendous opponent in Yoshihiro Tajiri at SMASH.22 this past Friday.  I have the highest respect for the man that I pinned to become the new SMASH titleholder, and I will always remember the night of October 28 at Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall.

A huge THANK YOU to: the tremendous Japanese SMASH Wrestling fans for believing in me; to the SMASH office for the spotlight opportunity; to Tajiri for an incredible match; and to my Great God in Heaven and Lord Jesus Christ who makes all things possible (Philippians 4:13).

Arigato gozaimasu!  Soudesune!

(Photos by Ken Suzuki)

I have been blessed to have enjoyed such an incredible amount of success wrestling in Japan, where at the beginning of this year the readership of Weekly Pro Wrestling magazine voted me as one of the top 5 gaijin in their country for the 2010 period.

Last year, FCF Wrestling Champion Valentine lost our Finnish strap to former WWE US and Tag Team Champ “The Japanese Buzzsaw” Tajiri in May 2010 on the SMASH.3 card in Tokyo.  I would venture to the Land of the Rising Sun to recapture the FCF Championship at SMASH.6 on July 24 last year.  Tajiri would win the FCF Championship back from me at SMASH.10 on November 22, 2010 in the biggest event in SMASH company history at JCB Hall in Tokyo, before over 2000 enraptured fans.  Tajiri and I have fought each other numerous times over the past year and a half, both in singles and tag team matches, and our fights have always been very tight and even.

Now, on October 28 at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, once again it has boiled down to the top two wrestlers in SMASH, as I face off against Tajiri one more time, with the new SMASH Heavyweight Championship Title on the line.  This match is the tournament final to crown the very first SMASH Heavyweight Champ, and I will do everything in my power to procure the coveted new Japanese title.

Tajiri, get ready – the Lord of FCF is coming for SMASH gold on October 28!  This will truly be the battle of the Nordic Barbarian against the Japanese Samurai – StarBuck vs. Tajiri at SMASH.22!