Posts Tagged ‘Mikko Maestro’

 

The news was just released officially this week that I would be facing my former protégé Mikko Maestro at the annual flagship supershow in Finnish professional wrestling, Talvisota XI – which translates to Winter War 11 – this coming February 18 at the Nosturi club in Helsinki, as promoted by FCF Wrestling.

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I was there at the inaugural Winter War on December 2, 2006 – an event that I coined and created back in the day to be the Finnish wrestling equivalent of Wrestlemania – and here I am over a decade later, turning another page.

This match-up against Maestro is significant on a few levels.  Firstly, it’s arguably the biggest match to date in the six-year career of young Maestro.  Secondly, I took the kid under my wing back in early 2013 to groom him for the years ahead, seeing that his charisma was catching on with the Finnish wrestling audience.  This made him my protégé, a pet project that I invested considerable time and coaching into, and Maestro finally was able to up the ante and make a breakthrough in 2016 against top competition like Ivan Markov of Russia, Mark Kodiak of Holland, Swedish champion Harley Rage and Heimo the Wildman here in Finland.  Thirdly, Maestro has shown himself to be ambitious in the fact that he has gone on to countries like Denmark, Germany and the USA to gain more experience.  This last bit is something I’d like to elaborate on.

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Maestro was able to defeat Heimo the Wildman in a Last Man Standing match at Talvisota X in March 2016, which gave him major momentum.

Every talent out there with any inkling of ambition will take the chance to spread their wings and test their mettle in the shark-infested waters of global pro wrestling.  Many young wrestlers will end up having to pay their own way just to get exposure, build a resume and get noticed, as they build up their personal value in order for a booker or promoter out there to invest in them.  If they are lucky, and to any degree own a moderate modicum of talent, they will be able to make headway in a very convoluted age in their aspirations to become stars in the world of pro wrestling.

Maestro has shown ambition.  He has gone out there and found a way to get noticed and get booked where other contemporaries, even those with greater in-ring talent, have fallen short.  Maestro has shown heart, even over-ambition at times, if you ask me.  Nonetheless, he’s been able to consistently climb the ladder rung by rung.  That brings us to Talvisota XI / Winter War 11 on February 18.

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Mikko Maestro wrestling a marquee bout in California during 2015.

As with any young talent, everyone has role models that they aspire to pattern themselves after and learn from.  At the start of my pro wrestling career in 1994, my biggest influence was Ric Flair.  I believe that for many of my generation, growing up a teen in the 1980s, Ric Flair was the consummate pro to look up to, if you had any understanding of the complete package that made a pro wrestler.  For the Millenials to a large degree, that role model became Shawn Michaels and a bit later on The Rock and Stone Cold.  In Finland, for many, including one Mikko Maestro, that role model was StarBuck, the founding father of Finnish pro wrestling.

I recall a young Mikko Maestro back around 2009, when I was cycling near Munkkiniemi Beach in Helsinki.  It was there that I ran into the kid for the first time.  As I was riding by, getting in my cardio, Maestro recognized me as he walked down the street and yelled out “StarBuck!”.  I simply smiled, recognizing his fanship, and kept on cycling. One year later, he showed up for wrestling schooling.

As a mentor, I took Mikko Maestro as high as I could.  The rest, of course, was all up to him.  At the Winter War event in 2013, I took Maestro as my tag partner for a heated, key match-up against Stark Adder and his protégé, Ricky Vendetta.  The vet and the pup against the vet and the pup, as it was, back then.  It was the starting point for my on-hands mentorship of one Mikko Maestro.

Time passed, Maestro gained experience and confidence, and alas, in September of last year, he made a bold challenge.  Mikko Maestro wanted to publicly challenge the man that taught him, the role model that he aspired to pattern his career after, and see if he was up to the task.  I figured this day would eventually come, but I don’t think Mikko Maestro is anywhere near ready to take on the old war dog yet.  He still has some miles to go before he can realistically hang at my level, and believe me when I tell you: he’s going to need all the help he can get, ‘cos the fans and their cheers won’t make a bit of difference when he finds himself overwhelmed by 23 years of ring experience on the other end of the spectrum.

Well, when he last needed my help, I was there.  But… he didn’t listen.  At the crucial, key point in Maestro’s match against Ivan Markov of Russia in December of last year, the kid chose to disrespect the deal that we had set forth going into the match.  In short, he went into business for himself, disregarding his coach, and pulled out his ridiculous, asinine “stinkface” maneuver, which he found funny enough to rip off of WWE Hall of Famer, Rikishi.  In a serious match-setting, where a killer like the Russian Markov was present, I expressly told Maestro to leave the gimmicks, bells and whistles at home.  But no.  He had to take the forbidden fruit.  He had to dally out onto thin ice.  He had to do things his own way.  And it was at that point, that I disowned Mikko Maestro as a protégé.

There comes a time in life when every person is going to have to stand on their own, no supports and no crutches to be had.  This is that time for Mikko Maestro.  At Talvisota XI, my former protégé is going to find out that legends don’t die, they just get better with age.

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Tickets 28€/22,50€ (all ages) to Talvisota XI on Feb. 18 at Nosturi in Helsinki available online now: http://www.ticketmaster.fi/event/197193

To all, there comes a time when the support structures that you’ve long held, which assist you in whatever your chosen endeavor might be, are taken away.  Times when you have to learn to dig deeper than ever before to be able to stand on your own.  After all, your parents are not going to hold your hand forever to keep you from falling down.  Neither will your coach.

This past Saturday night at FCF Wrestling’s Wrestling Show Live: December Rumble in Helsinki, such an example took place in the battle of Finland vs. Russia, where my protégé Mikko Maestro took on Ivan “Locomotive” Markov in one of the marquee match-ups.

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Ivan Markov proved hard to take down for Mikko Maestro.

 

Prior to the match, Maestro had implored me to step into his corner and coach him through this, the biggest match of his five-year professional wrestling career.  Maestro had long been on his own, after I took him on as my personal pet project in early 2013, and he had done pretty well for himself, especially after catching fire this year.  Maestro has been on a roll since defeating “Wildman” Heimo Ukonselkä at FCF’s premiere annual supershow, Talvisota X (Winter War 10) this past March.  Maestro stood strong in his battles with the likes of Swedish wrestling champion Harley Rage and even managed to defeat Dutch wrestling champion Mark Kodiak on Finnish soil in September this year.

Yet, as December 10, 2016 inched ever closer, Mikko Maestro understood he was up against something that he wasn’t sure he was ready for.  So he enlisted his former coach, Yours Truly, to help prep him and coach him through the match he would have against Ivan Markov at WSL: December Rumble.  After all, I am the man that defeated Markov in the first-ever pro wrestling match-up between Finland and Russia, which took place last year, so who better to approach for advice than myself?

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Photographer Jarmo Katila captures one of the many nasty predicaments during the match.

I accepted, with one condition and one condition only.  This was that Maestro leave behind his ridiculous stinkface spot, which serves absolutely no purpose other than to get a rise out of the audience when he smothers his backside into an opponents face in the ring corner.  Me personally, I find this spot to be stupid beyond description and totally unnecessary, especially when it comes to winning matches and staying alive in the heat of battle against a verifiable killer like Ivan Markov.

Well, in their ensuing match this past Saturday night in Helsinki, Mikko Maestro went against our set agreement, and at the opportune time, he did his stinkface anyway.  He simply couldn’t be without it, and he let the audience get to his head.  He wanted to play superstar and he went into business for himself.

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This ended up costing Mikko Maestro dearly.  I grabbed his foot to get his attention at ringside, scolding him for the disrespect that he showed me, as his coach, by doing exactly the thing that we had agreed that he would not do.  This was his death knell.  Ivan Markov capitalized and blasted Maestro with a scintillating discus forearm blow that knocked his Finnish opposition for damn near into dreamland.  One powerbomb later, Russia scored the decisive victory.

I stepped into the ring and contemplated what had just happened.  Of course, the people and even Maestro himself would blame me for the downfall.  That is what victims do.  They victimize themselves.  Me personally, I see this as an action and a direct consequence.  Every action bares a consequence, and Mikko Maestro’s disobedience cost him the match.  Simply put, he didn’t deserve to win.  Had he listened and abided by the game plan, we very well might have had a different outcome.  But Mikko Maestro has to look into the mirror this time and see the truth for himself.

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Maestro is on his own.  He errantly challenged me in his over-exuberance to a match earlier this year,  after defeating Holland’s brutish Mark Kodiak.  He can blame it on the heat of the moment or what have you, it doesn’t matter.  The bottom line is, he got my attention.

He wants to see if he can defeat his mentor and coach.  I understand that, it’s part of the development of every young lion.  But this time, Maestro is going to come to understand that he is still not ready to make good against a tried and true veteran like myself, because simply… he is not good enough yet.

Talvisota XI on February 18, 2017 at the Nosturi club in Helsinki will be the day when Mikko Maestro has his date with destiny.

Start counting down the time…

This coming weekend, there will be a couple of back-to-back wrestling cards in Espoo and Vantaa, here in the capital region of Helsinki. These are part of FCF Wrestling’s cooperation with fast food restaurant Snacky, as the first installment of what has come to be known as Snacky Slam, was held on July 23 in Helsinki a few weeks back.

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Now, on August 14 & 15 in Espoo’s Niittykumpu suburb and Vantaa’s Korso suburb respectively, the next Snacky Slam events will take place. For folks in the Espoo area, the Niittykumpu Snacky show will start at 20:00 in the evening this coming Friday, and for fans in the Vantaa area, the Korso Snacky show will take place at 18:30 this coming Saturday.

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I’m personally very excited about these Snacky Slam events, as at the first one this past July 23 in Helsinki, I had a classic battle against Russia’s #1 wrestler, Ivan Markov. My victory in that match sets me up on the right foot to enter this weekend’s Snacky Slam shows, as in Espoo on Friday, I will step into the ring for the first time since 2011 against Finnish wrestling veteran and former Finnish champion, Stark Adder. It was back in May 2006, that I lost the Finnish wrestling championship to Adder in Helsinki in one of the all-time greatest matches ever contested in the annals of pro wrestling in the Nordics. It was a 30-minute Iron Man match back then, in which Adder finally made good after failing to defeat me three times previously for the title. I still fondly remember the quality of that outing, and the amazing chemistry that we had in the ring. I expect this coming Friday’s Snacky Slam encounter to be another mat classic, and fans should definitely show up to see us lock horns, because rarely has our country seen such pure wrestling – in the very essence of the term – as Adder and I produce when we grapple.

Back on May 26, 2006, I lost the Finnish wrestling championship to Stark Adder in one of the greatest matches ever in the Nordics (photo: Kari Helenius)

Back on May 26, 2006, I lost the Finnish wrestling championship to Stark Adder in one of the greatest matches ever in the Nordics (photo: Kari Helenius)

In Vantaa on Saturday, I will team up with my former protégé Mikko Maestro to take on the Musta Aukko (Black Hole) contingent of King Kong Karhula and Pyöveli Petrov. It was Maestro who I asked to be the ring bearer back on January 4, 2013 in Lohja, Finland, when I proposed after a wrestling match in center ring to my now-wife, Diana. Maestro is someone that I have taken a personal, vested interest in coaching and helping along in his pro wrestling career. He has shown the same spark for the wrestling business that I had back in 1992-1993 when I got into the wrestling business, and that is why I believe he is going to make it. My coach-to-be Lance Storm and I were weight training at a gym in Calgary, Canada, when one day Lance told me “I see the passion that you have for this business, and if you want, I will train you.” In many ways, Maestro is my old shoes in this respect now, whereas I am in Lance Storm’s shoes. On August 15 in Vantaa’s Korso at Snacky Slam, Maestro and I are going to show Karhula and Petrov that the “Burning Heart” that rock band Survivor sang about is going to be hard to beat once “Eye of the Tiger” starts blaring in the PA and we make our way to the ring to kick some ass!

Back on January 4, 2013, Mikko Maestro was the sentinel of the engagement ring that I had asked him to bring to the ring when I proposed to my wife-to-be, Diana, sitting in the audience that night.

Back on January 4, 2013, Mikko Maestro was the sentinel of the engagement ring that I had asked him to bring to the ring when I proposed to my wife-to-be, Diana, sitting in the audience that night.

Be sure to come out and enjoy these coming Snacky Slam events this coming weekend, as they are free to the public, held outdoors in the parking lots of the respective Niittykumpu and Korso Snacky restaurants. This is a rare treat to all of the fans in Finland and to the general public this summer, and you’d have to be crazy to miss out on this special treat! And hey, you can’t go wrong with the best hamburgers in town, either!

This weekend on Saturday night, January 11, in Helsinki, it’s Finland vs. Sweden in another chapter of an age-old rivarly between these nations.

Hot on the heels of Finland’s Junior Ice Hockey team winning the World Championships against Sweden a few scant days ago, the feelings on both sides of the fence are hot and heavy.  Only this time, the battle will be waged in a professional wrestling ring, and not an ice hockey arena.

It seems fitting, that to start off the New Year, the Bättre Folk contingent in FCF Wrestling has set out to claim this year as their own.  After my Eurosport co-commentator Robert Holmström issued the challenge for me to round up three partners for myself, right on a live WWE Vintage wrestling broadcast in late December 2013, I knew there was no backing down.  Holmström, Valentine, Conny Mejsel and Steinbolt all want to write a new chapter in the annals of Northern European wrestling, by establishing their group as the alpha males to begin the second decade of Finnish professional wrestling.  But me, I just can’t have that.

Whether people love me or hate me, the one thing that nobody can take away is the fact that I am the pioneer and founding father of professional wrestling in the country of Finland.  This is my heritage, my imprint for all times, for the history books.  I’ll be damned if I let some arrogant pack of Swedish prissies and pricks take over here in Finland, as long as I live here and call FCF Wrestling my homebase!

So I thought quick and snappy, right on the air at Eurosport, of who I could ask to be my partners at FCF’s Saturday Wrestling Slam 2 this coming Saturday night.  In reality, my choices were self-explanatory.

I thought of all of the wrestlers that Bättre Folk has sabotaged since their inception during the summer of last year.  Valentine, Steinbolt and Holmström all assaulted FCF General Manager Kristian Kurki in September.  What they didn’t realize is, that Valentine’s backstabber backbreaker to Kurki in that very attack actually set his injured spine back into place, making him able to compete again.  Now that is bad news for Bättre Folk!

It was Holmström, Valentine and team valet Barbie that struck out against both Sly Sebastian and I in our singles match back in October.  I think Sly has some bones to pick, as that match was to be his testing ground to see whether he could procure a BWA title shot against me.  The no-contest ruling following Bättre Folk’s attack in that bout certainly didn’t do Sly’s aspirations any favors.  Oh, and I certainly haven’t forgotten about Barbie striking my wife in the melee, either…

Then I thought of my young and ambitious protege, Mikko Maestro, whom Valentine gave a serious concussion to in September during a match between the two.  Maestro’s father even emailed me and asked that I beat the living daylights out of Valentine for causing that harm to his son.  So really, there you have it: my team, all of whom gladly accepted the invitation to lay the thrashing of a lifetime on Bättre Folk this coming January 11 in Helsinki at Nightclub Tähti.

The bemusing fact is that Robert Holmström, in all of his Machiavellian grandeur and high imagination, feels that he is fit to climb into the ring as an active competitor with his team on January 11.  I personally find that both absurd and hilarious!  Robert might be a former referee, dating back many years, but he was never schooled to be a wrestler.  Refereeing and wrestling are worlds apart, like comparing tomatoes to beef jerky.  I really believe that Robert Holmström’s participation in this coming four-on-four Survivor Series-style elimination tag team match at FCF’s Saturday Wrestling Slam 2 will be his team’s downfall.

The bottom line is, this coming Saturday night in Helsinki, this Swedish quartet known as Bättre Folk is in for a world of trouble.  They are the catalysts of the woe that they have themselves caused, and now they will all pay the piper … one by one … down they fall … and their fall will be great.

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Saturday Wrestling Slam 2

January 11, 2014

start time 18:00, doors open 17:30

Nightclub Tähti, Fredrikinkatu 42, Helsinki

All ages welcome.

Tickets 15 Euros at the door.

www.wrestling.fi

FCF Wrestling in Finland would like to wish all the fans a Merry Holiday Season, and in doing so, the promotion offers up the chance to vote for your favorite match-up of 2013.  I have a couple of matches up in the running, one where I beat Valentine for the BWA Catchweight championship back in May, and another where I team with my protege Mikko Maestro against Stark Adder and Ricky Vendetta from February.

There’s a whole list of other goodies to choose from, also, as FCF events saw many stellar matches this past year.  Make your voice heard, and place your vote via Facebook at the following app: https://apps.facebook.com/opinionpolls/poll?pid=ACMHI-UJvRo

Here are the match videos of the candidates, so be sure to cast your vote!

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For a long time now, I have not bothered taking on any new protege’s in pro wrestling, as I just have not had the spark to do so.  In 2007, I took on Pasi “Salama” Suominen, whose career ended prematurely, less than two years into his pro wrestling life, after he lost heart following an elbow injury that required surgery in late 2008.  In 2010, I took on Japan’s Hajime Ohara, and our collaboration disintegrated over the summer of last year.  After that, I just haven’t had the interest to pick up the next “project”.  I have not seen the needed heart, drive and attitude in anyone … until now.

Academic standout and funny guy Mikko Maestro might fool a lot of people with his comical shtick, but underneath that exterior image is a kid whose heart burns for this business.  He might not be the most talented kid out there, he might be a bit rough around the edges, and he might be a jackass for real, but this kid has the one thing that a lot of people in this business are missing: Heart.

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I faced Maestro this past summer in Kerava, Finland, and tested the kid good and proper.  He lost rather decisively, but he didn’t lose heart.  Instead, he’d continue to ask me for advice on how to improve his personal game time and time again.  When I proposed to my fiancee Diana this past January 4th in Lohja, Finland, I even decided to ask Maestro to bring the engagement ring to the wrestling ring, so I could take care of business and ditch the bachelor life.  It was a big moment for Maestro, who understood that out of everyone in the FCF Wrestling locker room, I chose him to the courier in that memorable moment.

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You can teach someone to wrestle, you can teach someone the psychology of mat warfare, you can teach someone proper etiquette … but the one thing that you cannot teach is the intangible element of heart.  You either have it or you don’t.  When push comes to shove, when injuries arise and when the business and those inside of it treat you like shit, your real passion and drive come to light.  Some just wither and fade away in the heat of those negative barbs, whereas others rise to the occasion and work through the disparaging elements.

When I started out in the wrestling business as an active competitor in January 1994, I was not the most talented guy out there.  In my second or third match, I recall my coach Lance Storm and my friend Chris “Y2J” Jericho sitting in the audience of an indie wrestling card in North Bay, Ontario.  I took a leap off the second turnbuckle out of the corner at my opponent, attempting to hit him with a clothesline.  My well-meant attempt was met with Jericho’s disparaging remark after the match, when he asked “Did you slip off the ropes?”.  Yeah, that was not the message I was trying to get across.  It took a long time for me to become a world-class athlete and one of the best out of Europe today.  It demanded years of immersion, a humble attitude, incessant tunnel vision and TONS of heart … but I “got there”.  I became a 3-time European wrestling champion, and a titleholder in many other countries.  I faced the best of the best, and ultimately I was pushed to become the best at my chosen game and profession.

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Now, at Talvisota VII on February 2nd in Helsinki at Sokos Hotel Presidentti, I will take on a new protege in Mikko Maestro.  We are up against my old nemesis and Finnish wrestling veteran Stark Adder and his new protege, Ricky Vendetta.  After all, it was Adder to whom I lost the Finnish title back on May 26, 2006 in Helsinki.  Now, it’s the old dogs and the new pups on both sides of the fence.  It’s a matter of mentorship, and moreso, a matter of personal pride.  As Vendetta is to Adder, so Maestro is to me: They are our personal investments, and we are their impresarios.

To many, Maestro might still be a joke.  It is my personal agenda to make the wrestling public take note of Mikko Maestro as a serious competitor, to push him to become more, to show the world that under the right guidance, he can become a force to be reckoned with.  It might be a rocky road ahead, but dammit, I have walked the straight and narrow all my life.  I am used to the hard road.  Now, Mikko Maestro has the opportunity to learn through integration, and he is willing to sweat, bleed and pay the price, as 16-time world champion “Nature Boy” Ric Flair so aptly coined.

Prepare.  February 2, 2o13.  Talvisota VII.  Helsinki.

Talvisota VII

02.02.2013 @ 18:00

Sokos Hotel Presidentti

Eteläinen Rautatiekatu 4, Helsinki

Tickets in advance: 12e, at the door: 15e (+ door charge)

Pre-order tickets here: www.fightclubfinland.fi/kauppa

Pre-orders close on 27.01.13

I will be leaving this coming Monday, July 30th for a wrestling tour with WNC (Wrestling New Classic) throughout Japan at the beginning of August.

On August 2nd at Shinjuku FACE Arena in Tokyo, I will team with AKIRA and Syuri will face TAJIRI,  Hajime Ohara and Kana in the Wrestling New Classic main event.  From there I move on with my new team to establish wrestling dominance in Osaka on August 3rd, Hiroshima on August 4th, Hakata on August 6th and Kagoshima on August 7th.

This past week, I wrestled in Rome, Italy at Rainbow Magicland, which is a huge theme park outside the city.  Every day about 10 000 people visit Magicland, and on July 24 IWS Wrestling ran a show at the establishment.  I wrestled against huge black wrestler Tiny Iron, who has been a bodyguard for bands like The Black-Eyed Peas, Beyoncé and 50 Cent.  I was disqualified in the match when Michael Kovac of Austria and Leo Cristiani of Spain interfered on my behalf.

“Half man, half amazing” Tiny Iron

This week on Saturday, July 28 I wrestle against Finnish academic standout and brash rookie Mikko Maestro in Kerava, Finland for FCF Wrestling at SummerSmash 3.

SummerSmash 3 in Kerava, Finland at 16:00 on July 28, http://www.wrestling.fi