Posts Tagged ‘puroresu’

Returning from what had to be one of the best tours I’ve ever had of Japan, I can only be grateful and happy for the experiences I enjoyed in The Land Of The Rising Sun between September 22-30.

First and foremost, I want to thank my friends Dr. Hiroaki Terasaki, Mayumi Miyazawa and Fumi Saito for making this trip truly memorable.  In addition, thanks to promoter Jimmy Suzuki of Tokyo Championship Wrestling, Masa Anchan, ASUKA Project, my old tag partner Akira Nogami, Yoshitake Hatada and his wife for the hospitality afforded to both me and my wife, Diana, on this trip.

In the first match that I had on September 24, I tagged with UTAMARO against Mitoshichi Shinose and Shota Nakagawa, the latter of whom was still reffing for WNC back in 2014 when I was in Japan last.  We beat our opposition after I pinned Shinose following my world-famous spike piledriver to score the win for our team at ASUKA Project’s event in Tokyo.

On September 27, I tagged with UTAMARO once again to face the duo of my age-old rival Yoshihiro Tajiri and my former Synapse teammate Yusuke Kodama.  This was the main event for Tokyo Championship Wrestling’s big event at Shinjuku Face Arena on a show that featured 50 wrestlers in total.  Sabu vs. Masato Tanaka vs. Yuko Miyamoto in a hardcore Triple Threat was also one of the feature matches at the event with Atsushi Onita of FMW fame refereeing.

In our TCW Shinjuku showdown, we fought like spirited dogs of war, ending the battle when Tajiri nailed UTAMARO with his infamous Buzzsaw Kick to the head, claiming the win for his team.  Regardless of our past rivalry, Tajiri extended his hand after the match and raised my arm in a show of respect and mutual admiration as the Tokyo crowd ate it up.

Thanks once again, Japan!  This has been a truly memorable trip and here I share some of the moments with you in photos.

 

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After a four year absence and missing Japan terribly, I will be back in the Land of the Rising Sun next week!  This has been a long time coming, I can assure you of that and the Japanese fans are eagerly awaiting my return from the buzz that I’ve heard.

On September 24, I will be wrestling for ASUKA Project in Tokyo, as these guys running the deal are former WNC rookies from 2013-2014 that went on to form their own company after Tajiri and select other wrestlers moved on to Wrestle-1.  I will be teaming with UTAMARO against Shota Nakagawa and Shinose Mitoshichi in a tag match.

ASUKA Project tag match StarBuck Sept 2018

StarBuck ASUKA Project Sept 2018

Then, on September 27 at the famous Shinjuku Face Arena in Tokyo, I wrestle for Jimmy Suzuki’s Tokyo Championship Wrestling, once again tagging with UTAMARO against my old rival “The Japanese Buzzsaw” TAJIRI and my ex-stablemate from my 2012-2014 unit Synapse in WNC, Yusuke Kodama.  Tickets available through: http://wrestle-tour.com/tcw0927ticket.html

StarBuck tag match TCW Japan Sept 2018

Tokyo Championship Wrestling poster Sept 2018

I will be signing autographs with a special meet + greet with the Japanese fans at Toudoukan in Tokyo on Sunday, Sept. 23 at 6:30PM and there will be another meet + greet with autograph signings on Sept. 26 at Pro Wrestling Shop Champion starting at 7:30PM.

SEE YOU IN JAPAN!

So desu ne!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had the honor of participating in my old tag team partner Akira Nogami’s 30th pro wrestling anniversary show in Tokyo this past Friday, October 10.  I wrestled the main event of the evening, a triple threat match between myself, Akira and Masakatsu Funaki.  It was memorable, let me assure you!

My former Synapse teammates -- Syuri congratulates Akira on 30 years in the game.

My former Synapse teammates — Syuri congratulates Akira on 30 years in the game.

As anyone out there worth their stock in Puroresu and MMA knowledge knows, Masa Funaki is one of the founders of Pancrase, along with Minoru Suzuki.  The man is a fighting sport legend in his own lifetime, and one of the hardest, if not THE single most hardest kicker that I have been in the ring with in the last 20 years.

In our match, I found myself fighting an overwhelming 2-on-1 attack from both Akira and Funaki for the first half of the match, before things between them became strained and they turned their focus on fighting each other.

Locking an STF on Akira (photo by Kenji Yamaguchi)

Something incredible happened during the match that I have never encountered before in all my years: I spike piledrove Funaki to cut off the 2-on-1 assault I was under, and moments later, he just popped back up and began lacing into me with knees and kicks!  It was downright scary.  The man is almost not human, and most definitely is one of the toughest opponents I have ever been in the ring with.

Masa Funaki kicking like a government mule! (Photo by Hidekazu Tsuge)

Finally, after several altercations with both opponents, I was able to capitalize on a fortunate intervention by Akira’s and my former Synapse teammate Syuri, who saved Akira from near-defeat by Funaki.  As Masa Funaki’s attention was diverted at ringside on Syuri, I was able to hit my trademark spike piledriver in the ring to score the elusive win.

StarBuck piledrives Akira (photo by Corbata Japón)

It was surreal, as the understanding of StarBuck defeating Akira sank in on my esteemed opponent’s 30th anniversary card.  I am sure this outcome was also a shock to many in the media on hand, as well as the rabid fans on hand at Shinjuku Face arena that night.  As wrestling legend Masahiro Chono got in the ring and raised my hand in victory, I realized once again, these are the grand moments that we live for in this business.  Moments that live on vividly in our memories, that one day we tell our grandchildren about.

Masa Chono and StarBuck (photo by Michihiro Tomita)

At the end of it all, everyone that wrestled on the card got into the ring to pay homage to our great brother-in-arms, Akira.  All of my respect to the man, who is one of the kindest individuals and kindred warrior spirits that I have gotten to know in this tumultuous game we call professional wrestling.

lineup Akira 30th anniversary

In closing, I dedicate this video to my brother and friend, Akira Nogami, the Musasabi Warrior!  Live long and prosper!

 

On October 10, my good friend Akira Nogami celebrates 30 years of active competition in the wrestling business with a special card dedicated to his imprint on our grappling industry, to be held in Tokyo at Shinjuku Face Arena.  A literal plethora of who’s who from the world of Japanese Puroresu will be on hand to honor our brother-in-arms, and I am stoked to be taking a part in this special evening of in-ring combat, by direct invitation of Akira himself.

Akira Nogami in 2010 (photo: SMASH)

Akira Nogami in 2010 (photo: SMASH)

Akira and I have a storied history together, both as adversaries and as tag team partners in our business.  If I could hand-pick my opponents, Akira would easily make the top five of that list on any given day.  He is smooth, flowing like water and moving like a panther inside of that ring.  I have often likened him to the legendary former NWA World and WWF Intercontinental champion, Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, in terms of his fluid wrestling style.

Some of my best memories from Japan have been shared with my brother, Akira.  We have fought some amazing battles.  We melded like clockwork in a team called Synapse, alongside female standout, Syuri Kondou (a multi-time women’s wrestling and kickboxing champion).  Upon our inception in the summer of 2012, our trio was passionately compared to the classic 1996 nWo unit with Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall in the belated World Championship Wrestling (WCW) organization.  We were cool baddies.  We kicked ass and took names, downing the competition all across Japan for much of 2012-2013.  In February of this year, on the same card where I won the WNC (Wrestling New Classic) championship from “The Japanese Buzzsaw” Tajiri, we disbanded our Synapse team, all going our separate ways.

SYNAPSE 2012

Akira, StarBuck, Syuri (photo: Kazuhiko Kato)

Akira started his legendary career in New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), famous for hosting and organizing the world-famous 1976 wrestler vs. boxer match-up between Antonio Inoki and Muhammed Ali.  Akira was part of the same class of ’84 that saw the launch of Keiji Muto (aka The Great Muta), Shinya Hashimoto, Masahiro Chono and Masakatsu Funaki.  Nowadays, Akira grapples for Keiji Muto’s Wrestle-1 office in Japan.

My first encounter against AKIRA, from SMASH.8 in September 2010 in Tokyo

My first encounter against AKIRA, from SMASH.8 in September 2010 in Tokyo (photo: SMASH)

Akira first notable title win was the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight championship, defeating Jushin Liger in August 1991.  Since then, he has been a journeyman wrestler, both in Europe, the USA and Japan.  Akira took part in the NWA world tag team tournament in 1992, held under the Bill Watts regime as the head of WCW, teaming with Hiroshi Hase in the opening round.  Akira was injured, and could not compete a month later in the second round alongside Hase, so he was replaced by Shinya Hashimoto (Hase and Hashimoto would lose to Barry Windham and Dustin Rhodes in the semi-finals of the tournament).  Akira is also a former IWGP Jr. Heavyweight tag team champion, alongside old foe Jushin Liger, and the first ever WNC champion from 2012, defeating Tajiri in the WNC title tournament finals.

I am proud to be taking part in this big card on October 10 in Tokyo to pay tribute to the career of Akira Nogami, a real friend and brother in this hard, dog-eat-dog business called professional wrestling.  He is someone who has always had my back, whether we have been against each other, or if we have teamed together.  We share a mutual respect and a bond of friendship, a warrior’s bond.  This is truly rare in any walk of life.

Akira-san, I salute you!  KAMPAI!!!

akira30th-poster2-2 akira30th-poster2-1

I just received an email from Finland’s #1 newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, yesterday, regarding my announced involvement in pro wrestling legend Antonio Inoki‘s groundbreaking IGF fight cards in North Korea at the end of this month on August 30 & 31.  This information is, however, untrue.

It is true that I was in negotiations with IGF about appearing and participating at these events, but we never reached a suitable deal and contractual settlement.  I am not aware of how the news of my negotiations with IGF bled through and became public, as a top western consultant out of North Korea and China had also posted infos about my involvement at these events, along with my photo and a short biography about me, which has since been removed from his website.

Japanese wrestling legend and IGF boss, Antonio Inoki (middle)

Japanese wrestling legend and IGF boss, Antonio Inoki (middle)

Regardless, I must inform everyone, that any and all information about my involvement and participation at the IGF events in North Korea on August 30 & 31 are false.  I will not be appearing and I will not be there.  

Several people have already asked me about this, and I felt a need to publicly clarify before this story spreads further.

One link to the errant story and news can be seen here: http://0411.gbt-dlcjp.com/?eid=37

When you look back on the best times and highlights of your life, one tends to wax emotional.

Yesterday, the Japanese sporting press announced the end of WNC (Wrestling New Classic) and its merger with Keiji Mutoh’s Wrestle-1 organization.  From WNC’s roster, Tajiri, Akira Nogami, Rionne Fujiwara, Yusuke Kodama, Koji Doi and Jiro Kuroshio join the Wrestle-1 roster.  Everyone else becomes a free agent.  I was the second last champion for WNC (Bernard Vandamme of Belgium is the current and final titleholder), and was with the company since its inception in April 2012.

Yours Truly as WNC champion (photo by Marko Simonen)

Yours Truly as WNC champion (photo by Marko Simonen)

Time for a reality check.  We are living in hard times, and it honestly doesn’t look like it’s going to get any easier, globally speaking.  The rich keep getting richer, those with less are losing even that which they have, and the the big are eating up the small.  Mergers are the business word of the day, be it Time-Warner or Microsoft swallowing up Nokia.  At the end of it all, it all boils down to money; those who have it and those who don’t.  The financial crunch that has burdened much of the world over the past several years certainly isn’t helping.

When I look back on my time with WNC, I reminisce with fondness.  I made a friend, a great friend, in Akira Nogami.  Along with Akira and Japanese kickboxing and multiple-time women’s pro wrestling champion Syuri Kondou, I was part of the coolest rebel unit to hit Japan in ages in Synapse.  We wrecked havoc, took names and kicked volumes of ass.  I still fondly recall my first teaming with Akira and Syuri against Tajiri, Hajime Ohara and Kana back in on August 2, 2012 in Tokyo.  It was a hard-hitting, feisty brawl from start to finish, and during the melee, Tajiri kicked one of my front teeth out.  Battle scars, medals of honor.  No hard feelings, of course, just business as usual in the modern day arena of the gladiators.  It was Tajiri’s sister’s dental office in southern Kagoshima, that even fixed my missing lego at the end of that tour.  I remember the barbed wire matches that Synapse had with Tajiri, Kana and Mikey Whipwreck … matches that definitely had you on the edge of your seat, as everyone tried their damndest to keep from being mangled by the barbed wire sticking out of the boards in the corners of the ring.  I recall the outings against various three-opponent trifectas around Japan, all of whom we put down and convincingly so.  Then, as my last, great memory from my time with WNC, I remember February 27 of this year, when I beat Tajiri himself for the WNC championship title in Tokyo in one of the hardest slobberknocking matches of my career.

The first ever teaming of Synapse (all photos by WNC)

The first ever teaming of Synapse (all photos by WNC)

SB vs Markov SB vs Tajiri StarBuck vs Nishimura

I want to publicly thank WNC and especially main man Tajiri himself for giving me the golden opportunity to wrestle for their company over the past couple of years that they were in existence.  It has been a hell of a ride.  Thank you Akira, my brother, for your friendship.  Thank you Syuri, for your warm smiles.  Thank you Yusuke Kodama, Rionne Fujiwara, Nozomu Matsuzawa and all of the young boys and girls of the WNC roster.

Once again, the words of King Solomon from Ecclesiastes chapter 3 come to pass:

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.”

So desu ne!!!

I just came home last night from a tremendous few days in Tokyo, where this past Thursday night, February 27, I defeated my long-time nemesis “The Japanese Buzzsaw” Yoshihiro Tajiri for the WNC (Wrestling New Classic) championship title.

StarBuck WNC photo 01

Our match was grueling and hard, as Tajiri laid his kicks into me so hard that I thought I was a soccer ball.  He went after my arm, the psychology of which I only understood later on in the match when I attempted to first hoist Tajiri for my trademark finisher, the spike piledriver.  He was able to escape by capturing my weakened arm on the lift portion of the move, trapping me in a unique submission attempt.  I made a rope escape, and moments later, as Tajiri charged me, I caught him out with a hotshot, landing his throat on the top rope, after which I immediately captialized with a successful spike piledriver for the pinfall and victory.

Tajiri kicks awat at me (photo by Yuichi Kojima)

Tajiri kicks awat at me (photo by Yuichi Kojima)

This win puts good ol’ StarBuck into the wrestling history books, as the fourth WNC champion in history, behind Akira Nogami, Osamu Nishimura and Tajiri.  On a personal note, this victory was incredibly sweet for me, as I returned to Japan after a nine-month absence, during which I had to rehabilitate my herniated neck.  In my first match back to Japan since May 2013, the fans at Shinjuku Face arena in Tokyo exploded in support of Yours Truly, rallying behind with much support as I claimed the WNC title.

The piledriver spells title victory! (photo by Yuichi Kojima)

The piledriver spells title victory! (photo by Yuichi Kojima)

Tajiri and I have had our wars, and I highly respect him as one of my greatest opponents ever.  In 2010, we traded the FCF championship back and forth a couple of times.  In 2011, I defeated Tajiri in the finals of the SMASH title tournament to become the first SMASH champion.  Now, in 2014, I was able to go over Tajiri to claim the WNC championship.

With my friends Mayumi and Dr. Terasaki at Antonio Inoki's famous Saka Bar

With my friends Mayumi and Dr. Terasaki at Antonio Inoki’s famous Saka Bar

It should also be noted, that at the end of the night, after I had won the title, my Synapse teammates entered the ring and Akira Nogami took the mic, announcing that our group is disbanding and going our separate ways.  I would like to thank Akira, Syuri Kondou, Yusuke Kodama and Horizon (the latest member of Synapse) for the times that we had as a unit.  I never fought alongside Kodama or Horizon, as they joined the team after my last tour of Japan in May 2013, prior to my return now this past week, but with Akira and Syuri I team on numerous occasions.  We were a dominant in 2012-2013, but all good things must come to an end, and so it is with the tale of Synapse.  No bad blood, no remorse, no regrets.  A friendly parting, with mutual respect displayed by all.

Synapse's last stand (photo by Michiro Tomita)

Synapse’s last stand (photo by Michiro Tomita)

More infos: www.wnc-pro.com

linestar

Now, this coming Saturday at Winter War VIII (Talvisota VIII) in Helsinki, Finland, the WNC organization has demanded that I defend my newly-won crown against the challenge of former European wrestling champion, Bernard Vandamme!

I already have a gruelling Stretcher Match against Valentine for the BWA title, and with my wife’s valet career riding on the line, so this new development means double duty for me on the night of March 8 in Helsinki!

I will have to be training like an animal all this week to get ready for the double-edged sword that awaits me.  You can be sure that Vandamme remembers 2006, when I tood the Eurostars European championship from him at the first first Talvisota event in Vantaa, Finland, and this means Vandamme would be hungrier than ever to redeem himself against me now with the WNC title riding on the line.

I am not turning away any challengers, however, regardless of the circumstances.  Bernard Vandamme can bring it on, because this old war horse is waiting for him.  The Alpha Male, try to take his piece of meat away from him.TSVIII_starbuck_vandamme

TSVIII_jullari