Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

On the 28th of May, I returned to Russia, my 20th country in pro wrestling, to face “Big Sexy Papa” Ruslan in a No-DQ rematch from our February showdown for IWF this year in Moscow.  In our first bout against one another, Ruslan not only got beaten good and proper by Yours Truly, he also suffered a concussion during our match.

This time around, Ruslan had three months to get into shape and man-up, since he wanted some retribution on me, especially after I took his girl, Nadja, for a twirl after it was all said and done and he was left laying in defeat.

A week ago, I had Ruslan battered and bloody, administering a whooping to remember, when all of a sudden, his girl Nadja got up all panicked and whimpering on the ring apron.  I have to admit, that my concentration was thrown for a loop, because I had no idea what she had in mind.  I got up in her grill and had a few choice words with her when she suddenly slapped me out of the blue!  In my flustered response, I stumbled backward, allowing Ruslan to cradle my very sweaty body with a schoolboy pin for the surprise victory!

I simply couldn’t believe what had happened!  Ruslan was down for the count, all but left for dead, and suddenly a timely assist from his girlfriend saved his hide.  Well, you can bet your wrestling-loving arse, that I’m not going to let this one rest.  I have challenged “Big Sexy Papa” one more time, to a Hardcore match, if he has the balls to accept!

As we wait for the verdict, here is a stellar gallery of photos from our latest encounter…

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Just a week back I wrestled in Russia, which was a huge landmark opportunity for me.  In doing so, I finally capped off 20 countries in pro wrestling.

Looking back on my career, I have been blessed to see the world, visit four continents as a wrestler, become a name and drawing card in several promotions and stake out a legacy in the annals of wrestledom as we know it.

Russia presented a unique opportunity for me to work in the biggest country in the world.  The Independent Wrestling Federation (IWF) booked me to appear in Moscow on February 27 against a wrestler of theirs named “Big Sexy Papa” Ruslan.

Ruslan vs StarBuck Russia IWF

Ruslan put up a good fight, but he was nowhere in the physical condition that I was, and I ended up trouncing him pretty damn good by the time the dust settled.  The Russian fans took to me like a fish in water, which made for a welcome reception to the former Soviet superpower.

Judging from the public response to our match, it seems like there is a rematch brewing in the booking sheets for me to return to Russia and once again tangle another round with Ruslan, who now has a much better picture of what he is up against.  Heck, I even took his girlfriend and carried her out of the venue over my shoulder, like a true caveman, adding insult to injury.  So man up, Ruslan!  What are you going to do differently the next time that you and I meet in Moscow?

Yet for me, conquering Russia was a great way to celebrate my 20th country in the game!

Wow!  How did this come about?!  Like the title reads, Finland beat Russia via Estonia, or should I say, an “assist” from Miss Estonia, in yesterday’s monumental and historic Finland vs. Russia encounter in Helsinki at Snacky Slam between myself and Ivan Markov.

Russia’s premiere wrestler and former 3-time Russian champion Ivan “Locomotive” Markov brought his wife Natalia along as his flagbearer and second at ringside, so the Snacky promoter decided to even the odds by putting Miss Estonia, Kristina Karjalainen, in my corner as both a second at ringside and as the Finnish flagbearer.

Miss Estonia Kristina Karjalainen bears the Finnish flag

Miss Estonia Kristina Karjalainen bears the Finnish flag

Natalia Markov interfered and got involved in our match on several occasions, just as I was about to turn the tide against her husband, Ivan.  Again and again, I was thwarted by Natalia’s timely interference in this No-DQ/No-countout match.  It looked like the odds were stacked against me until Miss Estonia decided to do something.  Well, actually, she did something twice.

Natalia and Ivan Markov

Natalia and Ivan Markov

When Natalia raked my face with her nails as I was beating down a hailstorm of fists on the head of her man, Kristina Karjalainen took to the fore and got right up in Mrs. Markov’s grill.  A hellacious catfight broke loose, with both women looking to tear the hair out of each other’s scalps, before the referee finally separated the women.

Kristina Karjalainen and Natalia Markov got into it too!

Kristina Karjalainen and Natalia Markov got into it too!

After Ivan had jump-started the match by attacking me with his Russian flagpole before the bell, I had to fight for my life in the underdog role, as he poured the heat on heavy.  The match was very physical, with big bombs being thrown to and fro, back and forth, before Miss Estonia finally turned the tide of this new Cold War.

Wailing away on the head of Ivan Markov

Wailing away on the head of Ivan Markov

Getting up on the ring apron, Kristina removed the robe she had on and got Ivan’s attention from the ring apron.  Ivan and everyone else stood in shock as Miss Estonia did a flirtatious little thing of her own in front of the former Russian champion, and as he turned back around, I was able to hit him with a superkick to the face.  I was so wasted by this point that Markov didn’t go down and he tried one last rally, which I thwarted, hitting him with another superkick, which set him up directly for my world-famous finisher, the spike piledriver.

Miss Estonia got Markov's attention using her beauty pageant charms

Miss Estonia got Markov’s attention using her beauty pageant charms

The referee counted the academic pinfall as Natalia watched on from the ring apron in disbelief, urging her man to kick out.  He did not, however.  The match was over after 15-minutes of slobberknocking action.  It was one of the greatest victories of my professional life, as I was able to stand with my fellow countrymen and put down the Russian Locomotive in our nation’s capital.

My spike piledriver put away Ivan Markov in this heated COLD WAR match

My spike piledriver put away Ivan Markov in this heated COLD WAR match

Finland’s top newspaper Helsingin Sanomat ran a full front page advert about the Snacky Slam event on the day of the event and I was called by the country’s number one rock radio station, Radio Rock, for a quick pre-match interview one hour before showtime.

Victorious after a truly hard-fought battle

Victorious after a truly hard-fought battle

Finland has a good reason to be proud this weekend, as the jubilation of the live audience on hand was tremendous when Ivan Markov was put down for the 1-2-3. Thanks to Snacky and to everyone that came out to see history in the making yesterday in Helsinki at Snacky Slam!

All photos by Marko Simonen (www.markosimonen.com)

A few days back, I got word that Russia’s number one wrestler, Ivan Markov, set out to openly challenge me on Finnish soil.  I was in the midst of preparations for my southern rock band Crossfyre’s tour of Poland and Germany, which we left for today, when I heard the news.

A lot of folks who don’t live in Finland probably aren’t aware of the political climate between Finland and Russia in the wake of the EU embargos set forth, following the situation with the Ukraine, or the slant that the media in this country constantly feeds to its citizens about the tensions between our countries.  Needless to say, there is a constant picture of an imminent threat to Finland’s independence lingering in the air.  Big Russia vs. little Finland.

Ivan "Locomotive" Markov has initiated the first step in the next Cold War!

Ivan “Locomotive” Markov has initiated the first step in the next Cold War!

Anyone who knows anything about Nordic and Baltic world history knows that Finland used to be under Russian rule by the Czar.  We are, after all, neighboring lands and Russia’s reach used to far exceed what is today, although they are still the biggest, single country in the world.

Things in Russia have been arguably restless over the past year, as their war with the Ukraine has caused a lot of unrest with neighboring countries and even with the rest of the world.  It’s like Reagan vs. Gorbachov all over again, with a new Cold War on the horizon.  Only this time, it’s Vladimir Putin against the rest of the world.

In the midst of these troubled times comes one who calls himself the “Locomotive”, Ivan Markov, who is looking to assert himself in the name of his country and leader, in an effort to claim dominance in the name of Mother Russia.  Not only does Markov call me out personally, he goes on to spite and belittle the country in which I pioneered the sport of professional wrestling.  The same country my parents were born in.  This, simply, will not do.

I’ll be honest: Markov reminds me a lot of another Ivan, that being Ivan Drago from the acclaimed ‘80s movie, Rocky IV.  If you look at the man, he is an impressive physical specimen.  I have no idea what he’s been having for breakfast – if you get my drift – but it sure ain’t what this ol’ boy has been having.  I’ve spent 27 years of my life in the gym as a natural athlete, whether healthy or busted up, and I know the difference between organic and non-organic.  Markov and Drago… these Ivan’s have a lot in common.

So here I find myself on the road, driving down through the Baltics on my way to Poland for a set of shows with Crossfyre, and I know that I’ll have to be in the shape of my life to face Ivan Markov, because believe you me, I am accepting his challenge for a fight on July 23 in Helsinki!  I know I don’t have much time, and the touring schedule and road life doesn’t allow for such luxuries as well-equipped gyms and optimal training hours to give me a platform for preparation.

Training like Sylvester Stallone in Rocky IV, only this time I am in Poland!

Training like Sylvester Stallone in Rocky IV, only this time I am in Poland!

Therefore, I left home this morning ready to train on the road, Rocky-style.  I took the few training aides that would fit in our jam-packed Crossmobile tour van: a kettlebell, a set of power bands and two 5kg plates with in-built handles.  That’s it.  Everything else is bodyweight conditioning.  Oh, and I even grabbed a few Muscle&Fitness magazines to help keep my head in the game.

StarBuck training 1

Chin-ups in Germany!

Ivan Markov might be younger than me.  He might be bigger than me.  He might be crazier than me.  But there’s one thing he has to know, going into this Finland vs. Russia showdown in Helsinki on July 23.

Markov needs to know what Belgium’s acclaimed Bernard Vandamme – whom I beat for the prestigious Eurostars European championship twice – said about me: “StarBuck was not the biggest guy around, he wasn’t the most agile, and he wasn’t a high-flier, but he had a bit of everything, and he knew how to combine those qualities into one impressive formula for success.”

Ivan Markov should be taking notes.  He should be brushing up on his pro wrestling history.  He should under no circumstances sell short the caliber of wrestler that he is up against, come July 23.  All Ivan Markov needs to do is read one single page on Wikipedia, or look at my contributions and track record in one of the most contested markets for wrestling on the planet, that being Japan.  Or then, look at the list of notable names in the wrestling industry that have fallen to “The Rebel” StarBuck simply over the past decade, and then, he will have a more clear understanding of the man that he has chosen to call out.

StarBuck training 2

I found an old barn, made do with whatever was hanging around, and got busy!

When Finland’s Snacky fast food restaurant chain owner Jukka Nieminen heard that Markov had issued a challenge to fight me, he stepped forth, offering a platform for this mega-match to take place.  Last year, FCF Wrestling orchestrated an event in Helsinki’s Pukinmäki suburb, along with Snacky and the nation’s leading tabloid magazine, 7 Päivää.  That event was called Snacky Slam and this year, Nieminen expressed that he wanted to do it again.

Therefore, on Thursday, July 23 at Snacky in Pukinmäki, Helsinki – outdoors under the sun and free for all to see – I will battle Russia’s top wrestler, Ivan Markov, with both nations’ national pride at stake.

This is going to be one for the ages.  The next Cold War!

I will be making my first trip to Russia to be part of the fight game next week, only this time it’s not pro wrestling, it’ll be MMA.  And no, I won’t be fighting myself.  I will be the guest ring announcer for the M1 Challenge 54 event in St. Petersburg on Wednesday, December 17.

M1 challenge 54 poster

 

The last time I did ring announcing, it was back in the early part of 2010, as the M1 Semi-Finals came to Helsinki.  Four and a half years later, M1 and Yours Truly tag up again, and I am excited to be a part of this huge event in Russia!