Posts Tagged ‘SMASH’

I did an extensive interview with my birth country Canada’s top internet sports media, SLAM! Sports, for their website.  Journalist Blaine Van Der Griend went to extensive lengths, cross-checking and getting the low-down from some influential people that have seen my pro wrestling career sparkle in Japan.  This piece of media is really a treat, folks.  The gloves come off here, so sit back, take 15-minutes and read some good inside stuff: http://slam.canoe.com/Slam/Wrestling/2015/07/05/22488981.html

starbuck

Thanks again to SLAM! Sports for this feature, and a big shout-out to all my Canadian compatriots out there!  Reach for the stars, eh!!!

I have really been blessed in my wrestling career over the past few years, after making it big in Japan, becoming a name and draw there in 2010.  I have had a load of fantastic matches during my time in the “Land of the Rising Sun”, bringing back the old school approach in my wrestling style to the Japanese fans, perhaps bringing to mind the golden days of acclaimed names in our business such as Harley Race, Ted DiBiase and Dick Murdoch between the 1970s – 1980s.

StarBuck vs Nishimura

In January 2011, I was voted by the readership of Weekly Pro Wrestling magazine as having the Match of the Year for 2010 in the SMASH organization against “The Japanese Buzzsaw” TAJIRI (from Nov. 22, 2010), and the runner-up ballot went to my match vs. AKIRA (from Sept. 24, 2010).  In 2012, the readership of Weekly Pro Wrestling magazine voted me as MVP of the Year in SMASH, plus I won the accolade for Match of the Year for 2011 in SMASH once again, this time against Dave “Fit” Finlay (from Nov. 24, 2011).

Here I offer up promos and videos of my personal favorite matches from Japan, which I have contested over the past three years.  Enjoy!

linestar

StarBuck vs. AKIRA:

StarBuck vs. TAJIRI:

StarBuck vs. Genechiro Tenryu

StarBuck, TAJIRI, AKIRA vs. Keiji Mutoh, Shuji Kondo, BUSHI

StarBuck, AKIRA, Syuri (Team Synapse) vs. TAJIRI, Hajime Ohara, Kana

On December 27 in Tokyo, Japan, history will be made as my SYNAPSE teammates AKIRA and Syuri vie for the WNC (Wrestling New Classic) Men’s Championship and WNC Women’s Championship respectively.

triad at gym

First off, I must say I am damn proud of my SYNAPSE partners, who more than deserve the top spots in Japanese professional wrestling, as champions.  AKIRA has wrestled an active career nearing 30-years in the business, and to this day he is one of the best in the country of Japan.  Syuri has worked her ass off to become one of the brightest female combatants in Japanese rings since her debut in 2010, also successfully doubling as an competitive kickboxer.

TRIAD collage

When AKIRA, Syuri and I joined forces to form SYNAPSE this past summer, we had a common agenda and end goal in mind: Total dominance.  It was clear from the onset, that we would go on to rule the wrestling world in Japan as a unit, and our united front has proven to be an awesome force to this day in all of our matches, both in terms of singles matches and tag team bouts.

This past October, I took part in the opening round of the WNC title tournament, losing in very controversial fashion to my former FCF teammate Hajime Ohara in a violent and spiteful encounter.  This marked Ohara’s first-ever win over me, and it also sent him straight into the semi-finals of the tournament.  AKIRA and Syuri also won both of their opening round matches, advancing to the semis last month in Tokyo, where AKIRA downed former ECW Champion Tommy Dreamer and Syuri defeated FCF Wrestling’s gender bender Jessica Love.

AKIRA vs Dreamer by Kengo Takahashi 01

AKIRA applies his Old Boy submission stretch on Tommy Dreamer (photo by Kengo Takahashi)

Now on December 27 at the infamous Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, the final round in the WNC title tournament sees AKIRA up against SYNAPSE arch-nemesis TAJIRI, as Syuri does battle with team DQN’s Nagisa Nozaki.  New champions will be crowned in those matches, and history will be written.

Last year, when SMASH held its championship finals in the men’s and women’s divisions, I faced TAJIRI in the men’s final and defeated him to become the first-ever SMASH Champion in history.  One month earlier, Kana defeated Syuri to become the first-ever SMASH Diva Champion.   I would go on to lose the SMASH Championship to Dave “Fit” Finlay in November 2011, whereas Syuri would get her comeuppance over Kana, winning the SMASH Diva Championship in February of this year, right before SMASH ceased operations.

Syuri (photo by Kazu Yanagi)

Syuri (photo by Kazu Yanagi)

I would have personally loved to have been able to make it to the finals of the WNC title tournament, but as the saying goes, “United we stand, divided we fall.”  In so saying, I can only wish for the best of luck to both AKIRA and to Syuri, both of whom I respect very much as teammates and competitors.  They are worthy of the gold.

This past Wednesday night – March 14, 2012 – a somber mood set over Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, as Japan’s SMASH organization held its final show, closing its doors forever.

The capacity crowd on hand at Korakuen Hall watches the main event of SMASH.FINAL

Many people are both asking and wondering what has led to the closing down of the promotion, considering SMASH rose in its two-year run to become one of the leading puroresu organizations in Japan.  SMASH started from zero in March of 2010 and rose like a phoenix amongst both fans and media alike over the next couple of years.  Their events in Japan drew great houses and showcased some of the finest pro wrestling to be seen anywhere.  So what exactly is at the root of the demise of SMASH?

Starting the match off against Tajiri in classic wrestling fashion

Very simply, the answer lies in the divergent visions of SMASH president Mr. Sakai and SMASH creative director Tajiri for the company and its future.  As Mr. Sakai owns the SMASH name and its respective title belts, this rift and separation proved to be a fatal blow to the company.  Without the creative genius of Tajiri, SMASH would simply not exist.  Tajiri was truly the soul and heartbeat of SMASH, and for Sakai to continue without him would have been foolhardy and a questionable risk.  Thus, at SMASH.FINAL on March 14th when all was said and done after the main event, Mr. Sakai announced publicly that there will be no SMASH v.2 post-Tajiri.  SMASH is now finished.

Tajiri clamps a chinlock on Yours Truly

The video below narrates (in English) the meat of the matter rather well.

I am greatly honored to have taken part in the SMASH.FINAL main event alongside FCF Wrestling teammate Hajime Ohara against the team of Tajiri and Akira Nogami.  I think it would be safe to say that SMASH was built largely on the four of us and our contributions to the promotion, so having this tag team main event headline the final SMASH show in history is truly prolific.

Double-teaming Akira Nogami, I plant the elbow into the upper back as Ohara stays the course

I really couldn’t think of a better way to go out on a high note.  Being in the ring with three of my best friends in this often cold, dog-eat-dog business on a night that enveloped so much emotion and weightiness meant a lot to me.  We fought tooth and nail for 25:50 of a wrestling classic before Akira was able to nail Ohara with his Musasabi Press splash off the top rope to end the epic encounter.

Akira has me in the Old Boy submission as Ohara tries to make the save

The night prior to the SMASH.FINAL, I was able to be part of Akira’s birthday party at the world- famous Ribera Steak House.  Although we knew that the next night we would be facing each other in the fight of our lives, only the sense of mutual respect, admiration and friendship was present at our table.

At Ribera Steak House, toasting Akira's birthday with Josh O'Brien and Tajiri

Knowing that I have fought so many times in the same ring against esteemed opponents the calibre of Akira and Tajiri only heightens and strengthens the comraderie between us.  The quality of our matches has always been top-notch, and being able to bring out the best in each other, regardless of the outcome, is definitely a key element that spawns great friendships in our trade.

Akira eats a nasty spike piledriver from Yours Truly

I can only hope that Tajiri starts up a new wrestling company in Japan following the demise of SMASH, as the man is one of the smartest minds in our business, and if anyone can do it, Tajiri most definitely can.  Tajiri definitely knows what classic wrestling should be all about, and I will most certainly support him in whatever his future endeavors are.

Akira pins Ohara following a huge Musasabi Press in 25:50 of a wrestling classic

After the main event was said and done at SMASH.FINAL, SMASH Diva Champion Syuri also vacated her title, as the wrestlers came to the ring to bow out and say goodbye to all of their supporters and fans over the past two years.

A real sweetheart of a girl, Syuri was the last SMASH Diva Champion

The last SMASH Champion Dave “Fit” Finlay vacated his title last month at SMASH.25 after defeating Tajiri in a fantastic match.

The wrestlers pay their respects to the company and the audience at the end of SMASH.FINAL

I would also like to thank all of the SMASH fans personally this one, last time for allowing me to become a star in their country.  As I said at the SMASH.FINAL afterparty, Japan is the #1 country in the world for pro wrestling, and it has been a dream come true for me to become a household name and celebrity in Japan through my pro wrestling adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun.

The Finnish Embassy in Japan came out to see SMASH.FINAL

Soudesune!!!

(Match photos my SMASH/SportsNavi Japan)

FCF Wrestling just announced a huge match-up for Punishment in Porvoo 2 on Sunday, March 11 in Porvoo, Finland: StarBuck vs. Jessica Love for the #1 contendership to the FCF Championship, currently held by “Wildman” Heimo Ukonselkä.

Gender bending fan favorite Jessica Love and myself could not be further apart as polar opposites.  Jessica embodies the alternative lifestyle of the modern age that is being pushed hard in the media and everywhere, whereas I represent the old school right down to the man being the head of the house and women wanting it that way.  Jessica is a high-flying risk-taker, I stick to the basics to get the job done as efficiently and simply as possible.

As much as we have traveled together to Japan to wrestle on multiple occasions, Jessica and I have never really gotten along.  We have more or less tolerated each other, for the sake of the business that we are in.  I know Jessica Love has never really cared for StarBuck, nor have I ever really cared for Jessica Love.  Perhaps you could say that in this respect, we are natural enemies.

Now, in one week’s time at Punishment in Porvoo 2, Jessica Love and myself vye for the #1 contender status as it relates to the FCF Championship.  I have held that title belt four times to date.  Jessica is still looking for that elusive first time to wear the FCF Championship.

Jessica Love will have to bring the damnedest fight that he/she has within him/her on Sunday, March 11th.  Anything less will spell 100% sure defeat for the gender bender, because Jessica Love knows that StarBuck shows no remorse and gives no quarter.

Jessica Love has quickly risen in popularity in FCF Wrestling and in Japan with the SMASH organization over the past two years.  I am sure Jessica would love to rise above StarBuck and cement a personal legacy in professional wrestling by one day becoming the FCF Champion – a title that has changed hands on two continents and has been held by five different nationalities since its inception, making it one of the most sought-after titles in the world of European professional wrestling.

There’s only one problem though.  That problem is named StarBuck.

Jessica Love will need more than Lady Luck to topple this veteran in Porvoo on March 11th.  Jessica is going to need a miracle.

For more event infos, go to www.wrestling.fi

I am very happy to announce that this week I will be returning to Japan for the first time since losing the SMASH Championship to Dave Finlay back at the end of November 2011.

On Sunday, February 19 at TDC Hall in Tokyo, I will team up with FCF Wrestling representatives Jessica Love and Hajime Ohara to take on the Zero1 contingent of Masato Tanaka, Shinjiro Otani and Ikuto Hidaka in a huge six-person showdown at SMASH.25.

It will be a great honor for me to step into the ring with especially Tanaka and Otani, who are two of the most revered pros in the game worldwide.  Many will remember Masato Tanaka’s match against Mike Awesome on the WWE version of ECW’s One Night Stand pay-per-view from 2005, while Otani was a legendary junior heavyweight in the early and mid-’90s with New Japan Pro Wrestling, holding both the WCW Cruiserweight Championship (beating the legendary Chris Benoit) and the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship in addition to a slew of others.

There is a stellar, multi-page article about me in the newest issue of Finnair‘s Blue Wings magazine on pages 38 – 43.

Click this link to see the piece, and yes, it’s in English.

Enjoy!