Posts Tagged ‘Synapse’

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

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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

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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

I will be returning to Japan this coming weekend to wrestle with my SYNAPSE team (WNC champion AKIRA, WNC women’s champion Syuri, StarBuck) vs.  Holland’s Emil Sitoci, Ivan Markov of Russia and Russian female competitor Bonnie Ekaterina at the Wrestling New Classic event on March 31 at Shinjuku Face arena in Tokyo.

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Emil Sitoci, Ivan Markov, Bonnie Ekaterina

There will be an afternoon and an evening show at Shinjuku Face on the same day.  The six-person tag is in the afternoon, and in the evening I will have a singles encounter against either Akira Shinose or Koji Doi, both of whom are just out of their rookie year in the wrestling business.  Both Shinose and Doi will have a match against each other in the afternoon to see which one of them will get the “honor” of facing Yours Truly on the evening card.

Photo by Susumu Tobari 02

AKIRA, StarBuck, Syuri

It feels great to be returning to Japan after a half a year away!  Sou desu ne!!!

After dominating the WNC (Wrestling New Classic) title tournament finals last month in Tokyo, my SYNAPSE teammate and new WNC Champion, AKIRA, has cordially invited Big Japan Wrestling standout star Shinya Ishikawa to join our ranks.

shinya

I fought against Ishikawa in a physical match, which I won with my spike piledriver, back in May 2011.  I was told that my bout against the rising star was likened to a vintage Harley Race match, in terms of psychology, as noted by my good friend, Dr. Hiroaki Terasaki.  The one thing I do vividly recall of the match with Ishikawa is the fact that he hit like a mule, and his “Dropkick from Hell” was aptly named, leaving me feeling like I had been hit by a baseball bat.  Below are some of the pictures from that event (photos courtesy of SMASH).

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Shinya Ishikawa’s SYNAPSE debut will be on January 25 at Shinjuku FACE arena in Tokyo at the next WNC event.

So now, SYNAPSE is fourfold strong: WNC Champion AKIRA, WNC Women’s Champion Syuri, StarBuck and Shinya Ishikawa.

Welcome aboard the winning team, Ishikawa-san!

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.

Arriving home today from participating in the opening round of the WNC (Wrestling New Classic) title tournament this past Friday at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, I have to admit that I am feeling battered and bruised.  I fought a very violent, spirited match against my former FCF teammate Hajime Ohara, a brawl in which he managed to blacken my left eye socket, only to see me lose the match, thanks to the chicanery from his DQN contingent members.

Piledriving Ohara — a sure win sabotaged by his DQN teammates (photo by Susumu Tobari)

I have faced Ohara on several occasions prior to this tournament match this past weekend, and in every encounter that we have had in the 2+ years prior to this encounter, I have soundly defeated my former protege every time, with my famous jumping spike piledriver.  This match was no different, up until the end, when I piledrove Ohara for the seeming victory once again.  However, this time his new team members Jiro Kuroshio and Nagisa Nozaki interjected themselves at the moment of the pin, causing the referee to become engaged with their antics.  Ohara was able to come around and shake the cobwebs off enough to hit me with a low blow behind the ref’s back, and then nail me with a loaded forearm strike to the throat for the tainted win.

Team SYNAPSE: AKIRA, Syuri and StarBuck

The last time I was in Japan prior to this trip, my SYNAPSE teammate AKIRA took me to a special physical trainer for pro wrestlers named Mr. Kenji Ohkido.  I have now gone to Mr. Ohkido about four times, and I plan on making an excursion to his offices whenever I visit Japan, as Mr. Ohkido knows exactly what kinds of duress and physical challenges pro wrestlers’ bodies undergo, due to his extensive experience in treating fighters over the years.  For anyone visiting Tokyo or living in the area, be sure to visit his establishment and get your torso lined back into shape.

Physiotherapist Kenji Ohkido knows his stuff!

I was able to visit a few extremely cool restaurants with various friends on this trip to Tokyo.  All of them bear mention, so I will start with the excellent Stomach Hold yakitori (chicken) restaurant, run by famous former PRIDE Fighting Championships and Pro Wrestling NOAH grappler, Yoshihiro Takayama.  Takayama-san is a truly nice gentleman to boot, and my good friend Dr. Hiroaki Terasaki often takes me to Stomach Hold to eat when I visit Japan.

My good friend Dr. Terasaki and me, visiting Takayama’s Stomach Hold

Another tremendous place to eat was named Hong Kong, run by Japanese wrestling pioneer Rikidozan’s (RIP) former personal chef, Mr. Masanobu Takanashi.  Dr. Terasaki took me, AKIRA and All-Japan GAORA champion Sanada to eat at Hong Kong, and the food was off the charts awesome!  The food at Hong Kong was traditional Japanese cuisine, and I highly recommend checking out the video below about the owner and the establishment.

From left to right: GAORA champion Sanada, me, head chef Mr. Takanashi, AKIRA, Dr. Terasaki

Last but not least, a couple of my female fans named Mayumi and Atsuko took me to eat at a small but superb sushi establishment, named Shin-Zushi, in a quiet neighborhood of Tokyo last night.  I have never enjoyed such mouth-watering, fresh sushi in my life!  I am talking about tastes that would make anyone’s sensory overdrive explode!  Just amazing sushi, done right by a master chef who knows his piece of business.

The head chef at Shin-Zushi prepares everything truly fresh

Seafood so good it melts in your mouth

With great fans like these, your enemies seem like a distant memory

I should also mention that our SYNAPSE team logo was created by the famous Manga cartoon writer behind the super-popular Cobra comic in Japan, Mr. Terasawa Buichi.

SYNAPSE team logo by Mr. Terasawa Buichi.

My special fan Mayumi also took me to see the world-famous Senso-Ji Asakusa temple in Tokyo.  The place is a major tourist attraction, and I also found a very cool shop next to the temple called Caricature Japan, where artist Itsumi Nakabachi drew up a cartoon portrait of Yours Truly as a special memoir.

The Asakusa Senso-Ji temple

I think my pic looks like a cross between Vince Neil of Motley Crue and Lynyrd Skynyrd vocalist Johnny Van Zant — which is a cool thing!

I would like to wish my SYNAPSE team members Syuri and AKIRA the best of luck in the WNC title tournament, as they vie for the women’s and men’s championships respectively, moving on to round two — the semi-finals — next month.  On October 26, Syuri defeated Lin Byron to advance to round two in her division and AKIRA defeated Adam Angel to advance.

Syuri (photo by Kazu Yanagi)

For anyone who does not know, Syuri is also a kickboxer, and she will be competing in the next KRUSH event in Japan once again next month.  In her last KRUSH match, Syuri downed her competition via knockout in the second round.