Posts Tagged ‘Tajiri’

One week back, on June 29 in Rauma, Finland, we held the most significant international pro wrestling card in all of Northern Europe this summer, entitled Wrestle Aid 2019.

With top talents flying to Finland to take part in this big event, in the end we had wrestlers from 10 countries represented: Japan, USA, Puerto Rico, Spain, England, Estonia, Holland, Ireland, Canada and Finland.

This all was done to help raise charity funds for the Finnish Muscular Dystrophy Association, Lihastautiliitto, to help those with ALS and Duschenne Muscular Dystrophy to take part in wheelchair-assisted sports.

Wrestle Aid wrestlers with Riku

The entire concept of Wrestle Aid came about as the brainchild of one of the event organizers, Riku Forsström of Rauma, where the event was held.  Riku is a long-time Duschenne patient, eclipsing the typical lifespan of contemporaries with his condition by well over 10 years.  It was at the express request of Riku that I booked all of the talent that was on hand at Wrestle Aid, allowing the man to live his dream and see the top-notch international stars that we had at the event live.

In the opening cruiserweight match, “MDogg” Matt Cross (Son of Havoc from Lucha Underground) defeated Finland’s “Luchadore of Lapland” Jami Aalto in 7:49 following a picture-perfect Shooting Star Press off the top rope.

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The second match featured tag team action, with Carlos Zamora of Spain and Mikk Vainula of Estonia besting the Finnish tandem of Polar Pekko and Patrik Mieto in 8:28 when Vainula delivered a thunderous Jackhammer to Mieto for the winning pinfall.

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In what was billed a Medieval Rules match sans disqualifications and countouts, Finnish “Wildman” Heimo Ukonselkä defeated Holland’s big man, Jurn Simmons, in a wild brawl after a big boot out of nowhere in 10:29.

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Ireland’s phenomenal 18-year-old sensation Scotty Davis fell to Finland’s Viktor Tykki in 7:48 of match time after a ring-shaking backpack slam.

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Local son of Rauma, Toni Tamminen, bested long-time Finnish ring veteran Stark Adder in 12:31 after nabbing a crucifix pin in mid-action.

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“The Japanese Buzzsaw” TAJIRI overcame arch-rival “The Rebel” StarBuck after 20:02 via pinfall upon finally delivering a successful Buzzsaw Kick to the Finnish pro wrestling pioneer’s head.

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Meiko Satomura of Japan defeated Ivelisse Velez of Puerto Rico and Sadie Gibbs of England in 10:10 in a heated women’s Triple Threat match when she pinned Ivelisse following her renowned Death Valley Driver.

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All of the action and excitement of Wrestle Aid 2019 will be available for one more week on ISTV through www.is.fi as a streaming service, so be sure to check out this stellar event through your device of choice and also follow SLAM! Wrestling Finland in Instagram, Facebook and Twitter as we deliver photo galleries of each match-up this coming week daily.

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This coming weekend on Saturday, June 29 in Rauma, Finland, I’m one of the main organizers behind the biggest, international pro wrestling supershow in the Nordics of Europe this summer: Wrestle Aid 2019!

Womens Triple Threat RAUMA

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With top professional wrestlers from nine different countries worldwide, this event is arguably – even on paper alone – the most significant show of its kind on a continental level.

“The Japanese Buzzsaw” Yoshihiro Tajiri and Meiko Satomura from Japan, Matt Cross from the USA, Ivelisse Veléz from Puerto Rico, Scotty Davis from Ireland, Jurn Simmons from Holland, Sadie Gibbs from England, Mikk Vainula from Estonia and Carlos Zamora from Spain join a host of Finnish professionals to bring you Wrestle Aid.  Oh, and in case you are wondering, Yours Truly represents my home country of Canada at this big event.

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With seven matches on the card and two gigantic, intercontinental main events on the menu, Wrestle Aid offers something for everyone, and especially action and thrills for the whole family.

Part of ticket proceeds will be going to the Finnish Muscular Dystrophy Association, Lihastautiliitto, to help patients with ALS and Duschenne muscular dystrophy to take part in wheelchair sports while their condition still warrants it.  This is a great cause and you really can make a difference by being an active part of it live!

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Tag Match RAUMA

The event will be held outdoors under the Finnish blue sky at Potkur shopping center on the rooftop of the establishment in the western coastal city of Rauma, Finland this coming Saturday, June 29.  Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster in Finland so get yours now and come out to see the greatest live action spectacle in Earth!

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Wrestle Aid SHOW TIMES poster

For more, go to http://www.wrestleaid.fi and be sure to check out http://www.slamsports.eu as well.

Tickets can be purchased HERE.

 

For those of you who might have missed it, I was on my old buddy Chris Jericho’s Talk is Jericho podcast recently.  You can check out the whole episode HERE!

Talk is Jericho

Also, I’ve got some huge news for you all!  The next super-spectacular SLAM! Wrestling Finland event happens on June 29 this summer on the West Coast of Finland in Rauma.  It’s called Wrestle Aid 2019 and part of the proceeds are going to the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation (Lihastautiliitto Ry) in Finland to help those with ALS and Duschenne Muscular Dystrophy to partake in sports while their situation still warrants it.

It’s a fantastic cause, and you certainly should be supporting this big event and the ethical framework of its intent.  We’ve got top wrestlers coming in from eight different countries for Wrestle Aid: TAJIRI from Japan, Ivelisse from Puerto Rico, Matt Cross from the USA, Jurn Simmons from Holland, Chris Ridgeway and Sadie Gibbs from England, Shanna from Portugal and several others are slated to appear in action on June 29 at the biggest, international pro wrestling mega-event of the summer in the Nordics of Europe!

Wrestle Aid poster SLAM Wrestling Finland

Tickets for Wrestle Aid are NOW AVAILABLE through Ticketmaster in Finland HERE.

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.

 

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!!!!!!!!!!!!

Last night in Helsinki we almost had a tragedy take place.  FCF Wrestling held it’s 10th anniversary of Finland’s equivalent of Wrestlemania, Talvisota X (Winter War 10).  With 500 frantic fans showing up to our mega-show, we had nine matches slated on the card, with the FCF title bout between champion Valentine and challenger King Kong Karhula in the main event.

However, earlier yesterday, we got word that my opponent for the evening, Chaos of Denmark, had been delayed in Copenhagen.  His SAS flight had left for Helsinki and had been turned back after take-off due to a fuel shortage.  SAS rerouted him through Prague later in the day, only to make it to Helsinki airport for 22:30!

Now just me personally, talking not only for myself but for the fans on hand, and in light of the significance of my imprint on the Finnish pro wrestling scene in general, as the pioneer of the sport in our country, for my match to have been left off the card of this 10th anniversary show would have been an all-time low.

Back in 2006, when the first, inaugural Winter War took place in Vantaa, Finland, I was the main event against Bernard Vandamme of Belgium for the Eurostars European championship.  At that event, I won the European title for the first time in my storied career, putting Finnish pro wrestling and FCF as a company on the continental wrestling industry map.

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The night I took the European title off of Bernard Vandamme in 2006

Now, 10 years later, the boys that were in the opening match of the very first Winter War in 2006 found themselves at the top of the card, in the advertised main event of Winter War / Talvisota X this year, a decade later.  Valentine and King Kong Karhula had one hell of a match last night, which stands to be applauded on all levels, and I was amazed at the public reaction to the newly-turned Karhula as a babyface.  It seems that the Finnish fans really vouched for him and have taken him as a fan favorite fore-runner.  Pitted against one of the greatest heels ever – if not THE greatest heel ever – out of the Nordics, Valentine, both challenger and champion tore the house down with a multi-faceted, highly intricate and masterful match.  Valentine retained his strap, but Karhula won over the entire audience with a moral victory.

About half-way through Valentine’s match with Karhula, Chaos arrived at the Töölö Sports Hall, rushed to the venue via taxi to make it for our advertised match.  He had changed into his wrestling gear during the ride to town, and he was primed and ready to go 15 minutes before our match went on.  Talk about a near-miss!

My Eye of the Tiger theme music began to play and I wondered if Chaos and I could follow the stellar main event match set by Valentine and Karhula.  Still, as a 22-year veteran, I knew I could be certain of what I could produce.  I was also dead-certain of what my opponent could produce.  We had an issue to attend to, a rivalry that crossed national boundaries.  I wasn’t expecting a high-flying match or a technical showcase.  No, what I was expecting was a WAR.  And a war I got!

Chaos lambasted me from behind with a steel chair from the blindside as I made my ring entrance, beating me six shades of senseless before I even knew what was going on!  The man tore into me, literally like a pit bull, unrelenting and vicious in his assault.  I found myself literally fighting for my life in there.  There was no surcease, no slowing down, as Chaos just kept the pressure and heat on me.

Yet, I wasn’t succumbing.  I wasn’t laying down or staying down.  This was Winter War 10, dammit!  Winter War, my personal brainchild and concept, which has since been branded and recognized as the most important pro wrestling event annually in the country of Finland!

StarBuck vs Chaos Winter War 10 (3)

Chaos blasts me with a mean uppercut! (photo: Timo Muilu)

My adrenaline started kicking in.  I struggled hard to clear my head of the cobwebs of Chaos’ vicious assault.  I got in one punch… then another… and another.  I rallied hard, fighting back with the intestinal fortitude of a dozen Finnish war veterans that fought hard to retain Finland’s independence in 1940.  I wasn’t just fighting for my professional wrestling heritage in this country, I was fighting for every person at the Töölö Sports Hall that rallied with me.  Every punch and blow that I could land was delivered with the force and emotional investment of the people that believed in me and my personal contribution to pro wrestling in Finland since 2003.  All of a sudden, my fight became larger than life itself in that moment.

StarBuck vs Chaos Winter War 10 (2)

A brief rally that didn’t last too long, but did the damage intended! (photo: Timo Muilu)

I finished the first Winter War with my head held high back in 2006, and I wasn’t willing to leave the ring last night with anything less than that same feeling and raw emotion.  I finally nailed Chaos in the face with a boot as he charged me in the corner.  With the Dane stung, I blasted him with a second rope clothesline that would have done former WWF world champion Bret “Hitman” Hart proud.

After a spirited last-ditch, desperation comeback, I got caught out on the outside of the ring by Chaos, as he ran my kidneys hard into the ring apron.  Rolling me back into the ring, Chaos hit his trademark moonsault and damn near crushed my legs on the landing.  It would be hard to kick out, with my thighs knotted up, but kick out I did!

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Chaos hits a mean moonsault on my fallen corpus (photo: Xeniya Balsara)

 

Chaos picked me up for a side back breaker and then ascended the ropes for another huge moonsault, which he hit perfectly across my chest cavity, knocking the wind out of me.  He went for the cover, but just barely, I managed to kick out once again.

At this point, Chaos seemed to be scrambling for ideas, so he went after the steel chair that he used before the start of the match to beat me senseless.  Bringing the chair to the ring, he prepared to blast me with it, but I hit a superkick into the chair, sending the steel into Chaos’ face and knocking him senseless for a change.

Now was my time.  It was now or never.  I hoisted Chaos for my trademark spike piledriver and dropped him with the very maneuver that has put away competition all over the world during my wrestling travels in 20 countries worldwide.  But… he kicked out!!!

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My piledriver has a match-ending odds on favorite rate of about 98% (photo: Xeniya Balsara)

I was stunned.  Hardly ever had anyone… anyone at all… kicked out of my spike piledriver.  In Japan, “The Japanese Buzzsaw” Tajiri managed to kick out of my piledriver once, and once only.  On that night, Tajiri became the FCF champion back in 2010.  But such are so scarce occasions, that they only happen once in a blue moon, or perhaps, as with most, only once in a lifetime.

I blasted Chaos with yet another spike piledriver and that was finally enough to put away the tough bastard at Winter War 10, as the audience counted with every slap of the referee’s hand against the mat, as Chaos’ shoulders were pinned for the 1-2-3.  And my goodness, the sound of the pop that the live audience emitted at that point could have been registered on the Richter Scale!

What could have been a disastrous night on many levels turned into one of the most satisfying and memorable matches of my 22+ year pro wrestling career.  Thanks to everyone who was on hand, and for those who weren’t, there is a DVD of this event in the works, which will be out in the coming months for sale!

Winter War veterans

The FCF Wrestling veteran crew that has taken part in every single Talvisota / Winter War to 2006 -2016: (left to right) King Kong Karhula, StarBuck, Valentine, Stark Adder (photo: Satu Tapaturma)

 

With another year gone in the history books, I’d like to glance back and assess the past 12 months both personally and professionally.

The last two years have really been life-altering times of change for me. In 2013 I got married, starting a new chapter of my life. Professionally speaking, 2014 signalled the end of the WNC (Wrestling New Classic) organization that I grappled for, marking the close of an era there also. The financial crunch in Europe began to sting and affect businesses across the board, spreading to Asia, including professional wrestling. Less shows were in the offering and the money just wasn’t there. I find myself amongst the hard-nosed veterans of the grappling game who find themselves working a limited number of dates due the poorly paying scene in general, not counting a few decent promotions on the grappling map who are still putting out top dollar for top talent still. 2014 was no cake-walk for independent pro wrestling, folks.

Yet, 2014 was musically one of the better years that I recall as of late. With my southern rock act Crossfyre we blazed across Europe and all around Finland over 2014, having one helluva time! We toured Poland, Estonia and Germany at the start of the summer and hit a slew of summer festivals and biker gigs to boot domestically. I got to see Lithuania and Latvia in transition between countries on tour and overall it was great experience. Crossfyre really evolved even further over 2014 as a working man’s hard working band, and for that, I am proud.

2014 started off with a bang, as fast food giant Subway had me play the lead and do the voice-over for their American Steak House Melt sub sandwich. I got to play my redneck self, complete with my Michael Hayes-like finger mannerisms, familiar to wrestling fans far and wide, who’ve seen ”The Rebel” StarBuck in action.

2014 also marked my 20th anniversary since debuting as an active combatant in the world of pro wrestling. On January 7 this past year, my old wrestling coach Lance Storm sent me a public message on Facebook, congratulating me on my career milestone. It was Lance who was my first opponent, whom I had a very decent 7-minute match with back in Calgary, Canada in my debut bout. Since that time, I’ve gone on to see the world, kick ass and take names far and wide. Thank again, Lance, for setting me off on that fantastic journey!

Speaking of pro wrestling, FCF started off 2014 with a bang on January 11 in Helsinki, as my four-man team of Mikko Maestro, Sly Sebastian, Kristian Kurki and Yours Truly downed the team of Valentine, Conny Mejsel, Steinbolt and Robert Holmström in a hellacious Survivor Series-style elimination match. This tag bout stands out as one of my personal favorites from 2014, as everyone clicked on all cylinders and the action was hot and heavy-handed.

In another huge tag team outing, I teamed with FCF’s King Kong Karhula against the duo of Sweden’s Conny Mejsel and Harley Rage in Gothenburg on February 1, which turned out to be perhaps the hottest tag team match that I have ever wrestled. I am speaking solely about fan reaction to the bout here, but I am in no way undermining the quality of the wrestling in that match. Everyone brought their A-game to the show, and I am glad that my Spandex Sapiens movie producer Oskari Pastila was able to come and film the bout, because this crowd and atmosphere was most definitely worth capturing on film.

The Gothenburg fans went bananas when their hero Conny Mesjel got the upper hand on me.

The Gothenburg fans went bananas when their hero Conny Mesjel got the upper hand on me.

Speaking of Spandex Sapiens, premature expectations had the 100-minute documentary movie about my persona and wrestling career coming out in 2014. Yet, director Pastila decided to wait out the possible financial commitments of various third parties before tending to the actual release, and thus, the movie debut was delayed until 2015. Now, the release has been set for autumn 2015 and all signs are go at this point. I personally can’t wait! In addition, 2015 will mark the return of Mad Max to the silver screen, as Fury Road comes out in the summer. When I was a kid, Mad Max: The Road Warrior was my favorite movie.

2014 also saw Yours Truly doing a guest DJ spot on Finland’s top rock radio station, Radio Rock. This was a personal milestone for me, much like getting featured in an exclusive article in Hustler magazine several years ago (true story!) about my wrestling career (Hustler publisher and boss Larry Flynt has always been an icon to me as an anti-establishment kind of guy who swims against the stream at large). I got the opportunity to play whatever I wanted, chosing obscure songs by lesser-known bands like Living Sacrifice, Bolt Thrower and even my own bands, Overnight Sensation and Crossfyre. Talk about a great PR opportunity!

February 27, 2014 was a huge day for me in my wrestling career. I defeated ”The Japanese Buzzsaw” Tajiri for the WNC championship in Tokyo, capturing my second title in Japan to date (I became the first champion in SMASH history back in October 2011, also defeating Tajiri then in a tournament final). Tajiri is arguably my greatest nemesis of all time, over the entire span of my wrestling career. He and I have waged numerous wars, both in Japan and Finland, and I am honored to have had such a great fighting chemistry with him.

One week after winning the WNC title, I hit an all-time career low, as I lost both the WNC championship and the BWA (British Wrestling Alliance) Catchweight belt in the same night at FCF Wrestling’s biggest annual showcase event, Talvisota VIII, on March 8. With my wife Diana as my wrestling valet, I also put her career on the line against Valentine in what I can now assess was a bad case of overconfidence on my part. Valentine pulled out a tainted win, complete with brass knuckles, as I lost the BWA title to him. Immediately thereafter, Belgian powerhouse Bernard Vandamme demanded that I wrestle him and defend the WNC title. Never one to back down from a fight, I valiantly did my best, losing in grand fashion in two minutes. It was possibly the lowest point of my career, and it haunted me for the rest of the year in all of my Finnish matches. I can see now, that it was psychologically a demon and monkey on my back, losing my wife as my valet, along with two championships, in one night. In 2015, I plan to rid myself of that jinx for good.

I was able to grapple again in Belgium in March 2014, this time laying waste to a promising young rookie named Tyson Heel out of Andorra, along with a return to Germany to wrestle for EPW. Things were going great for me outside of Finland, as the wins kept coming, but my jinx returned when FCF’s Jatkosota 2014 rolled around on April 12 in Helsinki once again. In a six-man tag team match, my team of Sly Sebastian, Kristian Kurki and myself lost to Heimo Ukonselkä, Stark Adder and Ricky Vendetta when Ukonselkä assisted Vendetta in gaining a pinfall over this disgruntled Rebel. Ricky Vendetta would go on to brag and boast about gaining the biggest pin of his career, shooting his mouth off all throughout 2014 at my expense. Vendetta became a real thorn in my hide at this point.

I became embroiled in a bitter rivalry with young Ricky Vendetta this year (photo: Marko Simonen).

I became embroiled in a bitter rivalry with young Ricky Vendetta this year (photo: Marko Simonen).

2014 marked my 19th country in pro wrestling, as I went to Holland to wrestle for a fabuolus company called Dutch Pro Wrestling on June 1 against Bernard Vandamme. I was out looking to avenge myself and beat Vandamme into the ground, but as fate would have it, Vandamme found a way to thwart my end goal, eeking out another victory over Yours Truly. That WNC title loss really stung bad after that repeat defeat, I can assure you!

On June 8, I had the pleasure of playing the 2014 Harley-Davidson Super Rally in Tallinn, Estonia with Crossfyre. We had the main stage, we got to meet Mr. Bill Davidson of Harley-Davidson Motorcycles, and we got to treat throngs of bikers from all across Europe to our special southern rocking brand of rock’n’roll from the north. Top of the line hotel, top treatment, top spot on the event line-up = no complaints!

Bill Davidson mugs between me and Crossfyre's session bassist Sami Salminen.

Bill Davidson mugs between me and Crossfyre’s session bassist Sami Salminen.

The summer of 2014 signalled the end of the WNC organization that I wrestled for in Japan. Tajiri, Akira Nogami, Yusuke Kodama, Rionne Fujiwara and a couple of other wrestlers moved on to Keiji Muto’s Wrestle-1 organization, while everyone else from WNC went their own, separate ways. I was saddened to say goodbye to my old Synapse teammates Syuri Kondou and Akira, with whom I enjoyed a tremendous chemistry. We travelled a lot of miles up and down the roads in Japan, kicking asses and taking names for almost two years together. It was a memorable time, and Synapse will always live on in my memories as a unit that I was truly happy to be a part of.

The summer gigs that we played with Crossfyre live strongly in my memories, as I mentioned at the start of this blog. The summer of 2014 was awesome and we really rocked all summer long, as the lyrics to a certain song go. The shows we had in Poland especially warm my heart, as we had Polish audiences dancing on tables and losing their inhibitions (in a good way!) every single night. Poland was one helluva time! I also warmly recall going for a kebab after our gig on the Reperbahn in Hamburg, Germany with a black 74-year-old jazz and blues musician, whose name now escapes me. Talk about experience and the wisdom that only comes with years!

Photographer Igor Uciński captures one of the best shots of me on stage in Poland.

Photographer Igor Uciński captures one of the best shots of me on stage in Poland.

The summer of 2014 also saw FCF Wrestling join forces with fast food restaurant Snacky in Finland for an event called Snacky Slam at the end of July. This show was held outdoors, and we had more media exposure through Snacky for FCF than I recall en masse in recent years. Finland’s top entertainment magazine, 7 Päivää, jumped in as the media sponsor for the event, proving to be the ideal, perfect match in terms of hype. I am proud as punch of the promo work that FCF and myself got to do through 7 Päivää, and the vast, new audiences reached thereby. It was at Snacky Slam that Ricky Vendetta was able to gain yet another tainted win at my expense in a six-man war, featuring myself along with Sly Sebastian and Mikko Maestro against Vendetta, Stark Adder and Pyöveli Petrov in a super-hot match that had the Snacky outdoor audience rocking. Adder was the pivotal man to assist Vendetta this time, leading to the pinfall win for Vendetta over good ol’ StarBuck. Ricky Vendetta was really beginning to piss me off at this point.

In August, I had the pleasure of coaching a week-long training camp for young wrestlers in Denmark. I was able to take my wife along for this trip, and we had our official summer vacation in the process. Danish Pro Wrestling organized the camp, and I had kids from four different countries attend. I saw some real potential amongst the 21 participants that busted their asses that week, and I am sure the world of pro wrestling will be hearing from some of them in the future.

The summer of 2014 also allowed me to mend the fence with Boogie Mustonen, the seven-time Finnish heavyweight bodybuilding champion. Boogie had trash-talked Finnish pro wrestling and my personal legacy many years ago on a certain Finnish bodybuilding online forum, and I had taken personal offense to his derogatory comments. You see, Boogie had once wrestled in the neighborhood of about 20 matches, after getting his training in Australia around the mid-’90s. Since speaking out less than favorably about Finnish pro wrestling, Boogie had amended his opinions and views. Back then, Boogie had never really understood the pro wrestling business, and his career was cut prematurely short after failing to convince in his match against Tony Halme (Ludvig Borga in WWF) in Joensuu, Finland back in July 1997. I had been the referee for that specific match, and it had been Boogie’s tryout bout to get into Otto Wanz’s CWA promotion (Austria) back then. To make a long story short, the match was flop. Boogie went on to concentrate on his bodybuilding career and Halme went on to become a boxer before getting into politics and then eventually killing himself in early 2010.

It's like the past never happened, Boogie is a great guy!

It’s like the past never happened, Boogie is a great guy!

I had a blast doing another TV commercial shoot during the summer, this time for Vesileppis Sport & Spa Hotel. Hotel manager Kimmo had been the promoter for FCF’s Karjalan Turpakäräjät show in Nurmes, eastern Finland back in October 2012. Kimmo thought StarBuck would be a great fit as a main actor alongside Vesileppis Hotel’s ladybug mascot, to provide a comical contrast. The end production speaks for itself, so take a look…

During the summer, I also got to do a TV commercial shoot for Finland’s biggest dairy manufacturer, Valio Ltd., with NHL ice hockey legend and Stanley Cup winner, Teemu Selänne. The double exposure of both Subway and Valio definitely lay down some serious exposure for me in preparation for my Spandex Sapiens movie next year, as my mug will be familiar to the entire nation pretty much. As the Bible says, the Lord works in mysterious ways!

2014 was a bit of a transitional year for my hard rock band Overnight Sensation, as we have been focusing on writing new material by and in large. We only had a handful of domestic gigs this past year, and granted, we could have done more. Nonetheless, we are planning on releasing a mini-LP of sorts featuring our new songs with our current drummer Jesper in 2015.

On the 13th of September, I finally had the chance to gain a measure of retribution on Ricky Vendetta here in Finland, as we met in a singles match in Helsinki. Yet, Ricky didn’t want to face me square-up. Earlier in the evening at FCF Wrestling’s Syyskuun Selkäsauna, I introduced the new debuting Class of 2014 to the fans present at Hotel Presidentti. Seven new trainees had passed their 2014 schooling to enter the world of professional wrestling, and during this presentation ceremony, Ricky Vendetta chose to attack me with a monkey wrench in his hand. In the ensuing melee, he bruised my ribs, leaving me at less than 100% for our singles match later that night. Regardless of my best efforts, Vendetta thwarted yet another bullet and managed to gain another tainted win over me. I had promised to make Vendetta tap out for his insolence, not content with just pinning him. I promised to make him scream for his life and submit. That is still going to have to wait for another day, and luckily, my opportunity lies in achieving that goal at FCF’s Talvisota IX event in Helsinki on February 9, 2015, when I will face Vendetta in a submission-only match!

I had the pleasure of returning to Japan again on October 10 for my good friend and former Synapse tag team partner Akira Nogami’s 30th anniversary show in Tokyo. Whereas I celebrated 20 years in pro wrestling this year, Akira’s landmark was a decade better. In the main event of Akira’s 30th anniversary card, I wrestled against my old friend Nogami and also against Pancrase founder Masakatsu Funaki in a triple threat match. I got to find out first-hand about Funaki’s legendary kicks, which I felt on numerous occasions during that match. In the end, even I was astounded at the fact that when all was said and done, I had pinned Akira at his own anniversary show! Japan has always been a very special place for me, and my favorite country to wrestle in, and this event once again reminded me just why that is.

lineup Akira 30th anniversary

Akira’s 30th anniversary show line-up

 

On November 1, traveled to Stockholm to fight Ken Malmsteen in a Last Man Standing match. I took it upon myself to teach Malmsteen a stern lesson about respect for the way that he disregarded and cheapshotted former Swedish Olympic hero, Frank Andersson. Frank had wrestled in WCW and New Japan way back in the day circa. 1993-1995 or thereabouts. He had made his comeback to pro wrestling this past year in Sweden, challenging Malmsteen to a match for the Swedish wrestling championship after Malmsteen first cheapshotted him when Frank was a special referee in a prior bout. Frank went on to make good and capture the title, but after the match he was diagnosed with a concussion after a loaded uppercut from Malmsteen in their match. On November 1, I beat Malmsteen from pillar to post and was well on my way to busting him open good and proper. Malmsteen got hold of the STHLM Wrestling title belt and blasted me in the face with it during our no-DQ outing, which sliced my head open, instead. After yet another shot with the title belt to my wounded head, I was unable to get to my feet by the referee’s 10-count, and the match was awarded to Malmsteen. At least I did manage to soften up Mr. Malmsteen for Frank Andersson the next time they meet…

I was thinking I had Ken Malmsteen beat (photo: Johannes Tegner).

I was thinking I had Ken Malmsteen beat (photo: Johannes Tegner).

On November 7, I travelled to France for the first time in five and a half years, which was a welcome return to fight for Wrestling Stars. I had become accustomed to wrestling mixed tag matches with Synapse in Japan over the past couple of years, and this time I teamed with the feisty Miss Agathe against French fan favorite Jimmy Gavroche and Sara Elektra from Finland. I don’t think Sara had ever been rag-tagged so badly in her life as in that match, and it was a valuable lesson for her about the relentless world of pro wrestling. I have always had the same philosophy with training and wrestling, regardless of whether it’s been a man or woman. Pro wrestling is an incredibly hard and remorseless grind physically, and if there ever was a thing called Sexual Equality, the world of pro wrestling is such a place. Hell, I recall facing multi-time Japanese women’s wrestling champion Kana on several occasions a couple of years back, and her kicks were on par with those thrown by Masakatsu Funaki!

On November 15, I celebrated my 20th year in pro wrestling with The Roast of StarBuck at Hotel Presidentti in Helsinki. Although January 7 was officially my anniversary career landmark, FCF Wrestling wanted to toast and roast my contributions to the grappling game at year’s end. Many names from my past dropped by to grill me, including media personality Wilma Schlizewski, Renne Korppila of Radio NRJ, my uncle Lasse, former amateur champion Jouni Mörsky and FCF’s Valentine and Robert Holmström. The best verbal jabs were dealt by Holmström, Valentine and Korppila, who had no mercy on my poor person. Regardless, I was a good sport and hung in there for the duration, until once again, Ricky Vendetta tried to ruin even this occasion as my wife Diana gave me a closing blindfolded lap dance. Vendetta tried to assault me with the trophy FCF handed to me as a commemorative token, which I was able to avoid and then procede to lay a beating on Vendetta, sending him scurrying out of the ring to await his final judgement at Talvisota IX this upcoming February 7, 2015 in Helsinki.

To cap off my eventful 2014, I was asked by Europe’s biggest MMA organization M-1 to ring announce their M-1 Challenge 54 / ACB 12 event in St. Petersburg, Russia on December 17. I did the ring announcing for the M-1 Semi-Finals in 2010 in Helsinki, and M-1 president Vadim Finkelchtein recalled that I did a great job for his organization then. One of the things that I have always prided myself on is having a strong voice and dynamic delivery. This has proven to be an asset for me over 2014, as I have had a slew of voice-over jobs through Finland’s oldest voice-over agency, Dictum.fi. I was once again able to parlay my talents and offer my voice to ring announcing for the M-1 Global live stream of their event from St. Petersburg. I was told the organization was more than happy with my work this time also, and hopefully we’ll be able to work together in 2015.

Yours Truly in a snazzy suit ring announcing M-1 in St. Petersburg.

Yours Truly in a snazzy suit ring announcing M-1 in St. Petersburg.

Thanks to all my fans for the support over 2014. 2015 should be even bigger and better, as the Spandex Sapiens documentary movie about me hits the silver screen this autumn. Stay tuned to http://www.starbuck.fi for developments and all the latest!