Posts Tagged ‘Talvisota’

Man, I don’t know about you, but I’m literally counting down the days to Talvisota XII on December 2 in Helsinki. This date features the biggest wrestling event of the year in Finland, and speaking about Talvisota (translating to Winter War for all you non-Finns out there), I pioneered this event concept back in 2006 and I’ve seen it grow into the flagship spectacle it is for Finnish pro wrestling. This is something I’m honestly proud of, in retrospect. Talvisota has become a staple on the Finnish landscape. It’s our equivalent of WWE’s Wrestlemania.

I’ve seen a lot happen over the years, with a lot of ups and downs, and a lot of knives aimed at my back the moment I turned around (many incidents of which are excellently chronicled in my standout autobiography, Battleground Vahalla, available as a hard copy or Kindle version). I’ve shared the dressing room with people that have literally despised the ground I walked on, as well as those I hold in high regard as the scarcely few I can deem a ”brother” in this dog-eat-dog business. That’s all fine and dandy, because I must have made one hell of an indelible impact for this to have taken place! Had I been another bland face in the faceless crowd, no one would have cared and no feathers would have ever been ruffled. That said, that kind of life was never for me.

Of all of the personal issues that I’ve met head-on in the ring, of all the vendettas and grudges that have been settled inside the squared circle, I really don’t think any single one of them has been as weighty as the one that I will face at this coming Talvisota XII on December 2nd against a guy called Juhana ”King Kong” Karhula, who also happens to be the FCF champion at this point in time.

FCF Wrestling May 27th 2017, Helsinki, Finland.

Juhana Karhula

Karhula has always been ambitious, but he hasn’t always been realistic. That said, at times he has also been lazy and nonchalant, a big dreamer. At other times, I think he believed his own hype, a hype that he himself concocted to bolster his lack of self-esteem, and counted himself more of a star than he actually was. He most definitely saw himself as a bigger star than his britches were made for, and it took him several years to get himself up to speed. But when he got with the program, as it were, Karhula became very good. That I’ll give him. The Karhula that steps into the ring nowadays is as well-rounded a pro wrestler as it gets, but as a man, well … that’s a another story.

I recall hearing the echoes on the breeze tell me in recent years of how Karhula saw himself as a better trainer than me, of how he saw his skill level being over and beyond that of mine. When I heard this, I chuckled to myself. I thought that here is a young man, full of piss and vinegar and a load of pipe dreams, trying to convince himself that he’s better than the big daddy of the fold. I whimsically passed it off as youthful bravado and over-ambition.

When I ran the FCF ship for a number of years, I let Karhula take the lead of training the new talents that came in the door. He was hungry to show his worth and he felt up to the task, and so this lot was given to him. He obviously took this as a sign of weakness from me, and proceded to run mutiny with the younger members of the Finnish wrestling fold, poisoning their minds over the past years against the old captain of the ship. My style of old school man-up leadership didn’t sit well with many of the ”boys” (intonation: not quite men yet), who would gripe behind my back about shit but never had the balls to come and talk to me about it. Karhula became the in-between and sponge, as it were, for the gripers, and he used that energy as firepower to cook up his own little mutiny. A man with integrity would have told those gripers to man-up and go talk to the boss directly, just as they have to do with Vince McMahon in WWE. When I look back, the only ”reasoning” I can find for his behavior and choices can be summed up as petty jealousy. Sure, even then, Karhula led others by example: his example only was one of subversion, spinelessness and again, mutiny.

The fact is Juhana Karhula was never better than the man that taught him, even though he does everything in his power to avoid mentioning my name when it comes to who trained him up and who mentored him. Simply put, he hated – and still hates – what he could never be.

Oh, on the surface it looks very different, I’m sure. I’m certain that when most folks look at the way Karhula carries himself and the way he makes his case, they’ll be deluded into falling for the mirage of the ”good guy,” or the ”honest guy.” The cold, hard truth is that Karhula is most definitely NOT a ”good guy.”

Even in one of his last blogs, Karhula tried to paint this picture of FCF Wrestling having been a personal ”playground” for me when I ran the ship like a tyrant, as he put it. What he fails to realize and give me credit for is, that I opened numerous doors for not only him, but also a litany of other Finnish talents, when I was at the helm. It was through my personal sacrifices, connections and labors, that everyone got a piece of the pie. I was the baker, the roster were the beneficiaries, sitting at the round table, waiting to be served. Of course Karhula doesn’t want anyone to see this picture, because it completely destroys his argument and attempt to discredit me. And be it said, that every single business and organization needs a clear-cut leader at the top, someone whose word is iron law, so that everyone underneath has a clear direction and concise marching orders, as to what is expected of them to make the co-operative effort work.

The truth is, that the yuppie, liberal, millennial roster simply didn’t like the way StarBuck ran the game, which was LIKE A WRESTLING PROMOTION. After 25 years spent out in the mat game worldwide, you’d think these kids would have had the faith to understand a time-tested pro was at the helm, running things like they had been run for numerous decades in our industry. But no, they wanted a culture club, a little after-school play park where everyone got their wishes granted and everyone was made to feel like a special snowflake. And who better to choose to lead a juvenile lot like that, than one of their own?

karhula and starbuck standoff

Karhula’s a snake in the grass. He’s a young man full of resentment and jealousy. Where he could have gone the extra mile like I did in making his career on a global level, he simply dreamed and talked. He didn’t put in the sacrifice and effort needed, nor did he show the must-have heart and ballsy daring that blind leaps of faith require to make it in any chosen endeavor.

No. Karhula simply rode the coattails of upper management, expecting to be treated like a special charity case or favored child. He thought that his inherent talent warranted him all the blessings that would be passed his way from those in power. Someone else laid down the pavement that he was then able to stroll on. And like a greedy, self-serving child, he just expected more and more. Chalk it up to a false sense of entitlement for a millenial child.

Then, when he saw his opening in late 2015, Karhula realized that now was his time. The Finnish wrestling roster had changed dramatically since the golden days of the early 2010’s in FCF, when under my auspices, we were the ONLY office out of Europe to have a working relationship with a main Japanese wrestling promotion. A lot of the veteran talents from that era had either moved on to live in other countries or had hung it up, moving on in their lives to other endeavors and vocations.

Now, a new stock of upstarts and mid-card hopefuls were filling up the bulk of the roster. The internal climate was right for an overhaul. Youth beckoned unto youth and like called out to like. The pipe dreams of one became the pipe dreams of many. Karhula had his uprising, captaining his grand bastard mutiny, and so he was chosen by the disoriented, disenfranchised younglings that he helped coach up, as their new spiritual leader.

In came the liberal, soft, democratic values of Juhana Karhula. Out went the cold, hard realities of 25 years spent in the global wrestling industry and the conservative leadership of StarBuck.

Well, guess what? On December 2nd in Helsinki, when Talvisota XII takes place, this isn’t just going to be another wrestling match. It’s not some ”storyline” for the fans to amuse themselves by. No. This is going to be a personal war of attrition and I’m going to take deep-rooted pleasure in breaking one Juhana ”King Kong” Karhula into pieces.

I could give a damn whether anyone sides with me that night. Times have changed, and so be it. I’m going into that ring to annihilate and decimate Juhana Karhula. I’m going to strip him of his title belt, I’m going to forcefully eviscerate his false sense of ”honor” and I’m going to make an example of him in front of the entire, youth-infested FCF locker room.

December 2nd will be known as the day that a false leader, captaining his own, personal mutiny against the father of an entire cultural phenomenon in the country of Finland, meets his own, due demise.

die karhula

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To all, there comes a time when the support structures that you’ve long held, which assist you in whatever your chosen endeavor might be, are taken away.  Times when you have to learn to dig deeper than ever before to be able to stand on your own.  After all, your parents are not going to hold your hand forever to keep you from falling down.  Neither will your coach.

This past Saturday night at FCF Wrestling’s Wrestling Show Live: December Rumble in Helsinki, such an example took place in the battle of Finland vs. Russia, where my protégé Mikko Maestro took on Ivan “Locomotive” Markov in one of the marquee match-ups.

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Ivan Markov proved hard to take down for Mikko Maestro.

 

Prior to the match, Maestro had implored me to step into his corner and coach him through this, the biggest match of his five-year professional wrestling career.  Maestro had long been on his own, after I took him on as my personal pet project in early 2013, and he had done pretty well for himself, especially after catching fire this year.  Maestro has been on a roll since defeating “Wildman” Heimo Ukonselkä at FCF’s premiere annual supershow, Talvisota X (Winter War 10) this past March.  Maestro stood strong in his battles with the likes of Swedish wrestling champion Harley Rage and even managed to defeat Dutch wrestling champion Mark Kodiak on Finnish soil in September this year.

Yet, as December 10, 2016 inched ever closer, Mikko Maestro understood he was up against something that he wasn’t sure he was ready for.  So he enlisted his former coach, Yours Truly, to help prep him and coach him through the match he would have against Ivan Markov at WSL: December Rumble.  After all, I am the man that defeated Markov in the first-ever pro wrestling match-up between Finland and Russia, which took place last year, so who better to approach for advice than myself?

december_rumble-114

Photographer Jarmo Katila captures one of the many nasty predicaments during the match.

I accepted, with one condition and one condition only.  This was that Maestro leave behind his ridiculous stinkface spot, which serves absolutely no purpose other than to get a rise out of the audience when he smothers his backside into an opponents face in the ring corner.  Me personally, I find this spot to be stupid beyond description and totally unnecessary, especially when it comes to winning matches and staying alive in the heat of battle against a verifiable killer like Ivan Markov.

Well, in their ensuing match this past Saturday night in Helsinki, Mikko Maestro went against our set agreement, and at the opportune time, he did his stinkface anyway.  He simply couldn’t be without it, and he let the audience get to his head.  He wanted to play superstar and he went into business for himself.

mikko-maestro-starbuck-01

This ended up costing Mikko Maestro dearly.  I grabbed his foot to get his attention at ringside, scolding him for the disrespect that he showed me, as his coach, by doing exactly the thing that we had agreed that he would not do.  This was his death knell.  Ivan Markov capitalized and blasted Maestro with a scintillating discus forearm blow that knocked his Finnish opposition for damn near into dreamland.  One powerbomb later, Russia scored the decisive victory.

I stepped into the ring and contemplated what had just happened.  Of course, the people and even Maestro himself would blame me for the downfall.  That is what victims do.  They victimize themselves.  Me personally, I see this as an action and a direct consequence.  Every action bares a consequence, and Mikko Maestro’s disobedience cost him the match.  Simply put, he didn’t deserve to win.  Had he listened and abided by the game plan, we very well might have had a different outcome.  But Mikko Maestro has to look into the mirror this time and see the truth for himself.

mikko-maestro-starbuck-02

Maestro is on his own.  He errantly challenged me in his over-exuberance to a match earlier this year,  after defeating Holland’s brutish Mark Kodiak.  He can blame it on the heat of the moment or what have you, it doesn’t matter.  The bottom line is, he got my attention.

He wants to see if he can defeat his mentor and coach.  I understand that, it’s part of the development of every young lion.  But this time, Maestro is going to come to understand that he is still not ready to make good against a tried and true veteran like myself, because simply… he is not good enough yet.

Talvisota XI on February 18, 2017 at the Nosturi club in Helsinki will be the day when Mikko Maestro has his date with destiny.

Start counting down the time…

Finally, after nearly a half year of aggravation and hounding, Yours Truly finally shut the big mouth of one “Finnish Doberman” Ricky Vendetta.  At last night’s Talvisota IX pro wrestling extravaganza in Helsinki, I finally made good on my 6-month long promise to make my nemesis tap out.  And tap out he did!

Talvisota-IX-wrestling-show-17

After 18:20 of a hellacious Submissions-only match, I trapped Vendetta in my Canadian Crossface aka Rebel Lock submission hold, similar to what fans will recall fellow-Canadian and former WCW/WWE champion Chris Benoit using, to make my opponent concede the match.  Chalk up another credo for Canada!  I would argue that our country’s stock has proven itself once again.  Being a Canadian-Finn, I feel confident in transposing these kudos across continental lines in light of this latest victory.  Crossface central!  I think I will take this hold and make it part of my regular repertoire from here on out!

Talvisota-IX-wrestling-show-18

Ricky Vendetta gave it all he had.  Let’s give the young man credit.  He believed he could, but in the end, he just couldn’t.  There’s no shame in that, in putting your best foot forward, yet proving it was not enough.  Ricky Vendetta just learned that there is no substitute for experience.  The veteran advantage.  When StarBuck gets focused, the game it essentially over.  Period.

Talvisota-IX-wrestling-show-11

There was enough pain. blues and agony in this match to last a whole year.  I firmly believe that I made up for nearly a year’s worth of setbacks in this single match alone.  That’s saying a lot!

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Next up: Bring it on, whoever is waiting in the wings to make a name at the expense of one “The Rebel” StarBuck!

I’m very excited about wrestling in Holland in two weeks time, which marks my 19th country in the grappling game.  More importantly, it marks my comeuppance against reigning Eurostars European wrestling champion and WNC champion, Bernard Vandamme of Belgium.

SB vs Bernie

It was just this past March 8 in Helsinki, Finland, that I unceremoniously lost Japan’s WNC (Wrestling New Classic) title to Vandamme in just under two-minutes, in what can be argued to be a huge upset.  It made international headlines and it most definitely shocked every fan on hand at FCF Wrestling’s Talvisota VIII event that night.  It left a bitter taste in my mouth, and for a moment, I thought I’d be getting my rematch for the WNC strap when I first heard about Dutch Pro Wrestling booking Vandamme as my opponent for June 1 on their biggest show of the year in Poeldijk, Holland.

However, being that I am a former two-time Eurostars European champion myself, defeating and losing that championship to Vandamme in 2006-2007 and 2009, the Eurostars wrestling office decided it was time for StarBuck to get another shot at continental supremacy in Poeldijk at DPW’s Grandslam 2014 mega-event.  This decision overrode Japan’s WNC organization’s rematch clause, and so, the June 1 match will be for the Eurostars title only, regardless of the fact that Vandamme is a double-champion at the moment.

December 2, 2006 - the night I first defeated Vandamme for the Eurostars title in Vantaa, Finland

December 2, 2006 – the night I first defeated Vandamme for the Eurostars title in Vantaa, Finland

Personally speaking, I am highly looking forward to this showdown.  Vandamme and I have a long and storied history, going back to 2006, when we first locked horns.  We have had a tenacious feud, one that has spanned from west to east, from Europe to Asia, and like the proverbial thorn in my side, Vandamme is still prevalent as an adversary in my career eight years later.

I will be more than ready to strip Vandamme of his Eurostars European title on June 1, just as he stripped me of the WNC gold a few months back.  I will walk into Grandslam 2014 and let loose the full measure of my personal vindication and wrath on the person of Bernard Vandamme, and I will walk out of Poeldijk as the new Eurostars champion.

How’s that for “an eye for an eye”, Bernard?  Deal with it!

This coming Saturday night in Helsinki, Finland, FCF Wrestling celebrates the eighth annual installment of Winter War, Talvisota VIII, which will be held at Sokos Hotel Presidentti.

Talvisota VIII is a monumental card, headlined by FCF champion Tuho Torvinen defending his prestigious title against the challenge of “Wildman” Heimo Ukonselkä and Finland’s very first Stretcher Match, featuring myself against the villainous Valentine.

TSVIII_StarBuck_vs_Valentine

Now, personally speaking, I have long-awaited this Stretcher Match against Valentine.  In fact, I was the one who initially demanded that the match take place, due to the fact that Valentine assaulted my wife almost one year ago in March 2013.  I certainly cannot live that moment down, and the scars still remain.

The fact that Valentine did not only assault my wife one single time, but repeated his cowardly act twice thereafter, is something that screams for retribution.  No man on this Earth worth their manhood and weight would opt to sit idly and do nothing, as their woman becomes the target of an attack.  For this sin, Valentine MUST pay.  Talvisota VIII and the Stretcher Match that he and I will do battle in is the judgement that is due to him, and I will be the judge, jury and executioner on the night of March 8 in Helsinki when the bell rings.  One of us will be carried out of that ring, laid out on a stretcher, and that means punishment in capitals!

Not only did Valentine finally “man-up” (and in his case, I use the term “man” very loosely) and accept my Stretcher Match challenge for Talvisota VIII, where I will openly put my BWA Catchweight title on the line also, but he also presented his own demand: that I put my wife’s career as my wrestling valet on the line in this match also.

Now my wife, Diana, or Miss D as she is known in wrestling circles, has certainly done nothing to provoke the kinds of attacks that she has endured, nor should she suffer the consequences of collateral damage in the issue between Valentine and myself.  Yet, it has come down to this.  I am so ready to beat Valentine into oblivion, that I accept his additional demand and stipulation regarding putting my wife’s career on the line at Talvisota VIII.  I am going to make him rue the day that he instigated what he has done to my wife.

This coming Saturday,  no wrestling fan in Finland should miss the utter destruction of Valentine that I will personally deal out in Helsinki at the biggest wrestling card of the year in this country.

As far as I am concerned, this issue ends on March 8.

TSVIII_jullari

 

Here is also FCF Wrestling’s exclusive story on the issue between Valentine and I (in Finnish): http://www.fightclubfinland.fi/index.php?news=783&all=0

For a long time now, I have not bothered taking on any new protege’s in pro wrestling, as I just have not had the spark to do so.  In 2007, I took on Pasi “Salama” Suominen, whose career ended prematurely, less than two years into his pro wrestling life, after he lost heart following an elbow injury that required surgery in late 2008.  In 2010, I took on Japan’s Hajime Ohara, and our collaboration disintegrated over the summer of last year.  After that, I just haven’t had the interest to pick up the next “project”.  I have not seen the needed heart, drive and attitude in anyone … until now.

Academic standout and funny guy Mikko Maestro might fool a lot of people with his comical shtick, but underneath that exterior image is a kid whose heart burns for this business.  He might not be the most talented kid out there, he might be a bit rough around the edges, and he might be a jackass for real, but this kid has the one thing that a lot of people in this business are missing: Heart.

TS7 tag match

I faced Maestro this past summer in Kerava, Finland, and tested the kid good and proper.  He lost rather decisively, but he didn’t lose heart.  Instead, he’d continue to ask me for advice on how to improve his personal game time and time again.  When I proposed to my fiancee Diana this past January 4th in Lohja, Finland, I even decided to ask Maestro to bring the engagement ring to the wrestling ring, so I could take care of business and ditch the bachelor life.  It was a big moment for Maestro, who understood that out of everyone in the FCF Wrestling locker room, I chose him to the courier in that memorable moment.

SB proposes

You can teach someone to wrestle, you can teach someone the psychology of mat warfare, you can teach someone proper etiquette … but the one thing that you cannot teach is the intangible element of heart.  You either have it or you don’t.  When push comes to shove, when injuries arise and when the business and those inside of it treat you like shit, your real passion and drive come to light.  Some just wither and fade away in the heat of those negative barbs, whereas others rise to the occasion and work through the disparaging elements.

When I started out in the wrestling business as an active competitor in January 1994, I was not the most talented guy out there.  In my second or third match, I recall my coach Lance Storm and my friend Chris “Y2J” Jericho sitting in the audience of an indie wrestling card in North Bay, Ontario.  I took a leap off the second turnbuckle out of the corner at my opponent, attempting to hit him with a clothesline.  My well-meant attempt was met with Jericho’s disparaging remark after the match, when he asked “Did you slip off the ropes?”.  Yeah, that was not the message I was trying to get across.  It took a long time for me to become a world-class athlete and one of the best out of Europe today.  It demanded years of immersion, a humble attitude, incessant tunnel vision and TONS of heart … but I “got there”.  I became a 3-time European wrestling champion, and a titleholder in many other countries.  I faced the best of the best, and ultimately I was pushed to become the best at my chosen game and profession.

TVII_maestro_info_card

Now, at Talvisota VII on February 2nd in Helsinki at Sokos Hotel Presidentti, I will take on a new protege in Mikko Maestro.  We are up against my old nemesis and Finnish wrestling veteran Stark Adder and his new protege, Ricky Vendetta.  After all, it was Adder to whom I lost the Finnish title back on May 26, 2006 in Helsinki.  Now, it’s the old dogs and the new pups on both sides of the fence.  It’s a matter of mentorship, and moreso, a matter of personal pride.  As Vendetta is to Adder, so Maestro is to me: They are our personal investments, and we are their impresarios.

To many, Maestro might still be a joke.  It is my personal agenda to make the wrestling public take note of Mikko Maestro as a serious competitor, to push him to become more, to show the world that under the right guidance, he can become a force to be reckoned with.  It might be a rocky road ahead, but dammit, I have walked the straight and narrow all my life.  I am used to the hard road.  Now, Mikko Maestro has the opportunity to learn through integration, and he is willing to sweat, bleed and pay the price, as 16-time world champion “Nature Boy” Ric Flair so aptly coined.

Prepare.  February 2, 2o13.  Talvisota VII.  Helsinki.

Talvisota VII

02.02.2013 @ 18:00

Sokos Hotel Presidentti

Eteläinen Rautatiekatu 4, Helsinki

Tickets in advance: 12e, at the door: 15e (+ door charge)

Pre-order tickets here: www.fightclubfinland.fi/kauppa

Pre-orders close on 27.01.13