Posts Tagged ‘The Beast’

This past Saturday night in Randers, Denmark, I stepped into my first cage match in my 21 years in the pro wrestling business.

Truth be told, I have been looking forward to wrestling a cage match all my life, as when I was a teenager, I used to watch tons of these kinds of matches on television.  I was enamored by the cage match above all other kinds of “gimmick” matches in pro wrestling.

I recall sitting back and seeing the NWA [National Wrestling Alliance] put on the War Games double cage matches in the summers between 1987-1989 as part of the Great American Bash July-August national tours.  I remember Ric Flair falling to Ronnie Garvin in a cage match in Detroit back in the latter half of 1987, only to win it back in a cage re-match at Starrcade that very same year in Chicago.  Then there was Hulk Hogan vs. “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndoff inside of a steel cage on WWF’s Saturday Night’s Main Event on NBC, as I would stay up way past my curfew back in those days to watch spellbound as the muscular heroes and villains battled it out inside the steel.

Alas, in 1994, I became an active professional wrestler, a raw rookie at the time with great hunger and a drive to spread my wings in this fantastic wrestling industry.  My ambition and travels would take me to places like Egypt, Japan, Poland, Estonia, Spain and many points in between, spanning 19 countries and four continents to date, before I would be able to grapple inside the structure that always caught my imagination as a strapping young lad: the steel cage.

This past Saturday night in Randers, Denmark, the dream of wrestling inside the steel cage came true, thanks to Danish Pro Wrestling [DPW].  What was originally billed and slated to be me vs. multi-time Danish wrestling champion Chaos, was changed just two weeks prior to the event as me vs. The Beast from Sweden, and Chaos vs. Mr. Anderson from TNA (ex-WWE, Ken Kennedy).

Beast slams StarBuck

As I have extensively documented here on my website and blog, I have been actively training and coaching The Beast since February of this year, as the Swedish phenom has taken the wrestling world in the Nordics by storm.  I understood that I was prepping a dangerous man with all the tools to be a mega-star in the industry, at 1.93m tall and 115kg of pure muscle.  I never saw the inevitable day coming this quickly, when I would have to step into the ring to face my prized protege, but I took to the change of plans like an old pro would and should.  Win, lose or draw, it was just business this past Saturday when The Beast and I stepped into that steel cage to do battle.

StarBuck forearms Beast

I have to say that with 21 years in the game under me, I had the decided veteran’s advantage, which played greatly into my favor against the relative inexperience of The Beast.  However, what he lacked for in experience, The Beast more than made up for in aggression and quickness.  For a man that stands 1.93m tall, this guy moves like a panther.  It was quite challenging to negate his agility and speed, and I had to pull a few old hat tricks to get the duke in the end.  And yes, you read and understood that right: StarBuck beat The Beast inside of the steel cage when all was said and done.

This was The Beast’s first pinfall loss since debuting this past February in pro wrestling.  However, even as The Beast himself knows, there is no shame in falling to time-tested, world-traveled veteran like myself.  With more experience and miles down the line, it very well might be another story.  Yet, this past weekend, history was made.  The Beast found out that all men are mortal, and for every predator out there, there is another animal that will take them down.  This is what we call the law of the jungle.

StarBuck pins The Beast

So summa summarum, all my respect goes to The Beast for putting up the fight of his career so far.  This was nothing personal, just business.  The Beast was put on the spot by DPW when the promotion changed plans from StarBuck vs. Chaos to StarBuck vs. The Beast.  I do not have a personal agenda or beef with The Beast, and this cage match and its result does not pose any issue for me in my dealings with the man.

However, I do have an issue with Chaos.  Not only did he prefer to disrespect me by choosing to change the advertised card from StarBuck vs. Chaos in the cage to Mr. Anderson vs. Chaos, but DPW also rubbed that salt of this swerve into my open wound by putting me in the cage with them as special referee after my match against The Beast.  I barely had time to even drink before officials shoved a referee’s shirt in my face and told me to gear up and go back out to officiate the main event between Chaos and Anderson.  Being the pro that I am, I suited up and went out to do my job.

Referee StarBuck

However, I did not let sleeping dogs lie.  When Chaos hit his trademark moonsault on Anderson, I counted one, two … and then nothing.  I simply got up and turned around, showing everyone that if I was shafted in my scheduled and advertised match Denmark’s most beloved superstar, then I could play the game also.  Chaos took exception to my actions, as I knew he would, and in turn, I superkicked him into oblivion, putting him down for Anderson to claim the winning pinfall.

So the bottom line is this: Chaos still has a date with destiny with his old nemesis StarBuck.  He might have engineered the card to stroke his own ego this past weekend, but now, he has a little thorn in his side also.  Sooner or later, Chaos is going to have to step into that ring with me, because his hurt pride won’t let this one go.  And next time, there will be no change of plans at the last minute.

Ken Anderson wins

(Photos by Jytte Kristensen)

Advertisements

Wow … I got the news about a week back, that my upcoming, highly-anticipated cage match – the first of my long wrestling career – would be changed from me facing multi-time Danish champion Chaos, to me facing the breakout rookie star whom I have trained over the course of this year, Sweden’s hottest new property, The Beast!

The Beast stares down Harley Rage in a big match in Gothenburg, Sweden

The Beast stares down Harley Rage in a big match in Gothenburg, Sweden

I receive this news with mixed emotions. Firstly, I have taken a vested interest in prepping and coaching The Beast for his trek from the submission wrestling and MMA field into the world of pro wrestling. I took The Beast on as my pet project, proving that under my coaching, I could mold a superstar out of the man. I saw a world of potential in the guy when Stockholm wrestling promoter Chris Salhgren sent him to me for training at the beginning of this year. After all, he had an impressive resume already built up by the time that he was sent my way.

The Beast had gone to a time-limit draw in MMA against Sweden’s top export in that sport, Alexander Gustafsson, only to lose narrowly by judge’s decision. He had been a top star on the Swedish version of the reality competition show Gladiators, and he had nabbed the bronze medal in the 2014 Swedish national submission wrestling championships. In other words, I had one hell of an athlete to work with in my quest to mold him into a pro wrestling powerhouse.

The Beast

I have to admit: I didn’t see this one coming. I’ve even formulated a friendship in addition to my mentorship with the man. I have seen first-hand how disciplined and strong this guy is. It’s downright scary. I have a lot of respect for The Beast, and I am sure that the feeling is mutual.

However, on August 22 in Randers, Denmark, I have been scheduled to meet this man inside of a 16-foot high steel cage, the first such match of my long and storied wrestling career. In truth, I have waited my entire life to wrestle inside of the cage. Ever since I was a youth, the cage matches between Ric Flair and Ronnie Garvin, Hulk Hogan and Paul Orndorff, the War Games matches of late 1980s NWA lore and such have been amongst my favorites. Before the eventual day comes that I have to hang my boots, one of my penultimate goals has been to grapple inside the cage, and now that day is here. But I never expected it to be against someone that I took on as my personal project.

The coach and the protege.

The coach and the protege.

Initially, I was slated to face and old foe that I have grappled against many times in the past in Chaos. He and I have battled it out many times, and our matches have always been slobberknockers. I was firmly in the understanding that he and I would make wrestling history on August 22 in Denmark. However, just a week back, those plans went out the window, as the Danish Pro Wrestling [DPW] booking committee decided to change the card and put former TNA/WWE star Mr. Anderson (Ken Kennedy) against Chaos, with me against The Beast under them.

Now that’s all fine and dandy, I really have no problem with that. However, this does mean a change in my personal approach and coaching as it pertains to The Beast. He has now become a foe, an adversary, regardless of how indirectly that all transpired. I simply cannot afford to walk into the cage on August 22 against this man and teach him all that I know. That simply would not make any sense nor would it work in my favor.

I've faced big men like the executioner-like Pyöveli Petrov, who have fallen to finishers like my superkick (photo: Jarmo Katila)

I’ve faced big men like the executioner-like Pyöveli Petrov, who have fallen to finishers like my superkick (photo: Jarmo Katila)

From here on out, The Beast is on his own. I’ve given him the foundational tools that he needs to work with. However, come August 22 in Randers, Denmark, it will be a trial by fire for The Beast. Sure, he might have me outweighed by almost 20kg. He’s got a good 15cm height advantage on me. He’s much more powerful than me, he’s arguably more explosive and his reach exceeds mine. Yet, with all of these things against me, there are some things that he doesn’t have over ol’ StarBuck.

Firstly, The Beast does not have the experience that I have. I’ve been all around the world, a champion all over. I’ve faced them all, from big to small, both rookies and vets. I’ve learned to navigate through all kinds of waters. Secondly, I have a diverse bag of tools in my repertoire to draw from. I am not a one-trick pony. I can spot an opening anywhere, and I will not fail to expose a weakness when I see one. Thirdly, I have only taught The Beast what he needs to know, as in the role of the student he has been on a need-to-know basis. In the initial stages of his career, he needs to grasp the basics. Right now, The Beast owns a very rudimentary set of tools. I wouldn’t have done him any favors, had I force-fed him more knowledge than he could chew at any given point. That puts me in the driver’s seat, despite the imminent threat that he poses on the surface going into this huge cage match.

August 22 is going to be monumental in both of our careers. For me, it will be my first cage match, one that I have looked forward to all of my career. For The Beast, it will be the supreme test for him, as he will have to face his mentor before being ready and equipped enough to tackle my kind of professional experience.

Whatever happens on August 22, I just want The Beast to understand that it’s nothing personal. This is just business. Let the chips fall where they may.

I thought to write a breakdown of the things I witnessed from a coaching perspective at FCF Wrestling’s Jatkosota 2015 event in Helsinki this past weekend. Since many people don’t really understand the nature of the beast that is professional wrestling, maybe this will help to shed some light on the game, and folks just might be able to grasp how incredibly demanding the sport is on so many levels.

In the opener tag match which I was a part of, I was really impressed with the physical aggression of King Kong Karhula, who tagged with Pyöveli Petrov. The big man is undoubtedly at the top of his game right now after spending 10 years in the sport to date, as his timing is impeccable, every single move and all of his execution is full-out and in-pocket. He has all the bases covered: the character, the charisma and the ring skills. I would be surprised if WWE didn’t take a serious look at this guy in the very near future. The way Karhula brutalized my tag team partner Sly Sebastian in our tag match made me feel sorry for little Sly. Mean and nasty in the ring, Karhula is one to watch for, and promoters in Europe should seriously consider booking him, regardless of the financial struggles that most of the continent has been facing for quite some time already.

King Kong Karhula

The Beast’s power displays in his match against Jessica Love were impressive, to say the least. Especially catching Jessica’s top rope crossbody and turning it into a jackhammer in one fell swoop for the winning pinfall was a thing to behold. This big man is developing at an alarming pace, and he is another one that WWE should be keeping their eyes on, and dismantling fan favorite Jessica Love gives The Beast major momentum right now.

The Beast

The hunger, spark and fire shown by young newcomers Jami Aalto and Joey Impact was a thing of beauty to behold in their match against Stark Adder and Ricky Vendetta. You can really see that these two rookies ”want it.” They want to grasp the brass ring and make a real impression on the fans, in their quest to become stars in this grappling game. Both Aalto and Impact showed incredible drive, heart and passion as they gutsily fought the experienced duo of Adder and Vendetta, who are the most cohesive unit in FCF Wrestling today and one mean team. I predict a bright future for these kids. Keep it up!

Joey Impact vs. Ricky Vendetta

After suffering a brutal beating at the hands of ”Wildman” Heimo Ukonselkä, Mikko Maestro faces a transition akin to that undergone by Kurt Angle somewhere around the year 2000. Angle was a comedy wrestler in WWE at the time, and in his feud with Triple H, he had to step it up and find his serious game face. Maestro simply cannot continue as a light-hearted, fun guy after the way Heimo abused him. He will have to find the reserves deep down to become more that what he is now, if he hopes to stand toe-to-toe with Ukonselkä. Now is the time for Mikko Maestro to change his game.

Mikko Maestro brutalized by Heimo Ukonselkä (Photo: Mats Havia 2015)

Mikko Maestro brutalized by Heimo Ukonselkä (Photo: Mats Havia 2015)

The triple threat tag team match between HC Andersen & Robert Holmström, The Luupää Brothers and Murskaaja Mieto & Tohtori Ioni had one competitor outshine everyone. Vili Luupää showed the kind of timing, fire and fluidity in his hot tag comeback, that I have last seen Daniel Bryan do something similar when he was feuding with The Shield in WWE a couple of years back. I really have to give props to Vili Luupää, who is another one grasping for the elusive brass ring right now.

Vili Luupää vs. Tohtori Ioni

The women’s triple threat match was short and sweet, but the girls really showed some pizzazz and spice while they were in there. For a long time, pro wrestling has been coined ”the grunt and groan game”, and one thing that matches must have is audibles and noise (since no one likes to watch sports or movies with the sound turned off). Julia Kyy (main audibles here and best character presence overall), Sara Elektra and newcomer Regina really put in a spirited effort for the few minutes that they had, before Robert Holmström interjected himself in the match and drew the kind of heat from the audience that borders on being criminal. Holmström has that ”asshole” kind of quality to his ring character that people find easy to hate, and it should be interesting to see how he fares against the girls, because that seems to be his intergender modus operandi now.

Julia Kyy

France’s Jimmy Gavroche and FCF champion Valentine had one of the best pure wrestling matches that I have seen in a long, long time. I felt that Gavroche really pushed Valentine to his fullest potential and visa versa. It’s a thing of beauty to see the marquee done right, and the name on the marquee reads ”wrestling.” Tight ring work, well-paced and holding solid match psychology, this was a worthy main event. Gavroche has great fire and body language and I can understand why it is easy for the audience to get behind him, even if he is a foreign wrestler coming in against one of FCF’s own. There were so many false finishes in this match that it kept everyone on the edge of their seats. It was really something to see live, which is exactly how professional wrestling should be enjoyed. Big props to both men for an incredible effort. I also have to state, that I was really taken aback at how the fans responded to The Beast coming out after the match to stare down Valentine, as the audience erupted into a completely spontaneous ”Beast is gonna kill you!” chant that continued even after The Beast left the ring and went to the back. There’s something very volatile brewing here!

Jimmy Gavroche vs. Valentine

Be sure to come out for the next FCF Wrestling event in Porvoo, Finland on June 5 at the city’s #URBCULT happening, as there is nothing quite like the live experience that the game provides. Take a look at this fantastic video to see exactly what I’m talking about and we hope to see you next time!

Not many people understand the world of pro wrestling, as they either misconstrue it as completely bogus and a mock-sport or they don’t understand it at all.  Let me say right out of the blocks, to quote former multi-time WWE/WCW champion Bret Hart, that “pro wrestling is a lot more real than people care to think.”

In this light, I offer up the following perspective read, as Sweden’s hottest rising star “The Beast” came to Finland last week for coaching with Yours Truly before facing transsexual wrestling standout Jessica Love at FCF Wrestling’s Jatkosota 2015 event in Helsinki this past Saturday, May 2.

The Beast

In the fastest rise that I can personally recall, The Beast is stepping up his game like few others have done to date, making an indelible mark in his wake.  As I’ve coached The Beast, I’ve witnessed him develop at an incredible pace.

Beast’s MMA and submission wrestling background, along with his past as a TV Gladiator, has definitely worked in his favor.  Beast took a couple of nasty hits in training that would have put any normal man on the sidelines, nearly tearing his latissimus muscle and cracking his spine, but this guy pulled through on sheer focus and guts alone.  Talk about Teflon!

The Beast vs. Jessica Love

My faith in the man rose considerably after I saw him persevere regardless of the immense pain he was in due to the mishaps in training.  Beast has shown an great amount of coachability and humility, absorbing his schooling like a sponge.  Regardless of his past sporting and media merits, he leaves his ego at the door when it comes to learning the craft of pro wrestling, and that is a very honorable trait.  Like legendary Four Horsemen member Arn Anderson once said, “It’s gut check time!”, and every single  pro wrestling trainee and active wrestler alike will get to this “gut check” stage in their grappling trek when the pain is so great that you question going on.  The Beast had his first serious gut check this past week, and he persevered without flinching or shying away from taking the next step in his training.  Read Beast’s blog on the matter (in Swedish) HERE.

This guy is one to watch.  I wrote a blog about him over a few weeks back, and it bears to mention that promoters out there should be keeping their eyes open with this big guy.  If his heart stays in the game, regardless of whatever setbacks might come his way, he is going to really become something in this game.

It was early February this year when an impressive brute of a man from Sweden came to me for training.  His name was Daniel Atterhagen, and at 1,92m tall and weighing 115kg, he was a former Gladiator (the TV show) and now he was in the process of changing lanes in his life.  He wanted to become a professional wrestler.

The Beast has a mean game face.

The Beast has a mean game face.

Nicknamed “The Beast”, Daniel undertook to my coaching like a fish to water, learning incredibly fast.  In a matter of mere days, I could already see that this guy was going to become something special in the world of pro wrestling.

Daniel already had a background in submission wrestling prior to coming to me for professional schooling, sent by STHLM Wrestling promoter Chris Sahlgren.  He even took the bronze medal in the Swedish national submission wrestling championships in December 2014.  His MMA career saw him go to the time limit with Sweden’s most prized MMA export, Alexander Gustafsson of UFC fame, only to lose by judge’s decision.

The Beast GBG Wrestling

The Beast made his professional wrestling debut outside of his native country here in Finland at FCF Wrestling’s biggest annual flagship event, Talvisota IX, on February 7 this year in Helsinki.  It was there, that after a very brief initial schooling period, he already took and demolished his opposition in a handicap 2-on-1 match.  From there, Daniel went on to lay waste to the opposition in Sweden mere weeks later, further impressing in his young pro wrestling career.

With less than five pro matches under his belt, The Beast was already touted as the “next big thing” out of Sweden, with the explosiveness of Goldberg and the game face of Ken Shamrock, garnering the attention of the world’s premiere pro wrestling monolith, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).  Can you believe that?!?  I think the pro wrestling world should be taking notice.

The coach and the protege.

The coach and the protege.

And so it is, that Daniel “The Beast” Atterhagen will get his WWE tryout at the O2 Arena in London, England this coming weekend on April 18-19.  I have never had a student in all of my years in the pro wrestling industry whom I have coached, who has risen as fast as The Beast and gotten a WWE tryout in the same short time.

I have to say that I am proud of Daniel for the effort, commitment and determination that he has put in after changing lanes in his personal life and choosing the new path of pro wrestling.

Now is your chance to go claim the big one.  Make it count!

The Beast knocked out rookie Make Smooth at Talvisota with this chokeslam.

The Beast knocked out rookie Make Smooth at Talvisota with this chokeslam.