Posts Tagged ‘WWE’

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.

 

On June 29 this month, I’ll be promoting a huge, international professional wrestling supershow called Wrestle Aid on the West Coast of Finland in the city of Rauma.  Along with three other organizers, including local hockey team Rauman Lukko, local DJ Toni “Protoni” Järvinen and a disabled gentleman named Riku Forsström, we’re bringing the largest scale wrestling event to Finland that has arguably been witnessed to date.  Yes, even bigger, arguably, than SLAM! Wrestling Finland Mega Launch back on March 22 this year in Helsinki!

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With Wrestle Aid, we are giving part of the ticket proceeds to charity through the Finnish Muscular Dystrophy Association, Lihastautiliitto, to help those with ALS and Duschenne Muscular Dystrophy partake in assisted sports like wheelchair football and the like.  It’s a very noble cause, and this stems from the wishes of the aforementioned Riku Forsström, who himself has an advanced Duschenne condition.

Wrestle Aid pressitilaisuus, kuva Jussi Hietikko

Wrestler Toni Tamminen, Mikael Eklöf of hockey team Rauman Lukko, Toni Järvinen, StarBuck, wrestler Stark Adder and in the forefront, Riku Forsström (photo: Jussi Hietikko)

With this event, I am reminded of the work that WWE does with Make-A-Wish in the USA, as I parallel what we are doing with Wrestle Aid.  Riku Forsström is a long-time wrestling fan who loves his grappling and is very knowledgeable about the international wrestling scene.  About a half-year ago, Riku gave me a list of names he would like to see wrestle in his hometown of Rauma this summer, at the event that would become Wrestle Aid itself.  As the most accomplished pro wrestler in history out of the Nordics, having traveled the world, I set out to procure the talent that Riku had made a wish to see.  After all, this signaled a big deal in Riku’s life on a personal front: the doctor’s never gave him the outlook to see his 40th birthday, which took place this past May.  The average mortality rate for people with Duschenne is 26.  So Riku’s request was in the hopes of seeing a dream come true, in the celebration of life itself, as he has greatly defied the odds, regardless of his severe physical condition.

In so telling, I am super-excited to announce that we will be bringing one of the greatest female professional wrestlers in the world today to Wrestle Aid… Meiko Satomura from Japan!  Meiko is Riku’s all-time favorite wrestler, and that said, her coming to Finland is something special indeed.  If anything, this truly is a Make-A-Wish moment come true for Riku Forsström.  And that said, in honor of making this dream come true, I believe as matchmaker of SLAM! Wrestling Finland, I will put the ladies on last with Meiko as the show-closer.

Meiko Satomura vs Toni Storm WWE Mae Young Classic 2018

Meiko fought current WWE NXT UK women’s champion Toni Storm in the semi-finals of the 2018 WWE Mae Young Classic women’s tournament.

Ladies and gentlemen, come join us on June 29 at Wrestle Aid in Rauma, Finland for the greatest professional wrestling card you will probably see all summer anywhere in Europe.  Tickets are available right now through Ticketmaster in Finland and by supporting and attending, you are helping to also support those with ALS and Duschenne Muscular Dystrophy in Finland.  It’s a noble cause and you should be part of it.

Top professional wrestlers from 10 countries represented: Japan, USA, Puerto Rico, Ireland, England, Portugal, Spain, Canada, Estonia and Finland.

It doesn’t get any bigger than this!

Get your tickets NOW: https://www.ticketmaster.fi/event/wrestle-aid-lippuja/255201

This coming Friday in Helsinki, I’ll be personally promoting the biggest, international pro wrestling event ever to be held in the Nordics of Europe.

It’s called SLAM! Wrestling Finland Mega Launch, and it’ll feature top talents from 10 different countries in seven dynamic, differently-themed matches on a two-and-a-half hour live show to be streamed live across Finland on ISTV.

SLAM Mega Launch sponsors SQUARE NEWEST 20 SPONSORS

The entire function of this Mega Launch show is to give people in Finland a clear-cut look at what all SLAM! Wrestling Finland has to offer.  From Triple Threat three-way matches to tag team matches to singles matches featuring big men vs. big men, big men vs. small men and damn good technical wrestlers against one another, to Hardcore matches to women’s matches to title matches, Mega Launch has it all!

It’s like legendary wrestling promoter Eddie Graham from Florida said back in the day (paraphrasing): “I believe a wrestling card has to offer something for everyone.”  Well, that’s exactly what Mega Launch is offering.

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In the first match, it’ll be the Estonian contingent of Big Mikk Vainula and Kert Kukk – the Estonian Boyz – against the Finnish duo of Jami Aalto and Polar Pekko.  Methinks this is going to be a fast and furious opener at Mega Launch, with both young teams full of piss and vinegar, hungry to prove that they have what it takes to make it in the dog-eat-dog world of pro wrestling.  Expect some quality bang for your buck in this one!

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“The Stockholm Playboy” Ken Malmsteen arrives in Helsinki on March 22 to take on “Metal Warrior” Stark Adder in a battle of polar opposites.  This one is a re-visitation of the age-old hatred between the Swedes and the Finns.  Both men have been in the wrestling game for well over a decade and are grizzled veterans.  Expect the proverbial fur to fly in this one!

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In a super-intriguing match-up, “The Russian Ass-Kicker” Ivan Markov takes on “Wildman” Heimo Ukonselkä in a Hardcore match at Mega Launch!  I foresee this one breaking down into a complete donnybrook and the weapons are going to be out en masse before long!  Both of these guys are known for their nasty brawling strikes and dirty tricks, so it’ll be a true battle between Russia and Finland – another age-old grudge that refuses to die – on March 22 in Helsinki.

Match banner Renegade vs Shemeikka MEGA LAUNCH

It’s a battle of David vs. Goliath at SLAM! Wrestling Finland Mega Launch on March 22 in Helsinki as Finnish luchadore, the 1.7m “Ghost of Karelia” Shemeikka, takes on the 1.9m “Renegade” David Turger of Hungary.  This is literally a story of speed and agility versus power and brute force in a match that is easy for anyone to comprehend and appreciate.  I’m really looking forward to this one, and the polarizing dynamic between these two combatants’ styles.

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It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t put myself in the mix at an event of this magnitude as an event organizer, so I accepted the offer made to me by Germany’s IPW organization for something they are calling the Circle of Champions tournament, taking part in the latter half of this year in Lübeck, Germany.  It’s a tournament that brings together the best pro wrestlers in all of Europe who have been champions in their own right.  The qualification match for myself and my opponent, Fabio Ferrari of Italy, will take place for the Circle of Champions at Mega Launch.  To make things even more interesting, former two-time European welterweight boxing champion Juho Haapoja will be serving as our special guest referee.  This one is anyone’s ballgame on March 22.

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Talk about beauty, skill and charisma all in one package!  This women’s Triple Threat match-up will be for the Queen of Southside women’s championship out of the UK, held by Shanna of Portugal, who puts her title on the line against “Russian Crush” Natalia Markova and “The Pin-Up Punisher” Betty Rose of Sweden.  This is arguably the biggest challenge so far in Betty’s young wrestling career and she will have two of the toughest female veterans of the game against her at Mega Launch as the first girl to score a submission or pinfall wins the match… and the championship!

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In the huge, colossal main event of SLAM! Wrestling Finland Mega Launch, the 1.91m/190kg Demolition Davies of Germany puts his WAW European Heavyweight Championship title on the line against the challenge of the 1.92m/127kg Tiny Iron of England.  This is literally King Kong vs. Godzilla, a match that could be a main event anywhere in the world, and it’s taking place for all the marbles on March 22 in Helsinki.  There will be over 400kg of humanity in the ring at the same time (counting in the referee also) in this gigantic main event monster mash, which alone is already worth the price of admission!  Who is taking home the gold leaving Helsinki?  Be on hand to find out as it doesn’t get any bigger than this!

All that said, even my old buddy, former WWE world champion, Chris Jericho, is excited about Mega Launch!  Take a look at what Y2J has to say about my huge show in Helsinki this week:

Get your tickets now while you still can for March 22 through Ticketmaster Finland via this LINK!  Normal tickets are 25€, Silver upper balcony tickets (with small condiments served) are 45€ and Golden ringside seats with catering included are 65€ a piece.

Be a part of pro wrestling history in the Nordics of Europe this week on Friday, March 22 in Helsinki as SLAM! Wrestling Finland Mega Launch blows the roof off of Helsinki!!!

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This upcoming Saturday night, November 17 in Wittorf, Germany, I’m scheduled to put my recently won DWA World Heavyweight Championship on the line at an annual German event called Harley Night.

Challenging me will be former DWA World Champion from several years back, Joe E. Legend.  Joe also happens to be Canadian, just like myself, and in the latter half of the ’90s he briefly wrestled for WWE as Just Joe.

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I know Joe from my early beginnings in pro wrestling, going back to my sophomore year in the business.  It was the year 1995 and Joe took the Greyhound bus down from Toronto to rendezvous with me in Sudbury, Ontario to drive onward to Winnipeg, Manitoba to wrestle for Tony Condello’s IWA.  On that same tour were Ultimo Dragon from Japan, Chris Jericho, Sexton Hardcastle (WWE’s Edge), Lance Storm, Bad News Allen and former AWA World Heavyweight Champion, Rick Martel.  It was a star-studded tour to be sure, and it was a crash course for a green boy like myself back at that time.

Joe Legend is a veteran of the ring wars, just like myself, here 23 years later.  How ironic, that we meet under these circumstances now this coming weekend at DWA’s Harley Night!

Be that as it may, Joe E. Legend is in for the fight of his life in one week’s time.  He’s a former DWA World Champion and I plan on making it stay that way.

DWA Nov 17 2018

Having been in the pro wrestling industry all across the globe for a good quarter-century, I thought to write a handbook or guide of sorts for young wrestlers and newer talents in – or just coming into – the wrestling business, based on what I’ve seen and experienced over my career.

I do this partially out of necessity, as I’ve seen the younger stock damn near kill the ”business” side of the industry for the other workers out there, and in part as a public service to give back to the industry where it stands today.

When I say this guide was born out of necessity, I say so mainly out of the fact that the ”professional” side of our industry is suffering tremendously, even though there are more shows taking place now than at any time in recent memory. Yet, the pay scale is one of the facets being demolished and many a newer talent is to blame for this, be they promoters or workers. I’ve also seen the near-death of actual etiquette in terms of how to carry one’s self in the business, which should be addressed for the welfare of the industry at large. With this in mind, now is the time to listen up, so let us commence with this free, but invaluable, 101 in How To Handle Yourself In Pro Wrestling!

Lesson #1: Act Like a Pro

How to Look in Pro Wrestling

Now kids, boys and girls alike, working for free just to get bookings and paying to play is not the way to go if you want a future in any trade. Earning your stripes and paying your dues while working for nil to free is one or two year period, at most. Back in the day when this business was still a real trade that supported a workers’ family, if any said talent undersold themselves intentionally just to get booked, or if they sabotaged a comrade in the territory by underselling themselves just to get booked, they risked getting the living shit beat out of them by the locker room.

It’s called PRO Wresting for a reason. The Pro word is there to let you understand that you should have the intent of making as much coin at it as you can over the course of your career. You must learn to make yourself valuable. Your work must be worth something. If not, why should anyone pay to see you?

Get real wresting gear, invest in yourself.  Get a good looking pair of tights, singlet or trunks made.  Buy a quality pair of real wrestling boots.  Look the part.  Do not wrestle in sneakers and shorts, to say nothing of a t-shirt.  If you look like a punter, you deserve to be treated like a punter.  If you don’t have enough sun around your climes to get a natural tan, then either hit the solarium or get a spraytan for any and all wrestling shows that you might be booked on.  I cannot stress this enough: look the part.  Look professional.

Now, I understand the way the world is going. I understand that all across the board, in live music, in the postal service, in the construction sector, etc. the jobs are increasingly going to those who will work harder and longer for less pay. This, however, is pure sabotage and is destined to end badly for everyone. You can always negotiate down, but it’s freaking hard to negotiate up. There’s always someone who will do the job for less, as you all know. Make yourself and your personal piece of business so valuable that promoters and fans are going to be willing to pay for your talents, but also, know what the pay scale is. Know your place on the pay scale, based on your experience, number of matches worked, past accolades, current profile and overall value on any said, given card. It’s not grand on the indies these days, by any stretch. Like former WCW wrestler PN News, aka Cannonball Grizzly, so aptly stated back in 2013 in a locker room in Germany: ”I might be a whore, because I sell my body for money. At least I’m not a slut who gives it away for free.”

There have been several gaijins (foreigners) over the last few years who can be held accountable for killing the once extremely profitable wrestling promised land of Japan. These newer faces went in, paying their own three-month visa, paying their own flights, sleeping on dojo floors and making next to nothing in pay just to play superstar and say they’ve wrestled in Japan. Talk about being a mark! It makes me sick to my gut. By the same token, the promoters who took them up on their offers are just as guilty. They collectively killed Japan for the rest of us, for the veterans included, who deserve to make a reasonable living at this game after sacrificing their bodies for so many years. Japan used to be a place, along with Mexico, where a good hand could make a decent chunk of change and maybe even put some of it away in savings. Sayonara now to that notion.

Moral of the story: you must act like a pro to be considered a pro. Period.

Lesson #2: Make Yourself Valuable

AJ Styles

AJ Styles is a classic case of a guy whose work ethic and skills made him valuable, so that he was able to reach the pinnacle of his profession.

Get your look in order. Invest in a gym membership and an experienced, knowledgeable personal trainer if you don’t have the know-how to build your body up to be muscular and strong. You will need that strength in the ring, I assure you, and the look is your aesthetic sales pitch. It’s the mirage of the product before delivery to your audience, after which it’s up to you to you produce — looking like the Big Mac on the menu board, or like the sorry, flattened burger that very well might get handed to you. People do not want to see jabronies that look just like them. If the guy changing your oil at Jiffy Lube could just as easily be a member of Motley Crue, then you have a perception problem because the star aura is sorely missing. Pro wrestling is meant to be bigger than life. Always has, always will be. That said, this is the exact same epidemic that has flattened out and deflated the aura, mysticism and grandeur of rock music at large, in addition to spoiling beauty pageants where the girls actually have to be a cut above the status quo to qualify, to allowing professional politicians into public office who fail to represent the interests of the public at large in any way and just capitalize on personal gain at your expense.

My old coach, Lance Storm, once so appropriately stated that a wrestler need three things to even have a fighting chance at making it in the pro wrestling business: 1) the look, meaning body and image, 2) the actual ring skills and 3) charisma to make people either love or hate you, but no middle ”they’re okay, I guess” ground.

If you lack in any of the three attributes aforementioned, get busy filling in the blanks, because while you’re daydreaming, someone else is hustling and doing what has to be done. And as they say, the early bird gets the worm (read: bookings).

Lesson #3: Don’t be a Mark

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Pro wrestling is a bullshitters’ business. Don’t be fooled, everyone is ”working” the next guy, because no one wants to risk losing their spot or moving a peg down. Everyone is looking out for number one. Many would sell their mother down a river to get a foothold over you. Al Snow once aptly said, as we were touring Egypt back in 2009: ”There are no brothers in this business, only business associates”.

Don’t be too gullible for your own good. Take everything with a grain of salt. Believe it only when you have your plane tickets in hand or when you are actually at the said show. Everything up to that point is just talk, and talk is cheap. Truth be told, only after you’ve actually been paid your agreed on wage can you really believe it.

Also, don’t be a mark for yourself. Just because you know how to play the game doesn’t make you King Midas. Don’t think that you are God’s gift to wrestling just because you might look like a million dollars or you can do a reverse 450 Firebird Splash. Don’t think you are indispensable. Don’t think that just because you’ve bought 10 pairs of tights and four pairs of boots that you are somehow better for it than the guy that just has one pair of each.  Never take anything for granted. Stay humble. Be a good sport. Don’t be an egomaniac. Have a strong ego that drives you, but don’t let your ego control you.

Lesson #4: Pro Wrestling is still Territorial

El Ligero

El Ligero of England

You’ve probably heard a million times that the territories died back at the end of the ’80s. Still, the way the wrestling business and promoters operate today is highly territorial. For example, if you live in a place like Finland, at the ass end of the world like myself, and a promoter can get four guys crammed into a car out of Germany to go wrestle in Italy, who do you think they will choose? Hmm. A guy like me, here in the worst possible demographic area on the map, will have to have his shit together and all his sales arguments in line, be relevant and credible and bringing something of salable use to the table, if he hopes to score gigs in the face of this aforementioned, stark reality.

When I say wrestling is still territorial, I’ll break it down for you: a promoter is looking to make as much money as possible and in doing so they look to cut their costs. The promoter will try to take the cheapest route possible, acquire talent from nearby, just like the four-to-a-car model I mentioned, and they will sometimes even try to skimp on offering accommodations if they are able to do so, having you drive back home in the middle of the night. Yes, there are places where the talent gets treated like circus animals, even to this day. Therefore, if a promoter can keep their costs down by taking in talent from right next door, then for you to be considered from several countries away… well, you had better have something that the promoter and their show really needs. You visage on a poster better sell an adequate amount of tickets to cover your costs or you had better have the kinds of skills that make other people (read: local wrestlers of said promotion you wish to work for) look good. Or then you had better be politically important. Or then, you had better have a name in the wrestling business. Unless you are a younger talent with a name like Will Ospreay (read: a well-known internet darling) you can forget the last line I just wrote.

Lesson #5: Pro Wrestling is Ruled by Cliques

The Cliq

If you don’t know the impact of this group, then get busy on Google.

If you don’t belong to a clique, part of somebody’s group of inside faves, your chances of getting booked are slim and rare. I didn’t say slim to none, I said slim to rare. It’s the truth, even if it is a sorry state of affairs. There are shitloads of great guitarists out there who are just as good as Steve Vai or Alexi Laiho who never get anywhere or reach greater acclaim. They simply don’t belong to the right social circle and they aren’t the darlings of a certain clique, so they are shut out of the larger window of opportunity. It’s often not what you know, as valuable as that is, it’s who you know. Age-old wisdom that is, as Yoda would say.

I don’t say this as an exhortation of any sort, that you should start kissing ass and buttering up the nearest influencer, as most of these people can smell you coming a mile away. I would advise you to simply be diligent, hustle, be humble, listen, constantly improve your game and ask for the advice of those ahead of you in the game, carry the veteran’s bags and even get them coffee, and keep putting in the best effort you possibly can each and every time you go out there and step into a ring. It’s called the law of sowing and reaping. It’s the path that I took and I can tell you that it sure as shit ain’t the fast track. It took me a lot longer to get my due and get noticed, because I never kissed asses and never played locker room politics. I invested in making myself the best wrestler I could be. I got the whole package together and honed it down to a proverbial ”T”. I built up my resumé and got my personal piece of business down so solid that it became valuable. Remember: value comes to value, always. My work and ultimately my reputation stood as my calling card. Then, certain circles began letting me in, simply based on the quality of my work and my working ethic, plus the fact that I wasn’t a trouble-maker and I was dependable. I know, the path less taken doesn’t sound very sexy and it doesn’t offer instant gratification.

Still, you can try the asskissing route if you want to try short-cutting your way to the top. No guarantees that it’ll work, however. And I won’t even get into the bookers and promoters who might try implying that you trade sexual favors for bookings. Be forwarned, they are out there. Have the dignity to say NO, even if it comes at the cost of getting booked.

Lesson #6: Every Match is a CV Match

Never ”take the night off”. Never ”just wing it”. Invest yourself in making each and every match as good as you possibly can. Think of what elements you and your opponent bring to the table and tell the best story that you can with those elements in mind.

Remember: you never know who will see your bout. I say this again, because it is pivotally important: think of what elements you will need to apply to best tell the intended story of your altercation. Don’t think that you need to showcase every single move you know, nor ”get all your shit in”. No, you need to tell the story of the match. And not every match needs to be a five-star affair. Maybe that’s not the purpose of your match in the big picture of the overall show. Maybe your position on the card requires something else from you.

Still, you need to come out of it looking like a star, but so does your opponent. Remember, you are only as good as the person that you are in the ring with. If they look like shit, you look like shit. And if you need that last one explained, you need to go back to wrestling school under a better coach.

Lesson #7: Be Adaptable and Always Keep Learning

Adam Flex Maxted

Adam “Flex” Maxted

I’m reminded by a young man I met while on a wrestling tour of Pakistan last year. His name is Adam Maxted from the UK. Adam is very young in the business, but he already has a million dollar body. He’s invested his time in the gym. He’s hungry to learn, constantly taking part in seminars of old warhorses like Marty Jones, always looking to up his game. And voilá… in less than one year since I met him, the kid is already IPW All England champion in the UK and has an upcoming match booked against Rey Mysterio for one of the largest companies there this coming March. Believe me when I tell you: you do not get chosen to be booked against a guy the likes of Rey unless you have all of the various pieces of the puzzle together. Adam deserves all the credit in the world for being a model example of hustling his ass off, being humble, keeping his ears open and being able to learn from constructive criticism. He is on the fast track to becoming a big name in our industry, and he will have earned it by the sweat of his brow, once that inevitable day comes. And once that day does arrive, Adam will have people like Marty Jones to thank, because he has been taught the essentials of what it reads on the marquee: WRESTLING.

The same applies to you. No matter who you are booked against, know your groundwork. Know how to actually wrestle. If your match falls apart, the highspots aren’t going to save you. Garbage wrestling isn’t going to save you, either. The name of the game is still wrestling at the end of the day. Can you pull it off?

Here at the end of 2017 as the New Year is about to turn a new page for all of us, I reflect back on what the past 12 months have meant for me personally and professionally.

I have to say from the bottom of my heart that this past year has been one of the best overall years for me on record, especially in terms of my professional wrestling career and movie actor ambitions.  I once stated that if I could do with my life what I dare dream, it would be to become a world-traveled professional wrestler, a touring rock artist and a movie actor.  Here, at the age of 44, I have achieved all of those things and more.  That is certainly something to be proud of, and I can only look to make the good things in life prosper and grow in the fact of each new challenge as life rolls on.

2017 saw me claim my 21st country in pro wrestling, that being Pakistan, this past May.  Pakistan is about as exotic as a location as it gets, and the treatment we got from the local PWE promoters was top-notch.  Five-star hotels, bodyguards and even a presidential suite were all in the offering, as we were treated like royalty by fans and organizers alike.  I was the only wrestler on the international roster out of the Nordics.

StarBuck with Syed Asim Ali Asmi PWE

With the big boss of PWE in Pakistan!

StarBuck vs. Bambikiller in Pakistan

Getting the upper hand on Chris “Bambikiller” Raaber in Lahore, Pakistan

My long-awaited autobiography, Battleground Valhalla, also came out in May through Crowbar Press in the USA, a highly-esteemed publisher of wrestling autobiographies, whose earlier releases include Donnie Fargo, Ole Anderson and Stand Hansen to name a few.  My book has sold great to this date, as I’ve even mailed out a ton of signed copies to folks far and wide who’ve asked for personalized copies.  My story also got released through Kindle on Amazon as a digital e-book, which was icing on the cake!

2017 was the year that I was named the inaugural Valhalla Nordic Wrestling Champion by ’80s pop sensation Samantha Fox and STHLM Wrestling out of Sweden.  After being lauded the honor of interim champion in (again) May, I went on to defeat a very capable up-and-coming young star in Timmy Force on July 8 in Stockholm to become the undisputed, first Valhalla Nordic champ.  This match was highly-praised by one of the heads of WWE, who was on hand, front-and-center ringside to witness this 30-minute classic that will go down as quite possibly the greatest match to date on Swedish soil.

StarBuck vs Timmy Force VALHALLA Nordic Championship 6

Timmy Force falls to my world-famous finisher, the jumping spike piledriver in Stockholm (photo: Fredrik Streiffert)

2017 was the year that I ventured into the studio with my reformed Stoner Kings band, recording new material after a decade of absence.  We even filmed the first-ever music video we ever did with the band for a single called Cro-Magnon, which was a very proud moment for me as the founder of Stoner Kings.

2017 was the year that I took three unprecedented vacations, something I had never done in that number per annum, in Morocco, Romania’s mountains, Spain and Thailand.  Thanks to my wife, Diana, for arranging these trips, as she’s quite the tour organizer and could easily be a commercial tour guide if she chose to do so.

2017 was also the year that I captured my fifth Finnish wrestling championship.  On December 2 in Helsinki at Finland’s biggest annual pro wrestling spectacular, Talvisota XII, I unseated Juhana “King Kong” Karhula in a 25+ minute mat classic, becoming a double-champion this year.

StarBuck FCF Champion 2017

StarBuck – FCF champion for the fifth time, December 2017 (photo: Marko Simonen)

2017 also saw me featured in two ground-breaking movie releases: It Came From The Desert and Rendel.  Both films have been sold worldwide now and have been dubbed in multiple, foreign languages like Japanese, German and Spanish.  My roles in both movies were incredibly intriguing and important characters, both of which for I was able to channel my vast pro wrestling experience into.

StarBuck in Rendel

My Russian mercenary character in Rendel has arguably the best fight scene in the whole movie

All in all, I can only be thankful for the awesome year that was 2017.  Even as a personal trainer and voice-over speaker, I accumulated several new clients and commissions.  As a graphic artist, several customers utilized my talents as a traditional illustrator.  With my voice, I was able to parlay my talents as a guest ring announcer at various boxing events, in front of new audiences.

Värityskirja kansi Vesileppis

The cover of a children’s coloring book for Vesileppis Sport & Spa hotel in Finland, featuring Yours Truly as the human lead.

I have said that for some unexplained, divine reason, particularly good things happen to me in seven year installments.  This year was one such waypoint.  My previous seven year boon was in 2010, when I debuted as a professional wrestler in Japan – my career goal – where I became a star on the national stage overnight.  Seven years prior to that in 2003, I started the entire professional wrestling phenomenon in Finland, bringing the fighting art form to this neck of the Nordics and teaching it to the very first class of Finnish students in history.  Seven years before that, in 1996, I moved to Finland from my homeland of Canada to begin rewriting personal life history and create a legacy which even I had no inkling of, nor the its magnitude, as the years would roll on.  That said, here at the very end of 2017, I can say with all humility and honesty, that I am the most accomplished and successful professional wrestler in history to this day out of Northern Europe.

I eagerly await to see what 2018 brings.  While the world at large seems to be headed into a maelstrom of uncertainty, I can honestly say that the Good Lord above has blessed my life and continues to do so.  All respect the Big Man upstairs.  For me, the proof is in the pudding!

Does that headline ring a bell? Maybe a reminiscent throwback to the first half of the 2000s and a certain black athlete named Booker T in WWE?

What Booker Huffman – wrestling name Booker T – was referring to in his promos, where he would spout off on the stick about this very slogan, was his five reigns as pro wrestling world champion.

Well, after last night at Finland’s biggest annual pro wrestling mega-gala, Talvisota XII, I can claim the same thing. Five time! Five time! Five time! Yes, last night, I became FCF wrestling champion for the fifth time in my long and storied wrestling career, defeating a very game titleholder in a man I despise, yet respect after this war, Juhana “King Kong” Karhula.

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In a Finnish grappling epic for the ages, lasting 25:35, this monumental main event last night was laced in tension, drama and malicious intent. Karhula had stated prior to our showdown that he couldn’t foresee the both of us continuing with FCF Wrestling after this title-vs-title war, where I put my Valhalla Nordic wrestling championship up against his FCF wrestling championship.

Well, once the dust had settled and my hand was raised triumphantly in victory, yet again showcasing that no one can survive my jumping spike piledriver, Karhula had to back up his words. He bowed out, left his boots in the ring and called it a day.

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Well, good riddance, say I. We’ve had our differences over the past years, escalating in the grand finale that we fought last night before a sold-out house, packed with rabid, impassioned wrestling aficionados. That said, our differences are the type that can’t be resolved, and in this light, I bid Karhula adieu, sans any bells or whistles. Sayonara!

I’ll give the man credit, though, as I believe you must always give credit where credit is due: Karhula fought like his life depended on it. And his professional life, at the very least, most certainly did depend on the outcome of this match.

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I’ve been in countless wars over my near-24 year pro career, and this was one of those matches that’ll stand out in my memories when I tell my grandchildren one day about the monolithic Nordic battles of lore that their grandfather once fought as the greatest, most celebrated professional wrestler in history out of northern Europe. A man who would even make his Viking ancestors proud.

So shout it out with me: Five time! Five time! Five time!

I hate to be the one who told you so, and not that I want to toot my own horn, but TOOT, TOOT!

Bow to the new KING, because the ascension has now taken place!

SB FCF champ 2017 01

ALL PHOTOS BY MARKO SIMONEN (www.markosimonen.com)