Superstars of Yesteryear: Ludvig Borga

Craig Wilson

Did we ever get to the bottom of why Finland had beef with America?

Borga went to war against America over lax environmental laws and his belief that the education system was poor.

In what I hope will become a regular set of postings, I have decided to dig into the annals of WWE history and look at a number of lesser known or perhaps even forgotten superstars from time gone by. You won’t see Ultimate Warrior, Legion of Doom or Steve Austin featured here, instead you’re more likely to read about The Berzerker, The Body Donnas or Bart Gunn. In the first post we look at the life and career of Tony ‘Ludvig Borga’ Halme.

A political career after one in the wrestling industry seems a fairly well worn path now. Most famously there was Jesse Ventura and more recently we’ve seen Linda McMahon attempt to gain election to the senate in America. Another person that made the very same transition was Tony Halme, better known to WWF fans as Ludvig Borga.

Few political careers include accusing the President of being a lesbian, being jailed for possession of an unlicensed hand gun whilst under the influence of drugs and also being banned from driving for being under the influence of alcohol. Few political careers, though, are like Tony ‘Ludvig Borga’ Halme’s in a life eventually cut short by substance abuse.

Despite an unremarkable initial few years in wrestling after a spell in boxing, Halme received a meteoric push upon joining the WWF. His gimmick was the all too familiar anti-American role with his gripes being, and I kid you not, over America’s lack of environmental laws and their education system.

He notched up an unbeaten run, mostly over enhancement talent until defeating Marty Jannetty at Summerslam 1993. He then thrust into a programme with Lex Lugar, someone else on the receiving end of a monster push by the WWF. This feud was a no brainer, the anti-American Borga against the man the WWF was trying to turn into their new all-American hero.

On an episode of Superstars broadcast in October 1993, Borga ended the near two year undefeated streak of Tatanka with one finger – although the damage had been done with repeated chair shots. The injury forced Tatanka out of the Survivor Series match pitting Lugar’s All American’s against The Foreign Fanatics led by Yokozuna, and including Borga. The match, which headlined the show, saw Lugar, The Steiners and The Undertaker take on Yokozuna, Borga, Crush and Quebecer Jacques. Lugar was the sole survivor after lastly eliminating Borga with a running forearm smash.

In December ’93 he came closest he ever did to winning gold in the WWF when he pinned Intercontinental Champion Razor Ramon but the decision was reversed after interference from Shawn Michaels. In January 1994, during a match with Rick Steiner, Borga injured his ankle forcing the WWF to shelve plans for him including a match against Earthquake at Wrestlemania X and Borga soon left the WWF.

A stint in the European Catch Wrestling Association followed in 1995 and included a one year and one day long reign as their World Heavyweight Champion before Halme retired from wrestling. His wrestling career may have failed to capture headlines but the same cannot be said for his political career.

In the 2003 elections, Halme stood for the True Finns Party, a fiscally centre-left, socially conservative group, and was elected to the Finnish Parliament to represent the seat of Helsinki. The day after his election, in a radio interview, he referred to President Tarja Halonen as a lesbian when he stated that if a lesbian can be president of Finland and he can be a member of Parliament, anything seems possible. Unsurprisngly this remark generated a huge backlash, although Halonen made no comment. Halme later apologised for the remark and stated that he was under the belief she was in fact a lesbian.

Worse was to follow and in July 2003, an unlicensed handgun was fired inside Halme’s apartment, probably after a domestic quarrel. A few days prior to the incident Halme had been in a boxing match and was using prescription medication because he was in pain. The dangerous combination of drugs and alcohol was a factor in the incident. His blood contained trace amounts of amphetamine and illegal steroids were also found in his apartment. Halme claimed that somebody had put the illegal substance into his drink without his knowledge. He was unconscious for several days following the incident. The police searched Halme’s office at the House of Parliament.

His trial was shown live on television and he received a four-month suspended sentence and a fine but continued to serve as Member of Parliament. In 2006, he was convicted for driving while under the influence of alcohol. Halme involuntarily committed himself to a mental hospital in March 2006, reportedly due to delirium caused by excessive alcohol use. Earlier in 2006 he had been diagnosed with alcohol-related cirrhosis and acute pancreatitis. After spending almost the entire year of 2006 on sick leave, he went on disability pension at end of the Parliamentary term.

In December 2009, Halme told a newspaper that he was suffering from impairment of his short-term memory and had trouble remembering anything, but was still trying to write a book on his career in politics.

Sadly this was not to be and on January 8, 2010, Halme died of self-inflicted gunshot wound from an unlicensed handgun he used. His body was found two days later.

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