It would seem like a lot of American fans remember Mike Awesome as the comedic relief that he became in World Championship Wrestling instead of the bad ass fighter that he was in Extreme Championship Wrestling. Awesome was a victim of what Vince Russo thought was entertaining instead of playing Awesome’s strengths.
Awesome had some great matches with Masato Tanaka in ECW and really stood out as a legitimate star in the company. Previously, the people who were champion were rather small in stature or had a bizarre look. Awesome was really the first guy who had a dominate look. Plus, the guy could fly off the top rope. As you can see on the blog, I have been reviewing a lot of ECW television and I’ve noticed a few things about the program.
There was supposed to be a program between Rob Van Dam and Mike Awesome in early 2000 but Rob Van Dam got injured and the program was never to be. It could have been the battle between the powerbomb and the five star frog splash. Two men who had been dominate in ECW for several years. In my opinion, it could have been one of the biggest feuds in the history of ECW.
Awesome is also well known for his jump to World Championship Wrestling in April of 2000 while still the ECW World Heavyweight Champion. Joey Styles, the ECW announcer and current employee of WWE.com, made it very clear that he hated Awesome for his lack of loyalty. In my opinion, Awesome shouldn’t be held in negative regard for that action. The fact of the matter is that ECW was dying. The checks were bouncing. People need to live. Paul Heyman wasn’t exactly doing the best he could to save money to pay his wrestlers. If I were Awesome, I would have done the same thing. I probably would have just dropped the championship prior to leaving for WCW, but I guess the championship made Awesome more valuable.
At the time of the jump WCW didn’t have a lot of young talent in the company. He made his debut and attacked Kevin Nash, which was never really followed up on. He remained in the midcard for most of 2000 and never won a singles championship. He was That 70?s Guy and the Fat Chick Thriller during his time in WCW. Yeah, that’s right.
Eventually, Awesome would go back to being serious and joined Team Canada, but that was about it. He joined the World Wrestling Federation but was never a main person of interest in the InVasion angle. A major knee injury prevented Awesome from contributing anything of significance in the WWF.
I believe Awesome is one of the guys that was a missed opportunity for the WWF. As you may remember, the WWF decided against hiring a lot of top names from WCW, though they ended up coming into the promotion a within a year and a half, or even less. Awesome was a true WCW/ECW guy who had the look of a star. For some reason, the idea of a feud between Awesome and Steve Austin appeals to me. As does a feud between Awesome and the Undertaker.
Sadly, Awesome committed suicide in 2007. He was only 42-years old.
When it comes to the memory of Mike Awesome, I’ll remember he battles with Masato Tanaka in ECW. His dominating run as ECW World Heavyweight Champion in 1999-2000 for the promotion. That was really the high point of his American wrestling career. He was just a guy who was never used to his fullest potential on a big stage.
What are your memories of Mike Awesome? Feel free to share them below.