He's Awesome, That's What They Say
June 14, 2006 by Jordan Foss
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So as I sit here watching old ECW stuff on YouTube, I decided there is no time better then to write something I've been wanting to write for quite some time. I am going to write this column on the man who was simply known to few as Mike Alfonso but, known to hardcore wrestling fans as Mike Awesome. He will always be known as the ECW traitor, but when given his ECW chance again at One Night Stand a year ago, he put on the best match of the night.
For Mike Awesome it all started off as the Pro in wCw. He was nothing more then a masked jobber, and as you'd expect, he accounted for nothing and made his way to the land of the rising sun, where he proved that he was the next big rising star.
Once he left wCw Mike debuted in FMW - Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling - where he was known as the Gladiator. There in FMW he started arguably the greatest hardcore feud of all time with the man known as Masato Tanaka; the feud lasts to this day and they still exchange matches from time to time in the Hustle promotion in Japan.
During his time in FMW Mike Awesome met a man named Paul Heyman; Paul fell in love with Mike Awesome's ability for his size and started in talks with the FMW owner. After making a deal with them, Mike Awesome and Masato Tanaka started showing up at ECW events in February of 1994. His first run in ECW he was nothing more then a jobber, but only time would tell what he would mean to the history of ECW.
After Paul E double crossed the FMW owner by not sending Taz to the promotion like he promised, Mike Awesome stopped making trips to South Philly. When Mike Awesome returned to the FMW promotion he gained his first title, the FMW brass knuckles tag title with Big Titan. Later that year he teamed with Mr. Pogo and regained the Brass Knuckle Tag Titles and they were thought to be unbeatable.
A few months later the Gladiator finally got what he wanted all along, a big singles title, the FMW Brass Knuckle Title. After winning the title in a match with Japanese legend Hayabusa, he gained the respect of the Japanese fans. He later unified the FMW Brass Knuckle Title with the FMW Independent World Title. Almost a year later The Gladiator started teaming with Hisakatsu Ooya & Mr. Gannosuke. The three won the vacated FMW Street Fight titles, and Mike held all three belts at once. But that was the beginning of the end for the Gladiator's run in FMW, in September of 1997 he lost all three titles to the man known as Masato Tanaka.
In 1998 Mike Awesome and Masato Tanaka continued their epic feud, but it wasn't for the FMW promotion. Paul Heyman got back in touch with those two and they left the FMW promotion and went to ECW. The two started their feud out in ECW again but it ended faster then they thought it would; Mike Awesome was put on the shelf for a year in a match in All Japan by a wrestler named Super Leather, known to WWF fans as Corporal Kirchner.
When his knee healed Mike returned to All Japan as the Gladiator. The run in All Japan accounted to nothing and Mike Awesome returned to the land of the misfits, ECW. Mike Awesome's return to ECW was not short lived like the past times, nor was it a fluke. Mike Awesome went on to become the man who would succeed Taz, winning the ECW title from the Human Suplex Machine in a three way dance.
Mike Awesome and Masato Tanaka continued their intense feud in ECW, exchanging the title twice. Masato Tanaka defeated Mike Awesome at an ECW television taping in Nashville, Tennessee. After the match Mike Awesome shook the hand of Masato Tanaka and clapping for what he just accomplished. But the fans only saw the beginning; Mike then turned on Tanaka and put him through a table with an Awesome Bomb. The next week, in White Plains, New York Mike Awesome defeated Masato Tanaka to regain the ECW world heavyweight title for the second time.
During the Masato Tanaka feud, with Judge Jeff Jones by his side, Mike went through a few mini-feuds. At Guilty as Charged 2000 Mike and Spike Dudley put on one of the greatest matches of all time, and Spike barely got three moves in the whole time. Then in March, Mike Awesome teamed with the man known as Raven and they captured the ECW Tag Team Titles from Masato Tanaka and Tommy Dreamer.
In April of 2000 everything would come to a halt for Mike Awesome and ECW. After an offer nobody would turn down, Mike Awesome defected to the rival company wCw. After a federal injunction, Mike Awesome took on WWF superstar Taz for the ECW title at an ECW house show in Indianapolis, Indiana. It was the only time a wCw contracted star fought a WWF contracted star, and it took place at an ECW event.
When Mike Awesome returned to wCw he aided the New Blood in a feud with nWo leader Kevin Nash. Mike Awesome continued his success in the New Blood, often teaming with people like Billy Kidman to take on, and defeat, the likes of Hulk Hogan. While doing this he would continue his feud with Kevin Nash, and a mini-feud with Kanyon.
After his wCw career ended, it seemed like his entire career ended too. After the feud with the nWo was over with, Mike was sent down the card and was known as that 70's dude. He would often be seen driving around his painted bus to arenas, and he hosted his own show, "The Lava Lamp Lounge."
During this time they decided to send him in a different direction, he would become in love with obese women. Awesome then went into feuding with people like Jeff Jarrett and Vampiro, which led to matches of Mike Awesome and the Insane Clown Posse. At one wCw event Mike Awesome gave Shaggy Too Dope, a member of ICP, an Awesome Bomb on top of the shag van; he fell off and injured himself.
In November of 2000 Mike Awesome returned to feuding with a former ECW World Television champion, the Beast from the East, Bam Bam Bigalow. Both men are arguably the greatest big men to ever enter the ring, and at StarrCade 2000 they ended their feud. Mike Awesome walked away the victor in an Ambulance match.
And then it all ended, after the feud with Bam Bam Bigalow Mike Awesome got rid of the 1970's gimmick and then turned on American and joined Team Canada. He joined Team Canada after helping Lance Storm and Elix Skipper destroy the now WWE legend "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan.
The end of the mullet came when Team Canada member Mike Awesome challenged Billy Kidman of the Filthy Animals to a hair against hair match. Before the match started Team Canada destroyed Billy Kidman in the back, but the hairless Konnan, also of the Filthy Animals, took up the challenge and took on Mike Awesome, winning the match and cutting the mullet.
After the feud with the Filthy Animals Mike continued to slip farther and farther down the card, the next time Mike was seen was helping Lance Storm beat Earnest Miller to become the commissioner of wCw for a few weeks, at Superbrawl The Cat regained the commissioner's position and Mike kept slipping down the card.
At the final Nitro Lance Storm and Mike Awesome had one last chance to gain some respect from the wCw fans. Mike and Lance storm were given a tag title shot against the team of Chuck Pulumbo and Sean O'Haire. In one of the best matches of the night Mike and Lance fell short to future lover of Billy Gunn Chuck Pulumbo and future MMA fighter Sean O'Haire.
In June of 2001 Mike Awesome became part of the wCw/ECW invasion of the WWF. In a hardcore title match pitting Test Vs. Rhino Mike Awesome made his debut after Rhino defeated Test for the Hardcore Title. After an Awesome Bomb to Rhino, Mike Awesome became the Hardcore Champion, taking advantage of the 24/7 rule. Mike also became the first invader to win gold during the whole invasion.
His reign as hardcore champion would not last long though; a few weeks later when WWF fan favorite Jeff Hardy defeated Mike Awesome. To some people's shocking Mike never got a rematch at the WWF hardcore belt and was sidelined with an injury.
After the invasion storyline was over, and after he healed up Mike Awesome was drafted to SmackDown!, where hope looked small. After not being seen on TV for awhile, he became a jobber, losing matches to the likes of Funaki before he got his release.
Since the release from the WWF Mike has made little appearances in the United States. He landed in NWA-TNA for a brief stint, beating people like Perry Saturn, and he even defeated Samoa Joe.
Mike Awesome made his return to the states for WWE's production of ECW, known as One Night Stand. Arguably the match of the night Mike Awesome put away the long time rival, Masato Tanaka with an Awesome Bomb over the top rope and a dive to the floor. Play by play man Joey Styles was riding Mike the whole match, and rightfully so. The crowd was into the match, they even started a "This Match Is Awesome" chant. After the match was over another man felt his rage, referee Jim Molleneux.
February of this year marked the end of the wrestling career of Mike Awesome. He decided to call it an end to an awesome career. Mike now spends time with his family and is a realtor. But he is open to returning to wrestling, if the money is right he says.
Over the last hour I've learned a lot about the man known as Mike Alfonso, better known as Mike Awesome. I've learned about the good - the ECW title reigns, I've learned about the bad - the fat chick thriller, and I've learned about the ugly - the ECW/wCw drama. But no matter how bad he comes off, no matter what anyone says no one can deny that he is simply Awesome in the ring.
by Jordan Foss..
Yeah Mike Awesome was really Awesome in ECW. I actually saw him fight Tanaka live and it was one of the best matches I have ever seen. The crowd was always into their matches. It was a great time.
I was hoping to see Awesome back in the rebirth of ECW.
Unfortunately it looks like McMahon is going to botch this whole thing up again.
Not to get too side tracked here but ECW was great because of its uniqueness. There are several elements missing in the "rebirth" that I think are essential for its success.
1) Mike Awesome. He is iconic is ECW. You don't need to bring over the Big Show if you have Awesome. However you can have a great fued with the 2 and have Awesome find a way to beat Show"! I 'm just throwing my thoughts out there!"
2) Music entrances. The greatest thing about Sandman is hearing Metallica blast through the arena. That entrance alone is worth the price of a ticket. If you aren't going to pay the royalties to allow Sandman the music then you might as well not use him!!!!! Same goes with Balls Mahoney. He needs his AC/DC music just as badly. Which by the way, how did Heyman get by with using the actual music"
3) You gotta have New Jack there. Another dude who worked the crowd like crazy! But if you can't use Ice Cube's music then forget it also!
4) ECW should be able to tour on its own without having it taggin'
along Smackdown. Why in the hell does Smackdown exist anyway" Make RAW 3 hours long like Nitro use to be and you can maintain a larger roster that way. Plus you can send some of the guys to ECW if need be.
I could go on and on. ECW needs Awesome.
Valbowski, who in their right mind would want to see New Jack" He has admitted to trying to kill a man in the ring, he is dangerous, and not in a good way, he is a waste of life and NO promoter should hire him. The same way no one should hire Kali, Kali killed a man in the ring when he was training because the trainers were so excited about his size that they tried to speed up his learning, and he killed a man because he's a big dumb idiot.
New Jack, tried to kill someone on purpose.
As for Awesome v. Tanaka, well, I HATED their match at ONS, I was thinking "let me guess, table spot" YES, I'm right, how predictable, what a spotfest. Yet the so called "smart" ECW crowd didn't pick up on it. If I was there, I'd be chanting "I call spotfest" because that's what it was. It was a good spotfest, a ****1/2 spotfest, but a ** wrestling contest.
Actually to go against what Anthony Wrote Khali was against the training session because the guy had a concussion already but the trainers insisted and he only performed a flapjack on the guy but it just added insult to injury ultimately killing the guy. Now I am in no way a Great Khali fan but the accident wasn't his fault(did I just write that)
Anthony, New Jack tried to kill someone, big deal!!! that someone wasn't supposed to be in the ring. Get over it. The fact of the matter is. NEW JACK sells tickets. PEOPLE LOVE NEW JACK. Anyone that wants to argue that point is a moron.
What did you expect Awesome/Tanaka to be a 5 star mat classic" You think people paid to see a wrestling match out of them. everyone in that building was waiting for the spotfest. I was in there waiting for it. I wanted a few things out of them two and they
delivered in a big way 1. A lot of chair shots, 2. A lot of tables 3. A lot of highspots through those tables and on those chairs. You are a MORON for wanting a wrestling match out of those two. that's like going to a butchers shop and asking for candy.
Great column Jordan Foss. Mike awesome was truly awesome. In my opinion the greatest performer 6'5" and above to enter a wrestling ring. It's too bad that most will remember him as the guy that got the big pay to jump to WCW.
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