The Awesomeness of the Gladiator
August 8, 2004 by Paul K.

Hello agian I know my last column was just a rant and a rave so I figured I would write one that actually made sence so I figured I would right about, in my opion, one of the best big man to grace this sport. Mike Awesome. Now I know some of you who only saw him in WWE or WCW are thinking I`m insane. But let me set the record straight.

Mike awesome started his career in WCW under a mask calling himself "The Pro". He was billed from San Juan, Puerto Rico. That went no where, so he went to Japan and more notably the FMW promotion. Now think of the FMW much like the ECW of Japan. Frontier Martial-arts Wrestling is ECW but much more hardcore. Of course they had death matches, Mr. Pogo, Onita, Hayabusa, and many other great talents on their roster. Also they had Mike Awesome under the name The "Gladiator". With some face paint he became a monster destroying opponents. He had a very notable feud with Masato Tanaka and a huge feud with Hayabusa. Awesome never won a title in Japan but in 1994 he made his way to ECW.

Awesome was brought in at Anarchy Rules 1999 during a match with the champion Taz and Masato Tanaka. He was brought in with Judge Jeff Jones and the match was made a three way. Taz was elminated first leaving the two men from Japan to battle it out for the ECW title. Awesome won with a hilacious Awesome bomb off the top to capture the title. Awesome traded the title with Tanaka and at Guilty as Charged 2000 absoultly destroyed Spike Dudley in the biggest squash match ever. In March, he and Raven won the tag titles. But as ECW Heavyweight champ, he signed with WCW. So in a strange but true twist, a WWE superstar (Tazz) beat a WCW superstar (Awesome) for the ECW championship! Yes, I said that correctly. Awesome, sadly was made a fool of in WCW like the rest. Known as That 70`s Guy he would parade around in a leasure suit and the partridge family bus. Then he was everyones favorite the fat chick thriller. Yes thats right, Fat chick thriller. Then he was in Team Canada despite his being born in Tampa, Florida. Then WCW was aquired by WWE.

Mike Awesome was the first man to invade. He snuck in and took the Hardcore title form Rhyno. Then mike had douple reconstructive knee surgery. Mike made his glorious return to Velocity for a couple weeks and was gone.

Mike returned as the Gladiator to Japan Z1 promotion. Then he came into the American Indy scene beating Samoa Joe in MLW and teaming with Vader over Dan Maff and Samoa Joe. He also had a short stint in James Mitchell's New Chirch group in TNA. Now Mike makes appearances in and out of different Indy promotions.

This still doesn't answer what I think he is one of the best big men in wrestling. Well how many big men can you name than can hit a fivestar frog splash, or a spring board plancha, or a outragiously sweet flying clothesline. Also the Awesome Bomb is one of the best powerbombs in the industry. He can hit it running, sit down, off the top, sit down off the top, anywhere you are it can be hit. In my opion Mike "The Gladiator" Awesome is one of the best big men of the sport. He can fly like a bird or destroy you on the mat. For those who only remeber him from WCW or WWE, you need to go to the video store and check some real wrestling out. Any comments or concerns or replies, post them.

by Paul K...

Denzil Voorhees wrote:
I have watched a few of his matches at MLW and was impressed with him. I can't believe that the WWE released him. The best match i have seen of his so far: Major League Wrestling June 20, 2003 : Mike Awesome vs Satoshi Kojima when he won the MLW title.
Timmy wrote:
i'm happy to see some mike awesome love as it seems like for too long people have been putting him down. i know he's not in the kind of shape he was before the wwe layoff, but no matter what he should go down as one of the best big men ever. if you look at the others on the list im sure it would include people like andre the giant, vader, undertaker and so on(with only vader really making the cut in my book). look further tho and people would realize calling him the best big man is almost like saying he was pretty athletic. this guy was big, could do those power moves, could wrestle on the mat and could clear the top rope with ease. funny point paul k made with the whole "team canada member even tho born in florida", as it pretty much sums up what went wrong. wwe doesn't want big men who can wrestle, they want big men who are big, act big and can talk. well, promo's were never awesome's game as i always laugh at such lines as "masato tanaka, im gonna break your daaaamn back" or "hayabusa, im gonna beat you, im sick of your sh*t and your going to die". oh well, hopefully his matches in the indy's will be as good as the fmw days. and real quick, i believe he also wrestled as mike starr in wcw really early in the 90's too, but thats just some random factoid.
Eroslevel6 wrote:
holy crap, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! its about time this man is recognized for the talent that he is. the wwf/e has a remarkable history for misusing/wasting talent and this man is no exception. his speed and agility are almost unmatched for a man of his size and strength (i agree with timmy about vader too). i really wish i could have seen his skill at work on the big stage, but i had a feeling the wwe would let him go seeing that he wasnt the "big man" anymore like he was in other promotions. the wwe's infatuation with size and muscle in place of real wrestling ability (current examples: snitsky - UNBEARABLE to watch, tyson tomko, chris masters, mark jindrak, heidenreich, luther reigns, matt morgan) is ruining wrestling. a decent push (not a short reign of the worthless "hardcore" title) would have proven that he can outperform most wrestlers in the company, and would have earned a great name for himself despite his bad mic skills (ex: benoit). i even forgave him for the mullet.
Anonymous wrote:
I have to throw in my two cents here. Mike Awesome is not a good "big man". Awesome is lazy and careless with his opponents (victims), he isn't charismatic at all, and his ring work is sloppy as all hell. You say, " Well how many big men can you name than can hit a fivestar frog splash, or a spring board plancha, or a outragiously sweet flying clothesline. Also the Awesome Bomb is one of the best powerbombs in the industry. He can hit it running, sit down, off the top, sit down off the top, anywhere you are it can be hit." Well he can't hit a "Five-Star" Frog splash, he can do a crappy version of a frog splash, and this may just be because I'm from Battle Creek, Michigan, but please don't splatter the good name of RVD by calling his splash "Five Star". He can also fling himself over the top rope to the outside, but most people can do that. I'll give that he has guts to do so being so big. Awesome does however have a very good "off the top rope" and "springboard" clothesline and shoulder tackle. I'll give him that. I'll also give that he does perform his "Thunder-Fire" or "Awesome" version of the powerbomb very well, and can do so from many different situations.These things don't make him a "great" big man though. Being able to stand the test of time, in my opinion, is the proof of a "great" big man. Impact on the business is proof of being "great". Awesome is not great, and if his current actions are any indication of his future, then he will never be "great". I will admit that he had some amazing matches with Masato Tanaka, Hayabusa, Mr. Gannosuke, Taz, and even Spike Dudley, but he has not and never will be AWESOME in my book. Especially when I have the capacity to remember "GREAT" big men like Vader, Undertaker, Kane, Antonio Inoki, Kevin Nash (in his prime, Diesel/nWo days) and even though it pains me to say this, Hulk Hogan.

I do agree on one thing though, the likes Tyson Tomko, Chris Masters, Mark Jindrak, Heidenreich, Luther Reigns, Nathan Jones, and many other "big men" are a blemish on the face of wrestling today. Their slow work, bad attitudes, and careless treatment of other wrestlers is horrible and I really wish Vince would wise up and stop hiring these no-talent hacks. He has a liking of big guys though, and that will never stop unfortunately. So we must live with crappy wrestlers in the top seats. I have to disagree with you on Matt Morgan though, he's gotten 100% better since being in OVW, he'll be back in the WWE eventually and I believe he has the talent and charisma to be the next Undertaker or even better. Just my opinions.
phil haller wrote:
First of all i would like to correct you. Mike "The Gladiator" Awesome is a multiple champion in FMW including becoming the first ever FMW Double Champion which was the independant title and brass knuckles title combined. The double crown was the most prestigious title in FMW with only 5 people ever winning the straps. Awesome also held several tag team titles and 6 man tag team titles. Awesome didnt get to ECW properly till like 1998 although he did make a few odd appearances throughout the mid 90s but he mainly worked overseas. He left FMW for a while to try make it in the big leagues of Japan as part of AJPW but he wasnt really over. Ok now to the point at hand(lol). I have always admired Mike Awesome as a wrestler and yes he can work but not brilliantly same with most of the US heavyweights you may think they have talent but they are an embarrasment compared to the heavyweights in Japan. Also Mike Awesome was never a draw as much as WCW, ECW tried to make him a draw he just wasnt that over with the fans. To me a big man i enjoyed watching was Sid Vicious. I know Sid had little talent but his character, his charisma i just couldnt get enough. In my opinion i think Bison Smith, Samoa Joe and even Abyss are the talented big men of the United States and 3 heavyweights from the CZW promotion i consider gifted actually make that 4! The Messiah is just amazing in the ring and on the mic, he has superb wrestling ability which is quite unusual for a garbage(hardcore) wrestler. Another guy is Jon Dahmer he is a monster through and through just look at him but he takes bumps just like a cruiserweight he hardly ever nosells and his arsenal features some great technical moves especially suplexes in many ways he is similar to Taz but i think the selling is great. Nick Gage i love his style! I love watching this guy i dont know what it is i think it is to do with how F'ing stiff he works. He is also a garbage wrestler but can actually wrestle and even does a frog splash! You look at an evil looking bad ass heavyweight like Nick Gage and you expect nothing but weak brawling but his arsenal includes Rolling Elbow Smashes, Suplexes, One of the most brutal moves in the world the Chokebreaker(A Chokeslam into a backbreaker) and his finishing moves the Brainbuster and the Frog Splash. One of his most brutal moves is the face wash where he places his opponent in the corner sitting then runs up and just SMASHES his boot into their face as hard as he can it is unbelievable this guy should be signed by TNA i reckon easily as like someones backup as TNA do a lot of angles with workers bringing in the "muscle". The 4th CZW worker is Justice Pain. I have watched CZW since the very start at opening night and i must say it sucked lol it really did no talent whatsoever but their was a young kid he looked about 16years old skinny as a rake and he showed some potential and that kid was Justice Pain. He along with Nick Gage and Jon Dahmer seemed like the only guy who could work. Pain began taking some of the most unbeleivable bumps and used to get annihalated but then he began to blossom and get bigger untill eventually becoming one of CZW's most feared wrestlers. Pain along with Wifebeater formed a fraction called The H8 Club and they dominated CZW and when The H8 Club finally split Justice Pain began to break out as a legitimate title contender and soon picked up CZW championship after championship and he was now an excellant worker and heavyweight. Then Justice Pain made one of the biggest mistakes he could of made.

Justice Pain defected to rival company XPW. In CZW Pain was probably the most over heel in the company but in XPW he was just a jobber to the untalented ape Supreme. XPW closed down soon after and Pains career was in jeopardy. Then last year in a huge shock he returned to CZW but sadly he isnt even a draw anymore and nobody really gives a s**t. Anyway the point of this is there are actually some good Heavyweights out there but not in the big leagues!

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