Mike Awesome 1965-2007
February 20, 2007
I canít believe I am writing another tribute commentary about a friend no longer with us. For those of you who have not heard, Mike Awesome (Mike Alfonso) was found dead in his home in Florida, from an apparent suicide, at the age of 42.
I first met Mike in 1991 on my first tour of Japan for FMW. Mike was a major star for FMW and a really great guy. He was also part of the original ďTeam CanadaĒ for FMW teaming with Rick Titan (the fake Razor Ramon from the WWF), Ricky Fuji, and (I believe) Dr. Luther. Mike and I only wrestled once for FMW, in a tag team match me teaming with Chris Jericho and Mike teaming with Horace Bolder (Hogan), but our paths would cross again in ECW, WCW, and WWE.
On March 12, 2000 Justin Credible and I regained the ECW Tag Team Titles in a match with Masato Tanaka & Tommy Dreamer, and Raven & Mike Awesome. Mike Awesome is likely best know in ECW for his departure, when he jumped to WCW with the ECW Heavy Weight Title. After a lengthy legal battle he returned to drop the title to Tazz in one of the most unique inter-promotional matches in wrestling history. In that match WCW wrestler Mike awesome defending the ECW World Heavyweight Title against WWF wrestler Tazz, on an ECW show.
Mike got a lot of heat for the way he left ECW, but a lot of that was unjustified. The true story is that Mike was owed a significant amount of money from ECW and he refused to sign his contract until he received all money due him. After repeatedly not receiving money promised him Mike accepted an offer from WCW that offered his family financial security. Iím not sure there is anyone in the business that would have done differently.
I followed Mike to WCW not too long after that and we again got to work together. We first feuded over the US/Canadian Heavy Weight Title, and then Mike later joined my version of Team Canada. Mike and I were on the verge of capturing the WCW World Tag Team Titles when the WWF purchased WCW. Mike and I teamed together on the final Nitro broadcast.
In WWF/WWE Mike and I again worked together. Mike and I were involved in the first WWE vs. WCW match on RAW, where Mike and I teamed to face Kane and Chris Jericho. Mike and I again teamed facing Edge and Christian on the Invasion PPV. Mike didnít last too long in WWE but our paths crossed again at the ECW Reunion PPV One Night Stand.
At the first One Night Stand PPV Mike Awesome had Masato Tanaka stole the show in what was considered by most to be the best match of the night. I talked to Mike a lot that night and was very happy for him. He seemed really happy and content with his life. He talked about how he enjoyed pushing his daughter on the swing in their back yard. He would combine doing that with doing Hindu squats by doing a squat between each push. I also remember discovering that he had been happily married longer than I had, which is a rarity in this business.
I have a lot of fond memories of Mike Awesome. I got to work with him in 4 different companies (FMW, ECW, WCW, WWE) as well as wrestling with or against him on 5 PPVs for 3 different companies (ECW, WCW, WWE). In addition to all the time we spend together at work Mike was one of those few guys in the business that I met that I likely would have been friends with had I met him elsewhere in life. Mike shared my love for reading and seemed to be a very happy and loyal family man. If Mike and I had lived in the same City, Iím sure our families would have become very close. I cannot express how surprised and saddened I am to hear about his death. Mike will be very missed, my condolences to his family.
P.S I hope to add another commentary later in the week sharing some of the more fun times I had with Mike over the years. I seem unable to make this the touching tribute I intended; I guess I am still in a bit of shock over the news.