Mike Awesome Stories
February 21, 2007
This is a follow up to the tribute commentary I did for Mike Awesome. Mike was a great friend and I still find it hard to believe he is gone. Iíve lost a lot of friends and co-workers in this business and with the exception of Chris Candito of all the friends Iíve lost, I likely knew Mike the best. The following is just a collection of Mike Awesome stories I wanted to share.
I first met Mike Awesome when Chris Jericho and I had our first trip to Japan for FMW Oct. 1991. Mike actually showed me how to make a blade that tour, as FMW was very much the precursor to ECW as far as blood and violence goes. It was my first night of the tour and Jericho and I were teaming with Mark Starr to face, Sambo Asako (former Sumo star), Ueda (former kick boxer), and Atsushi Onita (FMW founder and top star). It was my first match in Japan and we were in the main event working the boss. If that wasnít enough I was told that I needed to get color (I needed to bleed) in the match.
Neither Chris nor I had ever done this before and really had no idea what to do. Thankfully Mike had done it plenty of times and was willing to show us the ropes. I realized afterwards how lucky we were that Mike was such a nice guy because he could have played a nasty rib on us and told us to do it completely wrong and it could have been very ugly. In addition to showing us how to get color he offered us two other pieces of advice before we headed to the ring, one quite helpful and the other a nice rib.
The helpful advice was that Ueda the kick boxer was extremely stiff and that if you didnít put him in his place early, and stiff him back, he would take liberties with you with the rest of the tour. Chris had the pleasure of starting out with Ueda and sure enough he took Chris to the corner and started throwing stiff knees at him. Chris fired right back with what I believe are the only martial arts moves he knows, good stiff punches in the head, and Ueda was co-operative from then on.
The rib advice I ended up using, as Mike explained to us that with the limited skill set of our opponents it was hard to get much offense in but that Sambo (the 400 Sumo) actually went up real light and took a good body slam. When I got in the ring with Sambo I figured this was my chance to establish that Iím a pretty strong guy and went to body slam him. Sambo went up like a 600 lbs bag of shit and I damn near blew a gasket turning him over in the worldís worst body slam. I even looked up towards the dressing room afterwards and saw Mike laughing at me.
There was one night during our FMW tour together that instead of booking us in US Style hotel rooms FMW put us in a low end Japanese style hotel. The hotel was a disgusting dump. My room did not appear to have been cleaned since the previous occupant and some of the rooms only offered bedrolls instead of beds. The room was so bad I slept on top of the covers in my clothes with my towel covering the pillow. This was of course one of the nights we got in early and had a lot of time to kill at the hotel. The hotel was also in a very remote location so there wasnít anything for us to do either. Since no one wanted to sit in their room Mike Awesome, Horace Bolder (Hogan), Mark Starr, Chris Jericho, and I killed the 4-6 hours of the evening sitting in the hotel lobby drinking beer out of the vending machines.
Yes, in Japan you could get beer out of a vending machine. The 5 of us sat around the lobby all night sharing stories and complaints about the hotel. One thing I thought was very cool was that none of the American put any pressure on me to drink. In wrestling there is generally a lot of pressure to do as the others do, but Mike, Horace, and Mark, seemed willing to accept the fact that I didnít drink and didnít have a problem with it. They each took turns buying the beer and getting drunker and drunker much to the chagrin of the poor tiny man working the front desk.
At one point Mike (who was actually related to Horace some how) accidentally bought one Lager beer, which he passed off to Horace. Horace got quite irate about this and when it came his turn to buy beer purchased one Lager beer on purpose and handed it to Mike, who took even greater exception to the inferior beer, claiming that at least he had bought his accidentally. At this point Mike gets so man he fires the can of Lager beer across the room refusing to drink it. Horace and Mike exchange word and start getting into a shoving match, that only two friends and relatives can do, yelling at each other about Lager beer. The poor guy behind the counter is terrified at this point, seeing two 6í 6Ē tall Americans going at each other in the lobby. Mark Starr who knew both guys quite well gets between them and tries to drag them out side, while Jericho and I try to tidy up the lobby in hopes that the desk clerk wonít call the police.
By the time Mark gets them both out side Mike and Horace and laughing and hugging each other and we end up back in the lobby joking the rest of the night. I think Mark was on vending machine duty from that point in hopes of avoiding further Lager controversy.
In ECW Mike and I got to work together again and I even invented and named one of his favourite offensive maneuvers. He didnít get to do the move often as he said I was the one of the only guys who ever took it well. The move I dubbed the Ejection Seat and it was a boost sit out power bomb. Mike would catch me off the ropes and boost me straight up into the air and I would land sitting on his shoulders and he would then sit out and power bomb me. It was actually a fairly easy bump to take but you had to be able to get a lot of height out of the boost to land on Mikeís shoulders. I remember botching the move horribly in ECW once, when Mike for some reason forgot to pull his arms back down so I could swing my legs in and land on his shoulders. The move ended up looking really bad and when I told him what happened after the match he laughed his ass off at the fact that he actually screwed up his own move. He never missed that one again and we used it a few times during our feud in WCW.
Mike and I had a great time in WCW and almost my entire year there was either feuding with or teaming with Mike Awesome. With a lot of what was going on in WCW making so little sense, you really had to amuse yourself and try to have fun, and this was very easy when working with Mike. I ribbed him endlessly during his Fat Chick Thriller, and That 70ís Guy gimmicks. Mike was amazing in that no matter how bad or how stupid the gimmick they stuck on him he gave it his all and tried to make it work. He was so relieved the day the asked him what he thought about turning heel and joining Team Canada.
One of the funniest days we had was when Mike presented us with the newly painted Team Canada Bus (Formerly the Partridge Family 70ís bus). The segment sheet the agent gave me said on it specifically that when Mike presented us with the bus ďTeam Canada was to put the bus over hugeĒ. I assumed they meant make a big deal out of it, but when we were walking through the segment outside I joked with Tylene that when the cameras were rolling I was going to slide under the bus and I wanted her to drop down and deliver the 3-count, because if the office wanted me to put the bus over I was going to put the bus over.
We even had to ride to the ring in that stupid school bus one time and I again ribbed Mike that he was killing Team Canada. I told him that only a few months earlier when I was wrestling him in Vancouver (NBR PPV) I was arriving at the building in an expensive stretch Limo and now that he was on the Team I was riding in a broken down old school bus.
A lot of the big moments in my career I shared with Mike. My first trip to Japan, probably the biggest PPV of my career, NBR in Vancouver, we faced each other, we also teamed on the last very last Nitro broadcast, and we were involved in the very first WCW vs. WWF match, when we faced Kane and Chris Jericho. Mike was a great guy and a true friend; Iím still trying to come to grips with his death. I hope everyone remembers him as fondly as I do. You will be missed my friend.