The life of a professional wrestler is not an easy one. Without fail, every single year another one of our iconic, larger than life heroes passes away before their time. The cause is always different but the tragedy is always the same. One has to even wonder how someone comes to the realization that they want to be a wrestler someday. It certainly doesn’t seem like all it’s cracked up to be. Sure, you will never be short of fans who adore you but you will live every single day of your life in horrific pain until the day your body finally gives in.
Mike Awesome had wrestling roots, if there is such a thing. He was connected to the Hulk Hogan legacy early in his life but somehow never made it to WWF/WWE super stardom. Maybe he was not tall enough, too slow, or just didn’t have the “it” factor. Whatever the result, it didn’t stop Mike Alfonso from pursuing the fame and fortune promised to wrestlers who “make it big” in the industry.
After many years, Mike began to make a name for himself in Japan until landing in Extreme Championship Wrestling, where he became “Mike Awesome”. It didn’t take long for Mike to become a star in E.C.W. By the late-90’s, Mike was the E.C.W Champion but the organization was on its last legs and was about to go under. Having a family to look after, Mike left the promotion to join World Championship Wrestling. After a horrible “gimmick” AKA character, Mke made his W.W.E debut in 2001.
Unfortunately, World Wrestling Entertainment didn’t know how to use him and by the following year Mike was without a job. He made a few appearances in local shows before retiring from wrestling. A few years later, with both W.C.W & E.C.W out of business and the rights owned by Vince McMahon, E.C.W was resurrected for ‘One Night Stand’, a one-time only Pay Per View.
On that night, Mike Awesome made his final appearance in front of a TV crowd against Masato Tanaka and had the match of his career. After the event, Mike went back to Tampa, Florida and continued his new life as a Real Estate Agent, with his family & friends at his side.
One night in early February of 2007, Mike’s friends arrived at his home only to find a lifeless Alfonso hanging from a rope in his garage. Mike was 42 years old at the time of his death and unlike another infamous wrestler he once worked with, Chris Benoit, Mike didn’t hurt anyone but himself on that night. Well, at least not physically.
The following is a video I made as a tribute to Mike Awesome’s greatest wrestling match, which was also his last one. I put together the highlights from the E.C.W One Night Stand DVD, ripped them and edited the files with Windows Movie Maker. I have something a little more powerful but I have not used it much yet.
I hope you guys enjoy!
I didn’t know you were also a wrestling fan. It really is tragic though. Pete and I were looking at one of those TMZ type websites a while back. I think it was right after the Chris Benoit incident. They had a post that only listed “dead wrestlers” and explained what happened to them whether it was drug over doses to accidents to medical problems. Sad stuff.
Great tribute Mario, glad that you recognise this guy, not being people do. When the news about Benoit came out, I was hit pretty bad. It made me realize how hard it must be to wrestle professionally. Because of that I have a hell of a lot of respect for what these guys do. By the way, that One Night Stand was insane, one of a kind! They’ve done it again though, just not like that, not as violent and not as ‘good’ a crowd!
I was a big fan of ECW it was based out of Philadelphia or should I say this is where ECW cut it’s teeth.You could see alot of the ECW wrestlers on south street in philadelphia or even hang out with them and have a beer after the show.They were really cool guys! Real fucken crazy too!!
They were great shows in Philadelphia.I could tell you a funny time about how we (Warrant Unit) had to pick up
(well try to service court papers) to one of the no name wrestlers at one of them crazy philly events.
I saw Mike wrestle live once. He and Masato Tanaka had great, intense matches.
It was a real shame when WCW kept giving him those stupid gimmicks like the “Fat Chick Thriller” and “That 70’s Guy.”
His match against Tanaka at ONS was one of my favorite matches ever. It was a prototypical ECW match, and epitomized the attitude the PPV was going for, which was great because the whole crowd wanted to shit on him the whole time. I think he was a hell of a worker, and really enjoyed the stuff he did in WCW with the New Blood/Millionaire’s Club angle (although he was saddled with those crappy gimmicks after that ran its course).