In the spring of 2000, the reigning ECW Champion made a surprise debut in WCW on the April 10 edition of Monday Nitro. He was a big man, standing 6’6″ and tipping the scales at nearly 300 lbs, but he was as quick and as agile as a cat. He was buzzy, debuting for a rival promotion while still carrying Extreme Championship Wrestling’s top prize. Perhaps most importantly, he was mean, having left a path of destruction in his wake at every stop he made during his career. His name was Mike Awesome, and he was a can’t miss superstar who missed and missed hard.
Things started all right for Awesome in WCW as the big man took on a “career killer” gimmick shortly after his debut, the result of throwing Kanyon off the top of a cage and putting him out of action for a while. It didn’t take long, however, for things to take a turn for the worse. A couple of months into his tenure with the Georgia-based promotion, Awesome watched as things went to hell at Bash at the Beach 2000. In an infamous kayfabe-shattering moment, Jeff Jarrett laid down in the middle of the ring and allowed Hulk Hogan to pin him. The circumstances surrounding the incident are still disputed today, but that’s a story for another time. The reason it bears mentioning now is that Mike Awesome was a relative of Hulk Hogan’s through marriage, and after Hogan left the company on such bad terms, it’s widely believed that Vince Russo took his aggressions out on Awesome, saddling him with gimmicks that were failures by design. Continue reading