EDITOR'S NOTE: The views and opinions expressed within this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Michigan Wrestling Organization. Some content may not be suitable for readers under the age of 13.
MWO SUMMER PREVIEW
Now that Memorial Weekend has come and gone for the year 2017, as we all took time to honor those brave men and women that made the ultimate sacrifice so that you and I can enjoy the freedoms we utilize on a daily basis, its now time to focus on the future. For many of us, Memorial Weekend is the unofficial start of summer. The weather is getting warmer, the boats are being launched into the water, weekend camping trips are being planned, and travelling all over the great state of Michigan will become a regular occurrence. As the calendar prepares to flip another page into the month of June, I thought it was a good time to preview what could be on the horizon in the Michigan Wrestling Organization. There are a variety of superstars, rivalries, and events that could absolutely scorch the landscape in the MWO. And, let’s face it, no one covers the MWO like yours truly. I’ve been here long enough to recognize a trend that more often than not is right on target. But in the unpredictable world of the Michigan Wrestling Organization, we all also realize that anything can happen.
Here is a small list of things that could take center stage in the MWO in the coming months that could make Summer 2017 the most pivotal point of the year for the organization and its superstars and fans. With that being said, lather up the sunscreen, fill your cooler with water or other beverages of choice, set up the beach chair and umbrella, and get ready to take a glimpse into what could be our future. One thing’s for sure: the action in the MWO is going to get hot!
THE SUPERSTARS EXPECTED TO TURN UP THE HEAT
The Michigan Wrestling Organization roster has some of the most talented superstars competing in the ring. The championships are currently held by those considered to be the very best of their respective divisions. But coming into the spotlight is a group of wrestlers who are looking to make their names known to the fans of the MWO. Either they are in contention for a championship, or coming into their own as a legitimate future threat to a titleholder, these superstars are poised to kick up the octane and make a huge splash in the MWO.
JJ HUGHES The superstar known as the “Main Attraction” is looking to live up to his self-imposed moniker. Despite the fact that he is currently in his second reign as the MWO Television champion, Hughes has the drive and the tools to set his sights on the biggest prize in the MWO: the Michigan Wrestling Organization Championship title. Last summer, Hughes was one of the top two contenders to the heavyweight crown, but fell just short of scoring the big win. In the months since last year’s SummerSmash, JJ has continued to improve and is pegged to be a future MWO Champion.
THE UPRISING History has shown that when Simon Paige goes silent, big things are in the works for the faction he helped create. The Uprising features the talents of established veterans and former champions the Real Deal Michael Reaver and Blackwell and the promise of organization newcomer Brother Will Vendetta. Any of these three stars can be a major threat to the MWO Championship title. In fact, all three have been confirmed to compete at the Slam-a-Thon tournament to determine the No.1 contender and challenger for the MWO Title match at SummerSmash. Numerically speaking, Paige has a better chance than anyone to represent the challenger at the 20th annual summer supercard on August 13 at Lake Callis in Davison.
THE AZUL WARRIORS Krysis and the Blue Marvel have a lot of upside to them, especially with Mike Goodman, PI in their corner. They may have stumbled in recent months, but the Warriors have the potential to solidify into a good tag team. To discount them as legitimate contenders to the MWO Tag Team championship would be a big mistake. I don’t know if they’ll be champions before the fist leaf changes its color, but they should be involved in the tag team scene for quite some time.
ALEX CROW & JACOB BRAWN Now, if you were a betting person and you wanted to lay your money down on a sure thing: this is the team for you. The Superstar and Brawn are already on pace to make history when they challenge the Clouse Brothers for the tag titles at Slam-a-Thon. The bond between these two “best friends” goes way beyond the ring, they are seemingly as close as brothers. They’ve already demonstrated that they are focused on being a thorn in the sides of not only the Clouses, but the fans as well. It would not surprise me if Crow & Brawn dethrone the brothers in Waterford in June.
A. WICKED The popularity of this face-painted daredevil is frankly pretty annoying. Wicked could be so much farther along in his quest for championship recognition if he didn’t worry so much about the girls and little kids cheering for him. Still, Wicked is on a track for the biggest year of his MWO career. He may have fallen short in his rivalry with Alex Crow, but Wicked is said to be focusing on MWO Television champion JJ Hughes. The matches these two are capable of could define the TV title division. But, if he is to have any success, he should focus more on what’s happening between the ropes than outside of them.
FABULOUS SCOTTY FRAYTOWN The reigning MWO Great Lakes champion is on a the right path now. The evidence is in the belt that Fraytown proudly carries to the ring and defends on a regular basis. Fraytown is refocused on what he truly wants in the MWO—as with every other superstar—that being the MWO Championship title. While the Fabulous One is busy fulfilling his obligations with the Great Lakes title, it’s only a matter of time before he sets his sights on the big one. If recent outings are any indication, Fraytown will do whatever he has to in order to get what he wants.
ROBERTO CRUZ Positive Promotions is sitting on a bona fide superstar with Cruz. The problem is, Roberto has not been utilized correctly as in turn, has hurt his rise in the ranks. Manager Mr. Positive should think about abandoning the concept of a Cruz/Laura Phoenix tag team and allow Cruz to venture out in singles competition. He’s got gold around his neck and on his fingers, but what he really wants is gold around his waist. Allowing Roberto to try his hand in singles action may bring Positive a new champion into the fold.
LEFT: A. Wicked and Alex Crow fight for dominance
MIDDLE: Can JJ Hughes become the true "Main Attraction"?
RIGHT: Scotty Fraytown looks to soar to the top of the MWO
RIVALRIES THAT COULD SCORCH THE LANDSCAPE
Conflicts between wrestlers is a very common occurrence in our sport. And it seems that the summer months brings out the best—and in some cases, the worst—in certain superstars. The intensity of the rivalries that dominate the MWO headlines in the summer equal the rising mercury in the thermometer. While it’s almost impossible to really forecast the future (ask any meteorologist), these are the feuds that could become a staple of the biggest events of the summer for the organization.
SKULLZ vs. JACK TERYN The Ruler of Parts Unknown vs. The Keeper of the Crypt. The groundwork has already been laid for this intriguing feud. Teryn’s betrayal of Skullz at WrestleRama 23 has ignited what will likely be the “Ruler of Parts Unknown’s” toughest battle in quite some time. Teryn is determined to make a name for himself and by targeting the veteran Skullz, he has shown he’s not afraid of anything or anybody. Soundly defeating Skullz on a high-profile stage would catapult him into title contention. But history has shown that keeping the 22-year veteran down for the count is no easy feat.
CLOUSE BROTHERS vs. ALEX CROW & JACOB BRAWN I expect this feud to dominate the tag team division for the next several months, certainly through the summer months. Crow & Brawn are poised to be the top threat to Jason “the Basher” Clouse & Pure Fury Jeff Clouse’s Tag Team title reign. Their first championship match is already set for Slam-a-Thon, but I highly doubt that the feud between these two tandems will be settled at the June supercard in Waterford. The animosity between the duos could last through the rest of the year.
BAM GRIZZLEE vs. LAURA PHOENIX There is unfinished business between Grizzlee and Phoenix. And I have a feeling that their paths will cross again in violent fashion. There has only been one match in what was supposed to be a Best of 5 Series, as pointed out by a recent article written by a new reporter. What if Bam and Laura used the landscape of the summer to settle their ongoing feud? It could have a major impact on the MWO Great Lakes or TV title divisions.
DEAN BOYS vs. VALOR SOCIETY These are two very promising tag teams, each looking to get the best of the other in order to focus on the MWO Tag Team titles. But in reality, this potential feud could not only determine a new challenger team for the titles, but could also put the Deans and Valor Society on the map in the organization. They are a contrast of styles, which always generates a lot of interest in matchups like this. DJ Edwards & Loco are focused on being the dark horse team of the division, while the fans continue to rally behind Tyler & Tyson Dean. This would be one feud that would have my undivided interest.
JOHN CAMPBELL vs. THE UPRISING As I mentioned before, The Uprising has a distinct numbers advantage that one of their members will be on course to win the Slam-a-Thon tournament. Manager/faction founder Simon Paige is up to something and he wants his charges to be in the title picture. If he is to lead one of his guys through the tournament to victory (my personal pick is Blackwell), then you will see the Creature Feature trying to defend his MWO heavyweight title against another major force for the second consecutive summer. A Campbell-Blackwell matchup would truly put the word “heavyweight” in the heavyweight title division. And that’s if (a big if at that) Campbell can retain the MWO Title against Victor Cross at Slam-a-Thon.
JAYSEN PLATINUM vs. CODENAME OMEGA WrestleRama 23 was only the start of this feud. Mark my words. You’re going to see the Ghetto Superstar and Omega reach to new levels of violence upon one another before this is said and done.
TRAGEDY ANN vs. JESSICA MONROE It’s now referred to as the Chokeslam Heard ‘Round Planet MWO, and it has sparked what may be the most hate-filled feud of them all. When Tragedy Ann laid out Jessica Monroe during the 5/21 MWO Wrestling Live show with a chokeslam, it instantly had fans in shock. For years, Tragedy Ann has for the most part remained silent during her tenures as one of the most intriguing managers in MWO history. In contrast, there’s Monroe, who works as the executive assistant to the Superstar Alex Crow, and is not afraid to speak her mind. This feud between Tragedy and Jessica may be the top headline in the next few months.
LEFT: the Chokeslam Heard 'Round Planet MWO MIDDLE: The Clouses confront Brawn & Crow
RIGHT: Platinum vs. Omega could be the Feud of the Year
SUPERSTAR SLEEPER HITS
Every summer, moviegoers file into theaters to watch the season blockbusters that seemingly have a year-long hype before they hit the big screens. But every year, there are always one or two flicks that do not get rave reviews or hype but are considered among the summer’s best movies. In the MWO, there are a few superstars who have the potential to really break out and rise above the rest of the pack when they’re least expected to. Last year, the sleeper hit of superstars was Bam Grizzlee. Who will it be this year?
Old School has been a major player in the Great Lakes title division. But has he outstayed his welcome, looking to regain the championship that was stripped from him last December? Caurdiea could be better off if he focuses on another piece of hardware, whether it the MWO Championship or TV titles.
ADRIAN ANDERSON & FAT TONY
The former rivals-turned-tag team is an imposing threat to the entire roster of the MWO. Among the largest wrestlers in the MWO, Anderson and Fat Tony form an impressive duo that could make a major splash in the tag team division. There’s not many other teams than can match their power.
Remember back when Alex Steele took a hiatus to focus on personal responsibilities and his brother Andrew went on to achieve a very respectable solo career? Well now the roles are reversed for the Steele Twins, as the Package has left the MWO and now it’s Alex remaining in hopes of making a serious run at the Great Lakes title.
If anyone was thinking that the Dragon Slayer’s appearance at WrestleRama 23 was a one-and-done deal, they are sorely mistaken. I believe Klayton will reemerge when he thinks the timing is right, and not a moment before. And when he does return, Klayton will waste little time in getting into the mix with many of the top superstars.
MWO’S SUMMER BLOCKBUSTERS
SLAM-A-THON (Sunday, June 11th at the Waterford Parks & Recreation Center)
The start of the summer for the Michigan Wrestling Organization has in recent years occurred at Slam-a-Thon. The various formats may have changed, but unless a championship was up for grabs (as was the case last year), the Slam-a-Thon tournament has traditionally set the stage for the SummerSmash main event. This year, 16 MWO superstars will square off in four-corner bracket matches, with the winners advancing onward. The winner will indeed challenge the MWO Champion (presumably the winner of the John Campbell-Victor Cross match at the supercard) in the main event of the 20th annual SummerSmash. Aside from Campbell’s MWO Title defense against Cross, it’s also been announced that JJ Hughes will defend his MWO TV title against former champion Bam Grizzlee. Jacob Brawn & Alex Crow will challenge MWO Tag Team champions the Clouse Brothers.
MWO @ SOBERFEST (Sunday, July 16th at the Union City Ballfield in Flint)
Making its third consecutive appearance at this outdoor festival, the Michigan Wrestling Organization has become one of the more anticipated events during Soberfest. Hosted by the M.O.S.T. group of UAW Local 598, Soberfest continues to get bigger and bigger with each passing year. In turn, the MWO has made this outing a highlight event during its annual schedule. I believe that the powers that be will put a lot of emphasis on this event as a major stop on the road to SummerSmash. No doubt this will be the major event of July for the MWO. History could, and probably will, be made at the Union City Ballfields.
20TH ANNUAL MWO SUMMERSMASH (Sunday, August 13th at Lake Callis Recreation Center in Davison)
After inclimite weather rained out last year’s attempt at debuting at Lake Callis, the MWO will now take a milestone supercard to the recreation center, marking the organization’s first live event in Davison in a decade. At this point, there’s no telling what the card for this anniversary show will look like. Granted, Slam-a-Thon will likely provide us with the main event, pitting the winner of the MWO Championship title match against the Slam-a-Thon tournament winner. It’s going to be interesting to see how the MWO stages the set. It’s an outdoor event, so there’s sure to be challenges in the set-up process. This is one show I’m really looking forward to.
Between these three spotlight events, there will likely be stops along the way. The Richfield Road Church in Flint is sure to host another installment of MWO Wrestling Live in July, and there’s no telling what other events will be announced. One thing is for sure, those who follow the Michigan Wrestling Organization are not going to want to miss any of these shows. If you have the means, be there. If you don’t, well, I guess you can catch it a week or so later on the MWO Network.