EDITOR'S NOTE: The views and opinions in 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 all members of the family.
KNOCKING ON THE DOOR OF OPPORTUNITY
Many of the great success stories in sports and entertainment started with that particular person or entity being in the right place at the right time. As if the stars were in perfect alignment and lightning was captured in a bottle, a particular team who may have made the postseason by the skin of their teeth were ending their season hoisting their sport’s championship trophy, or a man or woman caught the eye of a talent scout or television producer and the next thing they know, they’re on every magazine cover and raking in millions.
In the crazy world of professional wrestling, the same can be said that timing is key for a wrestler’s particular rise to the top of the industry. On a mainstream level, the story of Kofi Kingston’s rise to the World Wrestling Entertainment Championship at WrestleMania 35 is a prime example of that. He was the right guy at the perfect time, and he rode that opportunity to the pinnacle of sports-entertainment and walked away with the most celebrated championship in the profession.
The same can be said in the Michigan Wrestling Organization, where many of the most iconic and unprecedented moments in our history were generated by absolute perfect timing. Whether the landscape of the MWO was in limbo or that there just needed to be a shakeup that would generate a lot of feelings one way or another. For example, the Package Andrew Steele’s win to capture the MWO Championship title at the 2009 Christmas Clash was the epitome of being in the right place at the right time. He was in a triple threat match along with 400-pound Jaysen Platinum and defending champion Jason “the Basher” Clouse. Freshly coming off his original tenure as a tag team wrestler with his brother Alex—who had left the company—Andrew was no where near considered a major threat in the match. However, with a rabid Terri’s Lounge crowd cheering him on, the Package pinned Clouse and won the title. Five years before that, the Basher and Levi Blue had formed the Power Trip, which to this day is considered one of the most dominant factions in MWO history. Their reign of power wouldn’t have been as impressive had the timing not been right for their formation and path of destruction.
Today, on the heels of WrestleRama 25, the MWO finds itself with a growing number of doors of opportunity opening. And with a roster as talented as it is, many of whom have patiently been waiting for their chance to step out of the shadows of older veterans and into the spotlight, the entire landscape of the organization is already seeing changes specifically with the formation of The Takeover. Many of the top superstars of the MWO are, for one reason or another, taking leaves of absence from the promotion, making their intentions known heading into WrestleRama. Bam Grizzlee (No.1-ranked contender to the MWO Title), Tyson Dean (one-half of the popular Dean Boys tag team with brother Tyler), Codename Omega (banished from the MWO following his WrestleRama 25 loss), and Jack Teryn (injury sustained at WrestleRama) have all left huge voids in the title divisions. And, it has been confirmed that Victor Cross will also leave the MWO following the Redemption event on May 19.
So, who will benefit the most with these new opportunities to move up the ladder and improve their own personal stock in the MWO? There are many superstars who have chomping at the bit to finally get more championship matches and improved overall opportunities in the eyes of the fans and officials. How easy is it to move up the ladder when we’re seeing another match between veteran stars like X-Convict and Skullz for the 103rd time in their careers? It’s reported that X-Convict is another wrestler who will be taking time off from the organization, and who knows what Skullz plans to do. However, at this point in his career, it’s hard to imagine Skullz as a major contender to any of the solo championships in the MWO.
Here is a list of superstars who could benefit from these new vacancies in the
title divisions and what they would need to do in order to make a big splash
in the Michigan Wrestling Organization.
TYLER DEAN – I’ve overlooked the Dean Boys during most of their MWO careers mostly because of their stature. And the truth is, what they lack in physical size, the Deans more than made up with their heart and determination. As a duo, Tyler and Tyson would eventually win the MWO Tag Team titles and had a longer-than-expected run with the belts. With Tyson’s decision to step away from the ring, Tyler is now on his own looking to embark on solo success. His speed and agility are Tyler’s greatest weapons against opponents of any size. Like everyone else in the MWO, Tyler’s goal is to be the MWO Champion and there’s nothing that says he won’t be a major contender to the top prize in the MWO, but he will be an example much like Andrew Steele in 2009 that it will take a perfect storm to develop for Tyler to climb to the absolute top of the MWO mountain.
VALOR SOCIETY – Loco & DJ Edwards have all the tools to be one of the greatest tag teams ever in the MWO. Since landing in the organization a few years ago, the Valor Society has come within an eyelash of blasting through the glass ceiling and claiming the championships. Something has kept them from sustaining any real momentum during their attempts to secure a title shot. And in an opposite effect of how timing can be a good thing, Edwards went down to an injury that halted their chances of challenging for the titles. But now, things are different for the Valor Society as they are now members of the Scum of the Earth faction and have benefitted already by aligning themselves with a group of guys that seemingly have the same goals. There is strength in numbers, and for Loco and Edwards, this may be the missing piece of their puzzle.
CESAR ASHUR – Cesar Ashur is one of those superstars that Michigan Wrestling Organization officials are keeping a close eye on. After a controversial departure in 2017, Ashur made a surprise return at the Bunkhouse Brawl and he hasn’t stopped moving since coming back. Cesar is motivated by the desire to be champion in the organization and has a huge chip on his shoulder. Here’s what is most dangerous about Ashur, he keeps getting better with each and every outing he has in the ring. Now would be a good time to set his sights on the MWO Great Lakes championship, currently held by Roberto Cruz. Ashur has shown that he is not intimidated by The Takeover since he immediately started a heated feud with The Mighty Bojack, who serves as the muscle for the group. Oh yeah, and he’s Ashur’s brother. If Cesar can get by Bojack, he would be considered the next top contender to Cruz’s belt and that would set off the next great rivalry for one of the promotion’s most coveted prizes.
THE COMMISSION – It’s been a long time since a tag team has made a fresh debut and made such a positive impact on the Michigan Wrestling Organization’s tag team division the way The Commission has. With a unique presentation and skill set that sets them apart from any other tandem in the promotion, JaXon Kade & Lexx Vegas have become one of the most popular teams in quite some time. Their immediate rivalry with Hoss Fight had MWO fans stand up and take notice that these guys are for real. The Commission not only competes in the MWO, but in several other promotions throughout the Mid-West so their experience in the ring is vast. A showdown with current tag titleholders THEE Cody Leedy & Blackwell has been on fans’ radars since the Pope-n-Friends duo captured the titles late last year. They are strong. They are imposing. And it’s a matter of time before Vegas and Kade are in the challengers slot in the Tag Team title match for a future event or supercard.
REX HAVOC & LAURA PHOENIX – This is a complicated one because you’re looking at two individuals who are both as focused as anyone to seize an opportunity. For Havoc, who has a rematch with MWO Great Lakes champion Roberto Cruz at MWO Redemption on May 19, his shot is now. Looking to silence the critics that suggest his recent rash of knee injuries have essentially ended any championship hopes the “Lone Wolf” has, he knows his back is up against the wall. For Phoenix, who has served as Havoc’s manager for most of their Hall of Fame careers in the MWO, being a manager or announcer is not enough. She wants to wrestle and have a chance to compete for championships. The problem has been finding opponents who will compete against Laura. She’s a former Television champion and is considered one of the toughest women to ever compete in the MWO. But, if Rex fails to win the Great Lakes title from Cruz, there’s nothing stopping the real-life husband/wife team to collectively set their sights on the MWO Tag Team titles. Their unique dynamic would be a huge advantage to a Havoc/Phoenix tag team.
SEIZING THE OPPORTUNITY
10 MOMENTS THAT SHOCKED THE MWO
THE PACKAGE DELIVERS (2009)
Andrew Steele won a triple threat match over Jason Clouse and Jaysen Platinum to win the MWO Championship title at Christmas Clash 2009.
THE BLUE BOMBER SCANDAL (1999)
Jeff Clouse pulled off the biggest betrayal ever at WrestleRama 5 by using the guise of a masked fan-favorite known as the Blue Bomber to not only win the MWO Championship from the Basher but also to join the ranks of the Marauder Todd Grossbauer’s Badd Blood faction.
THE FORMATION OF THE POWER TRIP (2004)
No one saw it coming. Weeks after it looked as if Jason Clouse and Levi Blue were about to tear each other apart, they stunned the fans and the locker room by uniting to form the Power Trip
A RICH DEBUT, PART 1 (1996)
With no scheduled challenger for his Great Lakes title, the Dragon Slayer Shiro Nagami was stunned when he issued an open challenge and was dethroned by the debuting Stock Breaker at WrestleRama 2.
THE XBW INVASION (2008)
The landscape of the MWO was shaken to its core when Kurt Kaoss led a group of superstars from eXtreme Border Wrestling into the promotion for a potential takeover. The XBW team included Blackjack Hainds, Tommy Kline, and Hall of Famers X-Convict and Eric Copeland.
CAMPBELL GOES FROM WORST TO FIRST (2016)
The Creature Feature John Campbell was in something of a slump heading into 2016. But after winning the 2016 Bunkhouse Brawl match, Campbell catapulted himself to an MWO Title victory at WrestleRama 22.
INITIAL DESTRUCTION DETHRONED (1999)
For over a year, Initial Destruction dominated the tag team division as champions. With a depleted list of contenders, officials paired slumping stars Mystery with the Chicago Shocker to form The Underdogs. At WrestleRama 5, the challengers went from underdogs to champions with an upset win.
A RICH DEBUT, PART 2 (2016)
Twenty years after the Stock Breaker won the Great Lakes title in his debut, the Superstar Alex Crow followed suit by dethroning Ric Caurdiea for the Great Lakes championship in his first MWO match and igniting a feud that continues to this day.
THE WEDNESDAY NIGHT ERA (2002-2004)
Every other Wednesday night, fans packed the Forest Township Hall in Oitsville for an era that would define the MWO as a must-see and entertaining promotion. Anchored by the feud between MWO champion Jason Clouse and then-president Bob Breckenridge, the Wednesday Night Era launched the careers of many MWO Hall of Famers.
THE MWO IS BORN (1994)
Before the boom of independent promotions popping up all over the state, the organization’s story started in the fall of '94 and continues to offer its brand of sports-entertainment a quarter-century later.
Revolution X invades the MWO
Campbell captures the title
Basher vs. Breckenridge on WNW
PF anchors the Blue Bomber Scandal