BY Wildman Wiliams
In the unofficial rolodex of time-honored clichés, the card adorning the phrase “Desperate times call for desperate measures” may be one of the most selected by the human race, especially those who spend a great amount of time in a sports or entertainment environment. In the house of Steele, that particular card may be residing on the desk, instead of jammed among many other cards in the “rolodex.”
In the history of the Michigan Wrestling Organization, you would be hard pressed to find any other tag team as beloved as the Steele Twins. Since 2004, Alex and Andrew have endured themselves to organization fans as two of the most loyal and popular roster members. From humble beginnings as a ring announcer (Alex) and referee (Andrew), the twins tried their hands as wrestlers by forming a tag team to make a serious run at the MWO Tag Team championship. MWO fans often dismissed the twins as comedy relief, a brief reprieve from some of the other drama of the promotion’s most heated feuds. For other tandems in the tag team division, Alex and Andrew were looked over and considered an “easy win.” That was until the Steeles started picking up victories in the most unconventional ways. Eventually, the twins found themselves in the challengers spot of a title opportunity. To this day, the brothers from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, are the one of only teams to win and lose the MWO Tag Team titles on the same day in two separate locations, trading the belts back and forth with Heavy Artillery (Jaysen Platinum and Blackwell) on July 4, 2008. Four reigns as the MWO Tag Team championship was more than enough to send Alex and Andrew to the MWO Hall of Fame a few years ago. But, as we are all witnessing, the Cannonball and the Package are not done yet.
“When the Steeles came to the MWO, there wasn’t a lot of in-ring expectations for them,” recalls current CEO Jason “the Basher” Clouse, “They were working as an announcer and a referee and there wasn’t any initial plans for them to wrestle. But they eventually did and the fans were quick to rally behind them.”
After Alex departed the organization in 2009, Andrew was forced to either reinvent himself or become lost in the mid-card shuffle. In the last months of 2009, Andrew shocked the entire organization by working his way up the ranks and earning a triple threat main event slot at Christmas Clash, where he miraculously won the MWO Championship title in front of a raucous crowd at Terri’s Lounge. That’s when things started to really change for Andrew. Following the loss of the MWO Title, Andrew developed a chip on his shoulder, but didn’t really know how to harness the emotions he was feeling following his brief run as MWO Champion.
“Andrew was lost at the time and he needed someone to guide him,” said the Basher, “For the first time in his career, he was alone. Alex had left the MWO and there was no one to really tell him what to do next.”
Enter THEE Cody Leedy. As the then-commissioner was forming his Awesome Alliance group in 2010, he was the one to help give Andrew his first real identity. To the dismay of his loyal fan base, Andrew adopted a whole new attitude when he was recruited into the Alliance. And with Leedy calling the shots, Andrew became “The Package” and embarked on impressive runs with the MWO Great Lakes championship. Under the Awesome Alliance umbrella, Andrew Steele became something he had longed for—a superstar on his own accord.
“Andrew was such a natural fit in the Awesome Alliance,” said Cody, “He just needed some guidance and when you’re in a faction that has guys like Apocalypse and Jeff Clouse, Andrew had no choice but to learn from some of the very best the MWO has ever seen.”
When Alex made his return to the organization, it was a no-brainer that the twin brothers would reunite and once again focus on the MWO Tag Team titles at the 2015 Trick-or-Slam. Winning their fourth title as a team, the Steeles were poised to embark on their most impressive run yet. But as fate would have it, it would be the Package’s turn to leave the MWO to focus on his personal endeavors. Alex, now on his own, would compete with some of the biggest names in the organization and, along the way, capture MWO Television championships. And eventually, we saw the surprise return of the Package in a shocking fashion.
“When Andrew returned to help his brother regain the MWO TV title from the Basher, that was the first sign that something was in the works between the twins,” said THEE Cody Leedy, “That was the first time in a long time we got to see that mean streak start coming out of Andrew and eventually Alex too.”
Upon reuniting the tag team, the twins made it their mission to win their fifth MWO Tag Team titles. But as they embarked on the road to the eventual title shot at the 2019 Bunkhouse Brawl this past February, the Package and the Cannonball were doing whatever they could to find some sort of game plan to dethrone the current champs—Leedy and the 400-pound Blackwell—at the Brawl. All interview requests leading up to the Bunkhouse Brawl went unanswered, something that never happened with the always-accommodating brothers. Backstage of the Richfield Road Church the day of the Brawl, Alex and Andrew were uncharacteristically withdrawn from the rest of the roster as they found a corner of the dressing room area that they huddled together in.
“I remember the Steeles being very quiet. There was almost an eerie feeling with the short dealings I had with them before their match that day,” recalls the chief executive official, “Anyone who’s known them for any length of time knew something was off with the twins at the Brawl.”
Organization fans were anticipating a scientific type of match when the bell sounded at the Bunkhouse Brawl. The champions went into the match as the odds-on-favorites, mostly because of the power that Blackwell possesses. But history has shown that the Steeles are capable of pulling off major upsets just when its least expected. So there was a sense that anything could happen with this match. As expected, the twins came in ready to fight, regardless of how much respect they had for Blackwell and Leedy and their manager, Pope Brandon Brownson.
“As the match went on, you had a feeling that there would be a moment that the everything would come to a head one way or another,” said MWO commentator Hal, who was watching the match on a monitor backstage as Simon Paige and Laura Phoenix called the action in the gym, “But there was this moment of ease once Cody and Blackwell had won the match.”
After retaining the MWO Tag Team championship, Pope-n-Friends extended their hands of sportsmanship to the defeated twins as the fans applauded in unison the efforts of both tandems. And then it happened. Looking more like hopefuls trying out for place kicking positions with the soon-to-be-relaunched XFL, the twins delivered kicks to the champions’ groins that leveled both Blackwell and Leedy as the cheers turned to a chorus of boos that rained down on Alex and Andrew. With looks of disdain on their identical faces, the twins glared down at the fallen titleholders while virtually dismissing the reaction from their heartbroken fans.
“The atmosphere changed dramatically,” said Hal, “When the Steele Twins stood in the ring after kicking Blackwell and Cody in the groin, there was a feeling of change that really depressed a lot of their long-time fans.”
Dropping the MWO Tag Team champions with shots to the uprights, the Steele Twins made a major statement and told the MWO and all its fans the days of clapping hands and performing for adulation have come to a bitter end. The Cannonball and the Package are on a mission for their fifth tag title reign together. They are clearly not intimidated by Blackwell and Leedy and there may not be a tag team in the MWO that has the ability to shake the confidence of the twins. Especially when you consider the fact that the twins have competed in several different eras in the MWO against several different rosters of incredible tag teams. From the Hell Razors and Heavy Artillery to The Elite and Dead X, the twins have the kind of experience that any tandem would pay anything for. And it’s that experience that will help Alex and Andrew become a major threat to the titles.
As the MWO embarks on its road to WrestleRama 25, the Steeles would like nothing more than to compete for the titles once again on such a milestone card. And their recent actions against Hoss Fight partners Fat Tony & Adrian Anderson demonstrate that regardless of how big the opposition is, the Steeles will have a game plan to level the playing field, even if it means they have to use questionable means to score another championship. As their move set continues to improve with each passing the outing, the kick to the groin appears to be their ace in the hole at this point. No matter how big or bad an opponent, a shot to the recesses of a man’s weak spot will drop anyone. And the opportunistic twins will pounce on the chance to score a win to keep their names among the top contenders to the MWO titles. So with their recent actions, it begs the question of how low the Package and the Cannonball will go to win their fifth Tag Team titles. The answer: as low as they need to in order to have the belts once again strapped around their waists.