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Michael Lee Alfonso ( born January 24, 1965) better known by his ring name Mike Awesome, was an American professional wrestler best known in America for his work in Extreme Championship Wrestling, World Championship Wrestling, and in World Wrestling Entertainment and also in Japan for his work with Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling under the name The Gladiator. Alfonso grew up with Michael Bollea. As a result of Awesome's aunt (his father's sister) marrying Hulk Hogan's brother, Awesome and Bollea (the future Horace Hogan) were cousins and the two began to consider a career in wrestling during Hulk Hogan's famous WWF run in the 1980s. Alfonso received training from Steve Keirn's training camp based out of the Pro Wrestling Federation (PWF). After wrestling for the PWF in 1989, teaming occasionally with Brett Sawyer, Alfonso moved around throughout various independent promotions, including a brief stint in the United States Wrestling Association (USWA) under the tutelage of Nate The Rat, a manager there. In that same year, he made his first television appearance for World Championship Wrestling -- as a masked jobber from San Juan, Puerto Rico named The Pro. Alfonso moved on to Japan, joining Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling (FMW) in late 1990 and using the name The Gladiator. In 1993, Alfonso appeared in Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) for a short period (as "Awesome" Mike Awesome) before returning to FMW. In the summer of 1998, Awesome began appearing for ECW again, and continued his feud with Masato Tanaka in the United States. Awesome continued to be a major factor in ECW early in 2000, including teaming with Raven to beat Tanaka and Tommy Dreamer for the ECW World Tag Team Championship. In April 2000, Awesome shocked the wrestling world again, this time by making a surprise appearance on WCW Monday Nitro -- aiding the New Blood by attacking Kevin Nash -- while still reigning as ECW World Champion. Awesome's friend Lance Storm has said that he had refused to sign a new contract with ECW until Paul Heyman paid him overdue wages. Due to concern over legal issues WCW refrained from having Awesome appear on their television shows with the ECW belt. Eventually, a compromise was reached which resulted in one of the more bizarre moments in professional wrestling history. Awesome (a WCW employee and ECW champion) appeared at an ECW event, accompanied by WCW's head of security, where he lost the title to Tazz (a World Wrestling Federation employee), who lost it a week later to Tommy Dreamer (a full time ECW wrestler). Awesome made an appearance at the WWE's 2005 ECW One Night Stand reunion pay-per-view, again facing Masato Tanaka. Throughout the match, Joey Styles (who was doing commentary) frequently made references to the way Awesome left ECW in 2000, calling him a "Judas" and making somewhat disparaging comments about him and even going as far as to say that its a shame he didn't succeed at taking his life after doing a suicide dive, but also handing out praise for his in-ring work. The crowd also greeted Awesome with jeers at the beginning of the match, but by the end -- which Awesome won after Awesome Bombing Tanaka to the outside of the ring and through a table and following that up with a slingshot splash -- were chanting "This match rules!" and gave both men a standing ovation. In February 2006, Awesome announced his retirement from wrestling, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family and adding that he felt underpaid for his work at the One Night Stand event and that he would only return to the ring "if the money was right". On May 11, 1991, he married Delisa Bowers, and they had 2 children together, a son Casey who was born in 1996, and a daughter Carissa who was born in 2000. He enjoyed mountain biking and would ride frequently at Alafia River State Park in Florida, close to his Tampa home. On February 17, 2007, at around 10:30 p.m, a group of Awesome's friends found him hanged in his Tampa home. It is believed he committed suicide. He was 42 years old. WWE recognized Awesome's death on-air by displaying an "In Memory..." graphic at the beginning of the February 20, 2007 edition of ECW on Sci Fi, and an article about his death was posted on WWE.com, saying that Awesome was found dead but omitting the cause of death. Mike stood 6 ft 7 in. (201 cm) and weighed 290 lbs. (132 kg). This DVD covers the period 1989-2003 and includes the following matches, all shot in their entirety: Mike Awesome vs Al Perez Mike Awesome vs Jomo Kenya Mike Awesome/Rock Hard Rick vs SST Mike Awesome vs Tom Zenk Mike Awesome/The Italian Stallion vs Doom Mike Awesome vs Tom Zenk (again) Mike Awesome vs Sabu Mike Awesome vs Hyabusa Mike Awesome vs Tom Torres Mike Awesome vs Masato Tanaka Mike Awesome vs Muta Mike Awesome vs Lance Storm Mike Awesome vs Shane Douglas Mike Awesome/Lance Storm vs Sean O'Haire/Chuck Palumbo Mike Awesome vs Chuck Palumbo Mike Awesome vs Edge Mike Awesome vs Somoa Joe DVD runs approximately 2 hours. Shipping charges: USA: $4.95 for any number of DVDs Canada/Mexico: $8 for any number of DVDs All other countries: $8 for 1st DVD, $10 for two or more.
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