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Couture's Championship Profiles: WCW U.S. Champion Steve "Mongo" McMichael

By James E. Couture
Feb 1, 2007, 11:00


...

Folks, it's the inventor of the post-toaster pastrie celebration affectionately called the Couture Shuffle, me, James E. Couture. Hey, speaking of 80's football-centric shuffle's, when looking for the right Profile this week, thought nothing would be more timely than turning the focus towards a former member of one of the teams playing in some football game this week. No, it's not the time Johnny Unitas won the NWA Six-Man Tag Team Titles with Mr. Wrestling II and Kelly Kiniski, it's Steve McMichael, U.S. Champion!

In 1995, WCW fired a shot heard round the wrestling world. The premier edition of Nitro featured a shocking debut of a man who had long been associated with the WWE, even participating in that years WrestleMania. That man...was Lex Luger. But Mongo McMichael was there too. McMichael was already a legend in the actual sporting world, having led, well, played on, the Chicago Bears that routed the New England Patriots 45-10 in Super Bowl XX (where it all begins, again). Sure, he didn't have Jim McMahon's headband, or William Perry's fat groupies, but that didn't stop him from parlaying into the exciting world of hanging out backstage at WrestleMania.

"I also attended WrestleMania, and exchanged mustache grooming tips with Jake Roberts. Who is Alex Trebek?"
               -Alex Trebek, Spike TV's "Groundhog's Rockin' Eve", 2004

Mongo seconded Lawrence Taylor in his match with Late Great Bam Bam Bigelow at WrestleMania XI (where we wish we could redo it, again). But Mongoose wanted to be where the action is....the announce table.

But soon after his debut as Nitro "guy who makes generic comments about how much that probably hurt", Ric Flair and Arn Anderson began belittling him and hitting on his wife, Debra, in what some smarmy smarks call "an angle". In the culmination of this feud, a tag match between the II Horsemen and Mongo and Kevin "I'm Pretty Darn" Greene, it was all a ruse! Mongo turned on K-Gre, and in his first match, Steve was already a Horsemen.

But what made this newbie, whose offense consisted of a tackle, a knee clip, a bodyslam, and the oh-so-safe-for-a-guy-who-doesn't-know-what-he's-doing Tombstone Piledriver, worthy of membership in a club reserved for individuals the likes of Barry Windham, Paul Roma, and Ole "Miss" Anderson? Well, according to Ric Flair's book (research!), "Mick Foley's a Douchebag", ol' Naitch said Mongo had a "million dollar look", probably due to his $700,000 ponytail. Still, this former Super Bowl Champion was looking for a different kind of championship...a large gold belt.

After Jeff Jarrett debuted in WCW, he made a bee-line for membership in the Horsemen. After a tumultuos tenure in the Horsemen, including usurping Debra (yoink!), Jarrett won the title from Late Great Eddie Guerrero. Steve McMichael was a man looking for redemption, clumsily executed basic wrestling moves be damned. At Clash of the Champions XXXV (where Steve McMichael wrestles Jeff Jarrett, again), Mango pulled out the greatest victory of his career...well, it's definitely top 5, top 10 at least. McMike was U.S. Champ.

Steve then successfully retained the title against the aforementioned Late Great Eddie Guerrero. But on September 14, 1997, it all came tumbling down. During the War Games match, pitting the nWo against the IV Horsemen, Late Great Curt Hennig (aren't any of these guys still alive?) turned on his newfound stablemates (pun fully intended) and stabbed the Horsemen in the back. It was only the 34th time someone made a shocking, unexpected jump to the nWo. But the next night, Mr. Curtfect twisted the knife, taking the U.S. Title from Steve McMichael. The sadness was so great all over the country, Don McLean considered rewriting "The Day the Music Died" to "The Day That Mongo Died".

Is Steve McMichael the greatest athlete of all time? No. But when all is said and done he will be considered in a class above Peyton Manning, because he'll have two things Peyton will never have: a Super Bowl ring and 25 days as United States Champion.

Well, until Undertaker actually elects to wrestle OVW Champion Paul Burchill at WrestleMania 23 (where I use the same joke repeatedly, again), I am, in fact, James E. Couture.

And if that last paragraph didn't tell you, I'm rooting for the Bears (or, more accurately, against the Colts) this Sunday.


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