UWN fans rejoice! The rightful claimant to the Memphis Heritage Championship has made good on their promise to become the figurehead of Memphis Wrestling. ‘The Self-Made Savage’ Mike Anthony is your new champion and there’s not a damn thing the Memphis roster can do about it!
As good as Brett Michaels’s run was, and it was good, if it was time for a new champion then Mike Anthony was the perfect choice. Having wrestled in Memphis since the launch of Championship Wrestling from Memphis last year, Anthony was there from the beginning, having a physical and competitive feud with ‘Big Swole’ Justin Cole that began in the inaugural Cobra Cup.
Since then, he has gained the respect and both the love and hate of the Memphis audience, who love to hate him, but the cheers clearly ring out through cat calls too. Not that the ‘Self-Made Savage’ is concerned with the audience’s reaction; his no-nonsense, zero bills hit persona is only too aware of his talents. In that respect, Mike Anthony puts me in mind of other great black wrestling talents that took no-nonsense: Butch Reed, Bad News Brown/Allen, Ron Simmons. That’s some damn good company to be amongst.
It was Anthony’s feud with his predecessor, the former Memphis Heritage Champion Brett Michaels, that showed why he really does belong in the Memphis main event scene. The pair pounded each other through a series of vicious street fights that brought to mind those classic Memphis brawls of yesteryear, as well as being completely wild, tough, and hard-hitting fights in themselves. The now-iconic photo of Mike Anthony leaping from the top of the Wrestle Center backdrop onto Michaels is a classic wrestling image and, in an era of wild leaps and dives of death, still managed to make my jaw drop. No, Mike Anthony wasn’t victorious then. But he was just biding his time.
As the Cobra Cup winner (another accolade for the ‘Self-Made Savage), Mike Anthony had the right to cash in for a title shot whenever he wanted. But rather than rush into it and potentially lose, Anthony proved he is cerebral as well as physical, spending weeks playing mind games with Brett Michaels, so as to mentally put him off his game. That put Anthony in prime position when an exhausted Brett Michaels was at a stalemate during his match with an absolute beast, Lance Archer. Anthony perfectly picked his moment after letting the two bigger men pound the snot out of each other, wearing each other down, so that he could sneak a roll-up on Michaels for the decisive 1-2-3. New champion! The closing shot of Mike Anthony standing with his title belt on top of the Wrestle Center set, staring down at a disappointed and frustrated Brett Michaels and Lance Archer, perfectly summed up the situation: Michaels was king of the castle at last.
As to who the first challenger to Mike Anthony’s title will be, I can’t say but what I do know is that whoever that challenger is, they are going to be put through the absolute wringer by Mike Anthony. He’s the right man for the job and he’s only going to allow you to take his title if it’s out of his cold, dead hands.
Congratulations to the new champ. Long may he reign!