As you’re watching the big game this weekend, regardless of whether it turns out to be one for the ages or a lopsided Seahawks victory, just be thankful that this week’s Jobber Of The Week will not be suited up in pads and roaming the field. There aren’t enough penalty flags in the world to throw at this man for all the pigskin shenanigans he was responsible for unleashing on an infamous afternoon in Verne Gagne’s AWA. Cue the instant replay, as we look back at our Super Bowl JOTW – “Mean” Mike Enos.
Long before he became the ultimate jobber-to-the-stars in WCW, Mike Enos appeared to have everything going for him. Originally from Minnesota, he landed a spot in his hometown AWA in the late 80’s. After jobbing solo for a bit, he hooked up with Wayne Bloom and formed the duo known as the Destruction Crew. Due to great team chemistry – and a rapidly dwindling AWA roster – the Crew, led by manager Johnny Valiant., rocketed to the top of the federation. They gained the tag-titles in a tournament with a victory over the duo of Greg Gagne and Paul Diamond, and then went on to capture the Pro Wrestling Illustrated 1989 Rookie Of The Year Award.
Things sure were going well. 1990 was destined to be a great year for Mike Enos, right? Uh well…
The chain of events which led Mike to being profiled here didn’t take to long to unfold in the new decade. In fact, it was broadcast to the entire ESPN viewing audience on New Year’s Day, 1990. Forget about that afternoon’s college bowl games, old man Verne was about to unleash a sporting event so horrid, it would make an XFL practice game look like last year’s dramatic Pats-Panthers Super Bowl. With the previously covered AWA Team Challenge Series in full swing, gimmicky matches were all the rage in Minnesota at that time. So, being one of the biggest football days of the calendar, what a better day to hold a “football” match!! The match-up would see Mike Enos face off against the future Patriot himself, Del Wilkes, then known as the Trooper. But with so many big college games to choose from that day, what’s gonna make the inaugural Gagne Bowl different from the rest?
Well for starters, you gotta pull a wardrobe malfunction, albeit a G-Rated one, and put the two players in Minnesota Vikings gear and helmets, totally mismatching the respective wrestling tights the guys were also wearing. Second, the game’s gotta be entertaining. Let’s combine everyone’s love of wrestling, soccer, football, rugby, basketball, and hockey, and mix it all together in one match.
Confused? Let me explain. The object of the game is to advance your ball into your opponent’s endzone. What’s that you say, there’s no endzone in a wrestling ring? Well to solve that problem, Verne dug Greggle’s old pee-wee sized soccer nets out of the garage and threw ’em in opposite corners of the ring. Now, each man will have a 45 second possession of the ball in which to attempt to score a touchdown. Only you don’t get six points for a touchdown, you only get one. First player to score five points wins. First to score five, what is this, a game of horse? I’m pondering that one as the ref starts the match with the Gagne Bowl’s innovative jump-football for the first possession.
HUH?!? Hey, if they’re gonna be doing that, shouldn’t they be decked out in Timberwolves gear instead?
Wilkes gains possession, and decides to make up his own rules. Forget about just getting the ball to cross the plain of the goal, if he’s gonna score he’s gonna do it by hurling his entire 285 pound body full-force into Rambo Greg’s net.
After a damn fine imitation of a dolphin messing around in the wrong part of the Chicken Of The Seas’ territory, he went on to take a 3 – 0 lead. Enos was no quitter though, as he fought back during 15 torturous minutes to go ahead 4-3. Needing just one more point to secure victory, Enos stripped Wilkes of the ball and looked to go in for the winning touchdow…er..goal. Then it happened. One of the AWA’s infamous trademarks. Enos would be jumped by a severely aging old man.
Nope, not Verne Gagne.
Nay on Nick Bockwinkel.
It would be guest referee and ex-Vikings player “Benchwarmer” Bob Lurtsema. Known primarily for spending time on the sidelines during his career in the 70’s, the lanky ex-jock clotheslined Enos, causing him to fumble. It was quickly recovered by Wilkes who took it to the house, crashing into the net for the victory.
In retrospect, that moment is where things started to go downhill for poor ol’ Mike. I mean, what can you can after you get ko’d in full football padding, by a geriatric 175 pound man?
Things didn’t get any better. Due to the AWA needing some money, they loaned Bloom and Enos to WCW for a while. Enos spent all his time in Atlanta jobbing under a mask, first as part of Ole Anderson’s Minnesota Wrecking Crew II, and later in a one-shot as the Masked Skyscraper at Wrestle War ’90. Soon the AWA folded, and Enos and Bloom would be scooped up by the WWF. Would they continue their impressive reign of terror in the New York tag-team scene?
Uhhh, not quite. Gone were the hard hats and sledgehammers. Rechristened the Beverly Brothers, they appeared to have drifted WAY over the homoerotic borderline. Along for the potentially incestuous brother/ brother fun, was their manager “Genius” Lanny Poffo. Their whole tenure there appeared to be spent jobbing to the Bushwhackers. After about two years of life on the undercards, the boys departed from the WWF. Enos headed to Japan for a bit, then returned to WCW in Early 1996.
Mike just couldn’t catch a break. Despite being a well-built, talented veteran, he wallowed in anonymity on Saturday Night for years. Initially known as the Mauler, Enos later found himself trying to recapture the tag-team glory of his AWA years. First up was the god-awful named Rough & Ready w/ Dick Slater. That lasted a few job-filled months, but he shed no tears after the Slater break-up, because it looked like things could be turning around. His old buddy Wayne Bloom was signed by WCW.
A 1998 Destruction Crew reunion was ready to be unleashed. No Beverly Bros. purple outfitted nonsense anymore…the boys were back. Granted they only were successful against Disorderly Conduct and High Voltage, but hey, a win is a win. Sadly, after a few months together, Bloom injured his neck and was shelved permanently. A brief team-up with Bobby Duncum Jr. didn’t go anywhere, and Enos spent the remainder of his time in WCW on his back, his biggest match ever probably being a tap-out loss to Chris Benoit at Souled Out ’99.
The last sighting of Mike Enos was during the taping of Ted Dibiase’s ill-fated syndicated WXO wrestling promotion. His current whereabouts are about a big a mystery as what exactly the WXO initials stood for.
Mike Enos. 89 PWI Rookie Of The Year. Gagne Bowl veteran. After further review, I throw a penalty flag at all the promoters who never let this guy have a shot past mid-card status.