EDITOR'S NOTE: The views and opinions expressed herin are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those
of the Michigan Wrestling Organization. some dialog may not be suitable for all members of the family
THE RESURRECTION OF
The span between June 26, 2010 and August 13, 2017 is a period of 2,605 days. That’s seven years, one month, and 18 days. That is the amount of time that had lapsed since the Real Deal Michael Reaver last held the Michigan Wrestling Organization Championship title before stepping into the ring in the main event of SummerSmash to challenge the Creature Feature John Campbell. Let’s put this in perspective for MWO fans, especially our long-term fans who have supported the MWO product for many years who may have been a part of the of the last seven-plus years watching this company. The last time Michael Reaver held the MWO Championship, the MWO was producing bi-weekly installments of Wednesday Night Wrestling at the Forest Township Hall in Otisville. After losing the championship at a WNW event, many of the fans and insiders believed Reaver would quickly get back on top with yet another run as champion.
That’s not to say that Michael Reaver wasn’t successful before winning the 2017 Slam-a-Thon tournament in June that essentially stamped his ticket to a title shot at Campbell’s MWO heavyweight crown. Truth is, the Real Deal is just as his moniker implies: he is truly the real deal in every sense of the word. Between that fateful Wednesday night in Otisville in 2010 and his SummerSmash opportunity in 2017, Reaver had several opportunities at the MWO Title but for whatever reason was unable to regain the title. He would, however, compete is several main events and collected more tag team accolades by winning the titles with Jason Kaos (collectively known as the Natural Born Villains) and Jason “the Basher” Clouse (teaming as the Renegade Power Regime). But something was noticeably “off” with Reaver.
Many within the Michigan Wrestling Organization had seemingly written Reaver off as merely a “legend,” somehow accepting that his best days were behind him. Meanwhile, as the MWO fans and in some cases officials looked past the Real Deal in favor of some of the newer talent who were occupying the top spots, Reaver continued to evolve and reinvent himself. The NBV version of Reaver was different than the RPR version, which was a contrast to the Reaver that would reunite his PBR union with fellow Hall of Famer Levi Blue. Sprinkle in a few hiatus stints away from the rigors of the ring wars, Michael Reaver was quietly and patiently waiting for the right time to burst back onto the scene, not just as a respected veteran of the business, but as a major player in the landscape of the MWO. And just when everyone thought Michael Reaver had seen his best days in the organization, he saw an opportunity that would shake up the MWO.
During his near two-decade run with the Michigan Wrestling Organization, the Real Deal Michael Reaver has spent a lot of time involved in different factions. From the 32nd Chamber to Wrukkus to the Awesome Alliance to RPR and Power Trip, Reaver proved he was a team player, more often than not elevating the stock of whatever group he was affiliated with. Then, out of nowhere, he came in contact with Simon Paige. Paige was laying the groundwork for The Uprising, a newer collection of talent that was poised to make a major impact in the MWO. Reaver, in Paige’s mind, was the perfect addition to his new faction. Adding Reaver’s experience to the group guaranteed that The Uprising would see some success, or at the very least the best possible option to make a splash. A lot of people thought that Reaver’s involvement with The Uprising would be one that could help elevate other faction members Blackwell and the debuting Brother Will Vendetta. I mean, who else has the kind of experience of knowledge that Michael Reaver has? If there was anyone who could help Paige steer the ship of The Uprising to the promised land, it was the Real Deal Michael Reaver. So, when MWO officials announced that 16 superstars who would compete in June’s Slam-a-Thon tournament, Reaver was not an overall pick for predicted winners. However, in true Reaver fashion, he quietly moved his way through the tournament to eventually find himself in the finals with a showdown against long-time rival Skullz. While the fans were solely behind the “Ruler of Parts Unknown,” Reaver had other plans and would eventually be declared the winner and No.1 contender to the MWO Championship title.
Heading into SummerSmash—which had historically been a very successful event for the Real Deal—Reaver knew he had to adjust his game plan as he prepared to challenge the Creature Feature John Campbell in the 20th anniversary of the summer supercard. In live events leading up to the August 13 event in Davison, the Real Deal took the fight to Campbell. Everyone who follows the MWO product knows Campbell is more than a little unhinged, and somewhat intimidating. The guy’s best friend is a plastic Halloween candy bucket, so how stable is he, you know? But instead of slowly and methodically orchestrating a mental game, Reaver took the fight to Campbell in what would setup a very interesting clash of styles at the Lake Callis Recreation Complex.
Okay, so the SummerSmash main event was not without a fair share of controversy and outside shenanigans with the involvement of Blackwell and Vendetta, but it was a testament of Reaver and Paige’s plan that would ultimately lead to The Uprising’s greatest accolade to date. Following a physical battle that tested both Reaver and Campbell, the Real Deal’s heavyweight title drought was over. For the first time in seven years, he was on top of the Michigan Wrestling Organization. And in true Reaver fashion, the man that stood as champion at the end of SummerSmash was not the same guy that last lost the championship at a Wednesday Night Wrestling in the summer of 2010. This is a smarter Michael Reaver. This is an experienced Michael Reaver. This is a determined Michael Reaver. And more importantly, this is a more dangerous Michael Reaver.
With the MWO Championship belt around the waist of the Real Deal Michael Reaver, there is no question that The Uprising is the group to beat in the Michigan Wrestling Organization. The company’s top dog is also the faction’s flag bearer at this point. And the fact that the organization is now focused on this collection of talent, it will be Reaver’s leadership and reign as MWO Champion that will determine how history will remember The Uprising. But one thing is for sure, whether the fans like it or not, Michael Reaver is the man in the MWO right now, and in turn, The Uprising has risen to the highest throne in the MWO. Not too bad for a guy who many believed had seen his best days. From my perspective, Michael Reaver’s best days have yet to happen.