PURE FURY JEFF CLOUSE
July 24, 1979-April 11, 2020
Superstars and fans across two Michigan-based professional wrestling promotions were rocked on April 11, 2020 when the news was released in a Facebook post. The world had lost Pure Fury Jeff Clouse, one of the most polarizing and respected performers to ever grace the rings of the Michigan Wrestling Organization and the Houghton Lake-based Imperial Wrestling Entertainment (IWE), at the age of 40. Upon the news, tributes started flooding social media to the man affectionately known as “PF.” Amid a global pandemic and an increasing division among society, Jeff’s passing, if nothing else, provided a sad and unbelievable distraction from the other news that had dominated the headlines.
Here, the writers and editors of MWO News will attempt to pay our own tribute to PF with a retrospect of a Hall of Fame-worthy career with the organization. Aside from his numerous championships and awards that he captured, it was the adoration of passionate fans that would ensure that the legacy of Pure Fury Jeff Clouse will be honored for a very long time to come.
CHARTER ROSTER MEMBER
Upon the creation of the MWO, Jeff Clouse was one of the original roster members. It was a practically a given since his brother was co-founder of the promotion. At the young age of 15, Jeff cut his teeth in the ring in front of live audiences. Before he was a main event player—and even before he would become known as Pure Fury—Jeff merely provided opposition for the promotion’s “marquee characters.” A lifelong pro wrestling fan, Jeff was determined to improve and become a star. While he had some good showings, Jeff had a hard time gaining any kind of momentum. Then nicknamed the “Lightning Boy,” Jeff was thrust under a pretty big shadow in the form of his older brother and then-reigning MWO Champion, Jason “The Basher” Clouse. And so, to, the fans just considered Jeff just “the Basher’s little brother,” something that would fuel the fire of a very personal rivalry that spilled into the business. On the surface, the Clouse brothers interacted professionally, but there was an obvious tension between the siblings.
In an attempt to distance himself from “the shadow,” Jeff would join forces with his brother’s most hated rival, the Marauder Todd Grossbauer, as a member of the recently-formed Badd Blood faction. Jeff’s tenure in Grossbauer’s group would not last long. He underwent a dramatic character shift as he prepared for his WrestleRama 2 match with the Sun Blazer. Shedding the “Lightning Boy” moniker, Jeff entered the ring with his face painted as an evil clown and dubbed himself The Juggler. Some four years before the debut of Wrukkus, the MWO saw its first form of tribute to the Michigan-based rap group Insane Clown Posse with Jeff becoming The Juggler. The character change was deemed a disaster, failing to garner any kind of positive traction. The fail experiment prompted Jeff to take a leave of absence from the MWO after very few showings in 1997.
THE BLUE BOMBER SCANDAL
Very few stories are as revered in Michigan Wrestling Organization history as the Blue Bomber Scandal that saw a real-life audible called that would alter future plans for the promotion. A masked newcomer stormed the MWO in 1998 and became an instant hit with fans. Donned with a sparkling blue mask and a standout assemble of gear, the Blue Bomber was quickly rising in the ratings. The aura of mystery captivated not only fans, but the other superstars and staff of the promotion. The Bomber was never seen without his mask, regardless if he was in the dressing or helping to setup or break down the ring. Wrestlers questioned who was really under the mask. The individual kept himself as separated as possible from spending too much time around the other superstars. There was no doubt, however, that officials could not elevate the Blue Bomber into the main event scene. His popularity was challenging the fanfare of MWO Champion Jason Clouse, who at this point was still very much embroiled in his rivalry with the Marauder and Badd Blood.
Heading into WrestleRama 5, the original main event was the Basher’s title defense against Skullz. But before the supercard, there was a big tag team match at a live event at the Lapeer Center Building three weeks prior to the big show. The Basher and the Bomber battled Grossbauer and Skullz, the former Badd Blood member who was forced to team with his ex-manager. The Bomber scored the victory for his team with a surprise roll-up on Skullz. And miscommunication between the winning teammates erupted into a shoving and shouting match. MWO officials announced that the main event of WrestleRama 5 would now be a triple threat elimination match for Clouse’s heavyweight crown.
The elimination match came down to the anticipated one-on-one showdown between the two most popular superstars in the MWO with the ousting of Skullz first from the bout. After a 15-minute battle between the Basher and the Bomber, the fans in attendance witnessed the Bomber use his feet on the ropes to secure a pin on Clouse to win the MWO Championship. Reaction was mixed. Some fans cheered as the crowning of the new champion, while a vocal opposition jeered the Bomber. The division among the fanbase united in a shower of boos when the Blue Bomber joined the Marauder Todd Grossbauer, who was standing in the aisle. While it was a surprise to see the once-beloved masked superstar standing with the despised Grossbauer, it was time stopping to see the mask removed to reveal Jeff Clouse under the hood. It was the biggest turn in MWO at the point, both in the realm of the wrestling world and the reality of real life. Jeff’s title reign ended two months later at a live event, when he lost the championship to Skullz. And after a tag team main event at Trick-or-Slam 1999, Jeff would once again leave the MWO.
THE ARRIVAL OF “PURE FURY”
By the time SummerSmash 2001 rolled around, the Michigan Wrestling Organization had undergone nearly a complete overhaul of its staff and roster. Only a handful of wrestlers remained from the original era of the promotion, while the others were replaced by an influx of new talent, many of which had dominated the changing landscape of the MWO. Among the many fans in attendance at the Clio Masonic Center was Jeff Clouse, who was attending his first organization event since his departure in November 1999. After watching the show and impressed by the changes he had seen, it wasn’t long before he came to an agreement with organization officials to start the road to his return. This was not the same kid who competed as the “Lightning Boy” or a painted clown, this was a matured and focus young man looking to become a true superstar.
Reinvented as Pure Fury Jeff Clouse, the younger Clouse sibling wasted little time targeting a familiar rival—his brother the Basher. The Clouse vs. Clouse match shared the top billing with the MWO Title match that would headline the much-anticipated Christmas Clash, that took place at the former Bugsy’s Entertainment Complex. And even though PF lost the match, he was a welcomed addition to the growing roster. He provided perspective for a lot of newer talent in the locker room, having been a part of the formation of the promotion. With a new look, a new drive, and focus, Jeff would capture his first championship since WrestleRama 5 with his winning of the 2002 Bunkhouse Brawl—a gauntlet type of match for the vacant MWO Television championship. The TV title would only be the beginning of many title victories, solidifying his legacy with winning five different championships, each at least twice, including the MWO Championship, Great Lakes, Tag Team, Television, and X-Treem titles. With his second reign as TV champion as his most recent title run, its almost fitting that PF’s incredible career had seemingly come full circle.
TAG TEAM SPECIALIST
For a rule of thumb, it was joked that if a Michigan Wrestling Organization superstar wanted to co-hold the Tag Team championship, all they would have to do is form a tandem with Pure Fury Jeff Clouse. From 2004-2019, Jeff had held more tag titles than any other MWO superstar and with more partners than anyone else. It was a testament to PF’s ability to adjust his mindsight when preparing for matches whether he was in a tag team or exploring individual accolades, both of which had garnered a great deal of success. But it was Jeff’s track record in MWO tag team history that will have his name atop many lists among the best tandems in organization history. And his expertise in the tag team realm that also netted PF a run with the IWE Tag Team titles when formed the Fast & Furious team with reigning MWO Champion Jeremiah J. Hughes.
Non-2-Obvious: The three-man masked team was a hit with MWO fans because the hoods did little to conceal the identity of the wrestlers. The trio of Jeff Clouse, Michael Reaver, and Azreal won the vacant belts at SummerSmash 2004 with a win over Hollywood & Diamond Rod.
PF & Azreal: Once the N-2-O trio were “unmasked,” Jeff and Azreal remained a duo as they focused on regaining the championships. They scored their biggest tag team win by dethroning the Power Trip in a co-main event at WrestleRama 11. Seven years later, Jeff and Azreal would reunite and regain the titles at the 2013 Bunkhouse Brawl. And wouldn’t you know it, they found themselves in another WrestleRama match with the Power Trip.
Double Jeopardy (w/ Michael Reaver): Managed by Angelique, PF and the Real Deal were a big success in the tag team division, both with their performances in the ring and with the support of the fans. Double Jeopardy upset Revolution X to win the MWO Tag Team championship at WrestleRama 15 to begin the first of two title reigns together.
Greatness Inc (w/ Jack Price): In 2010, a chance pairing between Pure Fury and a newcomer known as Jack Price resulted in one of the best tandems in MWO history. The two molded into a championship team with their win over Uncle Hector & Kremlin at the 2011 Bunkhouse Brawl. Even after losing the titles, they were part of the first-ever tag team steel cage match at SummerSmash that August in a losing effort against Michigan’s Most Wanted.
Furious Gentlemen (w/ John Campbell): Another chance pairing resulted in another successful venture for Pure Fury Jeff Clouse. Forming the Furious Gentlemen tandem with a pre-Creature Feature version of John Campbell—then known as a Canadian “Gentleman”—Jeff was in another marquee WrestleRama match. The popular team dethroned The Caurdieas at WrestleRama 20 in the first of two title reigns. The second championship came at the 2014 Trick-or-Slam after regaining the belts from Kremlin & Onrey Mayhem. But the star power of the Furious Gentlemen was instrumental in the Tag Team title match against the Renegade Power Regime at WrestleRama 21 in Birch Run as a co-main event.
The Clouse Brothers (w/ Jason “the Basher” Clouse): Of all the great tag teams that Jeff was a part of, his time with his brother may have been his most cherished. The brothers overcame years of in-ring rivalry to resurrect their careers by taking over the tag team division. The Clouses won their first titles by winning a gauntlet match to fill the vacancy heading into WrestleRama 23. For the next year, Jeff and Jason were the dominant duo until they had decided to go separate routes, especially as the Basher would formally become the CEO of the company.
A FAMILIAR WRESTLERAMA FACE
Pure Fury Jeff Clouse has been a prominent part of the Michigan Wrestling Organization’s annual signature supercard, WrestleRama. However, when one looks back on his WrestleRama record, they will notice one name that is more often than not associated with Jeff’s ‘Rama appearances—his brother, Jason “the Basher” Clouse. Either as an opponent or a tag team partner, Jeff and Jason’s individual WrestleRama appearance see the other in some way shape or form.
WrestleRama 5 (1999): Although he didn’t compete in the main event triple threat match, Jeff scored a controversial pinfall over his brother to win his first MWO Championship title. You can read the more in-depth version of this story above.
WrestleRama 10 (2004): Pure Fury Jeff Clouse entered WrestleRama for the first time as the defending Michigan Wrestling Organization Champion. His opposition was provided by the Basher, who had earned a title shot months earlier. The match garnered so much attention, it was the focus of a cover story for the Uncommon Sense publication.
WrestleRama 11 (2005): PF gained a measure of revenge the following year, when he and David “Azreal” Costerelli defeated the Basher and Levi Blue to capture the MWO Tag Team championship
WrestleRama 13 (2007): Although the MWO Title wasn’t on the line in this encounter between the Clouse brothers, pride and bragging rights were. The siblings battled in a brutal Last Man Standing Match, the was won by PF in what was considered his biggest solo win at that point.
WrestleRama 19 (2013): In a Tag Team championship rematch with the founders of the Power Trip, Pure Fury and Costerelli were dethroned by the Basher and the “Pretty Boy Redneck.”
WrestleRama 21 (2015): Although their partners had changed, there was still a Clouse in opposing corners with the MWO Tag Team championships on the line. Jeff and John Campbell were defeated by Jason and Michael Reaver in that anticipated match at the Birch Run Expo Center.
WrestleRama 22 (2016): The MWO’s return to the Birch Run Expo Center saw the brothers Clouse on the same side for the first time in their respective careers. Under the Power Trip umbrella alongside Michael Reaver and Levi Blue, Jeff and Jason were on the winning side against a quartet of Damage Inc, Jaysen Platinum, and Corporal Pain in an eight-man tag team match.
WrestleRama 23 (2017): PF and the Basher would finally win the MWO Tag Team titles together at the end of a gauntlet match to fill the vacancy of the championships. With consecutive victories over the Dean Boys and The Bromance (Jacob Brawn & Alex Crow), the Clouses had their shining moment together in a piece of MWO and WrestleRama history.
MOST NOTABLE RIVALRIES
Aside from his sibling rivalry with Jason “The Basher” Clouse, there have been plenty of other superstars who have waged war with Pure Fury Jeff Clouse, many of which centered around his various solo championship reigns. But then there was a few of those feuds that helped shape and mold PF into the battle-grizzled veteran that was always a constant threat to any other superstar in the MWO. The on-again/off-again feud with Skullz was PF’s focal point at the end of his original run with the MWO and part of his rebuilding process and subsequent reigns as X-Treem Champion. Upon his return in 2001, PF found himself embroiled in a feud with Brick Bergman, who had ended PF’s initial TV title reign at WrestleRama 8. The two would spend the next couple years in frequent matches against one another. When he reigned as MWO Champion during his multiple runs with the title, the likes of Jimmy “Wildfire” Jones, Hollywood, and Rex Havoc (then known as Steven Blade) all made PF’s time on top very difficult. Havoc would eventually dethrone Jeff to end one of his title reigns. After each of his successful partnerships, Jeff found himself in bitter rivalries with Azreal and the Creature Feature John Campbell. PF retained the MWO Championship at WrestleRama 14 against Azreal, while his feud with Campbell culminated in a violent Pumpkin Patch Death Match at the 2015 Trick-or-Slam. His feud Jaysen Platinum took center stage with the Television title on the line at WrestleRama 25, but the feud still had a long way to go before it would be truly solved.
THE LEGACY OF PURE FURY JEFF CLOUSE
Jeff Clouse’s legacy in the Michigan Wrestling Organization is one that is simply complex in nature, as was is demeanor during his various stints in the MWO. Above all else, it is one that is a great success story. A story of overcoming, overachieving, and finding peace in his backstage role in the organization that he helped lay the foundation for. It will be a story of escaping a large shadow to become one of the biggest superstars in two separate promotions. A champion that was loved by fans and respected by peers. A legacy of honesty, regardless of how brutal it could be. An impact felt by the many superstars he took under his wing and help provide a platform for them to flourish. PF was truly one of a kind, and although he will be greatly missed by all who watched him or worked with him, his fingerprints will forever be etched in Michigan Wrestling Organization history. And for many, that will impact will be felt far beyond the borders of any wrestling promotion.
X-TREEM & TV
|July 17, 1999: Def. Jason Clouse and Skullz in a triple threat match||July 4, 2006: won a fatal four to win the title||July 17, 2004: w/ Azreal and Michael Reaver def
. Hollywood & Diamond Rod
|Feb.22, 2002: won Bunkhouse Brawl to win TV title|
|Jan. 7, 2004: def. Hollywood at a
live event in Flint, MI
|May 7, 2005: w/ Azreal def. the Power Trip||2002-2006: several MWO
X-Treem title wins
|June 27, 2004: won a triple threat
at a live event in Davison, MI
|July 4, 2009: w/ Michael Reaver def. Revolution X||June 1, 2019: Won a battle
royal to win the TV title
|Feb. 17, 2007: def. Jason Clouse
at Bunkhouse Brawl
|Aug. 22, 2009 w/ Reaver def. Jason Clouse & Jaysen Platinum|
|Jan. 18, 2008: def. Skullz at a live
event at Terri's Lounge
|Feb 26, 2011 w/ Jack Price def. Kremlin & Uncle Hector|
|May 8, 2010 def. Michael Reaver
at a live event
|Feb. 17, 2013: w/ Azreal def.
Kremlin & Onrey Mayhem
|June 26, 2010 def. Reaver at a Wednesday Night Wrestling show||April 26, 2014 w/ John Campbell def The Caurdieas|
|Oct. 26, 2014 w/ Campbell def.
Rex Havoc & Onrey Mayhem
|April 30, 2017 w/ Jason Clouse won guantlet match to fill vacancy|
|Aug.13, 2017 w/ Jason Clouse def.
VIDEO TRIBUTES TO
PURE FURY JEFF CLOUSE
THE JEFF CLOUSE TRIBUTE
PF'S LAST MATCH ON ONTV