He is a former NWA World champion. He was a key player in ECW, the original version. There are rumors running rampant that he might be invited to participate in Hard Core Justice. For his years of dedication to the sport, Steve Corino is this week's Wrestler of the Week.
The Early Days
Steven Eugene Corino was born on May 29, 1973 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He began his wrestling career, in 1994, working for the OMEGA organization (which was owned by Matt and Jeff Hardy). Corino got the lion's share of his training from King Kaluha, Tom Brandi (the 2nd Patriot) and Mark Mest. Between 1994 and 1998, Corino worked as a Journeyman Wrestler, plying his trade in just about every indy promotion in the U.S. and Canada. His main gimmick was an anti-hardcore performer. This drew a lot of heat, as Hardcore wrestling was growing into the most popular style of wrestling, at the time. He also got tremendous training and exposure working in Puerto Rico. There he recycled Sean Waltman's old gimmick, becoming the new Lightning Kid.
Corino gained the attention of ECW scouts. He was brought into the group to continue his anti-Hardcore stance. He was given the nickname "King of Old School", which has remained with him to this day. He began as a manager but eventually moved into in-ring combat. His first big feud was against Dusty Rhodes. They had several horrific Bullrope Matches, which left both men bloodied. Corino would become the first Canadian-born wrestler to win the ECW World Championship, by besting Jerry Lynn, Sandman and Justin Credible at November to Remember 2000. Corino had a falling out with ECW management over his pay and walked out on the company on January 7, 2001, the very night he dropped the ECW belt to Sandman. Dustin Rhodes got Corino a contract with WCW but he was never used. When WCW was bought out by WWE, Corino was released.
After the fall-out with ECW and release from WCW/WWE, Corino went back to his roots, the indies. He began to work for several NWA-aligned territories. Corino would win several regional NWA title, in New Jersey, Florida and Texas, before taking the NWA World title from Mike Rapada on April 24, 2001 in Tampa, Florida. Corino would hold the belt until October 13th, when the belt was held up after a brutal battle with Shinya Hashimoto.
Corino also feuded throughout the Southern Corridor with Dusty Rhodes. He also aligned with several former ECW stars to form the Extreme Horsemen (C.W. Anderson, Justin Credible, Barry Windham and Simon Diamond). Corino also made several tours of Europe during that time. He had a bitter, if not brief, feud with Alex Shane. Corino even had a brief run in TNA during 2002. He had a few decent matches but left the company before making much of an Impact (pun fully intended). Corino likes the freedom that the indies provide him and has chosen to mainly work smaller venues. He's done some work for Ring of Honor and even was considered for the WWE.
Ring of Honor
Homicide was feuding with the Backseat Boyz in ROH and needed a partner. He made an open call for someone to aid him. Out came Corino. Corino would turn on his partner, that very first night, which would ignite a four-year long feud. This first big battle happened at ROH's One Year Anniversary show in Queens, NY. Corino beat the home town hero after help from his clique, The Group. That group included Samoa Joe, Simply Luscious, C.W. Anderson, and Michael Shane). Corino would injure Homicide, slightly, with a Cobra Clutch, after the match. The bloody rematch on August 16th saw Corino's corner man throw in the towel, giving Homicide the win. During that match, Corino lost most of the hearing in his right ear, due to a real rupture of his eardrum. Homicide would later say that he was not sorry for the injury, since Corino had been "working stiff" with him all through the match.
The two met again on November 29, in a barbed wire match. Homicide's second, Julian Smokes, threw in the towel after Corino wrapped a length of barbed wire around Homicide's throat and began o choke him. After the match, Corino tried to offer his hand in a sign of respect but Homicide refused it. Their feud would not ignite again until Corino joined Colt Cabana on October 14, 2005 to face Homicide on Low-Ki (WWE's Kaval). Corino would make several appearances in 2005 and 2006, while still working numerous indy shows.
Hanging up his boots, for awhile
In early 2007, Corino announced that he was beginning a "retirement tour" of North America. He had planned to work as many indy shows as possible to say his good-byes. Oddly enough, Corino started collecting championships in several of the territories, including UIPW and B4W. He also took gold in Germany's GSW organization. Corino's "final" match was on December 28, 2007 in Montreal, Quebec, where he battled in a Fatal Four Way match for the SWR group. Corino then disappeared for several months.
Lacing them back up
During his farewell tour, Corino was given a few try-out matches with the WWE, as a favor to Dusty Rhodes. Although Corino performed quite well in the two day event, he was passed over for a contract. Corino showed no hard feelings towards the WWE. He thanked Dusty for the chance and chalked it up to being too "old school" for the current WWE product.
Corino's retirement lasted all of seven days. He returned on January 4, 2007 for Zero1-Max. He did work as the masked Mr. Wrestling III (not to be confused with Hercules Hernandez, who first used the name). The name was used to show respect to Mr. Wrestling I (Tim Woods) and Mr. Wrestling II. Corino had idolized both men, growing up. Corino would eventually remove the white mask but keep the "Mr. Wrestling 3" nickname. By July, 2008, Corino was ready to return to a full-time schedule.
He announced on his blog, on July 24th, that he would go full-time, including a tour of Japan (where he had been quite successful). In the past two years, Corino has continued to work numerous indy cards, as well as another run in Ring of Honor. His schedule has slowed down, slightly, but it will likely never stop.
Steve Corino is one of the most decorated indy stars in the history of the business. He has held championships all around the world. He is one of the most recognized superstars to never work a televised match in either WCW or WWE. Steve Corino is a part of ECW's history, but so very much more. It is my distinct honor to award this week's Wrestler of the Week award to "The King of Old School, Mr. Wrestling 3" Steve Corino.
Don't forget to check out his matches at ClickWrestle.com and all the photos and bios over at OnlineWorldofWrestling.com