Remembering the Irish Ironman: Shane Shamrock

Kevin WilliamsCorrespondent IAugust 10, 2009

When taking a glance at the independent wrestling scene in my home state of Maryland, you will be hard pressed to find any legitimate promotions other than Maryland Championship Wrestling.

Maryland Championship Wrestling held its first show on July 19, 1998, and has since become one of the leading independent promotions on the east coast of the United States.

Over the years, many wrestlers have graced the MCW ring. MCW hasΒ played host to legends such as Jerry "The King" Lawler, Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, The Road Warriors, "Sensational" Sherri Martel, and Eddie Guerrero; journeymen such as Headbanger Mosh, Sabu, Jerry Lynn, Chris Kanyon, Sandman, and Raven.

Even some of today's wrestling stars such as Batista, Kevin Nash, Abyss, Christian Cage, and Team 3D have made their presence felt in MCW.

Just because some of the biggest names in wrestling have wrestled for MCW, doesn't mean that MCW hasn't produced its own talent.

One such standout was a local by the name of Brian Stephen Howser. Born on February 8, 1975 in Baltimore, Maryland, fans would come to know Howser as the "Irish Ironman" Shane Shamrock.

Shamrock began his wrestling career in 1997 making his way through various east coast independent promotions.

On July 19, 1998, Shamrock was on hand when MCW opened its doors to the public. He was one of six participants in the match that would determine the first ever MCW Light Heavyweight Champion.

Shamrock duked it out with Joey Matthews (Joey Mercury), Christian York, Mark Schrader, Quinn Nash, and Earl the Pearl, before locking in his signature Irish Cloverleaf to become the first MCW Light Heavyweight Champion.

The future looked bright for the high-flyer, but Shamrock's wrestling career and life were cut short on August 18, 1998. It is said that Shamrock got into an altercation with a police officer and was subsequently shot dead for reasons still unknown leaving behind his three children.

Although he died on August 18, Shamrock's official title reign ended on September 20, 1998. It was then that he was named Lifetime MCW Heavyweight Champion. Soon after, a new Cruiserweight Championship was introduced to replace the Light Heavyweight Championship which had been retired in honor of "The Irish Ironman".

In 1999, MCW would introduce the Shane Shamrock Memorial Cup. Six of the best Light Heavyweights from around the world compete for the chance to lift the cup made in honor of Shamrock.

Wrestlers such as Chris Sabin, Jerry Lynn, Christopher Daniels, Petey Williams, and Sonjay Dutt have all tried and failed to win the Memorial Cup. Eight men have succeeded in winning the cup:

1999: Christian York

2000: Qeenan Creed

2001: Joey Matthews

2002: Reckless Youth

2003: Christian York

2006: Ruckus

2007: Josh Daniels

2008: Derek Frazier

2009: Ryan McBride

In 2003, Maryland Championship Wrestling officially ceased operations, and gave the rights to host the Shane Shamrock Memorial Cup to Ring of Honor wrestling. ROH never actually went through with the tournament as planned due to MCW gaining the rights to the Memorial Cup back after a change in ownership in ROH in 2004.

MCW made its return in 2006, and continues to play host to the light heavyweight showcase known as the Shane Shamrock Memorial Cup, in honor of the promotions first local legend.

R.I.P "Irish Ironman" Shane Shamrock February 8, 1975-August 18, 1998