Herein lies probably the best actual wrestling match in ECW history.
Date: Tuesday, August 29, 1995 (taped: 8/26/95)
Location: ECW Arena (Philadelphia, PA)
Tonight’s episode is going to almost entirely consist of the Malenko vs. Guerrero “Best of 3 Falls Match” that served as each guy’s farewell match in ECW. To hype that fact, we get a video recap of their time in the company, starting with a clip of Eddy winning the TV title from 2 Cold Scorpio in his debut back in April. A week later he faced Dean Malenko and they went to a 30 minute draw. They rematched a bunch of times, including Dean winning the belt in his hometown of Tampa. Eddy won the title back on their next match in Middletown, NY. Next is a clip from last week where Dean pinned Eddy in a 6-man tag match. After that is a bunch of random clips from all those matches, followed by part of Eddy’s promo from last week.
Joey stands in the ring to announce that 2 Cold Scorpio defeated Eddy Guerrero the night before in Jim Thorpe, PA to win the TV title. Scorpio makes his way to the ring, alternately talking trash and shaking hands with the fans, because in ECW even the heels are babyfaces. Joey offers up some congrats on the title win, but warns him that Taz is looking for payback for the broken neck thing. Scorpio ain’t sweating it. Joey then asks for a prediction on the Guerrero-Malenko match, but Scorpio laughs it off. He’s the champ, you see. And that’s that.
Commercial break and back to Joey in the ring. He now announces that this will be Eddy and Dean’s last night in ECW as they’re off to WCW, drawing the obvious boos from the Arena faithful. Loud “BISCHOFF SUCKS!” chant follows.
#BEST 2 OUT OF 3 FALLS#
DEAN MALENKO vs. EDDY GUERRERO
(referee: John Finnegan)
It’s a shame Malenko was so short, because he really did come across as a badass. Eddy meanwhile manages to make green tiger print tights look cool. Okay, not really. Joey does the ring introductions, just to drive home that this is special. Handshake to start. They do the standard feeling out process of reversals and exchanges as the fans whip up a “PLEASE DON’T GO!” chant. This all goes on for awhile until Eddy settles into a hammerlock. Snapmare leads into a pin attempt on a sort-of crucifix. Malenko works his way free and into a legpick. Cross-armbreaker by Eddy now, but Dean maneuvers on top and Eddy grabs the ropes to break. Big hiptoss by Eddy and then an armdrag. Malenko gets a monkey flip, but Eddy lands on his feet, then they go into a rapid series of reversals that end with Eddy grabbing a chinlock. Tremendous stuff there. Too fast to really keep up with. Eddy works a knucklelock into a flying armdrag off of a ropewalk. Another lock-up and Eddy gets a urinage slam. Fisherman’s suplex with a floatover but Dean kicks out at two. Seated headscissor by Eddy now. Guerrero’s dominating the early going. Dean works his way free and ties Eddy up into a bizarre bow-and-arrow variant. To their credit, the bloodthirsty ECW crowd has been with this from the beginning. Segue into an STF by Malenko, but Eddy makes the ropes. Very deliberate pace so far, aside from the occasional outburst. They trade holds again, with Eddy working in the spinning boot rake and then a European uppercut. Dean takes a spill to the outside although it looked kind of intentional, a fact pointed out by Joey. Back in Eddy goes heel with an eyepoke and then gets a pretty looking overhead belly-to-belly for two. Enzuguiri gets another two for Eddy. He puts Malenko on the top and delivers a BIG superplex! ONE! TWO! Dean kicks out! Tilt-o-whirl backbreaker! Malenko gets a sunset flip for two and they fight over a backslide that Eddy somehow works into a cradle for a surprise three to take the first fall. That was… sudden.
First Fall Result: Guerrero via pinfall (10:31).
Fall #2 starts with a lock-up and Dean driving some knees into Eddy’s midsection. German suplex with a bridge gets two for Eddy as Dean has got NOTHING in this match so far. As I type that he starts hitting dropkicks to the leg to put Eddy down. On the mat Malenko works a legvice while Joey goes into hyperbole overdrive on commentary. Eddy gets to the ropes to break so Dean resorts to kicking. Eddy nips up in the corner but Dean catches him at peak height and delivers a BRUTAL waterwheel slam! DAMN! From there Eddy is easy pickings so Malenko slaps on the Texas Cloverleaf and it doesn’t take long before Eddy gives it up. We’re tied at one fall apiece!
Second Fall Result: Malenko via submission (12:59).
Eddy wanders around ringside to collect himself during the break between falls. Eddy opens with a boot to the gut and a European uppercut, but Dean counters a corner whip and hits a brainbuster for two. Jumping heel kick by Malenko and they go outside where Eddy meets the railing the hard way. Back in they go, Malenko staying on top for a running forearm blow. Sit-out tigerbomb! ONE! TWO! NO! Eddy kicks out! Malenko puts Eddy up top, but it backfires as Eddy hits the tornado DDT! ONE! TWO! Nope. Brainbuster for Eddy this time, and now he’s going up for the frogsplash. NAILED IT! ONE! TWO! THR- NO! Malenko was like 3/4 of the way across the ring on that one. Hurricanrana by Eddy! ANOTHER two! Sunset flip off the top for Eddy for two AGAIN! He goes for a second tornado DDT, but Dean ain’t falling for that twice and launches Eddy across the ring. Fireman’s carry leads to the gutbuster by Malenko. He gets two off that, but Eddy rolls the shoulder thanks to a sloppy pin. They hit the pinfall sequence and Dean rolls back on a bridging jackknife and that’s gonna get the three! Of course, it’s a three on BOTH men as Dean’s shoulder were also down, so the match ends in a draw. Well, they really couldn’t go with any other ending other than that, outside of maybe going to the time-limit. That being said, I HATE that finish from a logic standpoint as Eddy was not doing anything to force Dean’s shoulders down, so that portion of the pin shouldn’t count, but whatever. It’s one of the wrestling things that is just universally accepted even though it’s dumb.
Third Fall Result: Double pinfall (18:26).
Eddy takes the house mic and has to talk some jackass down in order to say his proper thanks. Malenko asks for the mic, which is a pretty big deal considering he hasn’t said anything in his entire run in ECW. Dean is pretty clearly choked up, but again some fans are behaving like jerks and drawing focus somewhere off-camera. Dean puts over the ECW fans and thanks them for their respect over the last year (you know, asside from the total disrespect some of them are showing at the moment). Big “SHOOTER” chant. He proclaims himself an ECW wrestling fan and a fan of everybody watching. He leaves the ring, but suddenly comes CHARGING back to… shake Eddy’s hand. Eddy puts Dean over as one of the best wrestlers he’s ever faced as a posse of Tommy Dreamer, Hack Myers, The Pitbulls, Tod Gordon and Paul E. come down to wish them goodbye and Eddy gives one final goodbye in memory of Art Barr. Very cool. Eddy shakes hands with everybody at ringside as the show closes.
Overview: Well DUH! Of course this episode kicked ass! An entire show built around one of the best pure wrestling matches in ECW history. The match is as good as advertised, and all the extracurricular stuff surrounding it really helped to make it seem special. They mixed some new stuff in, and the 3 falls stip allowed them to shake things up a bit compared to the formula they’d been sticking to previously. Eddy’s prolonged heat segment on Dean in the first fall was different, because in their other matches things were always more even. Dean getting to win a fall with the Cloverleaf was also cool because up till now they’ve only ever beaten each other with roll-ups and cradles. The match itself is available in multiple places, including Eddy’s first WWE DVD, so it’s definitely worth tracking down if you’ve never seen it.