Pro Wrestling In Mid 1995
The last ECW show we took a look at took place the day before WCW Great American Bash, and about a week before WWF King of the Ring. Over in the WCW, they were in the middle of pushing an Ultimate Warrior clone named Renegade. Renegade would go on to win the WCW TV championship with a clean victory over the legendary Arn Anderson at WCW Great American Bash.
Also going on in WCW, they were in the early stages of the Dungeon of Doom storyline where Kevin Sullivan brought together a freakish faction of ghoulish characters to bring down Hulkamania's reign in WCW. WCW's product before Hogan arrived on the scene was more down to earth, and athletic "Sport" oriented(for the most part, especially compared to WWF of the early 90's). Here we are a year after his arrival, and WCW has pretty much turned into a cheap knockoff of late 80's WWF. The gimmick's became more and more cartoony as the former WWF stars kept coming over. The cartoonish gimmicks would reach their pinnacle in WCW with the Dungeon of Doom, which consisted of former WWF stars of the 80's like Ed Leslie, Earthquake, Ray "Big Bossman" Traylor, Kamala, One Man Gang, and eventually even Zues.
WCW was still 3 months away from going live with Nitro, and were still stuck in the past as far as the gimmicks and storylines. Not all of it was bad though. Savage and Flair had an alright match at Great American Bash. Brian Pillman and Alex Wright stole the show with perhaps the best match on the card.
Meanwhile over in the WWF, a week after Great American Bash, they held their third annual King Of The Ring pay per view at Philadelphia's Spectrum. King of the Ring 95 was perhaps the all time low for the WWF as far as quality was concerned. Stars like Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker were eliminated from the tournament in the first round, setting up a final between......Gulp!.....Mabel & Savio Vega.
If you look closely at the crowd at the King of the Ring show, you will notice several of the regular ECW Arena fans in attendance, including the famed John "Straw Hat Guy" Bailey. During the horrible final match in the King of the Ring tournament, a massive E! C! DUB! chant broke out throughout the Arena. The chants caught Mcmahon's ear, and the rest is history.
Through the first half of 1995 ECW gradually evolved into a force to be reckoned with. The depth in the characters, and the "Attitude" of the storylines was unrivaled by WCW or WWF in 1995. While both companies seemed to be stuck in the past creatively, ECW was doing storylines based on the East Coast vs West Coast hip hop feud, the Dreamer vs Raven rivalry, and a lot of angles that were based off of behind the scenes drama of professional wrestling. While Ian & Axl's bloody feud was creating the buzz with their over the top violence, Eddy Guerrero and Dean Malenko's matches were also getting critical acclaim from the wrestling press at the time.
King of the Ring seemed to be the end of an era for ECW. After King of the Ring was when a majority of their top talent started to get plucked away for WCW and WWF. Shane Douglas would begin contract negotiations with the WWF shortly after King of the Ring. Eddy Guerrero and Dean Malenko would be gone by the end of the summer, and both WCW & WWF began courting ECW's most over act, Public Enemy throughout the end of 1995. Through the rest of 1995 a majority of ECW's best talent would be gone.