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The Beginning of a War
So, we have reached the end of the Summer of 1995 for the ECW, and at the end of August both Eddie Guerrero and Dean Malenko would be called up to WCW. The two men wrestled their final match in the ECW Arena on August 25th. The match ended in a double pinfall in a German Suplex, and an emotional "PLEASE! DON'T! GO!" chant from the fans as a group of face wrestlers made their way out of the back to tote both of them around the ring on their shoulders. Eddie and Dean both emotionally thanked the fans. Malenko told them he would always love them, and would always be an ECW fan himself before the two men made their exit together.
In total Guerrero and Malenko wrestled 12 total matches against each other. Nine of those matches were singles matches. Guerrero won 3, Malenko won 2, and they wrestled each other to 4 draws(3 of them going the full 30 minutes). For my money the best in the series was the match from Hostile City Showdown. The 2/3 falls match from the August 25th episode was great if only for the intense emotion in it both from the fans and the wrestlers. ECW dedicated an entire episode of Hardcore TV to Eddie and Dean's final farewell match in early September. Some say that the series is a bit overrated, and that may be true for many of their matches, but they did have some of their all time bests in ECW. The match from Hostile City Showdown was the best match in North America in 1995 in my humble opinion.
ECW did put on a supercard in August titled Wrestlepalooza, but I don't think it was ever released commercially on DVD or VHS. Cactus Jack partnered up with Tommy Dreamer and the Pitbulls to face Raven, Stevie, and the Dudleys. Cactus would turn heel in the match, and double cross Tommy Dreamer. There was also a fantastic six man tag match later on that evening between Cactus Jack, Dean Malenko, and 2 Cold Scorpio against Eddie Guerrero and The Stiener Brothers that is among the best matches in ECW history.
Cactus Jack's heel turn was pretty damn awesome. He turned heel to side with Bill Alphonso. This was where the classic anti-hardcore promos came from that are hailed by many to be the best promos in wrestling history.
Cactus eventually ended up siding with Raven against Tommy Dreamer, and he had an angle where he would beg for "Uncle" Eric Bischoff to bring him back to WCW. He would eventually draw heat by doing everything within his power to NOT give the fans their moneys worth. Pretty deep little storyline.
Also at Wrestlepalooza '95 the Gangstas went up on Public Enemy 2-1 in their ongoing blood feud by defeating them in a stretcher match. The feud would continue through the year with both teams beating the shit out of each other in a series of stiff weapons brawls that didn't resemble anything close to wrestling.
One of the biggest game changing events that happened around this time was the launch of WCW's new weekly wrestling show Monday Nitro. Nitro was launched on September 4th 1995, and would go on to take on WWF Raw head on. The Monday Night Wars had just begun. Guerrero and Malenko would appear on Nitro for the first time in a match on the October 2nd episode, but former ECW big timer Sabu would be frequently featured during the fall of 95 on Nitro. Sabu would have a cup of coffee in WCW, eventually facing MR. JL(Jerry Lynn) in a match at Halloween Havoc in October.
Even though WCW's Roster was offering much more down to earth athleticism centered wrestling compared to the WWF at the time, they were still stuck in the past with the storylines. The Dungeon of Doom storyline was picking up at the launch of Nitro, with Lex Luger deflecting over from WWF(without notice) on the second episode joining the Dungeon to feud with Hogan and Savage.
Over in the WWF the Camp Cornette faction with Owen Hart, British Bulldog, and Yokozuna were picking up steam in a feud against Deisel, Shawn Michaels, and The Undertaker. The Million Dollar Corporation was being phased out somewhat, and the top dogs were still Diesel(10 months into his title reign), HBK, and Undertaker, and Bret(who was busy feuding with Dentists and Pirates). Later on in September Shane Douglas would make his return to the WWF as the Dean character. A school teacher gimmick that would use a paddle he called "The Board of Education" to win matches.
WWF held their Summerslam 95 pay per view on August 27th 1995 with one of my all time favorite matches in HBK and Razor Ramon's second ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship. Diesel would go on to defeat Mabel to retain the WWF Championship in the main event in a really shitty match.
Dean Douglas would make his return to WWF pay per view at the next show, In Your House 3, where he would wrestle Razor Ramon to a pretty good little match, probably the best of the show. Douglas was great on the microphone in his early days, and I would say he was even better than HBK and Diesel at this time, but the subject material that he was stuck with by WWF creative was downright atrocious. The Dean character ended up being a total disaster. One story told by Shane Douglas about his early days playing the character was one about when he was first filming his debut promos. Vince was on hand for the tapings. Shane was displeased with the way they were pushing the character on him. They wanted him to be really stoic and emotionless with a monotone voice. Douglas convinced the team of writers watching to let him cut a promo with his own "Franchise" style that he used in ECW. Vince reportedly got a phone call halfway during his take on the character. The writers told Shane that they loved it, and that it was much better, but when Vince returned from his phone call he said that his way was better. Vince asked the writers what they thought of Shane's version of the character, and they immediately did a 180 on him, and agreed with Vince's opinion.
During this time the Clique was apparently running things in the WWF. Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon, Diesel, the 1-2-3 Kid, and Triple H were a tight knit group of friends that would watch each other's backs, and do the best they could to ensure each other would remain at the top of the company. They would supposedly play a lot of school girl games, and were rumored to have burried talent such as Bam Bam Bigelow, Chris Candido, Adam Bomb, Jean Pierre Lafitte, and eventually Shane Douglas among others.
Meanwhile over in WCW they were making their way towards their September 17th Fall Brawl pay per view, with the big War Games showdown between Hogan, Savage, Sting, and Luger against the Dungeon of Doom.
The next ECW show we will be taking a look at is Gangstas Paradise from September 16th 1995. Just one day prior to WCW Fall Brawl, and 1 week prior to WWF In Your House 3.