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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

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The Underrated: Dean Malenko

By True (@TrueGodImmortal)

When speaking of technical wrestlers, there is always talk of your Chris Benoits, Bret Hart, Kurt Angles, and various others, but one name that tends to get overlooked is the Ice Man Dean Malenko. The man of 1,000 holds. When Dean began wrestling throughout the Florida scene, he seemed to capture the fans attention and be on the path for something great. When he arrived to ECW in 1994, he was very different from the usual ECW stuff: not much of a gimmick, not really into the hardcore stuff that ECW was building upon, but rather just an amazing wrestler with great skill. This helped Dean to stick out and get over with the fans of ECW, leading him to an ECW TV Title run, as well as an ECW Tag Title run with Benoit. Malenko was involved in the trio Triple Threat with Benoit and Shane Douglas, and it was this stretch of work, along with some great matches with Eddie Guerrero that led WCW to sign him eventually.

When Dean arrived in WCW around late 1995, he seemed a bit out of place for a main event scene that was all Sting, Hogan, Flair, Savage, and Vader, but he did find his footing on the roster. In May of 96, he won the Cruiserweight Title and went on to have a very entertaining feud with Rey Mysterio. He feuded with Rey before losing to Syxx, then rekindling his ECW feud with Eddie for the US Title and winning his first US Title before dropping it to Jeff Jarrett. Dean was a member of the Four Horsemen, and eventually moved to WWE with the Radicals where his career closed out. However, he did win the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship and engaged in a feud with Essa Rios, which eventually led to the Matt Hardy/Lita storyline.


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