Friday, December 23, 2011

Hanukkah Heroes: Day 4

Dean Malenko (from WWE)
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart on Twitter

Halfway through the countdown of top 8 wrestling personalities.  Today's entry has become such an integral part of the WWE behind the scenes they named a wrestler after him. Its the "Man of 1,000 Holds" Dean Malenko.

Benoit, Douglas, & Malenko
Dean, son of legendary wrestler Boris Malenko and brother of Joe Malenko, who was a talented wrestler in his own right, first appeared on my radar when he was part of the original ECW.  As part of the Triple Threat with Shane Douglas and Chris Benoit, Dean would hold the ECW Tag Team titles as well as the TV title. Probably his most famous match from ECW was the Two out of Three Falls match with Eddy Guererro on both guys' last night in ECW before they moved on to WCW.

The Horsemen
In WCW, Dean helped make a star out of a debuting Rey Mysterio Jr. and had one of the best feuds of 1998 with Chris Jericho. Eventually Dean would re-team with Chris Benoit as members of the Four Horsemen.  Backstage politics would eventually lead to Dean, Chris, Eddie and Perry  Saturn leaving WCW and making the jump to the WWF during the Monday Night Wars.

While Dean had some success in the WWF, his career was cut short by neck injuries.  Dean transitioned into a backstage role as an agent helping other wrestlers plan out their matches.  After ECW folded, Mike Bucci (known as Nova in ECW) debuted in the WWF as a workout guru named Simon Dean. This was a rib on Dean Malenko as his real name is Dean Simon.

Malenko continues to work in the agent role and makes the occasional cameo on WWE programming helping to break up a fight or randomly appearing backstage.

The wrestling menorah is halfway lit. Who's next on the list? Come back tomorrow and find out. In the meantime, Like us on Facebook, read our tweets on Twitter. And get some eggnog ready for when we stop by your house while we're out caroling. 

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