By Liam Byrne @tvtimelimit
Too Cold Scorpio © vs Dean Malenko 11/4/94
ECW Television Title Match
Too Cold Scorpio belongs to the Fabulous Freebirds school of title reigns it would seem. Whilst the Freebirds technically lost the title before they won it based on the booking of the tapings, Too Cold Scorpio had an ECW Television Title run that lasted seven days in kayfabe, yet would see him both win and lose the belt at the same taping.
Having defeated Jason, who himself had beaten Mickey Whipwreck for the title back at Hardcore Heaven, Scorpio would be booked to face Dean Malenko on the same television taping, with the match due to be shown the week after his Television Title victory. This was to be the first of Scorpio’s four reigns with the belt and by far the shortest.
Dean Malenko was a man who really put himself on the map during his time in ECW. If it wasn’t for his Television Title reign, or his matches with Eddie Guerrero, things may have been significantly different for the Man of 1001 Holds. Having made a name for himself to some extent in Japan, this was the first real exposure he was going to receive in his native country. Coming off of the back of an episode that saw Malenko involved, alongside the Public Enemy, in an attack on Sabu and Paul E. Dangerously, it was clear that the promotion wanted to push Malenko towards the top of the card.
Malenko had also already had interactions with Scorpio, as he would interject himself into the Jason versus Scorpio match, though fail to help his charge to victory. A post-match attack setup Scorpio’s first title defense and a chance for Malenko to make a name for himself in the process. With Scorpio still suffering from a sore neck according to Joey Styles due to the neckbreaker that ‘The Shooter’ had used the previous week, the early grappling favoured Malenko. However, a headstand saw him flip straight into a superkick, clearly highlighting that Malenko needed to stick to what he knew best and avoid being overly flashy for the sake of it.
An ad break saw us head back into further grappling by both men, as Scorpio was no slouch when it came to the mat game. A test of strength ended up with multiple monkey flip attempts and a body scissors takedown by Malenko that received a round of applause from the often difficult ECW crowd. Scorpio would attack the arm, only for Malenko to roll through and slap on a leglock of his own. Scorpio wasn’t finished though, fighting his way out of it and putting Malenko into an armbar. Just in case the fans felt that things had become somewhat too technical, Scorpio then utilised a forearm to the face and splash off the top rope for a two count.
A tiger driver interestingly ended up with Malenko locking in the Texas Cloverleaf, a move that would put many opponents away in the years to come. This time, Scorpio fought his way out of the hold by grabbing the bottom rope. With both men still competitive, the fight ended up on the floor, with a huge bodyslam by Scorpio sending Malenko into the floor as Styles cheerfully reminded us how ECW didn’t have mats. This only added further emphasis to the following spot, which saw Scorpio completely miss a tope and hit the floor hard.
Scorpio wasn’t done yet, even hitting a victory roll off of the top rope for a two count. A sequence of moves saw Scorpio elevated onto the top rope, but the resulting moonsault was missed. Having failed in an attempt at the neckbreaker earlier, Malenko nailed it this time for the three count and the title victory.
Though Malenko was the heel, the fact that he won via good old fashioned wrestling spoke volumes. For over one hundred days, he would reign supreme. One year later, he would be feuding with Eddie Guerrero over the belt and fighting his way into a job at WCW. This title victory was a catalyst that propelled Malenko to new heights.