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Dean Malenko
DeanMalenko
Birth name Dean Simon
Born August 4 1960 (1960-08-04) (age 59)
Irvington, New Jersey, United States
Resides Lutz, Florida, United States
Children 3
Family Boris Malenko (father)
Joe Malenko (brother)
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Dean Sarcoff
Ciclope
Dean Malenko
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight 212 lb (96 kg)
Billed from Tampa, Florida
Trained By Boris Malenko
Debut 1979
Retired 2001

 

Dean Simon[1] (born August 4, 1960)[2][3] is an American retired professional wrestler, better known by his ring name Dean Malenko. He is currently signed to WWE working as a road agent.[4] He is best known for his time with Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE). Malenko was known by the nicknames "The Man of 1,000 Holds", "The Iceman" and "The Icon of Sleaze".[5]

Although never a world champion, Malenko achieved championship success in ECW, WCW and the WWF, winning 11 total titles between the three organizations. Pro Wrestling Illustrated named Malenko the #1 wrestler in the world in 1997, and he was inducted into the Hardcore Hall of Fame in 2015.[6] Four-time WWE world champion Daniel Bryan said that his "number one guy, growing up, was Dean Malenko".[7]

Professional wrestling careerEdit

Florida independent circuit (1979–1994)Edit

Malenko was born into a wrestling family, and his father Boris Malenko was a prominent wrestling figure. He started out as a referee in the Tampa area and even worked briefly as a referee for the WWF in the mid-1980s. He has wrestled all over the world and has spent much time wrestling in Mexico and Japan. He wrestled with his brother Joe Malenko from 1988 to 1992, forming a tag team, until his brother retired. On January 24, 1992, Malenko defeated "The Superstar" for the Suncoast Pro Wrestling (SPW) Southern title in Palmetto, Florida. Malenko defeated Jimmy Backlund for the ICWA Light Heavyweight title on March 12, 1992, in Tampa.

Eastern/Extreme Championship WrestlingEdit

The Shooter (1994)Edit

In 1994, Malenko joined Eastern Championship Wrestling (ECW) on August 27, 1994, as a heel participating in a professional wrestling tournament for the vacant NWA World Heavyweight Championship. He defeated Osamu Nishimura in the quarterfinals before he ended up losing to the eventual winner Shane Douglas in the semifinals.[8][9] Douglas would later rename his ECW title, the Extreme Championship Wrestling World Title after throwing down the NWA World Title belt, and the promotion was also renamed Extreme Championship Wrestling. He became known as "The Shooter" Dean Malenko and was given a gimmick similar to an Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter (due to his resemblance to Royce Gracie). On November 4, 1994, he defeated 2 Cold Scorpio to win his first ECW Television Championship.[10][11]

Triple Threat and feuding with Eddie Guerrero (1995)Edit

In the beginning of 1995, Malenko formed a faction called the Triple Threat with Chris Benoit and Shane Douglas.[12] On February 25, 1995, Benoit and Malenko defeated Sabu and Tazmaniac for the ECW Tag Team Championship, making Malenko a double champion.[13][14] A month later, Malenko dropped the Television title to 2 Cold Scorpio.[15] On April 8, he and Benoit lost the tag titles to The Public Enemy (Johnny Grunge and Rocco Rock).[16]

In the summer of 1995, Malenko feuded with TV Champion Eddie Guerrero, culminating in a match on July 21 where Malenko defeated Guerrero to win his second ECW Television Championship.[10][17] Only a week later, Malenko dropped the title back to Guerrero.[18] The two continued to battle over the Television Title and fought a series of matches that led to them being offered a WCW contract.[3] His last ECW match was a two out of three falls match against Guerrero, which took place on August 26. The match ended in a draw as the last fall had both men's shoulders on the mat.[19] This would be both men's last match in ECW and they both gave—and received—an emotional farewell goodbye to the fans.[3]

World Championship WrestlingEdit

Cruiserweight Champion and United States Heavyweight Champion (1995–1997)Edit

In September 1995, Malenko and Benoit joined World Championship Wrestling (WCW), where he continued to be a villain. Malenko came to be known in WCW as "The Iceman" Dean Malenko because of his cold, calculating demeanor and was also given the nickname of "The Man of 1,000 Holds".[3] On May 2, 1996, Malenko defeated Shinjiro Otani for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship in Orlando.[20] He held the title for two months, making successful defenses against the likes of Brad Armstrong,[21] Rey Mysterio, Jr.[22] and Disco Inferno[23] before losing the title to Mysterio on the July, 8 edition of Nitro.[24] He defeated Mysterio Jr. for his second WCW Cruiserweight Championship at Halloween Havoc 1996.[20][25]

After a successful title defense against Psychosis at World War 3 1996,[26] Malenko lost the Cruiserweight title to Ultimate Dragon (Último Dragón) at Starrcade 1996 where Dragón's J-Crown Championship was also on the line.[27] Malenko defeated Dragón on the January 22, 1997 edition of Clash of the Champions to win his third WCW Cruiserweight Championship.[20][28] He would hold the belt for nearly a month before losing it to Syxx at SuperBrawl VII.[29] Malenko lost the match after Eddie Guerrero inadvertently caused Malenko to be hit with Guerrero's United States Title belt.[30]

Malenko then entered a feud with Guerrero, angry over the fact that he had caused him to lose his Cruiserweight belt, and began to attempt to win the United States title from him. The match between the two took place at Uncensored the next month and interference from Syxx played a role again. The Cruiserweight Champion again tried to take Guerrero's title, but in the process dropped the camcorder he carried to the ring with him. After Guerrero took the belt back, Malenko hit him in the back of the head with the camcorder and knocked the champion out, enabling him to pin Guerrero and win his first United States Championship.[24] He retained the belt at Slamboree on May 18, 1997 by defeating Jeff Jarrett, but lost the title to him on the June 9, 1997 episode of Nitro.

Feud with Chris Jericho (1997–1998)Edit

At World War 3 1997, Malenko participated in a 60-man, three-ring battle royal won by Scott Hall.[31] At Starrcade 1997, he challenged Guerrero for the Cruiserweight Title but ended up losing the match.[32] In mid-1998, Malenko engaged in a heated feud with Chris Jericho. To better Malenko's claims, Jericho boasted that he was "The Man of 1,004 Holds" and the two had a final showdown at Uncensored 1998 for the Cruiserweight title. After a long match, Jericho forced Malenko to submit in an angled Liontamer. After the match, the otherwise collected Malenko was left in an unusual fit of frustration.[33] Gene Okerlund then confronted Malenko post match, aggressively citing his many losses in the past several months and asking where he would go from this point. Dejected and worn down, Malenko replied simply, "Home," and would not be seen on WCW TV for two months.[3] In the ensuing two months, Jericho proceeded to mercilessly taunt Malenko, including insulting Malenko's father and attacking Malenko's brother.

At Slamboree 1998, Jericho held a Battle Royal for a shot at his Cruiserweight Championship. Malenko entered the battle royal dressed as masked wrestler Ciclope and won the match, after Juventud Guerrera shook his hand, and eliminated himself. He then unmasked, revealing himself to the crowd following his win. Malenko went on to defeat Jericho for his fourth and final WCW Cruiserweight Championship, thus becoming the first-ever wrestler to win the Cruiserweight title four times.[34][35] Malenko was stripped of the title, however, as he did not earn the title shot as himself.[35] At The Great American Bash 1998, Malenko and Jericho faced each other in a match for the vacant Cruiserweight title. Malenko lost by disqualification, making Jericho the champion.[36] At Bash at the Beach 1998, Malenko interfered in Jericho's title defense against Rey Mysterio, Jr. allowing Mysterio to pin Jericho for the title.[37] The title was returned to Jericho, however, because of interference by Malenko.[37] Malenko was fired in storyline, but returned at Road Wild 1998 as the special guest referee during Jericho's defense against Juventud Guerrera.[38] Juventud won the match and the title.[38]

The Four Horsemen and The Revolution (1998–2000)Edit

In September 1998, Malenko became a part of the final incarnation of Ric Flair's Four Horsemen faction.[39] They feuded with the New World Order (nWo), particularly Eric Bischoff. Malenko and Benoit also battled The West Texas Rednecks (Curt Hennig and Barry Windham) during this period. At SuperBrawl IX, they lost to the Rednecks in the finals of a tag team tournament for the vacant World Tag Team Championship.[40][41] At Uncensored 1999, however, they defeated the Rednecks in a lumberjack match to win the WCW World Tag Team Championship.[42][43] Two weeks later, they lost the titles to Rey Mysterio, Jr. and Billy Kidman.[24]

After the Horsemen were finally disbanded in May 1999 due to Flair's abuse of power, Malenko joined up with Shane Douglas' faction, The Revolution, which was formed in July 1999.[44] They feuded with David Flair, Diamond Dallas Page and Chris Kanyon. At Bash at the Beach 1999, Malenko challenged David for the US title but lost the match. They battled many teams throughout the year including West Texas Rednecks, First Family, The Filthy Animals and The Varsity Club. Malenko's last WCW match was a "catch-as-catch-can" match with Billy Kidman at Souled Out. Early on, Malenko instinctively left the ring to regroup and was disqualified under the match stipulations because his feet hit the arena floor.[45]

World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment/WWEEdit

The Radicalz and Light Heavyweight Champion (2000–2001)Edit

After being granted his release from WCW the night after his last WCW match, Malenko signed with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and debuted on January 31, 2000 edition of Raw Is War. Malenko first appeared in the crowd with the infamous Radicalz – himself, Chris Benoit, Perry Saturn, and Eddie Guerrero – who all made exits from WCW at the same time.[46] While not having as much success in the WWF, Malenko was a force in the promotion's light heavyweight division. Along with Benoit, Saturn, and Guerrero, he had some measure of success as part of The Radicalz. On the March 13 edition of Raw Is War, Malenko defeated Essa Rios for his first WWF Light Heavyweight Championship.[47][48] In April 2000, he feuded with Scotty 2 Hotty who was the new challenger for his Light Heavyweight title. He dropped the title to Scotty on the April 17 edition of Raw Is War[47] before he won his second WWF Light Heavyweight Championship from Scotty on the April 27 episode of SmackDown!.[49] At Backlash 2000, Malenko successfully defended the title against Scotty, thus ending the feud between the two.[50]

Later that year, with Benoit having drifted away from the group, Malenko engaged in a feud with Guerrero and Saturn which stemmed from Guerrero's on-screen relationship with Chyna and a number of losses suffered when working as a tag team with Saturn.[46] The feud led to a triple threat match at Judgment Day 2000 where Guerrero retained the WWF European Championship against both Malenko and Saturn.[51] After a brief absence from TV, Malenko returned to reform The Radicalz with Benoit, Guerrero, and Saturn.[46] Around this time, Malenko briefly became known as "Double Ho Seven", a parody of the fictional character, James Bond. The gimmick was born out of a match with The Godfather, who offered one of his female escorts to Malenko instead of wrestling him. Malenko gladly accepted his opponent's offer. As Double Ho Seven, Malenko competed for the affections of Lita and feuded with her tag team the Hardy Boyz. He even offered Lita a title match for his Light Heavyweight Championship, but under the condition that if she lost she would be obliged to go on a date with him.[52] Lita accepted and almost caught Malenko by a few nearfalls throughout the match, but in the end lost the match by submitting to his signature Cloverleaf.[52]

Malenko's feud with the Hardy Boyz and Lita continued in early 2001, culminating with Lita pinning him (with some assistance from Matt Hardy) in a match on the February 19, 2001 edition of Raw Is War.[53] He also briefly feuded with Jacqueline and Ivory, who were disgusted by his lecherous ways. A title feud with Crash Holly would begin after Crash interfered in a two-on-one intergender handicap match between Malenko, and both Jacqueline and Ivory, costing him the match.[47] After both Benoit and Guerrero drifted away from the Radicalz, Malenko teamed with Saturn for a few weeks before quietly disappearing off television as the WCW/ECW Invasion storyline began in summer 2001.[54]

Retirement and occasional appearances (2001–present)Edit

Malenko's third-last wrestling match took place at the 4th Annual Brian Pillman Memorial Show in August 2001, where he teamed with longtime friend Perry Saturn and defeated Raven and Justin Credible.[55] That December, he defeated his student, Chad Collyer, by disqualification in the WWF farm promotion, the Heartland Wrestling Association.[56]

Malenko appeared in the ring along with other WWE alumni during a segment of the WWE Homecoming edition of Raw on October 3, 2005.[57]

His close friend Eddie Guerrero died on November 13, 2005 and Malenko made a special appearance on the November 14 edition of Raw alongside Chris Benoit.[58] The following Friday on SmackDown!, Malenko once again appeared after a match between Chris Benoit and Triple H, and the three embraced.[59] After the 2006 Royal Rumble, he was seen congratulating Rey Mysterio on his Rumble victory. At Vengeance 2007, he appeared in a backstage segment watching Chavo Guerrero.[60] On the Chris Benoit memorial episode of Monday Night Raw, he talked about the life of Chris Benoit. He was very sad since two of his close friends, Eddie and Benoit, both died, but said he was happy that they were together again.[61]

On February 27, 2007, Místico (later known in WWE as Sin Cara) defeated Malenko in a tryout dark match before a TV taping in San Jose, California.[56]

Malenko then appeared on the March 31, 2008 episode of Raw to join The Four Horsemen and other WWE superstars in a farewell tribute to Ric Flair.[62] He made an appearance on the June 28, 2010 episode of Raw congratulating Ricky Steamboat on his DVD release. He and all the others in the ring were attacked by the Nexus.[63]

After the tapings of the April 23, 2012 episode of Raw, Dean Malenko joined the WWE Superstars and Divas to celebrate John Cena's 35th birthday.[64] In November 2015, Malenko was inducted into 2300 Arena Hardcore Hall of Fame.[65]

Personal lifeEdit

Simon is Jewish.[66] He and his wife have three children.[67] Their eldest, Lorrisa, was born December 25, 1997.[68] Simon had a heart attack in the latter half of 2010, but was back at work by Survivor Series on November 21.[69] In November 2013, he was taken to a hospital and later sent home from a WWE European tour after suffering chest pains.[70]

In wrestlingEdit

  • Finishing moves
    • Malenko Leglock (High angle leg slicer)[71][72] – WCW
    • Texas Cloverleaf,[5][2][73][74] sometimes preceded by a double underhook powerbomb[75]
  • Signature moves
  • Managers
    • Jason
    • Asya
    • Debra
    • Arn Anderson
    • Terri
  • Nicknames
    • "The Iceman"[5]
    • "The Man of 1,000 Holds"[5]
    • "The Shooter"[5]
    • "Double Ho Seven"
  • Entrance themes
    • All Japan Pro Wrestling
      • "The Power of Love" by Huey Lewis and The News
    • New Japan Pro Wrestling
      • "White Noise" by Marc Bonilla
    • Extreme Championship Wrestling
      • "Whatta Man" by Salt-N-Pepa
      • "Perfect Strangers" by Deep Purple – as part of The Triple Threat
    • World Championship Wrestling
      • "Black Knight" by Andrew Grossart and Paul Williams
      • "Four Horsemen Theme" by Jimmy Hart – as part of The Four Horsemen
      • "Revolution Theme" by Jimmy Hart – as part of The Revolution
    • World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment
      • "Radical" by Jim Johnston – as part of The Radicalz
      • "Ice Man" by Jim Johnston

Wrestlers trainedEdit

Championships and accomplishmentsEdit

  • Extreme Championship Wrestling
    • ECW World Television Championship (2 times)[10]
    • ECW World Tag Team Championship (1 time)[13] – with Chris Benoit
  • International Championship Wrestling Association
    • ICWA Light Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • Pro Wrestling Illustrated
    • PWI ranked him #1 in the PWI 500 in 1997[6]
    • PWI ranked him #161 in the PWI Years in 2003[80]
  • Suncoast Pro Wrestling
    • SPW Southern Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • World Championship Wrestling
    • WCW Cruiserweight Championship (4 times)[20]
    • WCW United States Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[81]
    • WCW World Tag Team Championship (1 time)[42] – with Chris Benoit
  • World Wrestling Federation
    • WWF Light Heavyweight Championship (2 times)[47]
  • Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
    • Feud of the Year (1995) vs. Eddie Guerrero
    • Best Technical Wrestler (1996, 1997)
  • Other Accomplishments
    • Hardcore Hall of Fame (Class of 2015)

ReferencesEdit

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  33. Uncensored 1998 results . Wrestling Supercards and Tournaments. Retrieved on 2008-06-02. “WCW Cruiserweight Champ Chris Jericho beat Dean Malenko (14:42) via submission”
  34. Slamboree 1998 results . Wrestling Supercards and Tournaments. Retrieved on 2008-06-02. “Ciclope (Dean Malenko) won a "cruiserweight battle royal" (8:27). Dean Malenko beat Chris Jericho (7:02) via submission to win the WCW Cruiserweight Title”
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