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In United Kingdom 2015, we've just witnessed the close of what's become known as the Summer Transfer Window. Football (it's not soccer) teams stake their claims to the players they want to see them through the next year and look to bolster their squads to make sure they deliver.
In United States 1995, August seemed to almost mirror this for the wrestling world. WWF managed to pick up a rough diamond recently dropped from WCW, who in turn plundered the diamond mine of ECW. Who were the winners and losers of this battle, and who would have the army fit enough to win the war?
First off, WCW. Confirmed already as of his debut vignette on this month's Clash is the homicidal, suicidal, genocidal, Sabu. Nephew of the Sheikh, Ed Farhaat; Sabu is arguably the most innovative high flier in the world right now. He seems to have only inked a short-term deal, but does appear to be pencilled in for next month's pay-per-view. It's difficult to pair him with an individual for a first feud and his deal may hinder any hopes of a US Title run, but there's no doubt the Arabian Airway could cause a stir in the upper-mid card.
WCW's other three now-confirmed names are more of a straight-forward fit. Former AAA main-stay Eddy Guerrero is coming off an exemplary feud with mat technician Dean Malenko, both signing with the company. The two could easily continue their programme on the national stage for a new, wider audience with no problem whatsoever. Add that to the fact also signing is the former Pegasus Kid, Chris Benoit. All three have established styles, Dean more mat-based; Eddy more acrobatic and Benoit a pseudo-style combining both with an added arsenal of suplexes. Nitro pending, these three have the ability to prove channel-changers for those tiring of WWF's New Generation.
Talking of the North East power house, they've signed recently-fired Dustin Rhodes, son of Dusty. The youngster has shown great potential for 4/5 years now, but was often over-looked for his lacklustre 'Natural' gimmick. Needless to say for anyone who has seen any 'Goldust' vignettes, this is a hindrance no longer. While early days for the man from the Hollywood Hills; the extravagant appearance, feminine characteristics and controversial reception almost appear as if it could be a modern re-telling of a Gorgeous George or Adrian Street. Both of which would be an incredibly intriguing prospect for a 1995 audience. Imagine 'Leaping' Lanny Poffo, but with a golden-black heart. I'm in.
An early signing of this summer for the WWF was the eventual arrival of Shane 'Dean' Douglas. Where Dustin Rhodes' ability and his new-found character promise much, Dean Douglas... Doesn't. His first appearances were, at best, tentative. There does appear to be a little more Franchise as of late, but the character seems destined to start in the lower-midcard and go down from there. Someone else who could be destined for the same given his unfortunate moniker is Smoky Mountain Wrestling's Al Snow. Whilst still largely unknown to a national audience, the man has almost unmatched experience for his age and is even an established trainer already. Those unsure need only look at his match of the year candidate with Chris Benoit from ECW's Hardcore TV in February.
Now, most worryingly for these names, with the exception of Goldust, all have at least appeared or most commonly are stalwarts of Philadelphia upstarts ECW. What does that mean for Paul E and Co? They still have Cactus Jack, Taz, Tommy Dreamer, Sandman, Raven and, for now, 2-Cold Scorpio. In the absence of the departing performers, these men will find more room to tell stories, cut promo's and raise Hell. Some will sink, some will swim. But, ECW's most bubbling cauldron at present will arguably be their tag division. Public Enemy remain the established pairing, with the Pitbulls close behind; but the recent debut of the Dudley Brothers and hostile takeover of the Gangstaz, this could be a big selling point for the former Eastern territory.
Given the above departures and arrivals, it's hard to see past WCW as surely being the front-runners in this race; but as above, it must surely be more about the long-term war than the short-term battle. Will their technical improvements be a ratings winner? Will the Federation get the final cut in glorious technicolor? Or can ECW continue to roll the future off a production line? Time, will tell.