The Three Way Dance, or shall I say the “Triple Threat” is arguably one of the most underrated kind of matches that have come about in the 21st century of wrestling. We can easy say that there are variety of these matches that we can choose from but are they any good? Some of the top guys in the Attitude era have been in triple threat matches, but those matches have story-line like endings, and screwy finishes. These matches have the ability to be good matches when the workers in the match put their all into the match and do their parts with precise timing. For instance, lets take it back to the ECW days, Tajiri, Little Guido, Jerry Lynn, & Super Crazy always put on amazing three way dances as Yoshihiro Tajiri was dubbed the “The King of The Three Way Dance” . There were never a time i can recall watching a match with these men and end up being disappointed as they were all different styles of wrestling, and still had the ability to potentially steal the show.
Let’s speed to the year 2004. Wrestlemania 20 had one of the best Triple Threat matches in WWE history. “The Rabid Wolverine” Chris Benoit vs “The Game” Triple H vs “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels for the World’s Heavyweight Title. This is one of those matches that will forever be talked about. At this point, the World Heavyweight Champion was the most prestigious belt in the company. Triple H held on to the belt for 91 days after winning it from Goldberg at Armageddon in a triple threat along with Kane. The belt was so reestablished with the posture and grace that Triple H’s gimmick at that time gave it, making it the belt that everyone was gunning for. Benoit winning the rumble signified that not only was he in his prime but he was ready to be the top guy again. With the HBK & HHH rivalry still going, adding someone with his high caliber of wrestling to the match only made the match better. Everyone was getting tired of seeing the same matches with the same two people for the same belt at every other ppv. Benoit winning the match made it simply spectacular as him and Eddie Guerrero both came from being underutilized to being the top champions of both brands.
TNA Wrestling was always known for having good three way dances, especially in 2002. The launch of the promotion had stars like “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles, Low-Ki, Jerry Lynn, Michael Shane, Frankie Kazarian, & Chris Sabin. These men paved the way for the X-Division. With fast paced chain grappling and high flying maneuvers they truly revolutionized the Three Way Dance. Lets look at Nashville 2003, the first ever Ultimate X Match with Chris Sabin vs Michael Shane vs Frankie Kazarian. I’d give that match 5/5, with my reason being the sequences and the team work of all three. With Michael Shane easily taking the win he captured his first X-Division title, and had the opportunity to say he won the first ever Ultimate X match. (Watch the Match)
Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, & Christopher Daniels were the main ones to capitalize on the Three Way Dance. The matches that they put on were highly underrated and are claimed to be matches of the year, especially their first encounter at Unbreakable 2005. My best highlight from that match was when AJ Styles hit Daniels with a Pelé Kick combination. At this time in the company a lot of three way dances were done. Whether it was Sabin, Petey Williams, or any other X Division star they were never able to make the belt as prestigious as those three men did. If not for these three men who gave it all in these matches, the X-Division truly wouldn’t be what it is today.
But a match that we all have to remember, Chris Jericho vs Kurt Angle vs Chris Benoit put on a great match at Wrestlemania 2000, in my opinion the match that saved the show. Not only was it a Triple Threat match, but it was a 2 out 3 falls for both the European & Intercontinental Championships. They were all on their way to becoming the main event, as Kurt Angle was already due for a push later that year, Y2J would eventually get his two years later, and Benoit would get his push in 4 years.
WWE tends to shame the name of the Three Way Dance only because they feel that story-lines must drive the match. A Three Way Dance is a contest that should be determine by old fashioned “wrasslin” just to show who the real man is. Wrestlers like Super Crazy & Tajiri were underutilized in the WWE when they could have been booked in Three Way Dances to steal the show. Tajiri was dubbed the “King of the Three Way Dance” yet was hardly booked for any in the WWE which made no sense as they knew what he was capable of doing, they just never took him seriously for what they shouldve took him as, an amazing performer. Will they ever let the Triple Threat become the dominant type of match again? There’s only so much for a wrestler to gain after defeating two men in the same ring for the same reward. Some of these workers who put their all into these matches make them something that Wrestling Fans cannot forget. Whether it has a championship on the line or just a plain victory there is alot to gain by defeating two people. It proves who the real player is. It proves who the most dominant wrestler is.