Great-ing Gimmicks of the Past: Three Count

Guilty pleasures. We all have them. Before we get to one of mine, let’s take a look at some of the others on the site (names have been omitted to protect the guilty).

T & A
Evil Doink
Kane
The Worm
“Crazy” wrestlers
Midgets
Hell in a Cell

And now I have to confess to one of my guilty pleasures:

Three Count – WCW, 1999-2000

History

It was a bad time to be Evan Karagias. He’d only been wrestling for months, but had a title and a girl. Okay, the girl was Madusa, but the title was the cruiserweight belt. That counts for something, right?

Then came Starrcade 1999. He’d dumped Madusa for Nitro Girl Spice (definitely a step up), and he was defending the cruiserweight title against his ex. Unfortunately, Spice would turn on him and the two women would leave together, and Madusa had the title over her shoulder.

The next Thunder, Evan decided he’d had enough. He introduced two new teammates – Shannon Moore and Shane Helms. Together, they were the boy band Three Count. Evan would win the hearts of women and drop them like the skanks they were. And then they danced on green circle and sang their hit song “Can’t Get You Out of My Heart”… Well, until Chavo Guerrero Jr. showed up and put an end to that. The band got their revenge on the first Thunder of 2000, they beat Chavo and his allies, PG-13.

Surprisingly, Three Count weren’t hurt badly by Vince Russo’s ouster right before Starrcade. The next night, Shannon and Shane got a title shot against the tag team champions, David Flair and Crowbar. Yeah, they lost, but at least Shane was pinned by Crowbar.

The first possible crack in the group appeared on the February 2 Thunder. There was a tournament going to crown a new cruiserweight champion, and the band’s chances of taking the gold were shrinking. Evan had been eliminated on the Nitro before, and now Shane and Shannon had to fight. Shannon wound up winning and a quick hug between the winner and loser showed that everything was still well in the group.

Unfortunately, events would not go well on the next episode of Thunder, as Shannon was defeated by Lash Leroux and was eliminated from the tournament. On the other hand, Norman Smiley had been having problems with the group, and challenged them to a 3-on-1 handicap match at Superbrawl. Needless to say, Three Count won easily.

Their next problem would lead to gold. After Evan had been defeated in a hardcore match by Hardcore Champion Brian Knobbs, Evan challenged Knobbs to a rematch on the February 28th Nitro. One catch – it would be three on one. After leveling Knobbs, all three members dogpiled on him for the pin. Yes. All three members of Three Count were now the hardcore champion. This was a state of affairs that wouldn’t last, however, as Brian Knobbs made Kevin Nash very happy by bringing out The Dog on the next Nitro. Knobbs, Dog, and Fit Finlay defeated Evan, and now a gauntlet match was set – Knobbs against all three. This match took place at Uncensored. Knobbs easily went through first Shane, then Evan, and then Shannon to take the title.

On March 22, problems would arise again. This problem was called the Jung Dragons. Jamie-San, Kaz Hayashi, and Yang would continue to be a problem over the next year. Tonight, though, all they did was dropkick the Count out of the ring after a loss and stole their green circles. They eventually got them back, although how wasn’t shown on camera. Maybe they stole them from the prop truck.

Three Count marked time until June 22. This was the night they had something really special planned. Tonight they debuted their new song – Sing Along With Three Count. First WCW showed the face locker room and guys hating the song. Next they showed the heel locker room where the guys hated the song. Then they showed a monitor in a hall somewhere – where Tank Abbott was getting down with his bad self. Unfortunately, Kronik hit the ring and obliterated Three Count, an action which infuriated Tank.

Things started getting even weirder after this. Tank Abbott started coming out and beating guys up who defeated the band. Then on the next Thunder, after Evan and Shannon had lost a match to Sean O’Haire and Mark Jindrak, Tank came out with a green square and demanded the band dance with him. Tank nearly turned face the following Nitro when he ran DJ Ran out of his booth and said that Ran had lived up to his name. Tank returned to heeldom by announcing Three Count like an MTV DJ. It seemed to work, as (with a little help from their friend) Three Count defeated the Jung Dragons.

That wasn’t the end of the Jung Dragons. On the tenth of July, they attacked Three Count again, as Count and Tank were preparing to celebrate with a gold record. Thanks to the Dragons’ secret weapon (the Great Muta), they delivered a beatdown and ran off with the record. On Thunder, Three Count and Tank defeated the Dragons and Muta in an 8-man tag match, but the Dragons got their revenge on Nitro, winning the record in a ladder match.

Their next big event occurred in August. Tank informed them he’d written a new song for them, and they had to record it before their contract ran out. However, there was still one more piece of business to take care of before they hit the studio – the Jung Dragons still had the gold record. At New Blood Rising, the Dragons and Three Count met in a return ladder match which, thanks to Tank, the Count won.

After this, however, pressures split the band apart. Tank decided that the team was making him look bad, so he fired them and kept their recording contract.

Now Three Count had a very important responsibility. Apparently to end their matches, they had to look up and make sure that none of the lights were burned out. That’s right. Three Count entered into a losing streak of Barry Horowitz proportions.

Just to completely destroy the group, Shannon and Shane later kicked Evan out, claiming he was holding them back. Fortunately for Evan, the Jung Dragons had also just kicked Jamie-San out and unmasked him, revealing Jamie Noble. Evan and Jamie then became a tag team who, along with the Jung Dragons and Sensational Shannon Moore/Sugar Shane Helms(Two Count?) became part of the WCW cruiserweight tag team division. Later, Shane won the cruiserweight title so Evan and Shannon reformed Three (Two?) Count.

All three were on the final Nitro – Shane defeated Chavo Guerrero Jr. to retain his cruiserweight title, and Evan and Shannon were defeated (along with the Jung Dragons) for a #1 contender’s shot at the cruiserweight tag belts by Rey Misterio Jr. and Billy Kidman. That was truly Three Count’s final hurrah, as the team was never seen again.

Final Analysis

Yes, this was WCW’s answer to both the runaway popularity of the WWF’s younger stars like Edge and Christian and the Hardys and the ubiquitious boy bands that were popping up everywhere at the time.

Three Count was best compared to Edge and Christian during their “totally awesome” phase. Shane and Shannon were incredible talents, and Evan wasn’t bad either. Of course, the Hardy comparisons continue here as Shannon and Shane did come out of Omega, the Hardy’s own promotion in North Carolina.

There was a lot of wasted potential here. If WCW could have built up more 3-person cruiserweight stables like Three Count or the Jung Dragons, there could have been some incredible matches. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

Where are they Now?
After the purchase of WCW in 2000, the WWF brought all three aboard.

Evan Karagias was assigned to HWA (a WWF development territory in Ohio) and released when the WWF withdrew from the company, choosing instead to focus on Ohio Valley Wrestling. Evan went on to win the AWA world title, but was stripped when he chose to work a proposed show with Fusion. I believe that Evan is still wrestling, but he is also pursuing his acting career (he had had a part on All My Children before entering WCW’s Power Plant). His website is at www.evankaragias.com.

Shannon Moore was assigned to Smackdown where he soon allied himself with Matt Hardy as the first Mattitude Follower. After Matt departed for Raw, Shannon wandered around. Today he’s changed his look dramatically and continues to compete in the cruiserweight division.

Shane Helms has arguably fared the best out of all the Three Counters. After a WWF debut under his real name of Gregory Helms where he dropped the cruiserweight belt to Billy Kidman, Shane’s fortunes turned around after the Invasion ended. He reinvented himself as the WWF’s first superhero – the Hurricane. As such, he’s had several sidekicks from the likes of Mighty Molly (Molly Holly) and Lance Storm, to his current partner, Rosey. In his time in the WWF (now WWE), he has managed to capture the European title, hardcore title, WWE cruiserweight title, and became tag team champions with Kane. His website is at www.shanehelms.com.

To wrap up, I leave you with the words to “Sing Along with Three Count,” straight from Shane Helms’s website:

Get up on your feet!
Put your hands together!
Sing along with 3 Count!
We’ll party on forever!

(Chorus)
We like The BackStreet Boys,
N’Sync too!
We think Brittany Spears is kinda cool!
We watch TRL on MTV,
Everybody three count: 1, 2, 3,
One,

Two,

Threeeeeeeeeeeeee

Put your hands together!
Get up on your feet!
Sing along with 3 Count!
Can’t you feel the beat?

(Chorus)
We like The BackStreet Boys,
N’Sync too!
We think Brittany Spears is kinda cool!
We watch TRL on MTV,
Everybody three count: 1, 2, 3,
One,

Two,

Threeeeeeeeeeeeee

(Repeat Chorus)

I’ll bet you were singing along with that, too. Send me some of your wrestling guilty pleasures and they may show up next week.

Next Week
We head over to the late 90’s WWF, and you’d better bring a crucifix and some garlic…

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