25 years ago today in Providence, Rhode Island, Tito Santana defeated Rick Martel to win the 1989 King of the Ring tournament. Other participants included Akeem, Brutus Beefcake, Hercules Hernandez, Jim Neidhart, The Warlord, Butch Miller, Bad News Brown, Bill Woods, Luke Williams, Nikolai Volkoff, Jimmy Snuka, The Barbarian, Haku, and Terry Taylor.
12 years ago today on RAW from Montreal, Chris Jericho and Christian defeated The Hurricane and Kane to win the WWE World Tag Team Championship.
8 years ago today at CZW Last Team Standing from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, The Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero & Claudio Castignoli) defeated The H8 Club (Justice Pain & Human Tornado, substituting for Nick Gage) to win the CZW World Tag Team Championship. At the time of their win, the duo now had tag team titles in CZW, CHIKARA, and Ring of Honor. At the same time.
7 years ago today, TNA presented Bound for Glory from the Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Georgia.
- In a preshow dark match, The Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley) defeated Joey Matthews and Johnny Swinger.
- In a preshow dark match, Ms. Brooks defeated Shaffee.
- The Latin American Xchange (Homicide and Hernandez) defeated Triple X (Senshi and Elix Skipper) in an Ultimate X match to become the #1 contenders for the TNA World Tag Team Championship.
- Eric Young defeated Robert Roode, James Storm, B.G. James, Kip James, Lance Hoyt, Jimmy Rave, Chris Harris, Chris Sabin, Alex Shelley, Kaz, Petey Williams, Junior Fatu, Havok, Shark Boy, and Sonjay Dutt in a Fight for the Right Reverse Battle Royal.
- A.J. Styles and Tomko defeated Truth & Consequences (Ron Killings and Consequences Creed) (collectively called Team Pacman with Adam "Pacman" Jones) to win the TNA World Tag Team Championship.
- Jay Lethal defeated Christopher Daniels to retain the TNA X Division Championship.
- The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott) defeated Team 3D (Brother Ray and Brother Devon) in a two out of three tables match.
- Gail Kim defeated Roxxi Laveaux to become the first TNA Knockouts Champion. Other participants in the gauntlet/battle royal included Traci Brooks, Shelly Martinez, Jackie Moore, Christy Hemme, Awesome Kong, Angel Williams, Talia Madison, and ODB.
- Samoa Joe defeated Christian Cage (with Matt Morgan as Special Enforcer).
- Abyss defeated Raven, Rhino, and Black Reign in a Monster's Ball match.
- Sting defeated Kurt Angle to win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
5 years ago today, Louis Vincent Albano, known to his many fans as "Captain Lou" Albano, died of a massive heart attack in his home in Westchester County, New York. He was 76. Born July 29, 1933 to Italian-American parents in Rome, Italy, Lou was one of nine children in their family, four of whom would die before adulthood. Albano was a two sport athlete in high school and was captain of the football team, which is how he got the nickname that would stick with him through his entire career. He received full scholarship offers from over 30 different schools before deciding on the University of Tennessee. However, poor behavior and cheating on a final exam got him kicked out of college. He joined the Army, but an injury from his childhood aggravated from his football playing got him honorably discharged after just eight months.
Against his father's wishes, Lou tried his hand at boxing, but through family friend and distant cousin Lou Duva (THAT Lou Duva), Lou tried wrestling at the suggestion of boxing promoter (and future WWWF president) Willie Glizenberg. Trained by Soldier Barry, Albano broke into the wrestling business in 1952. Beginning as babyface "Leaping" Lou Albano, he became more established after getting cut on his forehead in a non-wrestling related incident. Lou purposefully decided to not let the scar heel, and the "Mount Vernon Mauler" was born. Glitzenberg then introduced Albano to Capitol Wrestling Corporation's Vince McMahon, Sr., a relationship that would run for the remainder of his career. His success was minimal, but found success on the tag team circuit with Tony Altomare, winning tag team championships in 1961 and 1967. Lou also found himself in a bit of hot water as Albano and Altomare were portraying a Sicilian mafia gimmick, and the actual Chicago mafia caught wind of it, and were asked to not refer to themselves as "mafia".
In 1970, Bruno Sammartino suggested that Albano would be better served as a manager, as he was limited as a wrestler, but gold on the microphone. The decision would end the ten-year tag team partnership with Altomare, but the two remained close friends until Tony's death in 2003. Albano's first managerial job was with promising wrestler Oscar "Crusher" Verdu. Albano's ability to rile up audiences led to a Madison Square Garden main event in June 1970. The event would be a sellout for the building, at the time, the first in five years for a wrestling event. The feud brought consecutive record-breaking gates for the Garden, and although Verdi would be shifted to the background, it put the bombastic Albano on the map as the top heel manager in the WWWF.
Lou was the manager for Ivan Koloff when he ended the seven-year championship run of Bruno Sammartino. After the match, Koloff and Albano were rushed out of the building to a nearby cab as the crowd, which was silent in the moments immediately after the bout, began to riot. An angry mob surrounded the cab, so Albano, his wife, and a family friend rushed to a nearby bar, and the angry mob threw mud and objects at the bar. It cost Vince McMahon, Sr. some $27,000 in damages (over $150,000 today...so a lot of damage), but it proved Albano was a hell of a heat magnet.
Koloff would lose the WWWF Championship just three weeks later, and Lou would never again manage a world heavyweight champion despite spending more than a decade trying to do so. He would manage a pair of Intercontinental champions in Don Muraco and Greg Valentine, and manage fifteen teams to the WWF Tag Team Championship, including the Valiant Brothers, the Wild Samoans, the Blackjacks, the Moondogs, the US Express, the British Bulldogs, and the Headshrinkers.
Albano's wrestling career high came in the 1980s as a part of the "Rock ‘n Wrestling Connection". Albano after meeting Cyndi Lauper (and through the suggestion of Lauper's manager David Wolff) appeared in the "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" video as the singer's father. His character would carry over to WWF television where Albano would run down Lauper's success, and Cyndi hit Lou with a purse. The duo settled their differences via proxies at The Brawl to End it All in July 1984. The Wendi Richter-Fabulous Moolah match (which was also for the WWF Womens Championship) would be the most watched show in MTV history at the time. Lauper's charge Richter defeated Albano's charge Moolah via the "loaded purse of doom".
Around the time of the event, Albano became involved in multiple charities, most notably those dealing with multiple sclerosis. His away from the ring involvement with rival Lauper turned him face pretty much by default after more than 30 years as a heel. While giving an award to Lauper, Lou and David Wolff were attacked by Cowboy Bob Orton and Roddy Piper, with Hulk Hogan breaking up the fracas. The events would lead to Albano getting back in the ring at The War to Settle the Score in January 1985, which would in turn lead to the first Wrestlemania a couple months later.
Lou would leave the WWF in 1986, but returned briefly in 1994, but would make many television and movie appearances into the 1990s, most famously as Mario on the Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, based on the Super Mario Bros. series of games. He had cameos in 227, Hey Dude, Miami Vice, and a recurring spot on the 1980s version of Hollywood Squares. He played a bad guy version of himself in the wrestling movie Body Slam and has a role in Wise Guys. In addition to appearing in "Girls Just Want to Have Fun", Captain Lou would appear in three other Cyndi Lauper music videos and Cyndi would write the foreword for Albano's autobiography Often Imitated, Never Duplicated in 2008. Lou at the time of his death, he was survived by his wife of 56 years Geri (whom he stayed faithful to-a rarity among wrestlers of his era), four children, and fourteen grandchildren. Albano is a member of the WWE Hall of Fame class of 1996, the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame class of 2009, and the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame class of 2012.
3 years ago today, WWE Smackdown surpasses Gunsmoke for the second most episodes by a weekly episodic television series ever with 624. They celebrate with... a 41-man battle royal, the largest in WWE history. Randy Orton wins, last eliminating The Miz to earn a championship match of his choosing. In the main event, Randy Orton defeats Mark Henry by disqualification in a World Heavyweight Championship match (Henry retains the title).
2 years ago today, TNA presented Bound for Glory from the Grand Canyon Arena in Phoenix, Arizona.
- Rob Van Dam defeated Zema Ion to win the TNA X-Division Championship.
- Samoa Joe defeated Magnus to retain the TNA Television Championship.
- James Storm defeated Bobby Roode in a Falls Count Anywhere Match (With King Mo as special enforcer.
- Joey Ryan defeated Al Snow.
- Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez defeated AJ Styles & Kurt Angle and Christopher Daniels & Kazarian in a three-way match to win the TNA World Tag Team Championship.
- Tara defeated Miss Tessmacher to win the TNA Women's Knockout Championship. Post match, Tara debuted her "boyfriend", Jesse Godderz of Big Brother fame.
- Aces and 8s defeated Bully Ray & Sting in a no-disqualification tag team match.
- Jeff Hardy defeated Austin Aries to win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
1 year ago today on RAW from St. Louis, Missouri, Cody Rhodes and Goldust defeat The Shield (Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins) to win the WWE Tag Team Championship.
It's a happy 35th birthday for former WWE diva and WCW Nitro Girl turned dancer and actress Stacy Keibler. Born in Rosedale, Maryland, Keibler took up dancing, ballet, and jazz at an early age. Growing up, she would get small modeling and acting gigs, and at just age 18, Keibler became a cheerleader for the Baltimore Ravens. She attended Towson University on a partial scholarship, studying mass communication.
Stacy broke into the wrestling business in 1999 by entering a contest to become a WCW Nitro Girl. She bested over 300 other prospects for the spot and $10,000. As Nitro Girl Skye, she was doing triple duty: dancing, cheerleading, and attending school full-time. Keibler would become more prominent on WCW programming as Miss Hancock, the manager of Standards and Practices (Lenny Lane and Lodi). But it's her sensual dancing that got her noticed. During that time, she came up with what would be her signature ring entrance: stepping through the middle rope with a longer-than-necessary bend (it was a breeze with her 42" legs-Keibler is 5'11"). Keibler would briefly date David Flair (both on and off-screen), leading to feuds with Kimberly Page, Daffney, and Major Gunns. The feud featured an infamous pregnancy angle in which Stacy was kicked in the stomach, causing a miscarriage. She was taken off television shortly after breaking up with David Flair. She would return under her real name until WCW's closing in March 2001.
Stacy would be retained by the WWF in the buyout and debut that summer in Baltimore as a distraction for Rhyno during a hardcore match against Test. Later that summer, Stacy would team with real life BFF Torrie Wilson as a part of the Alliance group, and would later manage the Dudley Boyz. After the partnership with the Dudleys ended, Stacy would chase Trish Stratus and the WWF Women's Championship, but would never defeat Stratus in a match.
Stacy briefly became Vince McMahon's personal assistant/on-screen mistress following the 2002 WWE Draft, where she landed on the Smackdown roster, but was phased out that summer when Stephanie McMahon became Smackdown general manager. Stacy would move to RAW, first as the "marketing agent" for Test, then the "marketing agent" for Scott Steiner... which became more than a business relationship (on-screen). Eventually, Keibler would become the unwilling assistant for Steiner and Test, but would be freed from the contract after Mick Foley fired both Test and Steiner.
Keibler and Jackie Gayda would feud with Torrie Wilson and Sable over being passed over by Playboy magazine in the run up to Wrestlemania XX (in reality, Stacy twice turned down Playboy to pose nude), with Stacy's team losing to Torrie and Sable at the event. Stacy would score upset wins over Gail Kim, Trish Stratus, and Molly Holly (including pinning Trish on consecutive RAWs), but could not defeat Stratus for the title at No Mercy in October. Stacy would appear in backstage segments with Randy Orton, but would be on the business end of an RKO just weeks before Orton's bout with The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 21.
Stacy's last major storyline with RAW was as Super Stacy as part of a superhero trio with The Hurricane and the "Superhero in Training" Rosey. Keibler feuded with Victoria in singles and mixed tag bouts. In August 2005, Stacy would be moved to Smackdown and did mostly bikini and lingerie contests. Her bout with Jillian Hall on Velocity would turn out to be her last. She left WWE temporarily (then permanently) in July 2006 to compete on Dancing with the Stars, where she and partner Tony Dovolani finished third to Jerry Rice and Drew Lachey; during the season, judge Bruno Tonioli dubbed Stacy the "weapon of mass seduction".
Keibler's first major acting role came on the ABC series What About Brian in 2007. She has also made guest appearances on George Lopez, How I Met Your Mother, Psych, Chuck, Blue Mountain State, Punk'd, and the 2011 reboot of WWE Tough Enough. Stacy also had appearances in motion pictures Bubble Boy and The Comebacks. In 2013, Stacy hosted her first reality show, Supermarket Superstar for the Lifetime Network.
At the height of her popularity, Stacy was one of the most sought-after women in the world, winning WWE Diva of the Year in 2004, making the Maxim Hot 100 every year from 2006 to 2012 (peaking at #5 following her Dancing with the Stars run in 2006), appeared in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women list in 2008, and was the fitness editor for Stuff magazine in 2005 and 2006, occasionally penning her own column.
After relationships with George Stults and George Clooney, Keibler married CEO Jared Pobre in March 2014. The couple have one child together, Ava Grace, born this past August.