42 years ago today, Olympic weightlifter Ken Patera announces his retirement from the sport and his intention to go into pro wrestling. The story was so huge at the time that United Press International, a precursor to the Associated Press, picks up on the story.The four-time national weightlifting champion and 3rd place finisher in the 1977 World's Strongest Man competition goes on to a moderately successful wrestling career, winning the WWF Intercontinental Championship and the NWA Missouri Heavyweight Championship in 1980 and the AWA World Tag Team Championship twice and was voted Pro Wrestling Illustrated's most hated wrestler in 1977 and 1981.
30 years ago today in Charlotte, North Carolina, Wahoo McDaniel defeated Manny Fernandez in a tournament final to win the NWA United States Championship. Other participants in the one-night tournament included Mike Rotunda, Assassin #1, Ivan Koloff, Brian Adidas, Dusty Rhodes, Don Kernolde, Ricky Steamboat, Ron Bass, Superstar Billy Graham, Carlos Colon, Mark Youngblood, Tully Blanchard, and Jimmy Valiant.
26 years ago today, Rockin' Robin defeated Sensational Sherri to win the WWF Women's Championship. She would be the final champion before the title was deactivated in 1990.
19 years ago today, Public Enemy (Flyboy Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge) defeated The Gangstas (New Jack & Mustafa) and Raven & Stevie Richards in a three way dance to win the ECW World Tag Team Championship for the fourth time. This took place just hours after Raven and Richards defeated the Pitbulls to win the ECW tag titles. On the same show, Psicosis defeated Rey Mysterio, Jr. in a two out of three falls match.
17 years ago today on RAW is WAR, The Legion of Doom (Hawk & Animal) defeated The Godwinns to win the WWF Tag Team Championship.
13 years ago today, Chris Adams was shot and killed during a drunken brawl with a friend at his home in Waxahachie, Texas. He was 46. Born Feburary 10, 1955 in Rugby, England, he devoted his early life to judo, training starting at age nine. A black belt in judo, he and his younger brother Neil won national and world championships, and both brothers were on the Olympic team (Chris in 1976, Neil in1980 and 1984, winning silver medals both times).
With no formal training, he began his pro wrestling career in 1978, working for Joint Promotions and wrestled frequently on ITV's World of Sport. Adams was pretty successful, winning the British Commonwealth tag team and light heavyweight championships, and competed with and against famed Brits Dynamite Kid, Fit Finlay, Davey Boy Smith, "Big Daddy" Shirley Crabtree, Adrian Street, and Tony "Banger" Walsh, who would become one of his closest friends. He moved to Los Angeles in 1981, and after initially wrestling barefoot, he used the more traditional armpads, kneepads, and boots. He wrestled primarily for promoters Mike and Gene LeBell and again found success, winning the NWA Americas singles and tag team championships in 1982.
His experience and athleticism (he was among the first in America to use the enzugiri head kick and superkick finisher) got him a look from World Class Championship Wrestling promoter Fritz Von Erich, and Chris would join them in April 1983. First arriving as the "pen pal of Kevin Von Erich", Chris would win his first 11 bouts before losing to Kamala in June. He would team often with the Von Erichs in six- and eight-man tag bouts against the Fabulous Freebirds before turning his attention to Jimmy Garvin. Disguising himself as "The Masked Avenger", he defeated Garvin to win a shot at the NWA American Heavyweight Championship, a title he would go on to win on Thanksgiving. The two would feud well into 1984, finally defeating him for good in a loser leaves town match on July 4. After returning from the Olympics in August, Adams hired manager Gary Hart and turned heel and would feud with his old "pen pal" Kevin. After a tag match in October 1984, Adams was offered forgiveness if he fired Gary Hart. Instead, he concussed Kevin with a wooden chair (the chair actually broke in half by accident). Kevin returned the favor a month later, again with the chair breaking in half accidentally. Some of the broken wood nearly got in Adams' eye.
Adams would fire Hart in early 1985 and would be in a number of high profile feuds. During that year, he had Ric Flair beat for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship twice, but was unable to capture the title. Adams with Gino Hernandez would feud with the Von Erichs , ultimately resulting in Chris and Gino losing their hair. The duo would turn on one another and engage in a feud with each other. The feud resulted in Adams being (kayfabe) blinded by Hernandez with some hair cream during a January 1986 bout. The incident allowed Adams time to visit family in his native England and tour Japan; however, the feud would not continue as Hernandez was found dead from a cocaine overdose on February 4. Though Adams was questioned in the death, he was not considered a suspect and Hernandez's death was ruled a suicide. Chris would return to Texas All-Star Wrestling and WCCW in April and feuded with Rick Rude, ultimately winning the World Class world title on the 4th of July, just days after an intoxicated Adams headbutted an airline pilot. Adams would hold the title until leaving the company in September due to legal troubles (the headbutt ultimately landed him in jail for three months), and a phantom title change had to be created.
Adams would compete for the UWF in late 1986 and 1987 before returning to WCCW in 1988. He would begin operating his own wrestling school in late 1988, and feud with one of his students, Steve Austin, who would wrestle at the Dallas Sportatorium less than six months after debuting. Adams would compete in a number of independents following WCCW's demise in 1990, including the Global Wrestling Federation, USWA, American Wrestling Federation, and Jim Crockett's version of the NWA in 1995. He also competed in two years for WCW before being released in 1999.
Adams was married three times, first to Jeannie "Lady Blossom" Clark (they had one child who would later be adopted by Clark's second husband Steve Austin), then to Toni Collins (they had one child together) from 1984 to 1994, and a third time for just six weeks prior to his death. Adams fathered a daughter from another relationship that lasted from 1994 to 1999.
Adams nearly died of a drug and alcohol overdose in 2000 (his girlfriend at the time sadly died of said overdose within ten hours of being found in their apartment). He would be indicted on manslaughter charges. While awaiting trial, he was fatally shot in his home during a drunken brawl with a friend. The friend claimed self-defense and was ultimately acquitted of all charges. Chris was considering moving to Florida to compete in a wrestling promotion in Florida at the time of his death. A documentary was produced about Adams in 2008 called The Gentleman's Choice featuring many friends and family of Adams. Three years ago, Adams' first daughter Jade, his youngest Julia, and son Chris Jr. launched a memorial site in his honor.
7 years ago today, WWE presented No Mercy (WWE Network link) from the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois. About 12,500 were in attendance, with 271,000 homes watching on PPV. The show featured a record three WWE Championship matches, due primarily to John Cena injuring his pectoral muscle the week before the show. The show opened with Randy Orton, Cena's challenger, awarded the WWE Championship.
- In a preshow dark match, Hardcore Holly defeated Cody Rhodes.
- Triple H defeated Randy Orton to win the WWE Championship.
- Mr. Kennedy, Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch defeated Jeff Hardy, Paul London and Brian Kendrick.
- CM Punk defeated Big Daddy V by disqualification to retain the ECW Championship.
- Triple H defeated Umaga to retain the WWE Championship.
- Finlay vs. Rey Mysterio ended in a no-contest.
- Beth Phoenix defeated Candice Michelle to win the WWE Women's Championship.
- Batista defeated The Great Khali in a Punjabi Prison Match to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.
- Randy Orton defeated Triple H in a Last Man Standing Match to win the WWE Championship.
It's a happy 28th birthday for Celeste Bonin, best known to wrestling fans as Kaitlyn. Born in Houston, Texas, Celeste was a fitness model, debuting in 2006 at just the age of 19. The next year, she won the National Physique Committee John Sherman Classic and finished fifth in the Arnold Classic in the NPC Figure Class D category. She appeared in the Hardfitness calendar in 2008 and in Flex Magazine in 2009.
Her fitness modeling led her to the WWE, where she signed a developmental contract in 2010. Debuting as Celeste and briefly going by Ricki Vaughn, she debuted as Kaitlyn on FCW TV in August as a lumberjill for a match between AJ Lee and Naomi Knight. In September, she joined the third season of NXT as a last-minute replacement for Aloisia (aka Isis the Amazon) as the rookie for Vickie Guerrero. Despite the two not getting along (especially after Kaitlyn was busted for canoodling with Vickie's boyfriend at the time Dolph Ziggler), she would go on to win the competition.
She would be assigned to the Smackdown brand following her win, but would not make her main roster in-ring debut until January 2011 when she and Kelly Kelly were defeated by Laycool. Four months later, she would become one-half of the Chickbusters with future BFF (and fellow NXT contestant) AJ Lee. They would lose their first two matches as a duo, but would finally win one as part of a 7-on-7 match in June. After being mentored for a couple of months by Natalya, she would turn on the duo and would form the Divas of Doom with Beth Phoenix. The Chickbusters would feud with the DOD, with Natalya and Phoenix repeatedly getting the better of them. After a couple of months on NXT Redemption, Kaitlyn would return to Smackdown in April looking to comfort AJ, but was assaulted by her twice. The two fought in May, with AJ winning. This effectively ended the Chickbusters.
In August 2012, Kaitlyn was briefly the assistant to Smackdown general manager Booker T, but would lose the job in short order to Eve. The two would feud eventually over the WWE Divas Championship, held at the time by Layla. She would be taken out of the match by a masked blonde figure, later revealed to be Aksana. Eve would go in her place and win the title. The three would feud over the title into the new year, with Eve escaping with the title every time. But on the RAW 20th Anniversary Special in January 2013, Kaitlyn finally defeated Eve for the title in her hometown of Houston. The win made Kaitlyn the first NXT diva to win a championship in WWE. In a side note, the match would turn out to be Eve's last bout.
Just before Wrestlemania 29, Kaitlyn would begin a feud with former Chickbuster AJ Lee, a feud that would cross into the rebooted NXT. The feud would intensify when Big E Langston, AJ's bodyguard, was revealed to be Kaitlyn's secret admirer. Kaitlyn was being used for a cruel mind game as revenge for AJ being abandoned by her. Kaitlyn would lose her title to AJ at Payback in June. They would continue to feud until Summerslam where Kaitlyn and Dolph Ziggler would defeat AJ Lee and Big E Langston. She would be sparingly used for the remainder of the year, and had her final bout in January 2014 on Main Event, a loss to her BFF/rival AJ.
Celeste, whose wrestling idol is Bill Goldberg, occasionally contributes for Hardbodynews.com, but these days she is more focused on her fitness clothing line Celestial Bodiez. She also is a spokesperson for Prime Nutrition. Today, she lives with her husband PJ Braun in Boca Raton, Florida. The couple have been married since June.