June 17 is a pretty significant day in sports.
But for many sports fans, June 17, 1994 holds a very different significance.
June 17, 1994 will go down as one of the most surreal days in American history, especially in the sports department. All on the same day: the New York Rangers' first Stanley Cup parade in more than 50 years, Ken Griffey Jr. reaches 30 home runs for a season faster than anyone ever, legendary golfer Arnold Palmer shoots his final US Open round, the New York Knicks played their final home game of the season (in the same building where the Rangers won the Stanley Cup just two days earlier), and the World Cup opened with President Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey in attendance at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. All of this against the backdrop of Pro Football Hall of Fame running back OJ Simpson's low speed chase through the streets and highways of Los Angeles. There was a brilliant documentary produced by ESPN as part of their 30 for 30 series about that day appropriately titled June 17, 1994 which is worth your viewing if you got about an hour to kill.
I know this is a wrestling site, so you're wondering where's the wrestling connection. I'll tell you. Nearly two years later, footage of that chase was used during the infamous Hollywood Backlot Brawl between Rowdy Roddy Piper and Goldust at Wrestlemania XII.
Oh, and there's this. Yup, leave it to Vince to make a buck of a tragedy (actually, he didn't. Money went to charity. I hope. But seriously, though.) For those wondering, this was shown on the October 2, 1995 edition of RAW, less than 24 hours before the not guilty verdict came down.
Now to the WRESTLING portion of this day in wrestling history.
29 years ago today, the US Express (Mike Rotundo and Barry Windham) defeat The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff to win the WWF Tag Team Championship. It's their second and last run as tag champions. Sheik and Volkoff defeated the US Express to win the titles at Wrestlemania I.
18 years ago today, WCW Monday Nitro (part 1) (part 2) dominated WWF Monday Night RAW in the head-to-head ratings battle 3.4 to 2.3. Hardly anything to sneeze at, you would think, but you'd be wrong. This would be Nitro's fourth win in five weeks, but more importantly, it would began Nitro's 84-week win streak over RAW, a streak that would last until just after Wrestlemania XIV in April 1998. Once the streak ended, Nitro would not win consecutive weeks again until August, and would never beat RAW again from November 2, 1998 until the company shut down on March 26, 2001: a run of 125 consecutive weeks.
- Rick Steiner defeats Stevie Ray
- Joe Gomez defeats Disco Inferno
- Arn Anderson & Chris Benoit defeat The American Males (Marcus Alexander Bagwell & Scotty Riggs)
- John Tenta defeats Big Bubba (w/ Jimmy Hart)
- Ric Flair (w/ Debra McMichael, Miss Elizabeth & Woman) defeats Randy Savage
- Dean Malenko (c) defeats Rey Misterio Jr. to retain the WCW Cruiserweight Championship.
- The Giant (w/ Jimmy Hart) (c) defeats Scott Steiner to retain the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
7 years ago today was TNA Slammiversary 2007 (pay link) from the Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. This was the first TNA show in its original home since the company left Nashville for Orlando and the Impact Zone. It also featured an interview with TNA founder Jeff Jarrett, whose wife Jill died of breast cancer less than a month before the show. About 3,500 were in attendance, with about 20,000 homes buying the event on PPV.
- Jay Lethal defeats Chris Sabin to win the TNA X-Division Title
- Team 3D (Brother Ray & Brother Devon) defeat Rick Steiner & Road Warrior Animal to retain the TNA Tag Team Titles
- Sting defeats Christopher Daniels
- Abyss defeats Tomko in a No-DQ Match
- Kurt Angle defeats Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Christian Cage & Chris Harris in a King of the Mountain Match to win the vacant TNA World Title
2 years ago today was the return of WWE No Way Out (WWE Network link) from the Izod Center in East Rutherford, NJ. About 10,000 were in attendance, with 194,000 homes buying the event, up from 170,000 who bought Captial Punishment the previous year.
- Sheamus defeats Dolph Ziggler to retain the World Heavyweight Championship
- Christian defeats Cody Rhodes to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship
- Layla defeats Beth Phoenix to retain the WWE Divas Championship
- CM Punk defeats Kane & Daniel Bryan in a Triple Threat Match to retain the WWE Championship
- John Cena defeats The Big Show. As per the pre-match stipulation, John Laurinaitis is fired