clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

This Day in Pro Wrestling History (July 22)

There's a lot of history to be had here. A LOT. So come inside and get you some.

After 16 hours of deliberations over two days, 20 years ago today, Vince McMahon is acquitted on federal charges that he conspired to distribute steroids. From the Los Angeles Times:

UNIONDALE, N.Y. - Promoter Vince McMahon, who transformed wrestling into a multimillion-dollar industry during the 1980s, was cleared Friday of charges that he fueled the sport's growth through a widespread steroid conspiracy.

A federal jury acquitted McMahon of conspiring to distribute steroids among his heavyweight charges in the World Wrestling Federation. The panel deliberated 16 hours over two days before reaching its verdict.

"I'm elated. Just like in wrestling, in the end the good guys always win," said McMahon, 48, of Stamford, Conn.

McMahon's family and friends joined wrestling fans in wild applause as the verdict was announced in a crowded courtroom.

Despite the verdict, the trial did damage the reputations of both McMahon and one of the prosecution's key witnesses--Hulk Hogan.

Hogan, appearing smaller than when he ruled the WWF at 302 pounds, took the stand July 14 before a courtroom packed with wrestling fans and autograph hounds. The blond wrestler admitted that he had injected and popped steroids for 13 years.

Hogan said McMahon never encouraged him to take steroids, although he acknowledged that they shared the drug during the 1980s.

In a interesting side note, three days after Hogan took the stand, he won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship at Bash at the Beach.

18 years ago today, on a live episode of Monday Night RAW from the Key Arena in Seattle, WWF Champion Shawn Michaels and Intercontinental Champion Ahmed Johnson defeated the WWF Tag Team Champions The Smoking Gunns by disqualification (The Gunns retained the titles) when a man in a blue gladiator suit attacked Johnson. That man in the suit: Faarooq Assad, better known as former WCW World Heavyweight Champion Ron Simmons. In a side note, the RAW received a 2.2 rating, not enough to beat Nitro's 2.6.

17 years ago today on Tuesday Nitro from Jacksonville, Florida, Ultimo Dragon defeats Lord Steven Regal to win the WCW World Television Championship for the second time.

13 years ago today, WWF presented Invasion (WWE Network link) from the Gund Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. 17, 964 were in attendance, with a staggering 775,000 homes purchasing the event on PPV. Here's some perspective on that number: Wrestlemania XIV got 730,000 buys. Wrestlemania XIX got just 560,000 buys. The 775,000 buys are the most for any non-Wrestlemania ever (a record that still stands today). However, they were unable to sustain the momentum, as they would lose more than half of their PPV audience before the angle mercifully ended four months later. The majority of the show had WWF superstars taking on a conglomerate of ECW and WCW superstars known at the time as the Coalition (later known as the Alliance), main evented by "The Inaugural Brawl", a ten-man tag team match between the two squads.

  • In a preshow match on Sunday Night HEAT, Chavo Guerrero, Jr. defeated Scotty 2 Hotty.
  • Edge and Christian defeated Lance Storm and Mike Awesome.
  • Earl Hebner defeated Nick Patrick with Mick Foley as Special Guest Referee.
  • The APA (Faarooq and Bradshaw) defeated Sean O'Haire and Chuck Palumbo.
  • Billy Kidman defeated X-Pac.
  • Raven defeated William Regal.
  • Chris Kanyon, Shawn Stasiak & Hugh Morrus defeated The Show Gunns (Billy Gunn, The Big Show) & Albert.
  • Tajiri defeated Tazz.
  • Rob Van Dam defeated Jeff Hardy to win the WWF Hardcore Championship.
  • Trish Stratus and Lita defeated Torrie Wilson and Stacy Keibler in a Bra and Panties match with Mick Foley as special guest referee.
  • Booker T, Diamond Dallas Page, Rhyno and The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) defeated Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, The Undertaker and Kane in the Inaugural Brawl match. Team WWF had the match in hand, but Austin stunned Angle just as he was going for the cover, costing his team the match. This would be the third time (there would be a fourth in November) time Austin turned in 2001.

12 years ago today on RAW from the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Rob Van Dam defeated Jeff Hardy in a title for title ladder match to unify the Intercontinental and European Championships. This was Hardy's second defeat in a ladder match in three weeks, having also lost a ladder match for the Undisputed WWE Championship to the Undertaker.

7 years ago today, WWE presented the Great American Bash (WWE Network link) from the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California. 13,034 were in attendance, with 229,000 homes watching on PPV, about the same number as the 2006 edition. The show was the final PPV for Bobby Lashley, who would take time off for shoulder surgery that he had put off since he suffered the injury at Backlash. But Lashley would never return to the WWE, as he was released the following February.

  • In a dark match, Chuck Palumbo defeated Chris Masters.
  • Montel Vontavious Porter defeated Matt Hardy to retain the WWE United States Championship.
  • Hornswoggle defeated Chavo Guerrero, Funaki, Hornswoggle, Jamie Noble, Jimmy Wang Yang & Shannon Moore to win the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. The championship would be retired two months later by then-Smackdown general manager Vickie Guerrero, making Hornswoggle the last man to hold the title.
  • Carlito defeated The Sandman in a Singapore Cane on a Pole Match.
  • Candice Michelle defeated Melina to retain the WWE Women's Championship.
  • Umaga defeated Jeff Hardy to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
  • John Morrison defeated CM Punk to retain the ECW Heavyweight Championship.
  • Randy Orton defeated Dusty Rhodes in a Texas Bullrope Match.
  • The Great Khali defeated Batista & Kane in a Triple Threat Match to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.
  • John Cena defeated Bobby Lashley to retain the WWE Championship.

5 years ago today during an Impact taping at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, Mick Foley defeated Kevin Nash to win the TNA Legends Championship.

2 years ago today, five (yes, five) championships change hands in Japan.

  • In New Japan Pro Wrestling, Ten-Koji (Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima) defeat Chaos (Takashi Iizuka & Toru Yano) to win the vacant IWGP Tag Team Championship. Chaos was stripped of the championships days after a bout between the two teams went to a no-contest on June 16.
  • Forever Hooligans (Alex Koslov & Rocky Romero) defeat Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask IV to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.
  • Shinsuke Nakamura defeats Hirooki Goto to win the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. He would hold the championship for more than 10 months before losing the title to La Sombra in a two-out-of-three falls match.
  • Over at Pro Wrestling NOAH, Magnus & Samoa Joe defeat Akitoshi Saito & Jun Akiyama to win the GHC Tag Team Championship.
  • Ricky Marvin & Super Crazy defeat Atsushi Aoki & Kotaro Suzuki to win the GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.

Birthday time! TNA's "King of the Night" Kenny King turns 33 today. Here's his debut match from the July 5, 2012 Impact against Lars Only.

And a happy 33rd birthday to Curtis Hussey. Known for a time as Johnny Curtis, he is currently creepy ballroom dancer Fandango. Here's his in-ring debut against Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania 29.

A happy 49th birthday to Michael Shawn Hickenbottom, better known to wrestling fans around the world over as "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels. Hardly kid-like. Here's his official WWE Hall of Fame highlight video.

Today would have been the 55th birthday of David Adkisson, aka "The Yellow Rose of Texas" David Von Erich. David died in 1984 at just 25 years of age. The official cause of his death was never released, though speculation ran from a drug overdose to a heart attack and enteritis. Here's his tribute video from  WCCW's David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions at Texas Stadium in May 1984 that drew over 50,000 people.

Today would have been the 77th birthday of Yasuhiro Kojima, better known as Hiro Matsuda. Matsuda was the trainer for many future world champions including Lex Luger, Ron Simmons, Keiji Mutoh (The Great Muta), Paul Orndorff, Scott Hall, and Hulk Hogan, whose leg was broken by Matsuda in his first day of training. Kojima died in November 1999 of colon cancer at age 62.

Today would have been the 91st birthday of Mary Lillian Ellison, aka The Fabulous Moolah. Ellison began her career under the guidance of Billy Wolfe in 1946, and in 1956 won a 13-woman battle royal to win the NWA World Womens Championship; however, the NWA did not recognize Ellison as champion until June Byers retired for a second time in 1964. She would hold the NWA Womens Championship (which she bought the rights to in the late 1970s, then sold said rights to Vince McMahon in 1983, making it the WWF Womens Championship) for 10,100 of the next 10,170 days (10,170 as recognized by WWE, as they do not recognize the four championship changes during the run) until Wendi Richter defeated her for the title at The Brawl to End it All. Ellison was involved in "The Original Screwjob" in November 1985 when "The Spider Lady", a masked Moolah, defeated Richter for the title in controversial fashion; the falling out resulted in Richter leaving the WWF. Moolah returned to the WWF in September 1999 in a comedic role with friend Mae Young, and would eventually (albeit briefly) hold the WWF Womens Championship at age 76, making her the oldest champion in professional wrestling history. Ellison died due to a heart attack or blood clot in November 2007 at age 84 in her home in Columbia, South Carolina. Here's her official tribute video from RAW a few days later.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats