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This Day in Wrestling History (September 23)

29 years ago today at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Andre the Giant defeated King Kong Bundy via disqualification. The event was billed "The Colossal Jostle".

27 years ago today, WWF tapes the 12th edition of Saturday Night's Main Event (WWE Network link) from the Hersheypark Arena in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The show, airing October 3, would plant the seeds of the formation of the Mega-Powers.

  • Randy Savage defeated Intercontinental Champion Honky Tonk Man via disqualification.
  • WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan defeated Samoan Sika.
  • King Kong Bundy defeated Paul Orndorff.
  • WWF Tag Team Champions The Hart Foundation defeated Paul Roma & Jim Powers.

    • Danny Spivey defeated Johnny Ace to win the first UWF Americas Championship.
    • Jack Armstrong defeated Mando Guerrero to win the first UWF Junior Heavyweight Championship.
    • Sunny Beach defeated Dr. Feelgood via DQ to win the vacant UWF Sportschannel TV Championship.
    • UWF Southern States Champ Bob Orton, Jr. and The Finnish Hellraiser fought to a double disqualification.
    • Little Tokyo defeated Karate Kid to win the first UWF Midget Championship.
    • Samson defeated The Irish Assassin.
    • Tyler Mane defeated Stevie Ray to win first UWF MGM Grand Championship.
    • Candi Divine defeated Tina Moretti to win vacant UWF Women's Championship.
    • The Killer Bees defeated Warlord & Power Warrior to win the first UWF Tag Team Championship.
    • Cactus Jack and Jimmy Snuka went to a double countout in a lumberjack match.
    • UWF champ Steve Williams defeated Sid Vicious by disqualification.
  • 20 years ago today, the Universal Wrestling Federation presented Blackjack Brawl from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was the first UWF event in three years.  The event aired on Sportschannel America, a precursor to Fox Sports Net. UWF owner Herb Abrams (yes, the owner) was visibly inebriated throughout the show.

    19 years ago today, Steve Austin, fresh from being let go from WCW, makes his ECW debut in Middletown, NY just before the Sandman vs. Mikey Whipwreck ECW world title match. That evening, he cuts the infamous "Stevester" promo mocking Hulk Hogan.  For the record, Sandman defeated Mikey Whipwreck to retain the ECW World Heavyweight Championship.

13 years ago today, WWF presented Unforgiven (WWE Network link) from the Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 13,855 were in attendance, with just 350,000 homes watching on PPV. That's down 215,000 from last month, and 240,000 from Unforgiven 2000.

  • In a preshow Sunday Night HEAT match, Billy Gunn defeated Tommy Dreamer.
  • The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) defeated The Big Show and Spike Dudley, Lance Storm and The Hurricane, and The Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff) in a Fatal 4-way match to retain the WWF Tag Team Championship.
    • Big Show defeated Lance Storm.
    • Matt Hardy defeated Spike Dudley.
    • D-Von Dudley defeated Matt Hardy.
  • Perry Saturn defeated Raven.
  • Christian defeated Edge to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship.
  • The Brothers of Destruction (The Undertaker and Kane) defeated KroniK (Brian Adams and Bryan Clark) to retain the WCW World Tag Team Championship.
  • Rob Van Dam defeated Chris Jericho to retain the WWF Hardcore Championship.
  • The Rock defeated Booker T and Shane McMahon in a Handicap match to retain the WCW Championship.
  • Rhyno defeated Tajiri to win the WCW United States Championship.
  • Kurt Angle defeated Steve Austin by submission to win the WWF Championship.
    • 12 years ago today on RAW from Anaheim, California, Kane and The Hurricane defeated Lance Storm and Christian to win the WWE Tag Team Championship.

    11 years ago today at a Smackdown taping in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Tajiri defeated Rey Mysterio to win the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. It's noted that it's the first time Tajiri used red mist in a WWE ring.

    4 years ago today at the Manhattan Center in New York City, Amazing Red defeated Jay Lethal to win the TNA X Division Championship.

    Today would have been the 97th birthday of Rodolfo Guzman Huerta, known to his legions of fans as the legendary luchador El Santo (The Saint). He is credited with popularizing wrestling in Mexico, much in the way Rikidozan did in Japan and Hulk Hogan would later do in the United States. Born in Tulancingo, Mexico, he was the third youngest of seven children. He and his family moved to Mexico in the 1920s. As a child, he was interested in baseball and American football before trying his hand at ju-jitsu and wrestling. In the mid 1930's, Guzman began his career (some accounts put it at 1934, while others put it at 1935), but he would be established by the end of the decade, wrestling under the names Rudy Guzman, El Hombre Rojo, El Demonio Negro, and El Murcielago II.

    In 1942, Don Jesus Lomeli, Guzman's manager, wanted to put together a team of wrestlers dressed in silver. Given a choice of one of three names, he went with El Santo (later just Santo), and it stuck. In 1952, he took on Los Hermanos Shadow (Blue Demon and Black Shadow) and won, unmasking Black Shadow. Blue Demon and Santo would have a legendary rivalry that spanned throughout 1952 and 1953, culminating in Blue Demon defeating Santo.

    Around this time, his popularity began to grow away from the ring. A comic book series was created in his name and would become one of the most popular comic series in all of Mexico, running continuously for 35 years. Beginning in 1958, Santo appeared in 52 lucha libre films, many of them in starring roles. The B-movie style flicks usually revolved Santo fighting aliens, evil scientists, criminals, secret agents, and other tropey bad guys. Just four of his movies were ever dubbed into English, including Santo vs. Las Mujeres Vampiro (Santo vs. The Vampire Women) in 1962, featured on an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, and The Mummies of Guanajuato, released in 1970, which co-starred lucha legends Mil Mascaras and Blue Demon. Santo's final match and movie both came in 1982. His last film, Fury of the Karate Experts was filmed in Florida. His final match was just a week before his 65th birthday. Wrestling for Empresa Mundial de Lucha Libre (EMLL), he had won the National Middleweight Championship four times, the Light Heavyweight title once, the Welterweight title once, and was a two-time tag champion. He had also won the NWA World Welterweight and Middleweight Championships. He had also put his hair or mask on the line 35 times, never losing once.

    In January 1984 while appearing on a Mexican talk show, Santo unmasked for the first and only time in public. Santo died of a heart attack on February 5, 1984, just a week after his talk show appearance. He was 66. He was buried wearing his famous silver mask. At the time of his death, he was survived by his wife and ten children; their youngest Jorge, was the only one that got into the wrestling business. He wrestled for over 30 years as El Hijo de Santo before retiring earlier this year due to a spinal injury, and surely enough, one of his sons has recently started wrestling too, as El Nieto de Santo. The legacy of El Santo lives to this day, as he had become a folk hero and a symbol of justice for the common man throughout Mexico.

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