54 years ago today, both Shohei "Giant" Baba and Antonio Inoki make their professional wrestling debuts for the Japanese Wrestling Association. Baba defeated Yonetaru Tanaka, while Inoki lost to Kintaro Oki. The two would go on to achieve legendary status in Japan and founded their own companies in 1972: Antonio Inoki's New Japan Pro Wrestling in June, and Giant Baba's All Japan in October.
42 years ago today, WWWF presented Showdown at Shea from Shea Stadium in Flushing, New York. It would be the first of three events the WWWF held at the (now former) home of baseball's New York Mets. 22,508 were in attendance. In the featured bout, WWWF Champion Pedro Morales and former champion Bruno Sammartino fought to a draw for the title. The bout ended after 65 minutes due to curfew regulations.
32 years ago today, New Japan Pro Wrestling held a show at the famed Budokan Hall in Tokyo, Japan. The building at the time regularly housed events for competing promotion All Japan Pro Wrestling (think of it as only WWF shows being run in Madison Square Garden during the Monday Night Wars). It would be the last show there for New Japan for a decade; New Japan did not return to Budokan until November 1990. In a featured bout, WWWF Champion Bob Backlund defeated Stan Hansen by disqualification. In the show's main event, Antonio Inoki defeated Ken Patera to retain the NWF Heavyweight Championship, a precursor to the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
25 years ago today, WWF ran two shows, one in Madison Square Garden in New York City, and one in St. Louis. The MSG show is headlined by Rowdy Roddy Piper's first match since his self-imposed retirement at Wrestlemania III, where he fought to a double countout against Rick Rude. In St. Louis, WWF Champion Hulk Hogan defeated Randy Savage in a steel cage match in the show's main event. Which event drew more? I'll tell you later.
24 years ago today, All Japan Pro Wrestling celebrates Giant Baba's 30-year career with a show in Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. In the show's main bout, Andre the Giant & Stan Hansen defeated Giant Baba and Abdullah the Butcher.
12 years ago today on RAW from Houston, Texas, Kane defeated Chris Jericho to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship. Already a tag champion, this set up the possibility of Kane being a triple champion by the end of No Mercy three weeks later, but it wasn't to be. Kane would lose the tag titles the week before No Mercy, and would lose the Intercontiental title at the event to Triple H..
8 years ago today, Liberty City Wrestling presented a show that featured the Rock ‘n Roll Express defeating the Midnight Express and Kamala defeating ROH World Champion Daniel Bryan by disqualification. Pretty solid lineup, you'd think, right? Well, that show, according to one account, drew about 60 people.
8 years ago today in Midlothian, Illinois, Low Ki defeats Arik Cannon and Roderick Strong in the finals to win the IWA Mid-South Ted Petty Invitational. Some of the other 21 participants in the two-day tournament included Davey Richards, El Generico, Scorpio Sky, Colt Cabana, Claudio Castignoli, Kevin Steen, Chris Hero, and Delirious. Of note, six men represented Pro Wrestling Guerilla in the tournament, but combined for only three wins (two by El Generico, one by Richards).
(tribute by Joshua Chamberlin)
It's a happy 36th birthday for the Go Daddy Girl, Candice Michelle Beckman-Ehrlich. We'll just refer to her as Candice Michelle. Born and raised Candice Beckman in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she played basketball in high school and college and is, being from Wisconsin, a Green Bay Packers fan. Candice won a local modeling competition at age 16, and that's where the ball got rolling. In 1999, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting and modeling career. She appeared in many magazines, including Flex, Lowrider, and Playboy, and even dabbled in foot fetish modeling. She also had bit appearances in a number of films and TV shows, including Party of Five, 7th Heaven, Tomcats, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, and A Man Apart. While studying theater arts at Santa Monica College, Candice adopted her middle name Michelle as her working last name.
Candice's wrestling career began in 2004 as a prospective contestant for the RAW Diva Search. Though she was not selected for the final ten, WWE still hired her as a "makeup artist". She would participate in limbo, lingerie, and bikini contests through the remainder of the year as a part of the RAW roster.
Michelle's most famous role came away from the ring as the original Go Daddy Girl. She starred in a controversial Super Bowl XXXIX ad in 2005 parodying Janet Jackson's infamous wardrobe malfunction at the previous Super Bowl. She would go on to appear in several commercials for the Internet provider over the next three years, starring in Super Bowl ads for four consecutive Super Bowls.
In June 2005, Candice would be moved to Smackdown and feud with Torrie Wilson and Melina, but would be shipped right back to RAW in August with Wilson. The two and Victoria would form an alliance known as Ladies in Pink, later Vince's Devils (a play on Charlie's Angels), feuding with Trish Stratus, Ashley Massaro, and later Mickie James. Late in the year, Candice signed on to pose for the April 2006 issue of Playboy, leading to tension within the group and its inevitable collapse following Wrestlemania 22. Candice and Torrie would feud through the spring. She would suffer a broken nose during a divas battle royal in November, spending the remainder of the year on the sidelines.
In the new year, Candice feuded with Melina. The two feuded over accusations that Candice allegedly stole one of Melina's signature moves. The back and forth fighting on their respective WWE.com blogs was eventually turned into a storyline. Melina actually claimed in one of her posts that no Playboy cover model could take the Women's Championship off her. Thanks to months of off-day training, at Vengeance 2007: Night of Champions, Candice did take the title off Melina, making her the first Diva Search contestant to win a championship in WWE. After defeating Melina in a rematch a month later, she moved into a feud with Beth Phoenix. After scoring a surprise victory at Unforgiven, she would lose the Women's title to Phoenix at No Mercy. The two met again in a two-out-of-three-falls match a couple weeks later, where Candice would crack her clavicle.
After spending a few weeks on the sidelines, Candice returned in February 2008, costing Beth Phoenix a match against Maria. She made her in-ring return in March in a tag team match, and in a cruel twist of fate, broke her clavicle again. The injury would force her to miss Wrestlemania XXIV, with another Diva Search contestant and Playboy cover model Ashley Massaro replacing her. Candice would return in September to finish her feud with Beth Phoenix, losing to her for the second straight year for the Women's Championship. Candice would be used sparingly through Wrestlemania XXV, which turned out to be her last television appearance for the company. She was drafted to Smackdown in April, but was never used before being released in June 2009. She retired from in-ring competition following her release.
During her WWE run, she appeared on a week-long strip of episodes of Family Feud, Project Runway, and Redemption Song hosted by WWE superstar Chris Jericho, and was a regular for the Playboy TV hidden camera series Totally Busted.
Candice has been married for nine years to Ken Ehrlich, a chiropractor in Los Angeles. The couple have two children together: four-year old AkiAnne, and Ryumi, who will turn two in October.
Answer to the pop quiz earlier: the MSG show from 1989 drew over 20,000 fans, while Hogan-Savage in a cage in St. Louis got less than half, just 9,000.