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This Day in Wrestling History (January 2)

25 years ago today in Gainesville, Georgia at an NWA Power Hour taping, Arn Anderson defeated The Great Muta to win the NWA World Television Championship.

Dawn Marie & Al Wilson's Wedding by Jokerwilds

12 years ago today in Alberquerque, New Mexico, a live Smackdown is highlighted by one of the more infamous weddings in WWE history. Dawn Marie and Al Wilson, Torrie's father (played by Torrie's real-life father).

8 years and a day ago today, "rapper" Kevin Federline, most famous for being married to Britney Spears for two years, scores one of the biggest upsets in professional wrestling history when he defeated WWE Champion John Cena on RAW from Miami, Florida. Ok, it took two other men to beat Cena. Though the match was hideous (to say the least), it doesn't crack the top ten for worst matches of the year by Wrestling Observer Newsletter. But a match on the following week's show does. That's a tease, kids.

7 years ago today, the Associated Press reported that an agreement had been reached in principle on the division of the estate of Chris Benoit. The agreement, according to Michael Benoit (Chris' father), called for the estate to be evenly divided between Chris' two children from a previous marriage and the family of Chris' second wife Nancy. Though exact terms were not disclosed, Benoit's estate was estimated to be worth between $1.5 million and $3 million.

6 years ago today, the Congressional Oversight Committee's report on steroid use in professional wrestling was filed to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. The letter, filed by Senator Henry Waxman, revealed some pretty damning information:

  • 40% of WWE talent tested positive for steroids or other drugs banned under the WWE's wellness policy.
  • 25% of TNA talent tested positive for steroids or other drugs.
  • Benoit tested positive for steroids three times by WWE prior to the June 2006 murder/suicide. (Under today's guidelines, three positive tests would gotten Benoit terminated, with a minimum one-year ban.)
  • Five of eight wrestlers who tested positive for steroids in their pre-hire exams were hired anyway, but according to documentation provided by WWE, only after they tested negative at a later period.

Ultimately, nothing significant came of the investigation.

Today would have been the 118th birthday of Christos Theofilou, aka Christopher Theopleus, aka "The Golden Greek" Jim Londos. Born in Argos, Greece, this youngest child of thirteen left his home and family behind at 13 (his mom wanted him to be a priest, while his dad wanted him to be a soldier) and emigrated to the United States. He worked odd jobs to make ends meet including cabin boy, electrician, construction, nude modeling, and carnival acrobat catcher. It was during his carnival period he learned of the art of professional wrestling.

After initially wrestling as working man "The Wrestling Plasterer" Christopher Theophelus, he wrestled under the name Jim Londos. He compensated for his lack of in-ring ability by relying on his good looks and muscular physique and purposely took on the ugliest opponents he could find. The promotional tactic worked, and Londos became one of the most popular wrestlers of the Great Depression era. At the height of his popularity, he wrestled in front of nearly 100,000 fans in his native Greece.

Londos retired in 1946 and went into charity work, most notably dealing with Greek war orphans during and after World War II. He was honored by President Nixon and King Paul of Greece. Londos died of a heart attack in Escondido, California in August 1975. He was 78. At the time of his death, he was survived by his wife and three children.

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