40 years ago today in Tokyo, Japan, Giant Baba wins the All Japan Pro Wrestling Open Championship tournament. Baba bested the 20-man field with 11 points, beating Abdullah the Butcher and Dory Funk, Jr. by a single point.
20 years ago today in Augusta, Georgia, Debrah Miceli returns to WCW television on WCW Monday Nitro (WWE Network link), fresh off from being fired by the WWF in an effort to cut their losses.
Last seen in WCW in 1993, Miceli, aka Madusa, brought a gift: the WWF Womens Championship belt. With the encouragement of Eric Bischoff (and by that, I mean on his orders), she drops the belt in a trash can, effectively killing the championship. In a 2010 interview with WWE.com (which you can read here), Debrah expressed regret over the incident, essentially saying she was just doing her job:
"The longest running question to this day is why in the hell did you throw the title in the trash can? Well, I was under contract and [former WCW President] Eric Bischoff told me to do it. It was either that or I was out the door. If I was a guy I would've been on the cover of every magazine. Because I was a woman, I was called a disgrace to the business. That's the truth."
It seems like it's water under the bridge now; earlier this year; Miceli made her first appearance for the WWE since trashing the title when she joined the WWE Hall of Fame. Today, Miceli, still as Madusa, drives monster trucks for a living.
20 years ago today at a RAW from Newark, Delaware, Diesel defeated Mabel in just eight seconds. The match, airing January 1 (sorry, kids. It's not on WWE Network), would be Mabel's final RAW appearance. Following a loss in a casket match and a quick elimination in the 1996 Royal Rumble, he would be done with the company until his return in early 1999.
Rock & 'Taker vs. Edge & Christian by Notzi81
15 years ago today on RAW is WAR from Greenville, South Carolina, The Rock and The Undertaker defeated Edge and Christian to win the WWF Tag Team Championship. They wouldn't hold them long; they would lose the belts at the Smackdown taping the next night.
11 years ago today, WWE taped Tribute to the Troops from Camp Speicher in Tikrit, Iraq.
- Booker T defeated Rene Dupree.
- The Undertaker defeated Heidenreich via countout.
- Hardcore Holly defeated Kenzo Suzuki.
- Eddie Guerrero & Rey Mysterio defeated Kurt Angle & Luther Reigns.
10 years ago today, WWE presented Armageddon (WWE Network link) from the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. About 8,000 were in attendance
- In a Sunday Night Heat preshow match, Jamie Noble defeated Funaki.
- John "Bradshaw" Layfield defeated Matt Hardy.
- MNM (Joey Mercury and Johnny Nitro) defeated The Mexicools (Super Crazy and Psicosis).
- Chris Benoit defeated Booker T to win the fourth match in the best-of-seven series for the vacant WWE United States Championship. Benoit still trailed the series 3-1.
- Bobby Lashley defeated William Regal & Paul Burchill in a 1-on-2 handicap match.
- Kid Kash defeated Juventud to win the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
- Kane & The Big Show defeated Rey Mysterio & Batista.
- The Undertaker defeated Randy Orton in a Hell in a Cell match.
9 years ago today, Oleg Prudius makes his WWE debut as Vladimir Kozlov. He proclaimed his love for "double double E" and proclaimed his superiority in in-crowd promos over the next few weeks. Prudius would eventually be taken off television completely for further development, not wrestling a main roster match on television until April 2008.
5 years ago today, Ring of Honor presented Final Battle from the Manhattan Center in New York City.
- The All Night Express (Kenny King & Rhett Titus) defeated Futureshock (Kyle O'Reilly & Adam Cole).
- Colt Cabana defeated TJ Perkins.
- Sara Del Rey & Serena Deeb defeated Daizee Haze & Amazing Kong.
- Eddie Edwards defeated Sonjay Dutt.
- Homicide defeated Christopher Daniels.
- The Briscoe Brothers (Jay & Mark Briscoe) and Mike "Papa" Briscoe defeated The Kings Of Wrestling (Claudio Castignoli & Chris Hero) & Shane Hagadorn.
- Roderick Strong defeated Davey Richards to win the ROH World Championship.
- El Generico defeated Kevin Steen in a Fight Without Honor. With the win, Steen was banished from Ring of Honor; had El Generico lost, he would have been forced to unmask.
It's a happy 38th birthday for William Welch, best known to wrestling fans as The Messiah.
Though he had made his professional debut in 1996, it wasn't until Welch began wrestling as self-proclaimed holy man The Messiah for southern California-based Xtreme Pro Wrestling that his career took off. Defeating ECW alumni including Chris Candido, New Jack, and Sabu, he became one of XPW's mainstays, becoming the only man to hold XPW's heavyweight and King of the Deathmatch championships at the same time in parts of 2000 and 2001.
After leaving XPW, he turned to Philadelphia-based Combat Zone Wrestling in early 2002. Late in the year, he would win the Ironman Championship (one of their midcard championships at the time) from Nick Mondo, but lose it back to Mondo in February 2003. He would briefly hold the CZW World Heavyweight Championship in May 2002, but he would win it again that December, and again in March 2004. When he left CZW in 2006, his second and third world title reigns would be the longest in company history at 315 and 336 days respectively (the mark has since been surpassed by Drake Younger world title run in July 2008 at 567 days).
In August 2002, Welch was attacked by two men in his home and had his thumb cut off. The assault received mainstream coverage, as it was profiled on the crime series America's Most Wanted just over a month later. The attack was alleged to have been in response to Welch having an affair with his Rob Black's (his former boss at XPW) wife Lizzy Borden. The alleged assailants were never caught. Welch himself would be back in a ring at the end of August.
Following his exit from CZW, he'd largely been away from the wrestling business, wrestling sporadically, most recently for Jersey All-Pro Wrestling in 2011.
It's a happy 45th birthday for Robert Alex Szatkowski, best known to wrestling fans as Rob Van Dam.
Best known for his time in the original ECW, where he held their World Television Championship for an astounding 700 days, Rob's won championships everywhere he's been. He's amassed 21 championships in his career, including being the only man to hold world championships in WWE, ECW (the rebooted ECW), and TNA. He's also a five-time tag team champion, six-time Intercontinental Champion, the last WWE Hardcore and European Champions, and a former TNA X Champion.
In 2001, Van Dam was ranked the top pro wrestler in the world by Pro Wrestling Illustrated, and won the publication's most popular wrestler in 2001 and 2002. He is also an innovator in weightlifting, inventing the Van Dam lift, where one lifts a dumbbell from the floor to the waist while performing a split between two benches. Not surprisingly, Van Dam holds the record, currently at 166.5 pounds.