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This Day in Wrestling History (Dec. 19): Russo-Cade

38 years ago today in New York City, Mil Mascaras defeated WWWF Heavyweight Champion Superstar Billy Graham via referee stoppage due to excessive blood loss. The championship did not change hands.

17 years ago today in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Sabu defeated Taz to win the (officially unrecognized by ECW) FTW Championship. The belt was created by Taz as a shot at Shane Douglas as he saw himself as an uncrowned world champion. Sabu was the only other man to hold the FTW Championship.

Taz intentionally lost the match when pulled an unconscious Sabu over him, feeling he no longer needed the FTW title and that he could beat Shane Douglas in a match for the ECW world title--which he would about a month later.

16 years ago today, WCW presented Starrcade (WWE Network link) from the MCI Center in Washington, DC. 8,582 were in attendance, with 145,000 homes watching on PPV.

Reversing a trend from previous years, it's actually lower than the previous month's PPV (Mayhem with 200,000 buys). It's also a third of the buys of Starrcade 1998 (460,000 buys). The show is most remembered for a Goldberg kick that gave Bret Hart a concussion that would lead to the end of his career a few months later. The show also featured the final WCW appearance for Rowdy Roddy Piper.

  • The Mamalukes (Big Vito & Johnny The Bull) defeated Disco Inferno & Lash LeRoux.
  • Madusa defeated Evan Karagias to win the WCW Cruiserweight Championship.
  • Norman Smiley defeated Meng to retain the WCW Hardcore Championship.
  • The Revolution (Asya, Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn & Shane Douglas) defeated Jim Duggan & The Varsity Club (Kevin Sullivan, Mike Rotunda & Rick Steiner).
  • Vampiro defeated Steve Williams by disqualification.
  • Vampiro defeated Oklahoma.
  • Creative Control (Gerald & Patrick) & Curt Hennig defeated Harlem Heat (Booker T & Stevie Ray) & Midnight.
  • Jeff Jarrett defeated Dustin Rhodes in a Bunkhouse Brawl.
  • Diamond Dallas Page defeated David Flair in a Crowbar On A Pole match.
  • Sting defeated The Total Package by disqualification.
  • Kevin Nash defeated Sid Vicious in a "Master Of The Powerbomb" match.
  • Chris Benoit defeated Jeff Jarrett in a ladder match to win the WCW United States Championship.
  • Bret Hart defeated Goldberg in a no disqualification match to retain the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.

15 years ago today at a Smackdown taping in Charlotte, North Carolina, Edge & Christian defeated The Rock & Undertaker to win the WWF Tag Team Championship. The win for Edge & Christian comes just one night after losing the titles to The Rock & The Undertaker. It also gave Edge & Christian the tag titles for the fifth time, at the time tying the New Age Outlaws for most all time.

6 years ago today, Ring of Honor presented Final Battle from the Manhattan Center in New York City. This was the first time ROH's signature show was streamed live on the Internet (via GoFightLive).

  • Claudio Castagnoli defeated Rhett Titus, Kenny Omega and Colt Cabana in a Pick Six Challenge Four Corner Survival match.
  • The Embassy (Bison Smith & Erick Stevens) defeated Delirious & Bobby Dempsey.
  • Eddie Kingston defeated Chris Hero in a Fight Without Honor.
  • The Young Bucks (Nick Jackson & Matt Jackson) defeated Kevin Steen & El Generico. Post-match, Steen turned on Generico, setting off a rivalry that would last until Generico's exit from ROH three years later.
  • Kenny King defeated Roderick Strong to take his #4 spot in a Pick 6 Challenge match.
  • Rocky Romero defeated Alex Koslov in a AAA Grudge Match.
  • The Briscoe Brothers (Jay & Mark Briscoe) defeated The American Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards) to win the ROH World Tag Team Championship.
  • Jack Evans defeated Teddy Hart in a AAA Grudge Match.
  • Austin Aries and Tyler Black went to a one hour draw for the ROH World Championship.

5 years ago today, WWE presented TLC: Tables Ladders and Chairs (WWE Network link) from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. 11,500 were in attendance, with 195,000 homes watching on PPV. That's down from 228,000 homes in 2009.

  • In a dark match, Daniel Bryan defeated Ted DiBiase to retain the United States Championship.
  • Dolph Ziggler defeated Jack Swagger and Kofi Kingston in a triple threat ladder match to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
  • Beth Phoenix & Natalya defeated Team Lay-Cool (Michelle McCool & Layla) in a Divas tag team tables match.
  • Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov defeated The Nexus (Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater) by disqualification to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship.
  • John Morrison defeated King Sheamus in a WWE Championship #1 contenders ladder match.
  • The Miz defeated Randy Orton in a tables match to retain the WWE Championship.
  • Edge defeated Kane, Rey Mysterio, and Alberto Del Rio in a tables, ladders and chairs match to win the World Heavyweight Championship.
  • John Cena defeated Wade Barrett in a chairs match.

3 years ago today, THQ officially files for bankruptcy. The company held the publishing rights for WWE video games since 1999. Take Two Interactive acquired the WWE license less than a month later. Despite there being speculation that future WWE titles would be delayed, WWE games have mostly come out on schedule since (the notable exception being the delayed Xbox One and Playstation 4 versions of WWE 2K15, which was delayed about a month).

Today would have been the 54th birthday of Reginald Howard White, or simply Reggie White to football and wrestling fans.

Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, White received All-American honors during his senior year of high school, recording 140 tackles (88 solo) and ten sacks. He would play college football for the University of Tennessee. He eventually worked his way into the starting lineup by the end of his freshman season. By the time he was done in Tennessee following the 1983 season, White would be one of the most prolific players in school history, recording 293 tackles (201 solo, 19 tackles-for-loss), 32 sacks (15 coming during his senior season), four fumble recoveries, and seven batted-down passes. His single-season and career-sacks marks are still school records; he held the school's single-game mark for sacks too until 2013.

After playing two seasons for the USFL's Memphis Showboats, White joined the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles. During his eight seasons there, he became the club's all-time sack leader for a single season (21—remarkable since it was in a shortened 12-game season; he's still the only man to record 20 sacks a 12-game period), career (124), and sacks per game (1.75 in 1987). He was voted by ESPN Sportsnation as the greatest player in Philadelphia Eagles history.

In 1993, White shocked sports fans when he joined the Green Bay Packers as a free agent. During his six seasons there, he recorded 68.5 sacks, at the time the Packers' all-time record (a record that would be broken in 2007 by Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila), win the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in 1998, and would have the game-clinching sack in Super Bowl XXXI, the only championship he's won on any level. He would retire following the 1998 season, but would return for the 2000 for the Carolina Panthers.

At the time of his retirement, he had more sacks than anyone in NFL history (198, a mark that would be surpassed just three years later by Bruce Smith, who would finish with 200). Including his 23.5 sacks in the USFL, his 221.5 sacks make him the all-time pro football leader. His nine straight seasons (1985-93) of ten or more sacks still stands as an NFL record. He was named All-Pro 13 times in his 15 seasons, including ten first-team All Pro selections. He was named to the NFL's All-Decade Teams of the 1980s, 1990s, and the 75th Anniversary Team.

Ok, the wrestling connection: White was a member of Lawrence Taylor's All-Pro entourage during Wrestlemania XI against Bam Bam Bigelow. At Slamboree 1997, White wrestled his only professional wrestling match, a loss to fellow NFL alumnus Steve McMichael.

White, an ordained Baptist (thus his nickname being the "Minister of Defense"), had caused quite a bit of controversy regarding his views on race and homosexuality (the latter ended up costing White his gig as a part of CBS' football show The NFL Today).

On December 26, 2004, White was rushed to a hospital for an irregular heartbeat; White was pronounced dead. He was 43. A later autopsy showed that he had cardiac and pulmonary sarcoidsis that possibly went untreated for years. Sleep apnea may have also contributed to his death. At the time of his death, White left behind a wife, Sara, and two children, Jeremy and Jecoila.

Posthumously, White's #92 was retired by the University of Tennessee, the Philadelphia Eagles, and Green Bay Packers (White was the first NFL player to have his number retired by more than one team) in 2005. The next year, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Reggie also posthumously has a street named after him in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Green Bay, Wisconsin.

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