clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

This Day in Wrestling History (Dec. 27): All The Stars Come Out

28 years ago today in Las Vegas, Nevada, Greg Gagne defeated Adrian Adonis in a tournament final to become the first AWA International Television Champion. On the same show, Madusa Miceli defeated Candi Devine to win the AWA World Womens Championship. The title was vacated for about six months when Sherri Martel, the previous champion, left for the WWF.

28 years ago today in Tokyo, Japan, Antonio Inoki defeated Riki Choshu via disqualification. However, the story would be what followed the bout.

Leon White, who had wrestled as "Baby Bull" Leon White in the AWA and Bull Power in Germany, made his debut for New Japan Pro Wrestling as Big Van Vader by more or less killing Inoki dead, defeating him in just three minutes. The attendees at Sumo Hall were NOT HAPPY. Not even a little bit. They rioted. As a result, New Japan was banned from running events in Sumo Hall for over a year. The quick victory made Vader an immediate player in New Japan as Inoki rarely jobbed clean.

A couple of side nuggets: Leon White wasn't the first choice for the Vader gimmick. That was Sid Vicious. He wasn't their second choice either; that was the Ultimate Warrior. Leon was actually set to debut for New Japan rival All Japan Pro Wrestling, but NJPW worked out a deal and snatched him away for themselves.

He wasn't the only debut at the show: Hiroshi Hase made his New Japan debut earlier in that show and won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship from Kuniaki Kobayashi. Hase would go on to a legendary career, winning the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title twice and the IWGP tag title four times, as well as serving as chairman of the PWF, the governing body for the championships for All Japan Pro Wrestling.

No Holds Barred The Movie/The Match 3/3 by RedneckSpiritHunter

26 years ago today, WWF presented No Holds Barred: The Movie/The Match on PPV. The program consisted of the movie released in theaters earlier in the year, followed by a tag team steel cage match involving Hulk Hogan and Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake and "Macho Man" Randy Savage and Zeus. The match, taped during a set for Wrestling Challenge on December 12, was won by Hogan and Beefcake. It would be the final match for Zeus in the WWF, as he left the WWF shortly thereafter. For results of the full card, check out TDIPWH from December 12 here.

22 years ago today, WCW presented Starrcade '93: 10th Anniversary (WWE Network link) from the Independence Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina. 8,200 were in attendance, with 115,000 homes watching on PPV. It's the most bought PPV for WCW in more than a year (Halloween Havoc '92 had 165,000 buys; shows since then had about 100,000 buys, except for the most recent event, Battlebowl with 55,000 buys). It's up just 10,000 buys from the 1992 event.

It's the first Starrcade since the NWA/WCW split was made official a few months earlier. A side note: Sid Vicious was originally the opponent lined up for Vader, but he was involved in a stabbing incident with Arn Anderson and was fired two months before the event.

  • In a dark match, Terry Taylor defeated The Equalizer.
  • Pretty Wonderful (Paul Orndorff & Paul Roma) defeated Marcus Alexander Bagwell & Too Cold Scorpio.
  • The Shockmaster defeated King Kong.
  • Lord Steven Regal and Ricky Steamboat went to a time limit draw for the WCW World Television Championship.
  • Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne defeated Shanghai Pierce & Tex Slazenger.
  • Rick Rude defeated The Boss to retain the WCW International World Heavyweight Championship.
  • Steve Austin defeated Dustin Rhodes 2-0 in a best of three falls match to win the WCW United States Championship.
  • Road Warrior Hawk & Sting defeated The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs & Jerry Sags) by disqualification in a WCW World Tag Team Championship match.
  • Ric Flair defeated Big Van Vader to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Had Flair lost, he would have been forced to retire.

21 years ago today, WCW presented Starrcade (WWE Network link) from the Nashville Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. 8,200 were in attendance, with 130,000 homes watching on PPV, is up just 15,000 from 1993's event. However, it's down 80,000 from Halloween Havoc two months earlier.

  • Vader defeated Hacksaw Jim Duggan to win the WCW United States Championship.
  • Alex Wright defeated Jean-Paul Levesque.
  • Johnny B. Badd defeated Arn Anderson to retain the WCW World Television Championship.
  • The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags) defeated Harlem Heat (Booker T and Stevie Ray) by disqualification in a WCW World Tag Team Championship match.
  • Mr. T defeated Kevin Sullivan.
  • Sting defeated Avalanche by disqualification.
  • Hulk Hogan defeated The Butcher to retain the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.

20years ago today, WCW presented Starrcade (WWE Network link) from the Nashville Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. 8,200 were in attendance, with just 75,000 homes watching on PPV. It's the least bought WCW event since Battlebowl in 1993. The show's hook was the "World Cup of Wrestling", featuring seven WCW stars taking on seven of New Japan Pro Wrestling's best.

  • In a preshow dark match, Diamond Dallas Page defeated Dave Sullivan.
  • In a preshow dark match, The American Males (Marcus Alexander Bagwell & Scotty Riggs) defeated The Blue Bloods (Earl Robert Eaton & Lord Steven Regal).
  • World Cup of Wrestling
    • Jushin Thunder Liger [NJPW] defeated Chris Benoit [WCW].
    • Koji Kanemoto [NJPW] defeated Alex Wright [WCW]. The IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship match was at stake in this match.
    • Lex Luger [WCW] defeated Masahiro Chono [NJPW].
    • Johnny B. Badd [WCW] defeated Masa Saito [NJPW] by disqualification.
    • Shinjiro Otani [NJPW] defeated Eddie Guerrero [WCW].
    • Randy Savage [WCW] defeated Tenzan [NJPW].
    • Sting [WCW] defeated Kensuke Sasaki [NJPW], winning the World Cup of Wrestling for WCW.
  • Ric Flair defeated Lex Luger and Sting by countout to become the #1 contender for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
  • Ric Flair defeated Randy Savage to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
  • In a postshow dark match, Kensuke Sasaki defeated The One Man Gang to retain the WCW United States Championship. A bit of bizarre trivia, the match aired on WCW and it showed One Man Gang defeating Sasaki for the title. However, the pin wasn't counted in the arena, and the match continued with Sasaki going on to win the match and retaining the title.

17 years ago today, WCW presented Starrcade (WWE Network link) from the MCI Center in Washington, DC. 16,066 were in attendance, with 460,000 homes watching on PPV. That's down from WCW's record high of 700,000 homes for the 1997 event.

  • Kidman defeated Juventud Guerrera and Rey Mysterio Jr. to retain the WCW Cruiserweight Championship.
  • Kidman defeated Eddie Guerrero to retain the WCW Cruiserweight Championship.
  • Norman Smiley defeated Prince Iaukea.
  • Perry Saturn defeated The Cat.
  • Brian Adams & Scott Norton defeated Fit Finlay & Jerry Flynn.
  • Konnan defeated Chris Jericho to retain the WCW Television Championship.
  • Eric Bischoff defeats Ric Flair.
  • Diamond Dallas Page defeats The Giant.
  • Kevin Nash defeated Goldberg in a no disqualification match to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. The win ends Goldberg's undefeated run in WCW at just over 15 months and 173 matches.

10 years ago today at a Smackdown taping in Uncasville, Connecticut, MNM (Joey Mercury & Johnny Nitro) defeated Batista & Rey Mysterio to win the WWE Tag Team Championship. It's the third time the duo won the tag titles in 2005.

7 years ago today, Ring of Honor presented Final Battle from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.

  • Kenny Omega defeated Claudio Castagnoli.
  • Jerry Lynn defeated Chris Hero, Necro Butcher, and Rhett Titus in a Four Corner Survival match.
  • El Generico & Kevin Steen defeated The Age of the Fall (Delirious & Jimmy Jacobs) to retain the ROH World Tag Team Championship.
  • Brent Albright, Erick Stevens & Roderick Strong defeated Sweet 'n' Sour Inc. (Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards & Go Shiozaki) in a street fight.
  • Briscoe Brothers (Jay & Mark Briscoe) defeated Kensuke Office (Katsuhiko Nakajima & Kensuke Sasaki.
  • Austin Aries defeated Tyler Black to become the #1 contender for the ROH World Championship.
  • Nigel McGuinness defeated Naomichi Marufuji to retain the ROH World Championship.
  • Bryan Danielson defeated Takeshi Morishima in a Fight Without Honor.
Birthdays aplenty today, so the profiles will be brief.

It's a happy 28th birthday for Kevin Hackman. Name not familiar? Well, that was the Florida Championship Wrestling gimmick name for Andrew "Andy" Leavine.

Leavine, a cousin of Dan Spivey, is most famous for being the winner of the 2011 Tough Enough series. Shortly after reporting to FCW, he was suspended for violating the WWE's Wellness Policy, and his career never recovered, being released just ten months after his Tough Enough win.

Post-WWE, he wrestled for Puerto Rico-based World Wrestling Council, where he briefly held the WWC Universal Heavyweight Championship in 2012 and the WWC Tag Team Championship with Samson Walker in 2013.

It's a happy 35th birthday for Claudio Castignoli, known these days as Cesaro.

The Swiss-born Castignoli is one of the more accomplished tag team wrestlers of the 21st century, notably winning tag team championships for Ring of Honor, Chikara, Juggalo Championship Wrestling, Combat Zone Wrestling, and WWE. His 364-day tag team title run with Chris Hero as The Kings of Wrestling is the longest in company history. Castignoli also won Chikara's Tag World Grand Prix in 2006 and 2007 and was a part of the winning trio with Ares and Turas in their 2010 King of Trios tournament.

He also had some singles success, winning the Westside Xtreme Wrestling Unified World Wrestling Championship in 2003 and 2004, the Pro Wrestling Guerilla World Championship in 2010, the WWE United States Championship in 2012, and the Andre the Giant Memorial Trophy for winning a 30-man battle royal at Wrestlemania XXX.

Castignoli has won Wrestling Observer Newsletter's Most Underrated award the last two years, and their Tag Team of the Year in 2010. He also just won his first Slammy for the best performance in the John Cena United States Open Challenge. In the most recent PWI 500, Castignoli was ranked the thirteenth best singles wrestler in the world.

It's a happy 45th birthday for Joan Marie Laurer, best known to wrestling fans as Chyna.

Laurer's made a bit of history in her wrestling life, being the only woman to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship, the only woman to qualify for the King of the Ring tournament, and was the first woman to enter the Royal Rumble. Oh, and she won the WWF Womens Championship too. She wrestled sporadically after leaving the WWF in 2001, wrestling briefly for New Japan Pro Wrestling in 2002, and one match for TNA in 2011. While in WWE, she appeared twice for Playboy magazine and appeared on a celebrity episode of Fear Factor. She also released a New York Times bestseller, If They Only Knew in 2001.

Post-wrestling, Laurer appeared on reality series The Surreal Life, The Surreal Life: Fame Games, and Celebrity Rehab. Relationship-wise, she's dated fellow wrestlers Paul Levesque (from 1996 to 2000), and Sean Waltman, whom she infamously made a sex tape with in 2004, 1 Night in China. She's also a two-time Adult Video News award winner, one for the sex tape (Best Selling Title), the other for Best Celebrity Sex Tape, Backdoor to Chyna in 2012. In an interesting bit of trivia, she appeared in the 2007 B-movie, Illegal Aliens, the last movie to feature former Playboy playmate Anna Nicole Smith (the movie was released straight-to-video about three months after her death). Today, Laurer is an English teacher in Japan.

It's a happy 49th birthday for William Scott Goldberg, but wrestling fans just call him Bill Goldberg.

Wrestling briefly for WWE in 2003 and 2004, Goldberg is best known for his exaggerated undefeated streak of wins in 1997 and 1998 (173 of them—allegedly) in WCW from his debut in September 1997 to December 1998. Goldberg is a two-time world champion, winning the World Heavyweight Championship once each in WCW and WWE, and in 1999 won the WCW World Tag Team Championship with Bret Hart. He also was briefly WCW United States Champion during his undefeated run.

Goldberg was briefly a color commentator for mixed martial arts promotions World Fighting Alliance, K-1, and Elite XC in 2006 and 2007. Bill also appeared in the 1999 film Universal Sodlier: The Return in 1999 and hosted three seasons of Bullrun. He also appeared in the 2005 remake of The Longest Yard and starred in Santa's Slay that same year.

These days, the semi-retired wrestler hosts a podcast, Who's Next with Goldberg for Sports USA Media.

It's a happy 52nd birthday for Michael Polchlopek. Known in various lives as Mike Barton and Bodacious Bart, he's best known as Bart Gunn.

Polchlopek was one half of the Smoking Gunns with his kayfabe brother Billy, winning the WWF Tag Team Championship three times in 1995 and 1996. In 1998, he was Bodacious Bart, one half of a rebooted Midnight Express with Bombastic Bob. They didn't win a lot, though they were briefly NWA World Tag Team Champions together in 1998.

Later that year, Mike made a name for himself by winning the Brawl for All tournament, including scoring an upset knockout win over "Dr. Death" Steve Williams in the second round. He parlayed that into a match at Wrestlemania XV against Eric "Butterbean" Esch, but Butterbean quickly finished him, knocking out Gunn in just 35 seconds.

Following his release from the WWF in 1999, he joined All Japan Pro Wrestling full time, becoming a member of Johnny Ace's gaijin stable, The Movement. He briefly held the All Japan World Tag Team Championship with Ace in the June and July 1999. The next year, Barton stayed behind when Mitsuhara Misawa led a mass exodus of the promotion; around the same time, Johnny Ace left for WCW, leaving Mike to find a new partner in Jim Steele. The two would team until Barton's retirement in 2004.

Following his retirement, he fought two MMA fights, a TKO victory in the first round, and a unanimous decision defeat. He made one last in-ring appearance, at RAW 15th Anniversary in 2007. Today, the grandfather is an electrician and an avid Star Wars fan, attending multiple conventions each year.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats