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This Day in Wrestling History (March 20)

37 years ago today in Madison Square Garden in New York City, Superstar Billy Graham defeated Bob Backlund via referee stoppage when Backlund was cut over his eye. At the time, the WWWF Championship could not change hands via referee stoppage, so Bob Backlund did not lose the title. On the same show, Andre the Giant, Mil Mascaras, and Dusty Rhodes defeated Mr. Fuji, Toru Tanaka, and Ken Patera.

32 years ago today in Madison Square Garden in New York City, WWF Champion Bob Backlund defeated WWF Intercontinental Champion Don Muraco in a Texas deathmatch. On the same show, Andre the Giant, Jimmy Snuka, and Rocky Johnson defated Big John Studd, Afa, and Captain Lou Albano 3-0 in a best of five falls match.

21 years ago today, WWF presented Wrestlemania X: Ten Years in the Making (WWE Network link) from Madison Square Garden in New York City. 18,065 were in attendance, with 200,000 homes watching on PPV. That's down from 300,000 for Wrestlemania IX. The show's hook was two scheduled WWF Championship matches, at the time a first for the company. Determined by a coin toss (since three way matches weren't a thing back then), Lex Luger would face WWF Champion Yokozuna first, with the champion to face Bret Hart in the main event. To ensure Hart would not have an advantage, Bret also had a second match; in his case, against his brother Owen. This was made as such because both Hart and Luger had won the Royal Rumble match two months earlier and the right to challenge for the title. Another hook for the show was the first televised ladder match in WWF history between Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels for the undisputed WWF Intercontinental Championship. This is the first Wrestlemania to not feature Hulk Hogan in any capacity; he had left the company following the previous summer's King of the Ring. One last note: this is the last Wrestlemania to begin during the afternoon hours. Starting with Wrestlemania XI, all of their PPVs (not just Wrestlemania) would begin in primetime hours on Sunday night.

Star ratings are from Wrestling Observer Newsletter's Dave Meltzer as recorded in the Internet Wrestling Database. Ratings are out of five.

  • In a dark match, The Heavenly Bodies (Jimmy Del Ray and Tom Prichard) defeated The Bushwhackers (Luke Williams and Butch Miller).
  • Owen Hart defeated Bret Hart. (4.75/5)
  • Bam Bam Bigelow and Luna Vachon defeated Doink the Clown (Ray Apollo) and Dink in a mixed tag team match. (1.75)
  • Randy Savage defeated Crush in a falls count anywhere match. In this match, if a competitor was pinned, he had one minute to return to the ring or he would forfeit the match. Crush at the end would be tied to a cable upside down by the feet backstage, making it impossible for him to return to the ring within the time limit. This was not only Savage's last Wrestlemania appearance; this was his last televised match for the company. (2.75)
  • Alundra Blayze defeated Leilani Kai to retain the WWF Women's Championship. (1.25)
  • Men on a Mission (Mabel and Mo) defeated The Quebecers (Jacques and Pierre by countout in a WWF Tag Team Championship match.(1.25)
  • Yokozuna defeated Lex Luger by disqualification to retain the WWF Championship. Mr. Perfect was the special referee. (0.5)
  • Earthquake defeated Adam Bomb in just 32 seconds. (0)
  • Razor Ramon defeated Shawn Michaels in a ladder match to retain the WWF Intercontinental Championship. (5)
  • Bret Hart defeated Yokozuna to win the WWF Championship. Rowdy Roddy Piper was the specia referee. (2.25)

15 years ago today on RAW is WAR from Chicago, Illinois, Triple H defeated The Rock and The Big Show in a triple threat match to retain the WWF Championship. Triple H assumed the main event of Wrestlemania 2000 was done and dusted, but he was very wrong. Post-match, Linda McMahon appeared that the new Wrestlemania main event would be a fatal four-way elimination match with a McMahon in every corner, pitting Triple H (with Stephanie), The Rock (with Vince), The Big Show (with Shane), and the unretired Mick Foley.

7 years ago today, former WCW and TNA performer Charles Ashenoff, aka Konnan, files a lawsuit against TNA Wrestling, accusing the company of racial discrimination, including his departure and how he was treated while he was dealing with health issues that required a hip replacement and later a kidney transplant. TNA would lend Konnan money for the hip replacement, and a fan came through with a kidney donation. TNA would countersue Konnan a few months later. The two sides settle for an undisclosed sum in May 2009.

7 years ago today, WWE suspends Afa Anoai, Jr., the son of Afa of Wild Samoans fame, for 30 days following a violation of the WWE Wellness Policy. Afa Jr. would go on to have a brief run on the main roster as Legacy pledge Manu.

6 years ago, Ring of Honor presented the first episode of ROH on HDNet. The show featured matches from the old ECW Arena taped February 28.

  • Jerry Lynn defeated Delirious.
  • Kenny King defeated Sami Callihan.
  • Brent Albright defeated Rhett Titus.
  • Tyler Black defeated Jimmy Jacobs.

6 years ago today, Ring of Honor presented their Seventh Anniversary Show from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.

  • Erick Stevens & Roderick Strong defeated Kenny King & Rhett Titus.
  • Brent Albright defeated Claudio Castagnoli by disqualification.
  • Bobby Dempsey defeated Adam Pearce.
  • Jerry Lynn defeated Mike Quackenbush.
  • Delirious, Necro Butcher & Tyler Black defeated Austin Aries & The Age of the Fall (Brodie Lee & Jimmy Jacobs) in a Ultimate Endurance match.
    • Austin Aries eliminated Delirious.
    • Brodie Lee and Necro Butcher were counted out.
    • Tyler Black eliminated Austin Aries by submission.
    • Tyler Black eliminated Jimmy Jacobs.
  • Bryan Danielson & Colt Cabana defeated Bison Smith & Jimmy Rave.
  • D-Lo Brown defeated Jay Briscoe.
  • El Generico & Kevin Steen defeated The American Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards) in a no disqualification match to retain the ROH World Tag Team Championship.
  • Nigel McGuinness defeated KENTA by submission to retain the ROH World Championship.

4 years ago today, runs a story about Drew Carey's induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. Innocent enough, until WWE sees the headline: "Drew Carey inducted into pro wrestling Hall of Fame". WWE publicist Kellie Baldyga demands via e-mail they change the headline. The following exchange took place via phone and e-mail conversation between Baldyga and TVWeek's Chuck Ross regarding the headline (I swear this is not made up):

Next thing I know, I've received an email from one Kellie Baldyga, a publicist for WWE, DEMANDING that we correct the story.  She also copied our owner, Rance Crain, on the email.

What had drawn her ire was the headline.  Baldyga wrote in her email, "We are no longer a wrestling company but rather a global entertainment company with a movie studio, international licensing deals, publisher of three magazines, consumer good distributor and more."

... I called her and introduced myself. The conversation then basically went as follows:

Me:  Your release says that Carey is being recognized as being an entrant in the 2001 Royal Rumble.  I believe that was a wrestling event.

Kellie:  No, we don't do wrestling events.  They're entertainments.  And we don't call them wrestlers.  They're superstars and divas.

...  Me:  Kellie, I really don't have time for this.  WWE presents wrestling events.  I'm not going to change the headline or anything in the item.  If you'd like, I'll just remove it.

Kellie:  Huh?  What?

Me:  Kellie, I don't have time for this.  What do you want me to do?

Kellie:  Remove it.

So I did.

Kellie sent me a follow-up email saying "I hope nothing was contentious in our conversation..." She added, "I know the perception is that we are a wrestling company but we are actually much more than that--we are a global media company which is how our Chairman and CEO, Vince McMahon, positions us."

I know I shouldn't editorialize,

While attempting to figure that out, let's bring back birthdays, yeah?

It's a happy 56th birthday for Steve Borden, best known to wrestling fans around the world as Sting. Sting, best known for his fourteen-year run in JCP and its successor WCW, and spending most of the 2000s with TNA, will make his WWE in-ring debut (and finale possibly) at Wrestlemania 31 in San Francisco on March 29.

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