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This Day in Wrestling History (March 29)

Happy Wrestlemania everyone!

36 years ago today, the World Wide Wrestling Federation drops the Wide part and officially becomes the World Wrestling Federation.

28 years ago today, WWF presented Wrestlemania III: Bigger! Better! Badder! (WWE Network link) from the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. A then-world record 93,173 fans were in attendance, with 400,000 homes watching on PPV, with an additional 450,000 homes watching on closed-circuit television. That's up from 400,000 and 319,000 homes for Wrestlemania 2, respectively. The attendance figure has been (and remains to this day) disputed among wrestling circles. Some contend only about 78,000 were there, but there seemed to hardly be an empty seat in the Silverdome, which held just over 80,000 people for football games. Whatever the real attendance figure is, it's no longer the record. It was broken just a few months later for a papal visit by John Paul II that drew 93,682. That record was broken at the 2010 NBA All-Star Game when 108,713 people showed up at Cowboys Stadium for that event. The event, considered the peak of the 1980s wrestling boom, generated $1.6 million in ticket sales ($3.3 million in today dollars) and another $10.3 million (about $21.2 million) in PPV revenue, both records for professional wrestling at the time.

Star ratings by David Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Newsletter as recorded in the Internet Wrestling Database. All star ratings are out of five stars.

  • The Can-Am Connection defeated Bob Orton and The Magnificent Muraco. (2.5/5)
  • Billy Jack Haynes fought Hercules to a double countout. (2.75)
  • Hillbilly Jim, The Haiti Kid and Little Beaver defeated King Kong Bundy, Little Tokyo and Lord Littlebrook by disqualification in a mixed tag team match. Bundy dropped an elbow on Little Beaver, which was against the rules (big on big, little on little) (1)
  • Harley Race defeated The Junkyard Dog. With the loss, the Junkyard Dog was forced to bow before Race. (1)
  • The Dream Team (Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake) defeated The Fabulous Rougeaus (Jacques and Raymond). (1.5)
  • Roddy Piper defeated Adrian Adonis via knockout in a hair versus hair match. The bout was also billed as Piper's retirement match. The retirement didn't stick, of course; he was back about two years later. (3.5)
  • The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart) and Danny Davis defeated The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and The Dynamite Kid) and Tito Santana. (2.75)
  • Butch Reed defeated Koko B. Ware. (0.5)
  • Ricky Steamboat defeated Randy Savage to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship. (4.5)
  • The Honky Tonk Man defeated Jake Roberts. (2.5)
  • The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff defeated The Killer Bees (Brian Blair and Jim Brunzell) by disqualification. (1.5)
  • Hulk Hogan defeated André the Giant to retain the WWF Championship. The loss was billed as the first time Andre was defeated via pinfall. Despite the historical significance of the match, it was still voted the Worst Worked Match of the Year by Wrestling Observer Newsletter, and is considered by the Internet Wrestling Database as one of the worst matches in professional wrestling history. (-4)

21 years ago today in London, England, Men on a Mission (Mabel & Mo) defeated the Quebecers (Jacques & Pierre) to win the WWF Tag Team Championship.

17 years ago today, WWF presented Wrestlemania XIV: dX raided (WWE Network link) from the FleetCenter in Boston, Massachusetts. 19,028 were in attendance, with 730,000 homes watching on PPV. That's more than triple the number of homes for Wrestlemania 13 (237,000 homes), and it's the first increase in home buys since Wrestlemania IX. This event is often cited as the starting point of the Attitude Era.

  • L.O.D. 2000 (Hawk and Animal) last eliminated The New Midnight Express (Bombastic Bob and Bodacious Bart) to win a fifteen-team battle royal to win a WWF Tag Team Championship match at Unforgiven. Other participants were Los Boricuas (Miguel and Savio on one team, José and Jesús on another), Bradshaw and Chainz, Steve Blackman and Flash Funk, The Disciples of Apocalypse (8-Ball and Skull), The Godwinns (Henry and Phineas), The Headbangers (Mosh and Thrasher), The Nation of Domination (D'Lo Brown and Mark Henry on one team, Faarooq and Kama Mustafa on another), The Quebecers (Jacques and Pierre), The Rock 'n' Roll Express (Robert Gibson and Ricky Morton), The Truth Commission (Recon & Sniper) and Too Much (Brian Christopher and Scott Taylor). (-0.5/5)
  • Taka Michinoku defeated Aguila to retain the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship. (0.5)
  • Triple H defeated Owen Hart to retain the WWF European Championship. (3)
  • Marc Mero and Sable defeated The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust and Luna in a mixed tag team match. (3)
  • The Rock defeated Ken Shamrock by disqualification to retain the WWF Intercontinental Championship. Shamrock originally won the match via submission but he refused to release the submission hold in a timely manner, causing the referee to reverse the decision. (1.5)
  • Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie defeated The New Age Outlaws (Billy Gunn and Road Dogg) in a dumpster match to win the WWF Tag Team Championship. The decision was overturned the next day after the Outlaws argued that Cactus and Chainsaw used a dumpster other than the one designated for the match. (3.25)
  • The Undertaker defeated Kane. (1.5)
  • Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated Shawn Michaels to win the WWF Championship. Mike Tyson was the special enforcer, but was the one that counted the fall. (3.25)

Rey Mysterio & Billy Kidman vs... by Stinger1981

16 years ago today on Nitro from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Billy Kidman and Rey Misterio, Jr. defeated Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko to win the WCW World Tag Team Championship.

Road Dogg vs. Goldust - IC Title Match - 3/29/99 by ShatteredDreamsProduction

16 years ago today on RAW is WAR from East Rutherford, NJ, Goldust defeated Road Dogg Jesse James to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship.

10 years ago today at a Smackdown taping in Houston, Texas, Paul London won an eight-man over-the-top battle royal to win the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. Other participants (in order of elimination) were CHavo Guerrero, Funaki, Nunzio, Spike Dudley, Scotty 2 Hotty, Akio, and Kidman.

4 years ago today, WWE releases Dave "Fit" Finlay following an incident that took place in Champaign, Illinois. The incident involved then-WWE Champion The Miz interrupting the National Anthem, something that members of the National Guard, a major WWE sponsor, did not take kindly to. Though TNA to get Finlay on board, they couldn't agree to a deal. He spent the next year and a half on the independent circuit before returning to WWE in July 2012.

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