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This Day in Wrestling History (May 16)

51 years ago today in Omaha, Nebraska, Verne Gagne defeated Mad Dog Vachon to win the AWA World Heavyweight Championship for the seventh time.

31 years ago today, actor Andy Kaufman dies of lung cancer in Los Angeles, California. He was 35. Best known for his work as Latka Graves on the hit television series Taxi, Kaufman occasionally "wrestled", calling himself the "intergender wrestling champion of the world" and offered $1,000 to any woman that could beat him. Wrestling-wise, he's best known for his long "feud" with Jerry "The King" Lawler. Kaufman would be the subject of a biographical film in 1999, Man on the Moon, which featured Lawler.

28 years ago today in Atlanta, Georgia, The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton & Stan Lane) defeated Ronnie Garvin and Barry Windham to win the vacated NWA United States Tag Team Championship.

17 years ago today, ECW presented A Matter of Respect '98 from the ECW Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

  • Justin Credible defeated Jerry Lynn 2-1 in a best of three falls match.
  • Chris Chetti defeated Jamie Dundee.
  • Mikey Whipwreck defeated Mike Lozansky.
  • Kronus defeated Danny Doring.
  • Super Nova & The Blue Meanie and The FBI (Little Guide & Tracy Smothers) fought to a no contest.
  • Axl Rotten & Balls Mahoney defeated The FBI (Little Guido & Tracy Smothers).
  • Bam Bam Bigelow defeated Al Snow.
  • Chris Candido & Sabu versus Lance Storm & Rob Van Dam ended in a no contest.
  • Spike Dudley, The Sandman, & Tommy Dreamer defeated The Dudleys (Big Dick Dudley, Buh Buh Ray Dudley, & D-Von Dudley) in a Stairway to Hell match.

16 years ago today, WWF presented No Mercy (WWE Network link) from the Manchester Evening News Arena in Manchester, England. The UK-exclusive event would not be released for North American audiences until January 4, 2000; that's more than six months after the event took place (and about two and a half months after the WWF held its own version of the event). In a side note, both the VHS and the 2010 DVD releases of the event are highly sought after; the VHS for obvious reasons, and the 2010 DVD because there are no edits to the original broadcasts. Not even the WWF logo is blurred out.

  • Tiger Ali Singh defeated Gillberg in just 65 seconds.
  • The Ministry of Darkness (Viscera, Faarooq and Bradshaw) defeated The Brood (Gangrel, Edge, and Christian).
  • Steve Blackman defeated Droz.
  • Kane defeated Mideon by disqualification.
  • Nicole Bass defeated Tori in just 27 seconds.
  • Shane McMahon defeated X-Pac to retain the WWF European Championship.
  • Mr. Ass defeated Mankind.
  • Steve Austin defeated The Undertaker and Triple H in an anything goes triple threat match to retain the WWF Championship.

16 years ago today, ECW presented Hardcore Heaven (WWE Network link) from the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, New York.

  • Taz defeated Chris Candido via submission in just 70 seconds to retain the ECW World Heavyweight Championship.
  • The Dudley Boyz (Buh Buh Ray Dudley & D-Von Dudley) defeat Balls Mahoney & Spike Dudley to retain the ECW Tag Team Championship.
  • Super Crazy defeats Taka Michinoku.
  • Yoshihiro Tajiri defeats Little Guido.
  • Lance Storm defeats Tommy Dreamer.
  • Rob Van Dam defeats Jerry Lynn in a no time limit match to retain the ECW Television Championship.
  • Sid defeated Justin Credible via disqualification.
  • Taz defeated Buh Buh Ray Dudley via submission in a falls count anywhere match to retain the ECW World Heavyweight Championship.

May 18 2000 - SmackDown (2) by notricorodriguez

15 years ago today at a Smackdown taping in Detroit, Michigan, Gerald Brisco defeated Crash Holly to win the WWF Hardcore Championship.

13 years ago today, Shoichi Arai was found dead in Mizumoto Park in Tokyo, Japan. He hung himself by the neck with a tie. Arai was just 35. In 1995, Arai took over Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling after buying it from founder Atushi Onita. Under his tenure, the deathmatch style that made FMW famous was phased out. While it led to safer working conditions, attendance and revenue declined. The decline only sped up when one of his top supporters—and top draw—Hayabusa broke his neck in a match in October 2001. Interest in the company was almost nonexistent following the injury, and FMW would close for good in February 2002 under mounting debt ($3 million against the company, and another million in personal debt by Arai to Yakuza groups). Arai hung himself so that his ex-wife (his wife left him in the months following FMW's shutdown) would use the insurance money to pay off the Yakuza. It turned out it wasn't nearly enough; the Arai family would still be paying the debt years later. In an interesting bit of trivia, earlier this year, FMW resurfaced under the name Cho Sento Puroresu FMW. The new FMW held its first event last month.

11 years ago today, WWE presented Judgment Day (WWE Network link) from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. 18,722 were in attendance, with 235,000 homes watching on PPV. That's down from 315,000 homes for the 2003 event. This event is noted for Eddie Guerrero BREAKING the Muta scale when he was busted open with a chair shot during the main event.

  • In a Sunday Night Heat preshow match, Mark Jindrak defeated Funaki.
  • Rob Van Dam and Rey Mysterio defeated The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von).
  • Torrie Wilson defeated Dawn Marie.
  • Mordecai defeated Scotty 2 Hotty.
  • Charlie Haas and Rico defeated Hardcore Holly and Billy Gunn to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship.
  • Chavo Guerrero defeated Jacqueline to win the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
  • John Cena defeated René Duprée to retain the WWE United States Championship.
  • The Undertaker defeated Booker T.
  • John "Bradshaw" Layfield defeated Eddie Guerrero by disqualification in a WWE Championship match.

5 years ago today, TNA presented Sacrifice from the Impact Zone at Universal Orlando.

  • The Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin) defeated Beer Money, Inc. (James Storm and Robert Roode) and Team 3D (Brother Devon and Brother Ray) in a three-way match to become the #1 contenders for the TNA World Tag Team Championship.
  • Rob Terry defeated Orlando Jordan to retain the TNA Global Championship.
  • Douglas Williams defeated Kazarian to win the TNA X Division Championship.
  • Madison Rayne defeated Tara in a title versus career match to retain the TNA Knockouts Championship. With the loss, Tara could never compete in TNA again. In reality, it was a write-off, as Tara was on the fence about re-signing with the company. She eventually would and would return a few months later.
  • The Band (Kevin Nash and Scott Hall) defeated Ink Inc. (Jesse Neal and Shannon Moore) to retain the TNA World Tag Team Championship.
  • Abyss defeated Desmond Wolfe. With the win, Abyss won the services of Desmond's manager Chelsea for a month. Had Desmond won, he would have received Hulk Hogan's Hall of Fame ring that was given to Abyss.
  • Jeff Hardy defeated Mr. Anderson.
  • Sting defeated Jeff Jarrett in just 14 seconds. Of course, it helped that Jarrett was beaten down hard by Sting.
  • Rob Van Dam defeated A.J. Styles to retain the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.

4 years ago today, TNA rebranded their weekly television show as Impact Wrestling, using the tagline "Wrestling Matters Again". The campaign included purchasing billboard advertising across the country, including a few in Stamford, Connecticut, home of World Wrestling Entertainment. At the first taping of the rebranding at Universal Orlando, Abyss defeated Kazarian to win the TNA X Division Championship.

3 years ago today, Ring of Honor star Tommaso Ciampa announces via his Twitter that he had been diagnosed with diverticulitis. Ciampa in 140 characters or less:

"Apparently even beasts can be slowed down. Had the flu and a stomach virus last week. Found out today I have diverticulitis. Down 12 pounds. Still plan on murdering some b*tches this weekend. I have a loss to redeem and more to prove than ever before."

The announcement comes just four days after suffering his first pinfall loss in Ring of Honor. Despite the diagnosis, Ciampa continued to wrestle and was at Best of the World: Hostage Crisis the next month.

It's a happy 77th birthday to Johnny Rodriguez, aka Johnny Rodz. A member of the WWE Hall of Fame class of 1996, Rodriguez was a mainstay during the WWF's early days and worked for NWA Hollywood in the 1970s. Rodriguez is best known these days as a trainer, running a wrestling school in Brooklyn for a quarter century. Some of his most famous students include the Dudley Boyz, Matt Striker, Tommy Dreamer, Taz, and Bill Demott. His more recent graduates include Colin Cassidy and Marti Belle.

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