63 years ago today in Los Angeles, California, Lou Thesz defeated Baron Michele Leone to win the California version of the World Heavyweight Championship. With both NWA world titles (National Wrestling Alliance and National Wrestling Association), every regional version of the world title, and a win over AWA world champion Gorgeous George in a non-title match, Lou Thesz is recognized as the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.
20 years ago today, WCW presented Slamboree: A Legends' Reunion (WWE Network link) from the Bayfront Center in St. Petersburg, Florida. About 7,000 were in attendance, with 110,000 homes watching on PPV. That's up slightly from 105,000 homes for the 1994 edition. The show included the final inductions into the WCW Hall of Fame: Wahoo McDaniel, Angelo Poffo, Terry Funk, Antonio Inoki, Dusty Rhodes, Gordon Solie, and Big John Studd posthumously. The inclusion of Angelo Poffo led to some contention between Solie and WCW, and ultimately led to his release from the company a few weeks later.
- In a WCW Main Event match, The Blue Bloods (Lord Steven Regal and Earl Robert Eaton) defeated Los Especialistas (Ricky Santana and Fidel Sierra).
- In a WCW Main Event match, Steve Austin defeated Eddie Jackie.
- In a WCW Main Event match, Sgt. Craig Pittman defeated Mark Starr.
- In a WCW Main Event match, Meng defeated Brian Pillman in a quarterfinal match in the WCW United States Championship tournament.
- The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags) defeated Harlem Heat (Booker T and Stevie Ray) to win the WCW World Tag Team Championship.
- Kevin Sullivan defeated The Man with No Name.
- Wahoo McDaniel defeated Dick Murdoch. In an interesting bit of trivia, the bout aired in black and white to give it that "legends" feel.
- The Great Muta defeated Paul Orndorff to retain the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
- Arn Anderson defeated Alex Wright to retain the WCW World Television Championship.
- Meng and Road Warrior Hawk fought to a double countout.
- Sting defeated Big Bubba Rogers via submission in a Lights Out match.
- Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage defeated Ric Flair and Vader. Post-match, Randy Savage's father Angelo is assaulted by Flair.
15 years ago today, WWF presented Judgment Day (WWE Network link) from Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky. 16,827 were in attendance, with 420,000 homes watching on PPV. That's up from 416,000 homes for the May 1999 event, Over the Edge. Besides being noted for having only the second televised Ironman match in WWF history, the Undertaker returned...looking very different. He debuted his "American Badass" biker look and music.
- In a Sunday Night Heat preshow match, The British Bulldog defeated Joey Abs.
- In a Sunday Night Heat preshow match, Essa Rios & Lita defeated Kaientai (Taka Michinoku & Funaki).
- In a Sunday Night Heat preshow match, The Godfather defeated D-Lo Brown.
- Rikishi Phatu & Too Cool defeated Edge, Christian, & Kurt Angle.
- Eddie Guerrero beat Perry Saturn and Dean Malenko in a triple threat match to retain the WWF European Championship.
- Shane McMahon pinned The Big Show in a falls count anywhere match.
- Chris Benoit defeated Chris Jericho in a submission match to retain the WWF Intercontinental Championship.
- Road Dogg & X-Pac defeated The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von) in a double tables match.
- Triple H defeated The Rock 6-5 in a one-hour Ironman match to win the WWF Championship. Shawn Michaels was the special referee.
- Rock pinned Triple H with the Rock Bottom at 10:44
- Triple H pinned Rock by blocking the figure-4 and hitting the Pedigree at 25:30
- Triple H pinned Rock immediately after with an inside cradle at 26:31
- Triple H pinned Rock with a piledriver at 32:27
- Rock pinned Triple H with a jumping DDT at 40:38
- Triple H is disqualified for a chair shot at 43:43
- Triple H scores the pinfall after the chair shot at 44:10
- Triple H locks on a sleeper to get the win at 47:29
- Rock won via count-out at 56:09 after hitting the Pedigree onto the commentary table
- Rock pinned Triple H with the spinebuster and People's Elbow at 58:04 after fending off Vince & Shane McMahon
- Rock is disqualified, after the 60-minute time-limit, once the Undertaker entered the ring and took out each member of the McMahon faction - including Triple H.
14 years ago today on RAW is WAR from San Jose, California, Chris Benoit & Chris Jericho defeated The Two Man Power Trip (Stone Cold Steve Austin & Triple H) to win the WWF Tag Team Championship. Late in the bout, Triple H tore his quadriceps muscle in his left leg. The injury would keep him out of action for the remainder of the year.
12 years ago today in Sydney, Australia, Jerry Lynn defeated Chris Sabin to win the World Wrestling All-Stars Cruiserweight Championship.
9 years ago today, WWE presented Judgment Day (WWE Network link) from the US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona. About 14,000 were in attendance, with 252,000 homes watching on PPV. That's down from 260,000 homes for the 2005 edition.
- In a dark match, Matt Hardy defeated Simon Dean.
- Paul London & Brian Kendrick defeated MNM (Johnny Nitro & Joey Mercury) to win the WWE Tag Team Championship.
- Chris Benoit defeated Fit Finlay.
- Jillian Hall defeated Melina.
- Gregory Helms defeated Super Crazy to retain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
- Mark Henry defeated Kurt Angle.
- Booker T defeated Bobby Lashley to win the 2006 King of the Ring tournament.
- The Great Khali defeated The Undertaker.
- Rey Mysterio defeated John Bradshaw Layfield to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.
8 years ago today, Mark Lomonica and Devon Hughes, best known to wrestling fans as The Dudley Boyz (more recently Team 3D) open their own wrestling school, The Team 3D Academy of Professional Wrestling in Kissimmee, Florida.
5 years ago today, Carly Colon, Jr., best known to wrestling fans as Carlito, was released following a violation of the WWE's Wellness Policy and his subsequent refusal to enter a rehab facility. Colon has since wrestled on the independent circuit and for his father's promotion, World Wrestling Council.
4 years ago today, Sinclair Broadcasting Group announces via press release that they have purchased Ring of Honor. The press release:
RING OF HONOR ANNOUNCES SALE TO SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP
BRISTOL, PA. (MAY 21, 2011)--Ring of Honor Wrestling owner, Cary Silkin, announced today the sale of the promotion to Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc., one of the largest television broadcasters in the country and which owns and operates, programs, or provides sales services to 58 television stations in 35 markets across the United States.
ROH, currently the third largest wrestling promotion in the country, just celebrated its ninth anniversary, and Mr. Silkin is excited about taking the next step towards increasing the company's visibility and expanding its operations.
"We have been waiting for and working for this opportunity for quite some time", he said, "and of our 9 years in business, there has been no better roster of wrestlers than this one to expose the ROH product to the masses. With Sinclair's resources and many avenues of distribution, we believe many new fans around the world will be as captivated as those who have followed Ring of Honor over the years."
The month of September will see the debut of the new Ring of Honor television program which will be syndicated across the Sinclair network of stations, and with it, ROH will become the only wrestling promotion in the United States with a major, multi-market presence on broadcast TV. But if you don't live in a market with a Sinclair station, fear not, says Mr. Silkin. "Through our revamped website we will be able to make the TV show available to anyone in the world with internet access."
Sinclair officials are enthused about the project as well.
"We are very excited about this acquisition," commented Steve Marks, COO of Sinclair's Television Group. "Television and professional wrestling have a long history of successful partnerships and driving viewership. Unfortunately, the broadcast networks have not protected that relationship, allowing professional wrestling to migrate to cable network distribution. We believe that the powerful promotional platform that our TV stations provide, coupled with our 22% share of the U.S. TV households, will allow ROH to achieve name brand recognition and grow its share of the wrestling market. When you consider the makeup of our station mix and the number of CW, MYTV and FOX affiliates we operate, this is a perfect fit for our viewer demographics." Mr. Marks also noted, "Longer-term, we can envision syndicating ROH wrestling to broadcasters in markets where Sinclair does not have a presence, and even internationally."
Mr. Silkin assures the ROH fans worldwide that they will be seeing the same exciting, hard-hitting style of pro wrestling that they have become accustomed to. "We have established the name Ring of Honor as synonymous with the best in-ring action in the sport. The only thing that will change is that it will now be easier for fans around the world to follow. Our visibility will increase greatly--our production will be upgraded--but the work ethic of our incredible talent roster and our athletic style of wrestling will remain the same. This is what our fans have told us they want, and we will continue to give it to them."
The current front office staff, including Cary Silkin, Syd Eick, and Ross Abrams, will remain with ROH going forward. Hunter Johnston, a favorite of ROH fans for years as the masked grappler Delirious, will still handle matchmaking, Jim Cornette will remain as executive producer, and other familiar faces like ring announcer Bobby Cruise and senior referee Todd Sinclair will be in place."
Additionally, longtime wrestling broadcaster Kevin Kelly, already the voice of ROH internet pay-per-views, will assume the TV play-by-play chair this fall. Veteran NWA and WCW promoter Gary Juster will come aboard to be in charge of live event operations, which are planned to continue in current ROH markets as well as expanding into new locations concurrent with the increased TV exposure.
Mr. Cornette, who along with Mr. Johnston, will be in charge of talent and matchmaking, sees this as a new beginning for pro wrestling. "This is not old-school wrestling, and it's not sports entertainment," said Mr. Cornette. "This is wrestling for the 21st century, a new style developed by fresh, young stars that incorporates wrestling, mixed martial arts and high-flying, high-risk action with unique personalities, and it's showcased by a sports-based presentation completely different from any other product out there. In my 30 years in the sport, it's the most exciting live-event wrestling experience I've seen, and I'm thrilled to help bring it to broadcast TV."
A major press conference, open to wrestling press and mainstream media alike, is being planned for Baltimore on Friday, June 24th. This event will feature a number of the ROH staff and wrestlers both announcing news about ROH's future and answering questions. The media event will be presided over by new ROH COO, Joe Koff. Mr. Koff, a longtime Sinclair executive with an extensive background in TV sales and management, also has experience in pro wrestling television production and syndication. Most visible of his projects may have been the first-ever live, prime time syndicated pro wrestling events, the Battle of the Belts, which aired from 1985 to 1987. These Championship Wrestling from Florida-based cards were broadcast live to a syndicated network of stations and may be best-remembered for the classic Ric Flair vs. Barry Windham NWA World Title contest from St. Petersburg."
Outgoing owner Cary Silkin made a brief statement on the official ROH message board:
"It's a new dawn!!
I just want to take a moment to thank everyone for all the years of support.As corny as it sounds if is was not for the fans and the passion of all of you we would have never made it to this day. ROH will now live on bigger and better than ever.We look forward to this new era of ROH. Lots of news will be coming out over the next few weeks and I am thrilled to stay on with the company and be able to enjoy a bigger and better Ring of Honor.
Thank you Joe Koff and the Sinclair team for making this happen and I will see everyone in NYC !!!
It's a new dawn!!"
On the day of the sale, Ring of Honor presented Supercard of Honor VI from Frontier Fieldhouse in Chicago Ridge, Illinois.
- Homicide defeated Michael Elgin.
- Futureshock (Adam Cole & Kyle O'Reilly) defeated The Bravado Brothers (Harlem Bravado & Lance Bravado).
- Mike Bennett defeated Steve Corino.
- El Generico defeated Chris Hero.
- Davey Richards defeated Charlie Haas.
- Shelton Benjamin defeated Claudio Castagnoli.
- Colt Cabana defeated Christopher Daniels.
- The Briscoes (Jay Briscoe & Mark Briscoe) defeated The All-Night Express (Kenny King & Rhett Titus) in a Chicago Street Fight.
- Eddie Edwards defeated Roderick Strong (w/ Truth Martini) to retain the ROH World Championship.
4 years ago today in Amsterdam, New York, the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame welcomes twelve new inductees: Bronco Nagurski, Everett Marshall, Ed Farhat (the original Sheik), Dick the Bruiser, Jerry Lawler, Ivan Koloff, Billy Robinson, The Road Warriors and their manager Paul Ellering, Judy Grable, and Vince McMahon.
4 years ago and a day ago today, TNA releases their head of talent relations Terry Taylor and replaces him with Bruce Pritchard. Taylor was with the company since 2003. He later calls the release a gift as it allowed him to spend time with his wife Trudy, who was battling cancer at the time. Sadly, she succumbs to the disease less than two months later. Terry today is with WWE as a trainer for their NXT developmental program.
2 years ago today, Tammy Lynn Sytch was released from a Connecticut state prison after serving nearly four months for multiple violations of a protective order, disorderly conduct, and third-degree burglary from September 2012 to January 2013 in relation to her then-boyfriend, wrestler Damien Darling, including arrests on three consecutive days and another pair of arrests within 24 hours. During her time in prison, Sytch was diagnosed with cervical cancer, but underwent a hysterectomy and has been since diagnosed as cancer-free.