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This Day in Wrestling History (September 16): Ironman City

20 years ago today, ECW presented Gangsta's Paradise from the ECW Arena in Philadelphia. A few iconic ECW moments occurred on this night.

  • The Pitbulls defeated Raven and Stevie Richards in a two out of three falls dog collar match to win the ECW Tag Team Championship. During the match, 911 finally chokeslammed referee Bill Alfonso. Pitbull #2 was stretchered out during the third fall of the match and Tommy Dreamer entered as a substitute, and even had the deciding fall on Raven, but it was never counted by Alfonso. Pitbull #2 eventually returned and The Pitbulls superbombed Raven and Richards, then ECW commissioner Tod Gordon counted the fall.
  • In their ECW debuts, Rey Mysterio, Jr. defeated Psicosis.
  • In the show's main event, Mikey Whipwreck & Public Enemy defeated The Sandman, 2 Cold Scorpio, and New Jack in a tag team steel cage match. Near the end of the bout, Rocco Rock and Scorpio both fell off the top of the cage and went through three tables back in the ring.

Rico vs. Ric Flair by Stinger1981

13 years ago today on RAW from Denver, Colorado, Rico scored one of the biggest upsets in WWE history when he defeated Ric Flair.

Rob Van Dam vs. Chris Jericho-IC Title by Stinger1981

On the same show, Chris Jericho defeated Rob Van Dam to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship.

12 years ago today during a Smackdown taping in Raleigh, North Carolina (WWE Network link), Los Guerreros (Eddie & Chavo) defeated The World's Greatest Tag Team (Charlie Hass & Shelton Benjamin) to win the WWE Tag Team Championship. In the show's main event, Brock Lesnar defeated Kurt Angle 5-4 in a sixty-minute Ironman match to retain the WWE Championship.

8 years ago today, Ring of Honor made its debut in the Manhattan Center in New York City. In the show's featured bout, Bryan Danielson defeated KENTA via submission. On the same show, The Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero & Claudio Castignoli) defeated Austin Aries and Roderick Strong to win the ROH World Tag Team Championship. And the GHC Championship was defended for the first time on American soil as Naomichi Marufuji defeated Nigel McGuinness.

8 years ago today, WWE presented Unforgiven (WWE Network link) from the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee. About 12,000 were in attendance, with 210,000 homes watching on PPV, which was down from 289,000 in 2006. The show featured the return of the Undertaker since he went to a draw for the World Heavyweight Championship in May and was taken out by Mark Henry post-match.

  • In a preshow dark match, Kane defeated Kenny Dykstra.
  • CM Punk defeated Elijah Burke to retain the ECW Championship.
  • Matt Hardy and Montel Vontavious Porter defeated Deuce and Domino to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship.
  • Triple H defeated Carlito.
  • Candice Michelle defeated Beth Phoenix to retain the WWE Women's Championship.
  • Batista defeated The Great Khali and Rey Mysterio in a Triple Threat Match to win the World Heavyweight Championship.
  • Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch defeated Paul London and Brian Kendrick to retain the World Tag Team Championship.
  • Randy Orton defeated John Cena by disqualification in a WWE Championship match.
  • The Undertaker defeated Mark Henry.

5 years ago today, WWE announces via a press release that Linda McMahon has resigned from her post as Chief Executive Officer effective immediately to run for U.S. Senate. Vince McMahon has since assumed CEO duties and title along with his current position as Chairman. As for Linda, she's unsuccessfully run for the Senate--twice, to the tune of over $100 million.

5 years ago today, Lindsay Hayward, aka Aloisia, announces in an interview that she had been released from WWE. Lindsay was supposed to be a part of the all-women's season of NXT, but her developmental deal was pulled following a background check produced questionable photos. The 6'8" Hayward would have been the tallest woman to compete in a WWE ring in company history. In an interesting twist, her replacement Celeste Bonin (aka Kaitlyn) would win NXT season 3.

4 years ago today, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson announces that he would return to the ring at Survivor Series to team with John Cena. It would be his first match since Wrestlemania XX.

4 years ago today, Claudio Castignoli signs a WWE developmental deal. Known today as Cesaro (though he debuted as Antonio Cesaro), he's had moderate success, winning the tag team and United States Championships, but his most notable victory came at Wrestlemania XXX as the winner of the first Andre the Giant Memorial battle royal.

3 years ago today, WWE presented Night of Champions (WWE Network link) from the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. 14,886 watched in the building, with 189,000 homes tuning in on PPV. That was up 20,000 from the 2011 edition.

  • In a preshow match, Zack Ryder won a 16-man battle royal to earn a United States Championship match later in the show. Other participants included Brodus Clay, Primo, Epico, Justin Gabriel, Tensai, Tyson Kidd, Michael McGillicutty, Darren Young, Titus O'Neil, Jinder Mahal, JTG, Drew McIntyre, Ted DiBiase, Heath Slater, and Santino Marella.
  • The Miz defeated Cody Rhodes, Sin Cara, and Rey Mysterio in a Fatal Four-Way Match to retain the Intercontinental Championship.
  • Kane & Daniel Bryan defeated R-Truth & Kofi Kingston to win the WWE Tag Team Championship.
  • Antonio Cesaro defeated Zack Ryder to retain the United States Championship.
  • Randy Orton defeated Dolph Ziggler.
  • Eve Torres defeated Layla to win the Divas Championship.
  • Sheamus defeated Alberto Del Rio to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.
  • CM Punk fought John Cena to a draw in a WWE Championship match.

A belated happy 67th birthday to Theodore Robert Rufus Long, or simply Teddy Long for the wresting fans. Before being affectionately known as "Teddy Tag Team Playa", Long, who broke into the business as an errand boy for Tommy Rich and Abdullah the Butcher, was a referee for Jim Crockett Promotions. After being relieved of his refereeing duties in 1989, he would (with some convincing from Kevin Sullivan and Eddie Gilbert to Jim Ross) become a manager for many wrestlers in JCP and later WCW, including Doom (Ron Simmons and Butch Reed), Norman the Lunatic, Johnny B. Badd, The Skyscrapers, Marcus Bagwell, 2 Cold Scorpio, and Ice Train.

In late 1998, Long began a nearly four-year run as a referee for the WWF; he was the official for two tragic events in 1999: Owen Hart's fall at Over the Edge in May, and Darren Drozdov's paralysis in September. He would be repackaged a villainous manager in 2003, most notably managing Rodney Mack, Jazz, and Mark Henry.

His most famous role began in July 2004 when he was named Smackdown's General Manager following the firing of Kurt Angle. His first act, fining Angle for forgetting his ring gear, made him face, a contrast to most authority figures in WWE.  He instituted a "new talent initiative" in 2005 (something he would redo three years later for ECW) that saw the introductions of Bobby Lashley, Mr. Kennedy, and MVP. He feuded most notably with Eric Bischoff in the Smackdown vs. RAW war of 2005, and Edge and Vickie Guerrero in 2008, the latter leading to Long leaving Smackdown.

He had a second term as general manager in 2009; in the fall, he had a brief villainous run when he was part of a conspiracy to get the world title off the Undertaker. After turning face, he had a feud with "Mr. McMahon's chosen one," Drew McIntyre. After feuding with John Laurainitis in the leadup to Wrestlemania XXVIII, John won Theodore's job at the event as a result of his team winning a 12-man tag team match. It didn't last long; Laurainitis was fired after his charge The Big Show lost a match to John Cena at No Way Out in June 2012. After briefly serving as guest general manager in 2013, Long was fired and replaced with Vickie Guerrero. In June 2014, Long was released from his contract, ending a 15-year run with WWE.

Long won the Pro Wrestling Illustrated Manager of the Year award in 1990 and is a member of the National Wrestling Alliance Hall of Fame class of 2012.

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