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This Day in Wrestling History (September 27): Break It Down

50 years ago today, Bruno Sammartino's WWWF Championship belt was stolen from a locked car in New York City. Sammartino at the time the belt was stolen was eating at a restaurant following an event in Madison Square Garden. Though there was speculation the belt was found in an Avon, New York attic back in 2012, the belt Sammartino had was never recovered.

28 years ago today in Marietta, Georgia, The Midnight Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty) defeated Boris Zukhov & Soldat Ustinov to win the AWA World Tag Team Championship. OR DID THEY? No, actually they didn't. When it was discovered the Rockers pinned the illegal man, the belts were returned to Zukhov & Ustimov.

22 years ago today on Monday Night RAW from Hartford, Connecticut (WWE Network link), it was announced that Shawn Michaels had been stripped of the WWF Intercontinental Championship. Michaels had a falling out with management and walked out on the company a few days earlier. The RAW taping would fill the vacancy, but would play out over the next two episodes.

On the October 4 episode (WWE Network link), Rick Martel and Razor Ramon were the last two men in a 20-man over-the-top-rope battle royal to earn a WWF intercontinental Championship match. Other participants were I.R.S., The 1-2-3 Kid, The M.V.P., Mr. Perfect, Diesel, Adam Bomb, Bam Bam Bigelow, Macho Man Randy Savage, Pierre, Jacques, Giant Gonzalez, Marty Jannetty, Bastion Booger, Owen Hart, Tatanka, Mabel, Bob Backlund, and "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka.

On the October 11 episode (WWE Network link), Razor Ramon defeated Rick Martel to win the vacated WWF Intercontinental Championship.

21 years ago today in Osaka, Japan, Norio Honaga defeated Wild Pegasus (Chris Benoit in a mask) in the finals of a one-night tournament to win the vacated IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. The title was vacated when Jushin "Thunder" Liger suffered a broken ankle. Other participants in the six-man tournament were Gran Hamada, Black Tiger (Eddie Guerrero in a mask), El Samurai, and Shinjiro Otani.

20 years ago today at a WCW Saturday Night taping in Atlanta, Georgia, Harlem Heat (Booker T & Stevie Ray) defeated the American Males (Marcus Alexander Bagwell & Scotty Riggs) to win the WCW World Tag Team Championship. The match was never acknowledged, and WCW retaped the bout two weeks later with the same result (the above video is the retaped bout). The bout doesn't air until October 28, a full month after the original match was taped.

17 years ago today, WWF presented Breakdown: In Your House (WWE Network link) from the Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. 17,405 were in attendance, with 315,000 homes watching on PPV. That's more than double for the September 1997 event, Ground Zero: In Your House.

Sunday Night Heat matches:

  • Golga Defeated Mosh.
  • The Hardy Boys Matt & Jeff defeated Kaientai (Men's Teioh & Funaki).
  • 8 Ball defeated Billy Gunn & Skull.

PPV matches:

  • Owen Hart defeated Edge.
  • Al Snow and Scorpio defeated Too Much (Brian Christopher and Scott Taylor).
  • Marc Mero defeated Droz.
  • Bradshaw defeated Vader.
  • D'Lo Brown defeated Gangrel.
  • The Rock defeated Ken Shamrock and Mankind in a triple threat steel cage match to become the #1 contender for the WWF Championship.
  • Val Venis defeated Dustin Runnels.
  • D-Generation X (Billy Gunn, Road Dogg, and X-Pac) defeated Jeff Jarrett and Southern Justice (Mark Canterbury and Dennis Knight).
  • The Undertaker & Kane defeated Steve Austin in a WWF Championship match. Per pre-match stipulations, The Undertaker and Kane were prohibited from defeating one another, essentially making this a handicap match. Post-match, Vince McMahon stole Steve Austin's personal Smoking Skull belt and taunted Austin with it in the parking lot before leaving the arena.

16 years ago today on Nitro from Atlanta, Georgia, Billy Kidman defeated Psychosis in a hair versus mask match. As Psychosis lost, he had to unmask.

10 years ago today at a Smackdown taping in Laredo, Texas, Cowboy Bob Orton wrestles his first WWE match in 18 years. It's a losing effort, as he is defeated by The Undertaker.

5 years ago today on RAW from Indianapolis, Indiana, the new WWE Tag Team Championship belts were introduced. Known in some circles as "the penny belts", the new belts were to replace the two sets of tag team belts used for RAW and Smackdown. WWE also chose to go with the lineage created in 2002 when the Smackdown tag titles were introduced, ending the original tag title lineage that dated back to 1971. In the first match with the new belts (taped one week earlier), Cody Rhodes & Drew McIntyre defeated the Hart Dynasty (David Hart Smith & Tyson Kidd) to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship.

On the same show, Chris Jericho is punted into semi-retirement by Randy Orton as he had wrapped up his second run with the company. Jericho would return in January 2012.

Also on the same show, Jillian Hall makes her final appearance with the company in a battle royal to determine the #1 contender for the Divas Championship. Jillian is the second to last to be eliminated in the match, which was eventually won by Natalya.

Though the plan going forward was for her to become a trainer for WWE developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling, Hall gets her walking papers six weeks later when her contract expires and is not renewed. Hall would mostly wrestle on the independent circuit until her retirement in January 2014.

3 years ago today on Impact from Universal Orlando, Samoa Joe defeated Mr. Anderson to win the vacated TNA Television Championship. The title was vacated after contract negotiations between TNA and then-TV champion Devon broke off, with the assumption that Devon would leave the company.

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