30 years ago today in St. Paul, Minnesota, Jim Garvin and Steve Regal defeated The Road Warriors to win the AWA World Tag Team Championship. The Road Warriors' tag title run ends at exactly 400 days, the longest of their career. In a side note, no team would go on to hold the title for such a length for the remainder of AWA's existence.
30 years ago today in Atlanta, Georgia, Ric Flair defeated Nikita Koloff to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Post-match, Ivan Koloff rushed the ring and Krusher Kruschev closed the cage door as the Koloffs assaulted Flair until NWA World Television Champion Dusty Rhodes made the save. Moments later, Ole and Arn Anderson rushed in, locked the cage door, and the Andersons and Flair assault Rhodes (tl;dr: it's a trap). Flair kneedropped Rhodes' ankle and applied the figure four leglock until the cage door was finally opened. The angle set up their epic clash at Starrcade that December.
27 years ago today in Misenheinmer, North Carolina, Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard defeat The Rock ‘n Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson) via submission to win the NWA World Tag Team Championship. Before the match, the Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane) jumped the champions and injured Morton. Ricky would return with his arm bandaged, but would get caught in an armbar, forcing Robert to throw in the towel.
22 years ago today at a WCW Worldwide taping in Columbus, Georgia, The Hollywood Blonds (Steve Austin and Brian Pillman) defeat Scott Steiner and Marcus Alexander Bagwell. Late in the match, Steiner attacked Bagwell and left ringside, leaving Bagwell vulnerable to the Stun Gun.
At the same taping, Scott Steiner, now a heel, defeated Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat to win the WCW World Television Championship. Contractual and creative issues would lead to both the Steiner Brothers leaving WCW a few weeks later.
22 years ago today at a WWF TV taping in Portland, Maine, the Rock ‘n Roll Express make WWF debut in a loss to Well Dunn after interference from Jim Cornette and the Heavenly Bodies.
17 years ago today at a RAW is WAR taping (WWE Network link) in East Lansing, Michigan, D-Lo Brown defeated X-Pac to win the WWF European Championship. Dating back to December 11, 1997, this is the sixth time (and seventh out of eight since the title was born on February 26, 1997) that the title changed hands on a tape delayed show.
The show, airing six days later, is most noted for two more of RAW's most replayed moments. Mankind, in a feeble attempt to cheer up Mr. McMahon introduced a sock puppet, Mr. Socko. McMahon's utter disdain for the puppet had the opposite effect: fans warmed up to the sweatsock, and would go on to become one of the most over props in wrestling history. Later in the show, a disguised Stone Cold Steve Austin assaulted McMahon in his hospital room, even giving the boss an impromptu rectal exam. The moment, known in wrestling lore as "Bedpan McMahon", was 25th on the top 100 RAW moments ever in a 2012 countdown.
12 years ago today on RAW from Chicago, Illinois, Rob Van Dam defeated Christian in a ladder match to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship. On the same show, Jim Ross defeated Jonathan Coachman in a Country Whippin' match; with the win, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler were free to call RAW again, replacing Coachman and Al Snow.
11 years ago today, WWE announces via press release that the following April's Wrestlemania 21 PPV had sold out in less than a minute. The press release:
WrestleMania 21 Tickets Sell Out In Less Than One Minute; Fastest Sales in World Wrestling Entertainment and STAPLES Center History
STAMFORD, Conn.--Sept. 27, 2004--
Fans From Around The World Will Attend World Wrestling Entertainment(R)'s Premier Event To See WrestleMania(R) Go Hollywood
All available seats for WrestleMania 21 were sold in less than one minute on Saturday, Sept. 25, setting records for the fastest ticket sell-out in STAPLES Center and World Wrestling Entertainment history.
A capacity crowd comprised of fans from more than 14 countries and 34 states is now set to attend WrestleMania 21 on Sunday, April 3, 2005. The WWE(R)'s premier annual event also will be seen on pay-per-view, cable, and satellite television by millions of fans from more than 90 countries.
The 15,000 available tickets, ranging in price from $40.00 to $750.00 (where you can sit ringside and keep your commemorative WrestleMania 21 ringside chair), were sold in less than one minute between Internet orders and the line gathered to buy tickets at the STAPLES Center box office. More than a thousand WWE fans gathered at the STAPLES Center, starting as early as Wednesday, Sept. 22, in hopes of purchasing tickets to WWE's annual extravaganza.
"The speed in which this event sold out further reinforces WrestleMania's position as a beloved icon in pop culture," said Kurt Schneider, WWE's Executive Vice President, Marketing. "The event is more than six months away, and still our great fans rushed to purchase tickets simply on the basis that this is WrestleMania, and that this will be a Hollywood experience like no other. After WrestleMania 21, 'Tinsel Town' may never be the same."
Schneider added that once staging requirements for WrestleMania 21 are completed closer to the event, additional tickets may be made available for sale.
"Every one of WWE's 10 previous appearances at STAPLES Center has sold out, but to sell out in less than a minute is unprecedented in the five-year history of our arena," said Brenda Tinnen, Senior Vice President Event & Guest Services, STAPLES Center. "There is no doubt that the STAPLES Center continues to lead the nation in hosting the most popular events and WrestleMania 21 is another example of that. Thanks to Vince McMahon for bringing WWE's crown jewel to Los Angeles and STAPLES Center, and we look forward to presenting this event to the millions of fans worldwide on April 3."
10 years ago today, CM Punk wins his debut for Ohio Valley Wrestling over Danny Inferno.
9 years ago today, Justin Credible was officially released from WWE. He walked out on the company after no showing an ECW taping and not talking with management afterwards. The former ECW champion said in a later interview he walked out after he saw the writing on the wall on his career and the ECW brand as a whole.
8 years ago today, The Game Plan, starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, finishes the weekend as the top grossing movie in the country, taking in just under $23 million, or about the budget of the movie. The film, starring Johnson as a pro football quarterback who finds out he has a biological daughter, gets negative reviews (just a 29% rating from Rotten Tomatoes), but makes nearly $200 million in combined ticket and DVD sales.
6 years ago today, WWE tapes their Decade of Smackdown special, celebrating ten years on the air from the TD BankNorth Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. In the show's main event, John Cena, The Undertaker, and D-Generation X (Triple H & Shawn Michaels) defeated CM Punk and Legacy (Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, and Ted Dibiase). Also on the show, a surprise pretaped promo from The Rock. It's the first appearance for The Rock on a WWE show in any capacity since the Hall of Fame ceremony on the eve of Wrestlemania XXIV.
It's a happy 30th birthday for Candice Dawson, best known to wrestling fans as one-half of the World's Cutest Tag Team and the queen of the ballplex, Candice LeRae.
Born in Winnipeg, Ontario, LeRae was a mainstay for the southern California-based Empire Wrestling Federation, wrestling there from 2002 to 2007. In 2006, she debuted for another southern California outfit, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. After a one-off, she returned as the valet for Human Tornado in April 2007, where she would be involved in a feud with Chris Hero and the man she valeted initially, Human Tornado.
She would often compete in intergender bouts throughout 2008 and 2009, but would eventually feud with someone of her own gender, Christina Von Eerie, in 2009 and 2010. In April 2011 at PWG's annual DDT4 event, LeRae won an invitational gauntlet match to challenge for the PWG World Championship against Joey Ryan, but would lose the match to Ryan. It wouldn't be the only time she challenged for the title: she unsuccessfully challenged for the title at Mystery Vortex 2 in March 2014.
In July 2014, LeRae and Joey Ryan, known collectively as the "World's Cutest Tag Team", won the PWG World Tag Team Championship. They held the championships for ten months, losing them in May 2015 to the Monster Mafia (Ethan Page & Josh Alexander) in the first round of the 2015 DDT4.
LeRae has appeared for numerous indies in her career, including NWA Championship Wrestling from Hollywood, CZW, Family Wrestling Entertainment, Dream Wave Wrestling, Shimmer Women Athletes, Shine Wrestling, and Full Impact Pro. She signed to Global Force Wrestling in August, but was released just a month later.
LeRae, an avid Disney fan (thus the reason she's often billed as being from "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" and Anaheim, California, the home of Disneyland) along with Joey Ryan host and produce a weekly Youtube series, "The Candice & Joey Show".
Happy 43rd birthday today to Shinya Makabe, though he's best known to wrestling fans as Togi Makabe.
Originally wrestling as a junior heavyweight when he debuted in 1997, he transitioned to heavyweight after he put on a few pounds during a global excursion in 2001 and 2002. He wrestled under his birth name until 2004 when he became Togi. In late 2006, Makabe would form Great Bash Heel in Japanese independent Apache Army. The group came over to New Japan in 2007, and Makabe's career took off. That year, he would make the finals of the New Japan Cup and final four of the G1 Climax and challenge, albeit unsuccessfully, for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Makabe would win the G1 Climax two years later. In May 2010, Makabe won his first, and to date, only IWGP Heavyweight Championship from Shinsuke Nakamura.
Makabe is heavily influenced by the late Bruiser Brody, often wearing chains and chairs during his bouts, and wearing chains to the ring, giving him the nickname "The Unchained Gorilla". He even uses a cover of Brody's theme, Immigrant Song, as his entrance. Makabe is the current NEVER Openweight Champion, and will face former GBH ally Tomohiro Ishii next month at King of Pro Wrestling.
It's a happy 55th birthday for David Sammartino. Best known as the son of the legendary Bruno Sammartino, David against his father's wishes trained to be a wrestler in the early 1980s. In 1981, David would feud with one of his father's longtime rivals, Larry Zbyszko.
In 1984, David would join the WWF. Initially getting a push because he was managed by his father, he was soon relegated to the undercard in order to get Bruno to wrestle (yes, Bruno was very much a draw still in the 1980s). David most notably wrestled at the first Wrestlemania where he went to a double disqualification with Brutus Beefcake. The bout led to a feud with the Sammartinos and Beefcake and his manager, Johnny Valiant; the feud brought Bruno out of retirement in hopes of advancing David's career.
Ultimately, it didn't work, as David's standing with the WWF didn't improve, quitting and returning to the company several times before leaving for good in 1986. He spent the next two years in the AWA before returning to the WWF in 1988. David would be fired from the company after he was arrested for punching a fan that spat on him; both Sammartinos have speculated since the incident that the fan that spat on David was a plant hired by Vince McMahon to provoke David as an excuse to fire him after Sammartino left the company a week earlier.
David would have a place in wrestling lore: he was involved in the infamous "Phantom Submission Match" in November 1985, when he was beaten by a bearhug by Ron Shaw. Originally booked as Sammartino to win, the finish to the match was changed, which caught the surprise of both Shaw and the referee. David has also said in interviews since leaving the company he did not enjoy his WWF run and chastised McMahon for his treatment of those that worked for him.
David would wrestle on the independent circuit, Herb Abrams' version of the UWF and All Japan Pro Wrestling in 1990, and wrestled twice for WCW in 1996. Sammartino is considered semi-retired, still wrestling at legends events to this day.
Today would have been the 81st birthday of Jimmy Saied Wehba, best known to wrestling fans as Skandar Akbar.
Born in Vernon, Texas to a Lebanese father and Syrian (but naturalized) mother, Jimmy, the youngest of three children in a Catholic family, began his career wrestling under his real name in 1963. At the suggestion of Fritz Von Erich, Wehba changed his named to Skandor Akbar, which was Arabic for Alexander the Great. He would wrestle for more than a decade, most notably for Mid-South Sports, NWA Tri-State, the WWWF, and Australian World Championship Wrestling.
Akbar retired from in-ring competition in 1977 and turned to managing, mainly in the Texas territory. He managed many versions of Devastation, Inc. for World Class Championship Wrestling, Mid-South Wrestling (later the Universal Wrestling Federation), and World Wrestling Council. His most notable traits were his lit cigars, harassing fans, and the occasional fireball. Akbar also briefly managed Kevin Von Erich for the Global Wrestling before Von Erich's retirement in 1995. Akbar at one point also managed Abdullah the Butcher, Cactus Jack, Dustin Runnels, Steve Austin, Ted DiBiase, and The Punisher (who would go on to have somewhat moderate success as The Undertaker).
Akbar still made frequent appearances on the independent circuit in his final years and appeared in two video releases chronicling the history of World Class Championship Wrestling in the mid-2000s.
Wehba, who lived in the same home in Garland for forty years, died at Baylor Medical Center in Garland following complications from a fall on August 19, 2010. He was 75. At the time of his death, he was survived by a sister, a son, a stepdaughter, and a grandchild.