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This Day in Wrestling History (Jan. 31): When Radicals Cross The Line

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18 years ago today, WCW presented the audio PPL (pay-per-listen) event Boston Brawl from the Fleet Center in Boston, Massachusetts.

  • Bill Goldberg defeated Buddy Lee Parker.
  • Booker T defeated Mike Rotunda to retain the WCW World Television Championship.
  • Chris Jericho defeated Dean Malenko to retain the WCW Cruiserweight Championship.
  • Steve McMichael defeated Greg Valentine.
  • The Steiner Brothers (Scott Steiner and Rick Steiner) defeated Raven and Perry Saturn to retain the WCW World Tag Team Championship.
  • Chris Benoit defeated Eddie Guerrero.
  • Bret Hart defeated Ric Flair.
  • Diamond Dallas Page, Lex Luger and Larry Zbyszko defeated The nWo (Randy Savage, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall).
  • Sting defeated Hollywood Hogan in a steel cage match.

18 years ago today, ECW presented Hostile City Showdown '98 from the ECW Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Selected matches from the show would air on the February 2 and February 9 episodes of ECW Hardcore TV (WWE Network links).

  • Chris Chetti and Jerry Lynn defeated The Full Blooded Italians (Little Guido and Tracy Smothers).
  • Rob Van Dam and Sabu defeated Axl Rotten and Balls Mahoney by disqualification.
  • Spike Dudley defeated Gran Naniwa.
  • Justin Credible defeated Gran Hamada.
  • The Triple Threat (Shane Douglas, Chris Candido, and Lance Storm) fought Bam Bam Bigelow and Taz to a no contest.
  • Al Snow pinned Doug Furnas.
  • In a four-way dance, Rob Van Dam & Sabu defeated The Dudley Boyz (Buh Buh Ray & D-Von), The Gangstanators (Kronus & New Jack), and Tommy Dreamer & The Sandman.

17 years ago today, Shohei Baba, best known to wrestling fans as the legendary Giant Baba, died of cancer in Tokyo, Japan. He was 61 years old.

Born January 23, 1938 in Sanjo, Niigata, Japan, Baba spent his early adulthood mostly in the minor league system for the Yomiuri Giants, signing with them at age 17. He only appeared in three games with the Giants and did not win once. While he was with the Giants, Japanese Wrestling Association owner and founder Mitsuhiro Momota, aka Rikidozan, began looking for a successor to his throne.

In April 1960, Baba trained in Rikidozan's dojo. Six months later, he and his training partner Kanji Inoki (renamed later Antonio Inoki) made their professional debuts-Baba won, Inoki lost. In the early 1960's, Baba took on Buddy Rogers for the NWA world title, but lost. He also lost to Bruno Sammartino for the WWWF championship in 1963. From 1967 to 1971, the training partners won the NWA International Tag Team Championship four times, a record he would surpass with another partner, Jumbo Tsuruta.

With the Japanese Wrestling Association in decline, the two training partners would form competing organizations. Inoki would form New Japan Pro Wrestling, while Baba founded All Japan Pro Wrestling. With the support of Nippon TV, All Japan became the official Japanese promotion of the NWA, and the NWA would enjoy unprecedented business in the country. Baba would go on to hold the NWA World Heavyweight Championship three times, but never for long on any occasion. While his popularity was comparable to Hulk Hogan's of the mid-to-late 1980s, Giant Baba would phase himself out to give a focus to the next generation of talent, including Jumbo Tsuruta and Genichiro Tenryu.

Under the guidance of Baba, All Japan in the early and mid-1990s would be in their critical (in terms of match quality) and financial peak, as they sold out Tokyo shows on a regular basis (in fact, they had a sellout run of over 250 shows in a row; their Budokan Hall events would sell out as soon as tickets went on sale). With many of their top stars leaving for Super World of Sports, a new crop of talent would emerge on his watch including Kenta Kobashi, Akira Taue, and Toshiaki Kawada. Two of Baba's more controversial decisions paid off in the long run: unmasking Tiger Mask II, and having Mitsuhara Misawa defeat Jumbo Tsuruta in Budokan Hall in June 1990. The win for Misawa made him an instant main eventer. All Japan under Baba finally ran a Tokyo Dome show in 1998, and though the company was a few years past its prime, they still managed a crowd of over 58,000 fans.

Baba began his final comeback in 1994 when he and longtime rival Stan Hansen teamed for the World's Strongest Tag Determination League (a round robin tag team tournament similar to the G1 Climax), reaching the finals before losing to Misawa and Kobashi. He wrestled for the final time in December 1998 as part of a six-man tag team match. The last match he watched was just nine days before his death when Toshiaki Kawada defeated Mitsuhara Misawa for the All Japan Triple Crown Championship.

Baba, who was regarded as the most honest promoter in the business for keeping his word on handshake agreements rather than signed contracts, is one of the most honored men in puroresu history. He's garnered numerous awards from Tokyo Sports, including Match of the Year four consecutive years from 1979 to 1982, twice Wrestler of the Year, and three-time Tag Team of the Year winner. He was also a five-time Wrestling Observer Newsletter award winner for best promoter (1990 to 1994), three-time winner for best booker (1989 to 1991), and is a member of the publication's inaugural Hall of Fame class in 1996, and was posthumously inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2008.


The Radicalz Debuts by 2kdam

16 years ago today on RAW is WAR from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (WWE Network link), former WCW champions Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Perry Saturn, and Dean Malenko all made their company debuts, running in during a tag team match between the New Age Outlaws and Head Cheese (Al Snow & Steve Blackman). In a bit of a sidebar, Eddie Guerrero injured his elbow hitting a frog splash on Billy Gunn. Jim Ross dubbed the foursome as radicals, giving birth to the stable's name.

The quartet had a falling out with WCW in part due to the political environment within the company. It was made more complicated when Kevin Sullivan became a part of the booking committee following Vince Russo's dismissal (Sullivan's estranged wife Nancy was seeing Benoit at the time). Despite a last-ditch effort to placate the group by giving Benoit the WCW world title, the foursome asked for and were granted their releases following Souled Out.

On the same show, The Rock defeated Kurt Angle. This was Angle's first pinfall loss in the WWF. Also, Hervina, Harvey Whippleman in drag, defeated The Kat in a lumberjill match to win the WWF Women's Championship. He's the only male wrestler ever to win the title.

6 years ago today, WWE presented Royal Rumble (WWE Network link) from the Phillips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. 16,697 were in attendance, with 462,000 homes watching on PPV. The show is noted for Edge's return to the WWE after missing the last five months with a shoulder injury.

  • In a preshow dark match, Kelly Kelly, Gail Kim, Eve Torres, and The Bella Twins defeated Alicia Fox, Natalya, Maryse, Jillian, and Katie Lea Burchill.
  • Christian defeated Ezekiel Jackson to retain the ECW Championship. This is the last time the championship is defended on PPV; it would be deactivated when the ECW brand folds the next month.
  • The Miz defeated MVP to retain the United States Championship.
  • Sheamus defeated Randy Orton by disqualification to retain the WWE Championship.
  • Mickie James defeated Michelle McCool in just 20 seconds to win the WWE Women's Championship.
  • The Undertaker defeated Rey Mysterio to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.
  • Edge last eliminated John Cena to win the Royal Rumble match and a championship match of his choosing at Wrestlemania XXVI.
2010 Royal Rumble results

Draw

Entrant

Brand

Order

Eliminated by

Time

1

Dolph Ziggler

SD

2

CM Punk

02:29

2

Evan Bourne

Raw

1

CM Punk

02:26

3

CM Punk

SD

7

Triple H

10:04

4

JTG

SD

3

CM Punk

00:25

5

The Great Khali

SD

4

Beth Phoenix

01:39

6

Beth Phoenix

SD

5

CM Punk

01:37

7

Zack Ryder

ECW

6

CM Punk

00:32

8

Triple H

Raw

17

Shawn Michaels

17:55

9

Drew McIntyre

SD

16

Triple H & Shawn Michaels

14:43

10

Ted DiBiase

Raw

14

Shawn Michaels

13:40

11

John Morrison

SD

15

Shawn Michaels

11:37

12

Kane

SD

11

Triple H

10:59

13

Cody Rhodes

Raw

13

Shawn Michaels

10:54

14

Montel Vontavious Porter

Raw

9

Himself

00:07

15

Carlito

Raw

12

Shawn Michaels

07:34

16

The Miz

Raw

8

Montel Vontavious Porter

00:17

17

Matt Hardy

SD

10

Kane

00:20

18

Shawn Michaels

Raw

27

Batista

20:45

19

John Cena

Raw

29

Edge

22:11

20

Shelton Benjamin

ECW

18

John Cena

00:48

21

Yoshi Tatsu

ECW

19

John Cena

00:29

22

Big Show

Raw

22

R-Truth

05:04

23

Mark Henry

Raw

21

R-Truth

03:09

24

Chris Masters

Raw

20

Big Show

00:29

25

R-Truth

SD

24

Kofi Kingston

05:22

26

Jack Swagger

Raw

23

Kofi Kingston

02:06

27

Kofi Kingston

Raw

25

John Cena

03:51

28

Chris Jericho

SD

26

Edge

02:24

29

Edge

SD

Winner

07:19

30

Batista

SD

28

John Cena

05:24


Notes:
  • Edge joins John Cena (2008), Triple H (2002), and Stone Cold Steve Austin (2001) as men who have won the Royal Rumble within six months of returning from a career-threatening injury.
  • Speaking of Edge, his 7 minutes, 19 seconds of in-ring time is the shortest of any Royal Rumble winner.
  • At seven seconds of in-ring time, MVP spent less time in a Royal Rumble match while recording an elimination than anyone in the history of the match.