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This Day in Wrestling History (Oct. 24): Russo Ruins Halloween Havoc

this day in wrestling history

36 years ago today in Okinawa, Japan, Tiger Jeet Singh defeated Antonio Inoki to win the UWA World Heavyweight Championship.

23 years ago today, WCW presented Halloween Havoc (WWE Network link) from the Lakefront Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana. About 6,000 were in attendance, with about 100,000 homes watching on PPV, which keeps in line what WCW PPVs were getting since last year's Starrcade.

  • Ice Train, Charlie Norris and The Shockmaster defeated Harlem Heat (Kole and Kane) and The Equalizer.
  • Paul Orndorff defeated Ricky Steamboat by countout.
  • WCW World Television Champion Lord Steven Regal fought Davey Boy Smith to a time-limit draw.
  • Dustin Rhodes defeated Steve Austin to retain the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship.
  • The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags) defeated Marcus Bagwell and 2 Cold Scorpio to win the WCW World Tag Team Championship.
  • Sting defeated Sid Vicious.
  • Rick Rude defeated Ric Flair by disqualification to retain the WCW International World Heavyweight Championship. Terry Taylor was the special enforcer.
  • Vader defeated Cactus Jack in a Texas Deathmatch. The match was determined by a spin of the wheel.

18 years ago today in Cleveland, Ohio, The Dudley Boyz defeated Rob Van Dam and Sabu to win the ECW World Tag Team Championship for the fourth time.

17 years ago today, WCW presented Halloween Havoc (WWE Network link) from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. 8,464 were in attendance, with 230,000 homes watching on PPV.

Though it's 100,000 more than the previous month’s Fall Brawl, it's down 80,000 from the previous year’s Havoc. The PPV, the first of the Vince Russo-Ed Ferrara era, would be the most bought show in WCW’s final 18 months in operation.

  • Disco Inferno defeated Lash LeRoux to retain the WCW World Cruiserweight Championship.
  • Harlem Heat (Booker T & Stevie Ray) defeated Kidman & Konnan and Brian Knobbs & Hugh Morrus in a three-way match to win the WCW World Tag Team Championship.
  • Eddie Guerrero defeated Perry Saturn by disqualification.
  • Brad Armstrong defeated Berlyn.
  • Rick Steiner defeated Chris Benoit to win the WCW World Television Championship.
  • The Total Package defeated Bret Hart via submission.
  • Sting defeated Hulk Hogan in just three seconds to retain the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Well, Sting didn't so much defeat Hogan as much as Hogan laid down for Sting.
  • Goldberg defeated Sid Vicious via referee stoppage due to excessive bleeding to win the WCW United States Championship.
  • Diamond Dallas Page defeated Ric Flair in a strap match.
  • Goldberg defeated Sting to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. The result wouldn't stand, however, as the title is vacated the next night on Nitro due to the match being unsanctioned and Sting hitting the referee.

8 years ago today, AAA presented the 2008 Antonio Peña Memorial Show from Estadio de Beisbol Beto Avila in Veracruz, Mexico.

Retroactively renamed Heroes Inmortales II, the event airing nine days later is a tribute show honoring AAA’s founder Antonio Peña.

  • Mascarita Divina, Mini Charly Manson and Octagoncito defeated Mascarita de la Muerte, Mini Chessman and Mini Histeria.
  • Brazo de Plata, Faby Apache, Mascarita Sagrada and Pimpinela Escarlata defeated El Brazo, Cinthia Moreno, Mini Abismo Negro and Polvo de Estrellas in a Relevos Atómicos de locura lumberjack match.
  • La Hermandad Extrema (Joe Lider and Nicho el Millonario) defeated Los Bellos Stones (Alan and Chris Stone) and the Hart Foundation 2.0 (Jack Evans and Teddy Hart) in a three-team ladder match to retain the AAA World Tag Team Championship.
  • El Mesias won a 13-man gauntlet match to win the Copa Antonio Peña (Antonio Peña Memorial Cup). Other participants in the match were Histeria, El Gato Eveready, Extreme Toger, Pirata Morgan, Aero Star, El Alerbije, El Elegido, Psicosis II, Dark Escorida, Silver King, Crazy Boy, and Dark Cuervo (the last six all being defeated by El Mesias).
  • Cibernetico defeated Chessman and El Zorro in a three-way street fight to retain the AAA Mega Championship.
  • La Legion Extranjera (The Foreign Legion) (Electroshock, Kenzo Suzuki, Konnan, and Rellik) defeated Team AAA (La Parka, Latin Lover, Octagon, and Superfly) in an eight-man Domo De La Muerte match. With all four members of La Legion Extranjera escaping first to win, Konnan took possession of the urn that had the ashes of Antonio Peña and control of AAA. In a side note, Cibernetico vacated the AAA Mega Championship, stating that he would not work for Konnan. In a strange twist of fate, Cibernetico really did leave the company, not returning until Triplemania XVII the following summer.

6 years ago today, WWE presented Bragging Rights (WWE Network link) from the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. About 9,000 were in attendance, with just 137,000 homes watching on PPV. That's down from 181,000 for the only other edition of the event in 2009.

Of note, Perry Saturn was spotted backstage during the show. It's believed to be his first appearance at a wrestling event since leaving WWE in 2002.

  • In a preshow dark match, Montel Vontavious Porter defeated Chavo Guerrero.
  • Daniel Bryan defeated Dolph Ziggler. Neither Bryan’s United States Championship nor Ziggler’s Intercontinental Championship was at stake.
  • The Nexus (David Otunga & John Cena) defeated The Dashing Ones (Cody Rhodes & Drew McIntyre) to win the WWE Tag Team Championship.
  • Ted DiBiase defeated Goldust.
  • Layla) defeated Natalya to retain the WWE Divas Championship.
  • Kane defeated The Undertaker in a Buried Alive match to retain the World Heavyweight Championship. It would be the final appearance of the Undertaker until the following February.
  • Team SmackDown (Big Show, Rey Mysterio, Jack Swagger, Alberto Del Rio, Edge, Tyler Reks, Kofi Kingston) defeated Team RAW (Captain The Miz, R-Truth, John Morrison, Santino Marella, Sheamus, CM Punk, Ezekiel Jackson) 7-5 in an elimination tag team match. Edge and Mysterio were the sole survivors.
  • Wade Barrett defeated Randy Orton by disqualification in a WWE Championship match.

6 years ago today, a post-fight interview from the previous night went viral and got wrestling fans salivating. MMA reporter Ariel Helwani was interviewing UFC fan The Undertaker when Brock Lesnar, moments after losing the UFC Heavyweight Championship to Cain Velasquez exchanged glances with Undertaker, who then responded if he wanted to "do this".

Immediately believed to be a tease for the forthcoming Wrestlemania XXVII, Dana white shot the idea down in an interview with TMZ. It didn't stop the WWE from trying, and Dana still shot the idea down anyway.

Eventually, the Undertaker and Brock Lesnar would do this... at Wrestlemania XXX in April 2014, with Lesnar shockingly defeating Undertaker to end his Wrestlemania win streak at 21. Undertaker would exact a measure of revenge a submission victory in 2015 at Summerslam; Lesnar would win the tiebreaker two months later at Hell in a Cell.

1 year ago today, Ring of Honor presented Glory by Honor XIV: Night 2 from the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Dayton, Ohio.

  • In a dark match, Kongo defeated The Outlaw.
  • Kelly Klein defeated Ray Lyn.
  • Adam Cole defeated Will Ferrara.
  • The All-Night Express (Kenny King & Rhett Titus) defeated Silas Young & The Beer City Bruiser.
  • Caprice Coleman defeated Samson Walker.
  • Michael Elgin defeated Donovan Dijak.
  • J. Diesel defeats Shaheem Ali.
  • Cliff Compton defeated Adam Page, Bob Evans, and Cedric Alexanderin a Four Corner Survival match.
  • The Briscoes (Jay Briscoe & Mark Briscoe) defeat War Machine (Hanson & Ray Rowe).
  • Jay Lethal, Roderick Strong, and The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Michael Bennett) defeated Dalton Castle, Moose, and The Addiction 4-2 in a Champions versus All-Stars elimination tag team match. Lethal and Strong were the sole survivors.

It’s a happy 45th birthday to Dale Christian Torborg.

Born in Mountainside, New Jersey, the former collegiate and professional baseball player took to wrestling in 1995 after a chance meeting with Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage. After training under The Warlord and Jim Neidhart, he had a stint in the American Wrestling Federation as The MVP.

After training in the WCW Power Plant, he once again wrestled as The MVP. But it was brief; in 1999, Eric Bischoff propositioned Torborg with a gimmick change. He was asked to play the KISS-themed wrestler The Demon, a wrestler based on the stage persona of the group’s lead singer Gene Simmons. Though Torborg accepted initially, the gimmick went to Brian Adams due to his experience. But Adams himself rejected the gimmick, and it was passed back to Torborg.

Managed by Asya, Torborg’s Demon was to be the first of a stable of wrestlers based on the band known as The Warriors of KISS. Thanks to a deal heavily leveraged in the band’s favor, The Demon was contractually obligated to be a main eventer. The main event was to take place at a PPV scheduled for New Year’s Eve in December 1999, but Eric Bischoff was relieved of his duties as WCW President in September, essentially scrapping plans for the Demon (not helping matters: the Demon gimmick debuted during a KISS musical performance, which turned out to be one of the lowest-rated segments in Monday Nitro history). To work around the contractual obligation, The Demon was booked in a “special main event” at SuperBrawl 2000 against The Wall (The Demon was soundly defeated in under four minutes).

Ironically, The Demon would join Vampiro and the Insane Clown Posse in a stable known as the Dark Carnival. He eventually would turn against the group and feud with Vampiro. The Demon remained with WCW until its shutdown in March 2001. Torborg opted against returning to the ring and returned to baseball.

Torborg became a strength coach for the Montreal Expos, the Florida Marlins, and the Chicago White Sox (the latter two in their World Series seasons of 2003 and 2005 respectively). He also got to work in a pair of baseball movies, Mr. Baseball with Tom Selleck, and A League of Their Own with Geena Davis. Torborg made a few appearances for TNA in 2005 and 2007.

Torborg is married to Christi Wolf, who portrayed Asya in WCW. The couple recently celebrated their sixteenth wedding anniversary. The couple have one daughter, 11-year old Sierra Raye.

Today would have been the 82nd birthday of Juanita Wright, best known to wrestling fans as Sapphire.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Wright was always connected with the wrestling business. As a fan, she drove wrestlers to arenas in the St. Louis area. She became the first female licensed referee in Missouri before trying her hand at wrestling. She wrestled as Princess Dark Cloud and once wrestled a bear.

Wright was a saleswoman for a clothing company when she was discovered by the WWF. She debuted at Saturday Night's Main Event on November 25, 1989 as a fan cheering on Dusty Rhodes. The two evenutally bonded and would enter a feud with Macho Man Randy Savage and Sensational Sherri, a feud that would run through Summerslam the next year, highlighted by Rhodes and Sapphire defeating Savage and Sherri at Wrestlemania VI and Sapphire losing to Sherri via forfeit at Summerslam. At that event, it was revealed that Ted Dibiase had "bought" Sapphire, causing Dusty Rhodes to turn despondent. Sapphire would appear in segments with Dibiase, but would leave the WWF shortly thereafter.

In shoot interviews, both Sherri and Dusty offered differing accounts of Juanita's exit: Sherri says Wright was heartbroken after being told the news that the Dusty-Sapphire partnership was ending and had lost interest in the business altogether, while Rhodes contends that while he liked Sapphire, her character was pointless and asked for her to be released, only to relent after Vince McMahon told Rhodes that she made his character and she should stay. Little is known of Wright's post-wrestling career other than she had worked at a discount store outside of St. Louis, where she would often tell wrestling stories to the children of her co-workers.

On September 10, 1996, Wright died of a heart attack in her hometown of St. Louis. She was 61.

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