19 years ago today, WCW presented Halloween Havoc (WWE Network link) from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. 12,457 were in attendance, with 405,000 homes watching on PPV. That's more than double the previous month's Fall Brawl, and 155,000 more than the 1996 edition.
- Yuji Nagata defeated Ultimo Dragon via submission.
- Chris Jericho defeated Gedo via submission.
- Rey Misterio Jr. defeated Eddie Guerrero in a title versus mask match to win the WCW Cruiserweight Championship. Had Mysterio lost, he would have been forced to unmask. The bout won WCW's Match of the Year award for 1997, and finished fourth in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter award in the same category.
- Alex Wright defeated Steve McMichael. Jeff Jarrett, the originally scheduled opponent, had his contract expire just before the PPV, and was not renewed. On October 20, Jarrett returned to the WWF.
- Jacqueline defeated Disco Inferno.
- Curt Hennig defeated Ric Flair by disqualification to retain the WCW United States Championship.
- Lex Luger defeated Scott Hall. Larry Zbyszko was the special referee.
- Randy Savage defeated Diamond Dallas Page in a Sudden Death match. The match was conducted under last man standing rules.
- Roddy Piper defeated Hollywood Hogan via submission in a steel cage match. This bout would win Wrestling Observer Newsletter's Worst Match of the Year.
18 years ago today on Nitro from Phoenix, Arizona (WWE Network link), Diamond Dallas Page defeated Bret Hart to win the WCW United States Championship.
This episode opened with the replay of the WCW World Heavyweight Championship match from Halloween Havoc between Goldberg and Diamond Dallas Page, a match many people were unable to see due to PPV feeds cutting out before the match.
The show would be the final time Nitro outrated RAW head-to-head; WWF's Monday night offering would beat Nitro 125 consecutive weeks until WWF's purchase of WCW in March 2001.
16 years ago today at a Smackdown taping (WWE Network link) in Springfield, Massachusetts, The British Bulldog defeated D'Lo Brown to win the WWF European Championship.
15 years ago today, WWE presented Rebellion (WWE Network link) from the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England. The event was made available to American audiences on January 14, 2003.
- In a preshow dark match, Bill DeMott defeated Shannon Moore.
- Booker T defeated Matt Hardy.
- Billy Kidman and Torrie Wilson defeated John Cena and Dawn Marie.
- Funaki defeated Crash Holly.
- Jamie Noble defeated Rey Mysterio and Tajiri in an elimination match to retain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
- Reverend D-Von and Ron Simmons defeated The Big Valbowski and Chuck Palumbo.
- Rikishi defeated Albert.
- Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit defeated Los Guerreros (Eddie Guerrero and Chavo Guerrero) to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship.
- Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman defeated Edge in a handicap match to retain the WWE Championship.
15 years ago today, World Wrestling All-Stars presented Inception from the Superdome in Sydney, Australia. The event did not air in the United States until January 6, 2002, by which time, one of the show’s commentators, Jerry “The King” Lawler, returned to the WWF.
WWA was the brainchild of Australian concert promoter Andrew McManus, who had promoted tours for artists including Whitney Houston, Aerosmith, Fleetwood Mac, KISS, and Motley Crue. The promotion used a mix of then-relatively unknown wrestlers with former WWF talent and WCW talent passed over following the WWF-WCW merger.
The hook of the show was a one-night tournament (dubbed the Seven Deadly Sins tournament, as each match had a different stipulation) to crown the second-ever WWA Champion. Road Dogg had actually first won the title a week earlier; the title was vacated for this event.
Also of note, Jeremy Borash was the man in charge of booking and talent. He wasn’t the first choice; that was Vince Russo, but he wasn’t available as he had to break his deal with Time-Warner to join WWA; Borash took the gig on Russo’s recommendation.
A side nugget worth noting: in August 2016, McManus pled guilty to obstruction of justice (attempting to pervert the court of justice as they call it) in relation to an incident involving a suitcase containing over $700,000 Australian (over $520,000 American) in a Sydney hotel room in 2011. McManus will be sentenced in March 2017. He faces up to fourteen years in prison.
- Juventud Guerrera defeated Psychosis in a ladder match for the WWA International Cruiserweight Championship.
- Road Dogg defeated Konnan in a Dog Collar match.
- In a non-tournament match, Norman Smiley defeated Crowbar in a hardcore match.
- Buff Bagwell won an 11-man open battle royal. Other participants included Disco Inferno, Stevie Ray, Norman Smiley, Crowbar, Jeremy Borash and Jerry Lawler. Also in the battle royal were two referees, a cameraman, and a ring announcer. No, seriously.
- Jeff Jarrett defeated Nathan Jones in a Guitar on a Pole match.
- Road Dogg defeated The West Hollywood Blonds (Lenny Lane and Lodi) in a handicap match.
- Jeff Jarrett defeated Buff Bagwell in a Tits, Whips, and Buff match. Don't look at me like that, that's what the name of the match was. Google it.
- In a non-tournament bout, The Vampire Warrior defeated Luna Vachon in a Black Wedding match.
- In a non-tournament bout, Adara James defeated Danny Dominion, Queen Bea, and Violet Terossi. This match was cut from the American PPV broadcast.
- Jeff Jarrett defeated Road Dogg in a steel cage match to win the WWA World Heavyweight Championship.
13 years ago today in Clarksville, Indiana, CM Punk defeated MDogg20 to win the IWA Mid-South Heavyweight Championship for the third time.
8 years ago today, WWE presented Cyber Sunday (WWE Network link) from the US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona. 7,984 were in attendance, with 153,000 homes watching on PPV, which was down from 194,000 the previous year, and 228,000 from 2006.
- In a WWE.com preshow match, Shelton Benjamin defeated R-Truth to retain the WWE United States Championship. R-Truth won the shot with 59% of the vote. Other choices were Festus (26%) and MVP (15%).
- Rey Mysterio defeated Kane in a No Holds Barred Match. No Holds Barred was the winning choice (39%) over falls count anywhere (35%) and two out of three falls (26%).
- Matt Hardy defeated Evan Bourne to retain the ECW Championship. Evan Bourne won the title shot via fan vote with 69% over Finlay (25%) and Mark Henry (6%).
- John Morrison & The Miz defeated Cryme Tyme (JTG & Shad) (38%). Other possible tag team matches were a world tag title match between Legacy (Cody Rhodes & Ted Dibiase) and CM Punk and Kofi Kingston (35%) and an intergender match with William Regal & Layla vs. Jamie Noble & Mickie James (27%).
- The Honky Tonk Man defeated WWE Intercontinental Champion Santino Marella by disqualification. Other challengers for Santino were Roddy Piper (34%) and Goldust (31%).
- The Undertaker defeated The Big Show in a Last Man Standing match. Last man standing got 49%, followed by an I Quit match (42%) and a knockout match (9%).
- Mickie James won a Divas Halloween Costume Contest. Other participants were Beth Phoenix, Michelle McCool, Brie Bella, Candice Michelle, Eve, Jillian Hall, Katie Lea Burchill, Kelly Kelly, Layla, Lena Yada, Maria, Maryse, Natalya, Tiffany, and Victoria.
- Triple H defeated Jeff Hardy to retain the WWE Championship. Hardy won the right to challenge for the title alone with 57% of the vote, with a triple threat match including Vladimir Kozlov getting 38% of the vote. Kozlov alone got just 5%.
- Batista defeated Chris Jericho to win the World Heavyweight Championship. Steve Austin easily won the referee spot with 74%, followed by Shawn Michaels (22%), and Randy Orton (4%).
5 years ago today at an Impact taping at Universal Orlando, Bobby Roode defeated James Storm to win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
On the same taping, Gail Kim & Madison Rayne defeated TnT (Tara and Miss Tessmacher) to win the TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship.
3 years ago today, Ring of Honor presented Glory by Honor XII from the Frontier Fieldhouse in Chicago Ridge, Illinois.
The hook of the show was the annual "champions vs. all-stars" elimination match, pitting all the ROH champions versus a team of top contenders in a two-hour time limit match. If any member of the All-Stars team defeated the world champion (at the time, Adam Cole), they would receive a future world championship match.
- In a preshow dark match, The Romantic Touch defeated Will Ferrara.
- In a preshow dark match, MsChif defeated Kasie Rae.
- Silas Young defeated Mark Briscoe.
- Jimmy Jacobs defeated Adam Page in a Jimmy Jacobs Trial Series match.
- Michael Bennett defeated Kevin Steen.
- Tommaso Ciampa defeated Jesse Sorensen.
- Outlaw Inc. (Eddie Kingston & Homicide) defeated Adrenaline RUSH (ACH & Tadarius Thomas).
- Paul London defeated Roderick Strong.
- C&C Wrestle Factory (Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander), Jay Lethal, and Michael Elgin defeated Adam Cole, reDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly), and Matt Taven 4-3 in a Champions versus All-Stars elimination tag team match. Elgin got the deciding fall over Cole, giving him a ROH World Championship match.
2 years ago today, WWE presented Hell in a Cell (WWE Network link) from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
- In a preshow match, Mark Henry defeated Bo Dallas in just 35 seconds.
- Dolph Ziggler defeated Cesaro 2-0 in a best of three falls match to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
- Nikki Bella defeated Brie Bella. Per pre-match stipulations, Brie was forced to become Nikki’s personal assistant for a month.
- Goldust & Stardust defeated The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso) to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship.
- John Cena defeated Randy Orton in a Hell in a Cell match to become the #1 contender for the WWE Championship.
- Sheamus defeated The Miz to retain the WWE United States Championship.
- Rusev defeated Big Show by submission.
- AJ Lee defeated Paige by submission to retain the WWE Divas Championship.
- Seth Rollins defeated Dean Ambrose in a Hell In A Cell match.
Plenty of birthdays (besides the big one today, which will have its own post), so the profiles for the others will be brief. Sorry in advance.
It’s a happy 29th birthday to Jenna Grattan, best known to wrestling fans as Portia Perez.
The Canadian-born Grattan (Brockville, Ontario specifically) who began her career at age 16 is best known for her time with the all-female promotion Shimmer Women Athletes. In October 2007, she formed a partnership with another Canadian, Nicole Matthews. Together known as the Canadian National International Nation of Jalapeño Awesomeness—or Canadian NINJAs, the duo won the SHIMMER Tag Team Championship twice; their first run spanning from May 2009 to March 2011 was the longest in the promotion’s history until the Global Green Gangsters (Kellie Skater & Tomoka Nakagawa) surpassed them with a two-year run from April 2013 to April 2015.
Perez also competed for (among others) Anarchy Championship Wrestling (where she was their inaugural American Joshi champion, and briefly their heavyweight champion in November 2011), NCW Femmes Fatales, Irish Whip Wrestling, AAA, and Jersey All-Pro Wrestling. In 2008, she had a tryout match for TNA and in 2009 was a part of the comedy promotion Wrestilicious as one half of Hope and Faith (Perez was Faith, while her fellow Canadian NINJA Nicole Matthews was Hope).
In October 2015, Grattan announced her retirement from wrestling due to a major neck injury that required surgery. In her final match, the NINJAs, Kimber Lee, and Lacey were defeated by Daizee Haze, Kellie Skater, Lexie Fyfe, and Madison Eagles.
It’s a happy 43rd birthday to Takao Yoshida, best known to wrestling fans as Taka Michinoku.
Trained by the Great Sasuke, Yoshida took on the name Michinoku in honor of his teacher’s wrestling promotion, Michinoku Pro Wrestling. The well-traveled Michinoku wrestled notably for Federacion Universal de Lucha Libre, UWF, Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling, and New Japan Pro Wrestling before gaining exposure in the States for Extreme Championship Wrestling. Following his performance at their first PPV Barely Legal, Michinoku joined the WWF to bolster their new light heavyweight division. Michinoku also had a brief run in CMLL, teaming with future junior heavyweight legends Ultimo Dragon and Yoshihiro Tajiri.
In December 1997, just over five months to the day of his WWF debut at Canadian Stampede, Michinoku won the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship, defeating Brian Christopher in the tournament final. He held the title for 10 months before losing it to Christian. During that run as champion, Michinoku would feud with Kai En Tai—then join the group when he turned on Val Venis during a tag match. Most of the group (Dick Togo, Men’s Teioh, and the Yamaguchis) would eventually leave the company, but Michinoku stuck around with Sho Funaki and would be primarily comedy jobbers until Taka left the WWF in October 2001.
After rehabbing a serious shoulder injury, Taka formed his own promotion and training facility in 2002, Kaientai Dojo. The next year, he would join All Japan Pro Wrestling and would be a part of the promotion’s lead heel stable, Roughly Obsess and Destroy (ROD). The group would dominate the promotion for about three years before finally disbanding; while in the group, Michinoku captured the All Japan World Junior Heavyweight Championship.
Taka has also competed for New Japan Pro Wrestling since 2007, but not regularly until late 2010. In May 2007, Michinoku and Dick Togo defeated Gedo and Jado for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. Taka would win the titles again in 2013, but with Suzuki-gun member Taichi. In January 2015, Suzuki-gun invaded Pro Wrestling Noah; just two months later, Michinoku and El Desperado would win the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship. The duo would hold the title for over six months before being knocked off by Atushi Kotoge and Daisuke Harada.
The two-time Kaientai Dojo Strongest-K and six-time Strongest-K tag champion also dabbled in mixed martial arts; in April 1997, he lost his only MMA fight to Keiichiro Yamamiya.
It’s a happy 67th birthday to Kevin Francis Sullivan.
The former amateur wrestler began his career without formal professional training in 1971, but it wouldn’t be until his second run in Championship Wrestling from Florida in 1982 that Sullivan hit paydirt (he had a previous run there in the early 1970s). As a “devil worshipper”, Sullivan led his Army of Darkness and feuded with Dusty Rhodes, Barry Windham, and one-time tag partner Mike Graham. He brought the gimmick to International Championship Wrestling, and feuded with the likes of Bruiser Brody, Austin Idol, and Blackjack Mulligan.
In 1987, Sullivan joined Jim Crockett Promotions, leading the Varsity Club with fellow ex-amateur wrestlers Mike Rotunda and Rick Steiner. The group feuded with Jimmy Garvin over Precious (Garvin’s wife). When the group disbanded in 1990, he formed Slaughterhouse with Cactus Jack and Buzz Sawyer. The group didn’t last long as Sullivan took time off late in the year. He would manage One Man Gang, Black Blood, and the Angel of Death in 1991.
After brief stints in FMW, W*ING, and Smoky Mountain Wrestling, Sullivan and Woman (his real-life wife at the time) joined Eastern Championship Wrestling, and would win the tag titles briefly with the Tazmaniac. After a brief, but bloody feud with Abdullah the Butcher, Sullivan returned to WCW in 1994.
After teaming with his kayfabe brother Dave Sullivan for a spell (and winning the tag titles together from the Nasty Boys), Kevin feuded with him over his fondness for Hulk Hogan. Kevin would bring in Avalanche and Hogan’s best friend, Ed Leslie, known at the time as The Butcher. Together, they were the Three Faces of Fear. They feuded with WCW’s top faces, Hogan, Randy Savage, and Sting. When they failed in their mission to end Hulk Hogan’s career, the threesome disbanded; Sullivan turned on Butcher and Avalanche left the group.
Late in the year, Sullivan, known as The Taskmaster, formed a new group in the Dungeon of Doom. The group of misfit wrestlers and odd gimmicks included (among others) Kamala, the Barbarian, Meng, the Yeti, the Giant (initially introduced as the son of the late Andre the Giant), and Sullivan’s former stablemates in Shark (once known as Avalanche) and Zodiac (The Butcher). The group even added Hulk Hogan’s manager Jimmy Hart when he turned on Hogan and cost him the WCW world title to The Giant at Halloween Havoc in October 1995.
The Dungeon briefly feuded—then joined forces with—The Four Horsemen as the Alliance to End Hulkamania. When they failed to end Hulkamania at Uncensored in March 1996, the groups feuded again, with Sullivan feuding with Chris Benoit. The feud lasted over a year, with Benoit stealing Woman from Sullivan. Sullivan in retaliation brought in Jacquelyn and later Konnan to the group. The feud ended in a retirement match at Bash at the Beach in July 1997 with Sullivan losing to Benoit.
The write-off served as a transition for Sullivan to full-time booking, though he briefly returned as part of a reformed Varsity Club in 1999. Sullivan would wind up as the head booker for WCW following the dismissal of Vince Russo and demotion of Ed Ferrara; the move infuriated some WCW wrestlers, including Chris Benoit (Benoit had an affair with Nancy Sullivan—and eventually married her), Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn, and Eddie Guerrero, with the foursome leaving the company in protest and immediately signing with the WWF. Sullivan was fired by WCW late in the year.
Sullivan is still very much in the wrestling business, appearing for TNA (in 2003), for Ring of Honor (in June 2016), and on the independent circuit. He also hosts a pair of podcasts for MLW Radio (MSL & Sullivan and Kevin Sullivan’s Helluva Deal).
It’s a happy 69th birthday to Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton.
Known these days as the Democratic nominee for President of the United States in the upcoming election, Clinton was both the First Lady of Arkansas and the First Lady of the United States when Bill Clinton was Arkansas Governor and US President, respectively. In 2001, she succeded Pat Moynihan as United States Senator, representing New York. From 2009 to 2013, Clinton served as the 67th Secretary of State as a member of the Obama administration.
Wrestling connection: in 2008, Clinton along with Obama and Senator John McCain all appeared on RAW in pre-recorded messages encouraging viewers to vote. That same year, Clinton and Obama were spoofed in a match on RAW during the primary election season.