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This Day in Wrestling History (Oct. 3): RAW Comes Home

this day in wrestling history

31 years ago today, WWF taped the second edition of Saturday Night’s Main Event (WWE Network link) from the Meadowlands Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

  • The show featured the wedding of Uncle Elmer.
  • In a preshow dark match, Rick McGraw vs. The Iron Sheik
  • Hulk Hogan defeated Nikolai Volkoff to retain the WWF Championship.
  • Uncle Elmer defeated Johnny Valiant in just 12 seconds. The announced match time was six seconds; either way, it’s the fastest match in WWF history, knocking off the record set by King Kong Bundy at Wrestlemania back in March.
  • Paul Orndorff and Roddy Piper fought to a double countout.
  • Andre the Giant & Tony Atlas defeated Big John Studd & King Kong Bundy via disqualification.
  • The Dream Team (Greg Valentine & Brutus Beefcake) defeated Lanny Poffo & Tony Garea for the WWF Tag Team Championship.

25 years ago today, WWF presented The Battle Royal at the Albert Hall from the Royal Albert Hall in London, England.

The hook of the show was, as you probably guessed, a 20-man over-the-top rope battle royal.

  • The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs & Jerry Sags) defeated The Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty).
  • Ric Flair defeated Tito Santana.
  • Earthquake defeated Big Boss Man.
  • The Mountie defeated Texas Tornado.
  • The Undertaker defeated Hacksaw Jim Duggan by disqualification.
  • Legion of Doom (Hawk & Animal) defeated Power & Glory (Paul Roma & Hercules) to retain the WWF Tag Team Championship.
  • British Bulldog defeated The Barbarian.
  • The British Bulldog won a twenty-man battle royal. Other participants included The Barbarian, Big Boss Man, Jim Duggan, Earthquake, Ric Flair, Hercules, Marty Jannetty, Brian Knobbs, The Legion of Doom, Shawn Michaels, The Mountie, Roddy Piper, Paul Roma, Jerry Sags, Tito Santana, Typhoon, The Undertaker, and Texas Tornado.

16 years ago today, WWF via press release on their website announced that writers Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara were leaving for WCW following a secret meeting over the weekend in Atlanta.

Neither Russo nor Ferrara at the time of the meeting was under contract to the WWF, and Russo called with the news to Vince McMahon late that evening. The news was a blow to the WWF, as it came just two weeks before their IPO (initial public offering).

12 years ago, WWE presented No Mercy (WWE Network link) from the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey. About 10,000 were in attendance, with 240,000 homes watching on PPV.

  • In a preshow Sunday Night Heat match, Mark Jindrak defeated Scotty 2 Hotty.
  • Eddie Guerrero defeated Luther Reigns.
  • Spike Dudley defeated Nunzio to retain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
  • Billy Kidman defeated Paul London.
  • Kenzo Suzuki and René Duprée defeated Rey Mysterio and Rob Van Dam to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship.
  • The Big Show defeated Kurt Angle.
  • John Cena defeated Booker T to win their best of five series 3-2 and the WWE United States Championship.
  • Charlie Haas, Rico, and Miss Jackie defeated The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von) and Dawn Marie.
  • John "Bradshaw" Layfield defeated The Undertaker in a Last Ride Match to retain the WWE Championship.

11 years ago today, WWE presented RAW: Homecoming (WWE Network link) from the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas.

The show’s hook was WWE’s return to its original cable home, the USA Network, after five years with Spike TV. Of note, this was the first ever three-hour episode of RAW. The show was preceded by a one-hour special on RAW’s history, RAW Comes Home.

Also of note, Stone Cold Steve Austin stunned the entire McMahon family. Even Linda.

  • Kurt Angle and Shawn Michaels fought to a 2-2 time limit draw in a 30-minute Ironman match. Angle was offered a sudden death overtime to determine the winner, but refused.
  • Edge defeated Matt Hardy in a Money in the Bank ladder match. As a result of the loss, Matt Hardy was kicked from the RAW roster.
  • Ric Flair & Triple H defeated Carlito & Chris Masters. Post-match, Triple H turned on Ric Flair, shattering the last ties of Evolution.
  • Ashley & Trish Stratus defeated Candice Michelle, Torrie Wilson, and Victoria in a handicap bra & panties match.
  • John Cena defeated Eric Bischoff in a no disqualification match to retain the WWE Championship.

8 years ago today, Smackdown debuts on MyNetworkTV.

The show, taped three days earlier in Green Bay, Wisconsin, was main evented by a triple threat bout featuring the champions of all three brands.

  • Batista, Finlay, Jeff Hardy, and Rey Mysterio defeated John Bradshaw Layfield, Kane, Montel Vontavious Porter, and The Brian Kendrick.
  • Santino Marella defeated Shelton Benjamin.
  • Mark Henry and The Great Khali defeated Chavo Guerrero in a handicap match.
  • Carlito, CM Punk, and Primo defeat Cody Rhodes, Manu & Ted DiBiase.
  • Beth Phoenix defeats Michelle McCool in a lumberjack match.
  • WWE Champion Triple H defeated World Heavyweight Champion Chris Jericho and ECW Champion Matt Hardy in a non-title triple threat match.

6 years ago today, WWE presented Hell in a Cell (WWE Network link) from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. About 7,500 were in attendance, with 210,000 homes watching on PPV. That's down from 283,000 for the 2009 event.

  • In a preshow dark match, Goldust, R-Truth, and Kofi Kingston defeated "Dashing" Cody Rhodes, Drew McIntyre, and Dolph Ziggler.
  • Daniel Bryan defeated The Miz and John Morrison in a triple threat submissions count anywhere match to retain the United States Championship.
  • Randy Orton defeated Sheamus in a Hell in a Cell match to retain the WWE Championship.
  • Edge defeated Jack Swagger.
  • Wade Barrett defeated John Cena. As a result of the loss, Cena was forced to join Nexus. Had Cena won the match or if any member of Nexus interfered, then the group would have been forced to disband.
  • Natalya defeated Michelle McCool by disqualification in a WWE Divas Championship match.
  • Kane defeated The Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.

3 years ago today, WWE signed Leah Van Dale to a WWE developmental contract.

Van Dale was a former cheerleader for the Los Angeles Lakers and New England Patriots. She is a second generation wrestler, as her father Paul Van Dale was enhancement talent for the WWF in the 1990s. Today, you may know Leah as Carmella.

1 year ago today, WWE presented Live from Madison Square Garden from Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The event was noted for Brock Lesnar’s first match in the building in ten and a half years when he left WWE following Wrestlemania XX. It was also the 25th anniversary of Chris Jericho’s professional wrestling debut.

  • In a preshow dark match, Zack Ryder defeated Bo Dallas.
  • In a preshow dark match, Mark Henry defeated Joshua Kingsley.
  • Dolph Ziggler & Randy Orton defeated Rusev & Sheamus.
  • Neville defeated Stardust.
  • Team Bella (Alicia Fox, Brie Bella, and Nikki Bella) defeated PCB (Becky Lynch, Charlotte, and Paige).
  • Kevin Owens defeated Chris Jericho to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship .
  • The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von Dudley) defeated The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) by disqualification in a WWE Tag Team Championship match.
  • Brock Lesnar defeated The Big Show.
  • John Cena defeated Seth Rollins in a steel cage match to retain the WWE United States Championship.

It’s a happy 37th birthday to John Randall Hennigan. Known once upon a time as Johnny Nitro, then John Morrison, he is known these days as Johnny Mundo.

The Los Angeles-born Hennigan is best known for his time in WWE, which began after he had won Tough Enough III in 2002. His first notable appearance came as Johnny Blaze, an assistant to RAW General Manager Eric Bischoff. He eventually adopted the name Johnny Nitro (complete with the theme for WCW Monday Nitro).

While being seasoned in Ohio Valley Wrestling, he would team with—then feud with—fellow Tough Enough winner Matt Capotelli before teaming with Joey Mercury and Melina (originally brought into OVW as Nitro’s ex, ironically) as MNM. The duo would win the OVW Southern Tag Team Championship once before joining the main roster in April 2005. They would win WWE Tag Team Championship upon joining the main roster, defeating Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero. They would win the titles twice more before splitting up in 2007.

Upon pursuing a singles career, Hennigan would win the WWE Intercontinental Championship, and in 2007, the ECW Championship. Following the ECW title win, he changed his ring name to John Morrison. He would team with The Miz in late 2007 and win the WWE Tag Team Championship and the World Tag Team Championship. Hennigan would add two more Intercontinental titles before leaving WWE in November 2011.

After leaving WWE, Hennigan wrestled primarily overseas and on the independent circuit. In 2014, he joined Lucha Underground and Mexican promotion AAA as Johnny Mundo. He would win Lucha Underground’s first main event, first ladder match, and first steel cage match. He was also a participant in the Lucha Libre World Cup events in 2015 and 2016, and would win the 2016 event for Team USA. Hennigan is the current AAA Latin American Champion, having won it back in August from Pentagon Jr. at Triplemania XXIV.

Hennigan has been in a long-time on-and-off relationship with Melina Perez; the two met during the auditions for the third season of Tough Enough.

It’s a happy 77th birthday to Joseph Melton James, though wrestling fans know him best as Bullet Bob Armstrong.

Inspired by seeing Gorgeous George at a wrestling event, the Marietta, Georgia-born James decided to pursue a wrestling career. Before then, he had served in the United States Marine Corps and was stationed in Korea. After leaving the military, James worked as a firefighter.

James began his wrestling career in 1960, adopting the name Bob Armstrong. By the end of the decade, Armstrong had become so popular in Georgia and Alabama, he decided to quit firefighting and work as a wrestler full-time.

While bench pressing a dumbbell in a gym in Georgia, the bench Armstrong was on broke and the weight he was using fell on his face. His face was severely damaged and his nose completely torn off. While undergoing plastic surgery, Armstrong would don a mask and began using the ring name “The Bullet”. Even after the surgery recovery when Armstrong ditched the mask, the nickname stuck.

Armstrong would train with and tag with his four sons, Joseph (who wrestled and referees as Scott), Robert (who wrestled as Brad; he died in November 2012), Steve, and Brian (who is best remembered as Road Dogg Jesse James).

Armstrong went into semi-retirement in the 1990s, appearing occasionally at events in Georgia and Alabama, and serving as the commissioner of Smoky Mountain Wrestling. He also worked for the Continental Wrestling Federation and Southeast Championship Wrestling.

Armstrong occasionally appeared for TNA from 2002 to 2008, and even wrestled a few times for the company, most notably during the James Gang’s feud with LAX. His final appearance for the company came in January 2008 when Bob teamed with his son Brian (known at the time as BG) in a tag team title match, but they were defeated.

Though a retirement show was held in his honor in May 2009, Armstrong’s last bout came in 2010 when he defeated “Cowboy” Bob Orton Jr.

The two-time NWA Southern Heavyweight Champion and winner of over 60 regional championships (nearly all of them with NWA affiliates) was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011.

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