38 years ago today in Dallas, Texas, Evelyn Stevens defeated The Fabulous Moolah to win the NWA Women's World Championship.
Her reign was a brief one; Stevens would lose it back to Moolah just two days later in Fort Worth. Evelyn’s brief reign is recognized by NWA, but not by WWE (the championship was sold to the then-WWF by Moolah in 1983).
As Sue Green’s 1975 title win is not recognized by the NWA, the win ends a 10-year run with Moolah as its champion.
25 years ago today in Memphis, Tennessee, Jerry Lawler wins a 21-man tournament to win the USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship.
The tournament was commissioned when Snowman no-shows a title defense and abruptly left the company. Other notable participants included Terry Funk, Dick Murdock, Dick Slater, Eddie Gilbert, Jeff Jarrett, Danny Davis, Steve Keirn, and Mark Callous, the future Undertaker.
25 years ago today in Montgomery, Alabama, The York Foundation (Richard Morton, Thomas Rich, and Terrance Taylor) defeated Big Josh, Dustin Rhodes, and Tom "Z-Man" Zenk to win the WCW Six-Man Tag Team Championship.
The trio would be the last six-man champions, as the belts were abandoned a month later.
17 years ago today on an episode of ECW on TNN (WWE Network link), Tammy Lynn Sytch gives a candid interview with an off-camera Paul Heyman, talking about women and drugs in the wrestling business, the death of Louie Spicolli, and her own issues with drugs and alcohol. At the end of the interview, she proclaimed she was back.
The two-part interview received quite a bit of criticism, partly for the frank nature in which Tammy speaks on her past issues, partly because some questioned her sincerity. Clashes with ECW management led Sytch and her husband Chris Candido to leave the company in December.
15 years ago today on RAW from Indianapolis, Indiana (WWE Network link), Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated Kurt Angle to win the WWF Championship for the sixth time.
The win joins him with The Rock as the only six-time WWF Champions in company history. The Rock would take the record back in July 2002 when he won his seventh WWE title.
On the undercard, The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff) defeated Booker T and Test to win the WCW World Tag Team Championship.
14 years ago today, Lilian Garcia releases her debut single "Shout" on Universal Records, not WWE's music label Smackdown Records.
The move brings further speculation that their label would be shut down. It indeed was, but was reborn as WWE Music Group in 2006, a subsidiary of Warner Music.
11 years ago today in Tokyo, Japan, Brock Lesnar defeated Kazuyuki Fujita and Masahiro Chono in a three-way match to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
Lesnar, who was making his New Japan in-ring debut on the card, would hold the title until the following July when alleged visa issues prevented him from appearing at a title defense against Hiroshi Tanahashi. In reality, it was a dispute with management that forced New Japan to strip Lesnar of the title. Lesnar then left the company and took the belt with him.
In 2007 when the Inoki Genome Federation was founded by exiled New Japan founder and president Antonio Inoki, Brock was declared its first champion, as he was never beaten for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. At their very first show, Lesnar defeated by Kurt Angle for the championship.
10 years ago today, WWE presented No Mercy (WWE Network link) from the RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. About 9,000 were in attendance with just 197,000 homes watching on PPV. That's down from 230,000 for the 2005 edition, and the second lowest buyrate for a WWE show that year (second only to the infamous December to Dismember). The show featured the much-hyped debut of MVP.
- In a preshow dark match, Jimmy Wang Yang defeated Sylvan.
- Matt Hardy defeated Gregory Helms.
- Paul London and Brian Kendrick defeated K.C. James and Idol Stevens to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship.
- Montel Vontavious Porter defeated Marty Garner.
- Mr. Kennedy defeated The Undertaker by disqualification.
- Rey Mysterio defeated Chavo Guerrero in a falls count anywhere match.
- Chris Benoit defeated William Regal.
- King Booker defeated Bobby Lashley, Batista, and Finlay in a fatal four-way match to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.
9 years ago today in Tokyo, Japan, Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Yuji Nagata to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
4 years ago today, New Japan Pro Wrestling presented the first ever King of Pro-Wrestling from Ryogoku Kokugikan (Sumo Hall) in Tokyo, Japan.
The event, named after the card game of the same name, takes place on Health and Sports Day, a national holiday in Japan. It was the first ever New Japan PPV event made available for purchase outside of Japan.
- Chaos (Takashi Iizuka, Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano) defeated Muscle Orchestra (Manabu Nakanishi and Strong Man) and Yuji Nagata.
- Forever Hooligans (Alex Koslov and Rocky Romero) (c) defeated Time Splitters (Alex Shelley and Kushida) to retain the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.
- Low Ki defeated Kota Ibushi to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.
- Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Lance Archer) (with Taka Michinoku) defeated Tencozy (Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima) to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship.
- Yujiro Takahashi defeated Tetsuya Naito.
- Laughter7 (Katsuyori Shibata and Kazushi Sakuraba) defeated Always Hypers (Togi Makabe and Wataru Inoue).
- Kazuchika Okada defeated Karl Anderson to retain his IWGP Heavyweight Championship challenge certificate, clinching his right to challenge for the title at Wrestle Kingdom 7.
- Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Hirooki Goto to retain the IWGP Intercontinental Championship.
- Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Minoru Suzuki to retain the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. This was New Japan's first five-star rated match by Wrestling Observer Newsletter since 1997.
Gewirtz remained at the company as a consultant until last summer when he left to join Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s production company, Seven Bucks Entertainment (known today as Seven Bucks Productions).
While Seven Bucks is doing quite well, what with their flagship show Ballers recently renewed by HBO for a third season (as well as three movies in the works all starring Johnson set for a 2017 release), the shakeup at the writer’s table has done little to stop the bleeding.
Thanks to the first Presidential debate, just 2.46 million viewers on average saw the September 26, 2016 episode, with a 1.75 rating in the 18-49 demographic, the lowest ever for a non-holiday show, and second-lowest in the show’s history.
4 years ago today, WWE Hall of Famer Tammy Lynn Sytch was arrested—again—and charged with violating a protective order, disorderly conduct, and criminal mischief after police were called to the home of her boyfriend Damien Darling.
This would be her fourth arrest in a month after being arrested on three consecutive days in September. She was released on $25,000 bond... and arrested again the next day on one count of third degree burglary and three counts of violating a protective order. That’s five arrests in about a month.
She would add a sixth in January 2013, again for violating a protective order; Sytch would be jailed for about four months following the arrest before being released in May.
It’s a happy 36th birthday to Michael Gregory Mizanin, best known to wrestling fans as The Miz.
Before stepping into a wrestling ring, Mizanin first gained fame as a member of The Real World: Back to New York cast in 2001. He would appear on six seasons of its spinoff series, Real World/Road Rules Challenge (winning two of them, making the finals of four of them, and hosting one).
In 2004, after about a year of formal wrestling training, he was a contestant on the fourth season of Tough Enough. He made it to the final before losing to Daniel Puder. Despite not winning, he was offered a developmental contract. He competed for developmental territories Deep South Wrestling and Ohio Valley Wrestling before joining the main roster.
In 2006, Mizanin debuted as host of Smackdown and the WWE Diva Search. He made his in-ring debut in the fall, going undefeated for three months (though he’d barely wrestle in that time). The next year, he was moved to ECW and would partner with John Morrison. The duo would unify the WWE and World Tag Team Championships.
In 2009, The Miz was sent to RAW, where he would win his first singles title, the WWE United States Championship. He added a tag title run in 2010 teaming with The Big Show. That same year, he won the Money in the Bank ladder match for a shot at the WWE Championship at any time up to a year. In November, after Randy Orton successfully defended the WWE title for the second time in as many nights against Wade Barrett, Miz cashed in and would defeat Orton for the title. He would hold it for six months, most notably defending it against John Cena at Wrestlemania XXVII. Later in the year, Miz would very briefly hold the WWE Tag Team Championship with Cena.
2011 marked the peak of Miz’s career; the most hated wrestler as voted by Pro Wrestling Illustrated readers would also be the #1 ranked singles wrestler in the world. He’s largely been out of the world title picture since, adding a tag team title reign with Damien “Mizdow” in 2014 and five Intercontinental Championship reigns beginning in 2012.
Mizanin is a fan of Cleveland’s pro sports teams, the Browns, Cavaliers, and Indians. In July 2011, Mizanin threw out the ceremonial first pitch for a game against the Los Angeles Angels.
In February 2014, Mizanin married his longtime girlfriend Maryse Ouelett. Next year, Mizanin will reprise his role as Jake Carter for The Marine 5: Battleground. Ouelett will also appear in the film.
Today would have been the 50th birthday of Arthur Leon Barr, or simply Art Barr.
Born October 8, 1966 in Portland, Oregon, Barr was a second-generation wrestler; his father Sandy had wrestled, as had older brother Jesse. Art became friends with Roddy Piper while Piper was on the Northwest independent circuit. Barr became an accomplished amateur wrestler, winning four district and two state championships. He attended Oregon State University, but dropped out when his first wife became pregnant.
Barr would work in a steel mill during the day while training at night to break into the wrestling business. After being trained by his father, brother, and Matt Osborne (who would go on to moderate fame and success as the original Doink the Clown), Barr debuted for Pacific Northwest Wrestling in April 1987. At the suggestion of Roddy Piper, in 1988, Barr began wrestling as Beetlejuice, named after the title character of the movie. Wearing facepaint and and flour in his hair, Barr became a bit of a fan favorite.
In July 1989, Barr had a sexual encounter after a PNW event in Pendleton, Oregon with a 19-year old girl; the girl would file rape charges. Despite the attention the incident brought to him and the promotion, Barr continued to wrestle for PNW as Beetlejuice. Just as his trial was to begin, he took a plea deal and was convicted of first-degree sexual abuse about a year later. He would get probation, community service, and a $1,000 fine, but would not serve jail time; Barr maintained that he would have won out in court, but took the plea bargain on the advice of legal counsel.
The conviction, combined with a previous possession of cocaine charge, meant he could no longer wrestle in Oregon when his license renewal came up. Around that time, he caught the eye of WCW and then president Jim Herd. He would be brought in in 1990 as "The Juicer" to avoid copyright conflicts and to draw younger fans to the company. However, Barr's rape conviction charge followed him to Atlanta; a faxing campaign combined with his relatively small size (he was 6'1", 240 pounds) would get Barr released after just a few months.
He finally found success in Konnan's Empresa Mexicana de la Lucha Libre (EMLL) in Mexico. As "The American Love Machine", he was embroiled in an epic feud with Blue Panther, culminating in a mask versus mask match watched by over 26,000 people in and around Arena Mexico in Mexico City (to this day, still a record for the building). Blue Panther won the match after Barr was disqualified for using a piledriver, an illegal maneuver in Mexican wrestling.
After a brief run back at Pacific Northwest Wrestling, Barr and Konnan would leave for Asistencia Asesoria y Administracion (AAA). Barr would team with Eddie Guerrero to form La Pareja del Terror (The Pair of Terror). The duo would win their tag team championship and become the most hated duo in lucha libre history. Their team would expand to include Madonna's Boyfriend, Konnan, and Jake Roberts (THAT Jake Roberts) among others to form Los Gringos Locos, The Crazy Americans. Though he was a huge success, Barr got homesick and turned to alcohol and drugs.
On November 6, 1994, Barr would be a part of the double main event for When Worlds Collide in Los Angeles. La Pareja del Terror lost to El Hijo de Santo and Octagon in a two out of three falls double hair vs. mask match. The bout would get a five-star rating by Wrestling Observer Newsletter and was voted one of the top ten matches of the year by the publication. Barr and Guerrero would both garner interest from WWF, WCW, ECW, and New Japan Pro Wrestling.
On November 23, 1994, Barr was found dead in his home lying with his child in his home in Springfield, Oregon. Barr was 28. Though preliminary reports said he died of an aneurysm, and speculation arose that his death may have been drug-related (drugs and alcohol were found in his system), no official cause of his death was determined. Barr, who used a frog splash as his primary maneuver, would be adopted by Guerrero and numerous wrestlers following his death.