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This Day in Wrestling History (Nov. 1): Bret Hart Signs With WCW

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Today’s TDIPWH is presented in two parts. The second part will focus on the career and life of Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, who turns 72 today.

this day in wrestling history

67 years ago today, NWA World Heavyweight Champion Orville Brown is injured in an automobile accident.

The injury not only cancels an upcoming unification world title match between Brown and Lou Thesz, Brown is forced to retire. The National Wrestling Alliance’s world title held by Brown is forfeited to the National Wrestling Association’s world champion Lou Thesz.

Thesz would go on to unify the many world championships of various wrestling territories around the country over the next three years, finally claiming the undisputed championship in 1952.

31 years ago today, just days after appearing on WWF Superstars in a match against Rowdy Roddy Piper, Rick McGraw dies of a heart attack at age 30.

Some speculated that the injuries he suffered at the hands of Piper during the television taping led to his death, but this turned out to be false. McGraw was a known steroid abuser among co-workers, and though it was never officially proven, the drugs may have led to his sudden death.

26 years ago today at Budokan Hall in Tokyo, Japan, Jushin "Thunder" Liger defeated Pegasus Kid (a masked Chris Benoit) to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship for the third time.

19 years ago today, WWF Champion Bret Hart officially signs with WCW.

In an interview with TSN’s Off the Record a month later, Hart revealed his contract was for $2.5 million a year (up from a $1.5 million base annual salary he was getting late in his WWF run) for three years, a lighter schedule, and reasonable creative control.

A confidentiality agreement is made to keep mum of Hart's decision until after Survivor Series in Montreal, but the news gets out anyway. By the time the show airs on November 9, Hart's departure from the company is a hot topic throughout the show and in the weeks thereafter.

Even after Bret left the WWF, he could not appear on WCW right away due to a 30-day no-compete clause. Hart debuted for WCW on December 15, just two weeks before Starrcade ‘97.

18 years ago, ECW presents November to Remember (WWE Network link) from the Lakefront Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana. About 5,800 were in attendance, with 73,000 homes watching on PPV.

  • Super Nova & The Blue Meanie defeated Danny Doring & Roadkill. Terry Funk was the special timekeeper.
  • Tommy Rogers defeated Tracy Smothers.
  • Spike Dudley defeated Ulf Herman in just five seconds
  • Lance Storm defeated Jerry Lynn. Tammy Lynn Sytch and Mikey Whipwreck were both special referees.
  • Balls Mahoney & Masato Tanaka defeated The Dudley Boyz (Buh Buh Ray Dudley & D-Von Dudley) to win the ECW Tag Team Championship.
  • Jake Roberts & Tommy Dreamer defeated Jack Victory & Justin Credible
  • Rob Van Dam, Sabu, and Taz defeated The Triple Threat (Bam Bam Bigelow, Chris Candido, and Shane Douglas).

18 years ago today, WWF tapes the debut episode of the short-lived Super Astros from the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. In the show's featured bout, El Hijo de Santo defeated Super Loco. The show lasted less than a year before being cancelled in September 1999.

13 years ago today in Elizabeth, New Jersey, The Briscoes (Jay & Mark) defeat Special K (Izzy & Dixie) to win the Ring of Honor Tag Team Championship.

12 years ago today on RAW from Peoria, Illinois (WWE Network link), La Resistance (Rob Conway & Sylvain Grenier) defeated Edge & Chris Benoit to win the World Tag Team Championship.

11 years ago today, WWE presented Taboo Tuesday (WWE Network link) from the iPayOne Center in San Diego, California. About 6,000 were in attendance, with 174,000 homes watching on PPV, about the same number as last year.

  • In a preshow Sunday Night Heat match, Kerwin White and Matt Striker defeated Shelton Benjamin and Val Venis.
  • Rey Mysterio and Matt Hardy defeated Chris Masters and Snitsky. Hardy and Mysterio received the highest vote percentage for the right to take part in the interbrand match (31% and 29% respectively). Other options were JBL (17%), Christian (13%), and Hardcore Holly (10%).
  • Eugene and Jimmy Snuka defeated Rob Conway and Tyson Tomko. Snuka was the chosen tag team partner for Eugene (42%), beating out Hacksaw Jim Duggan (40%) and Kamala (17%).
  • Mankind defeated Carlito. The Mankind face of Mick Foley won the vote with 52%, with Cactus Jack finishing second (35%) and Dude Love in third (13%).
  • Kane and The Big Show defeated Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch to win the World Tag Team Championship. Kane and Big Show did not win the vote to challenge for the WWE Championship, so they were forced to team up and go for the tag titles.
  • Batista defeated Jonathan Coachman in a street fight. The bout was indeed as awful as you thought it was: it finished third in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter award for worst match of 2005.
  • Trish Stratus defeated Ashley, Mickie James, Maria, Candice Michelle and Victoria in a Fulfill Your Fantasy Battle Royal to retain the WWE Women's Championship. The outfit of choice would be lingerie (43%). Other options were leather and lace (32%) and cheerleader (25%).
  • Ric Flair defeated Triple H in a Steel cage match to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship. Steel cage easily won out with 83%, followed by a submission match (13%) and a regular match (4%).
  • John Cena defeated Kurt Angle and Shawn Michaels in a triple threat match to retain the WWE Championship. Michaels won the final spot with 43% of the vote. Other options were Kane (38%) and Big Show (16%).

10 years ago today, WWE releases Dionicio Torres.

Best known to wrestling fans as Psicosis, Torres was arrested for allegedly stealing a car in Baja California on October 9 from 23-year old Alexander Valencia Ramirez. Torres wanted to borrow Ramirez’s car, but pulled a gun on Ramirez after he refused. He led a chase against local police and hit several cars, including one that had a pregnant woman inside (the woman was not seriously injured). When Torres was apprehended, it turned out the gun pulled on Ramirez was a water gun.

Torres had not been on WWE television in about four months at the time of the arrest.

9 years ago today, WWE announces that effective immediately, all violations of the company’s Wellness Policy will be made public.

It doesn't take long for the addendum to be used: Chris Masters is the first man publicly outed under the new rules; he was suspended for two months the next day.

9 years ago today, TNA releases backstage interviewer Leticia Cline, though her release would not be made official until more than three weeks later. TNA, everybody.

Leticia was with the company for a year at the time of her release. Leticia would appear on the fifth and final season of Beauty and the Geek the next year and finish third, and would appear in Playboy. Leticia would be replaced by Crystal Louthan, but she wouldn't last long either. She was replaced the following summer by Lauren Brooke.

8 years ago today, WWE releases Brooke Adams.

One-third of "Extreme Expose", she first appeared in WWE during the 2006 Diva Search. She did not win the competition, but was offered a contract. After some time in Deep South Wrestling, she debuted in ECW in January 2007.

After some time away from the ring, Brooke debuted in TNA in 2010. She remained with the company for five years before leaving in November 2015 due to her pregnancy. She and her husband, model Weston Wayne, welcomed their first child, Jace, in September 2016.

4 years ago today, Robert Bradley James, best known to wrestling fans as Brad Armstrong, was found dead in his home in Kennesaw, Georgia. He was 51.

The second oldest of four sons of “Bullet” Bob Armstrong is best known for his time in WCW in the 1990s. In 1991, Armstrong as Freebird Badstreet was one-third of the WCW World Six-Man Tag Team Champions. In July 1992, Armstrong would win the WCW Light Heayvweight Championship from Scotty Flamingo. Two months after winning the title, Armstrong injured his knee and was forced to vacate the title; the title would be ultimately be abandoned.

His second run in WCW saw limited success for Brad: he would go on a losing streak he would blame on the “Armstrong Curse”. He was repackaged briefly as “B.A.”, a member of the No Limit Soldiers. He briefly feuded with Berlyn in 1999 before being repackaged again as Buzzkill, a ripoff of a gimmick used by his brother Brian, Road Dogg. Armstrong injured his knee again in March 2000 during a WCW Saturday Night taping. By the time his knee healed up, his contract expired, and Brad briefly left the business.

Armstrong had a run in WWE in 2006 as a trainer and color commentator before taking on a producer role full-time in 2007. Armstrong also wrestled on the independent circuit in the Southeastern United States and volunteered at a school in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Brad also had notable stints in New Japan Pro Wrestling, All Japan Pro Wrestling, Southeastern Championshp Wrestling, the Universal Wrestling Federation, Smoky Mountain Wrestling, and Georgia Championship Wrestling.

On November 1, 2012, just a week after seeing a physician on an undisclosed medical issue, Armstrong was found dead in his home in Kennesaw, Georgia. He was 51. Longtime tag team partner Tim Horner suspected a heart attack may have been the cause of his demise. At the time of his death, Brad was survived by his wife of 14 years Lori and his daughter Jillian, age 11.

Armstrong, also a two-time Smoky Mountain Wrestling heavyweight champion, two-time NWA National Champion, and twice NWA National Tag Team Champion won Rookie of the Year awards for Wrestling Observer Newsletter (1981 co-winner with Brad Rhenigans) and Pro Wrestling Illustrated (1982), and was the Observer’s Most Underrated Wrestler of 1987.


The biggest stories of the day of Cageside Seats’ past:

2015: Alberto Del Rio update: Vince McMahon won't let him lose in AAA (McMahon won’t allow Alberto Del Rio have a farewell match in AAA to drop the Mega Championship)

2014: Low Ki's issues with WWE were due to Vince McMahon not being a wrestler; says name changes are due to company's 'egotism' (Low Ki’s interview with the Miami Herald talks about his many issues he had with WWE management)

2013: Daniel Bryan’s Wrestlemania XXX dream opponent is none other than Shawn Michaels (Just days after Michaels costs Bryan the WWE title at Hell in a Cell, Bryan in an interview with Ringside Collectibles said he would love to face Shawn Michaels—or Triple H)

2012: Breaking news: WWE.com announces that former WCW wrestler Brad Armstrong has passed away (Former NWA National Champion and son of Bullet Bob Armstrong dies of a heart attack at age 51)

2011: Jim Ross vs. Michael Cole postponed on WWE RAW due to The Muppets (The world is spared an announcer vs. announcer match because of animatronics—and their contract said so)

2010: Triple H and Stephanie McMahon Campaign for Linda McMahon (the second couple of WWE hit the campaign trail for mama Linda)