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This Day in Wrestling History (Nov. 17): Shawn Michaels Wins The World Heavyweight Championship

this day in wrestling history

20 years ago today, WWF presented Survivor Series from Madison Square Garden in New York City. 18,647 were in attendance, with about 199,000 homes watching on PPV.

The show featured the WWF in-ring debut of its first third-generation performer, Dwayne Johnson, aka Rocky Maivia, the son of former tag team champion Rocky Johnson and grandfather of High Chief Peter Maivia. It also featured the televised in-ring return of Bret Hart, who had not wrestled on TV since his defeat at Wrestlemania XII.

  • In a preshow Free for All match, Jesse James, Aldo Montoya, Bob Holly, and Bart Gunn defeated The Sultan, Justin Bradshaw, Salvatore Sincere, and Billy Gunn 4-3 in a Survivor Series match.
  • Doug Furnas, Phil Lafon, Henry Godwinn, and Phineas Godwinn defeated Owen Hart, The British Bulldog, Marty Jannetty, and Leif Cassidy 4-2 in a Survivor Series match.
  • The Undertaker defeated Mankind.
  • Marc Mero, Rocky Maivia, Jake Roberts, and The Stalker defeated Crush, Jerry Lawler, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, and Goldust 4-3 in a Survivor Series match.
  • Bret Hart defeated Stone Cold Steve Austin.
  • Faarooq, Vader, Fake Razor Ramon, and Fake Diesel fought Flash Funk, Jimmy Snuka, Savio Vega, and Yokozuna to a no contest in a Survivor Series match.
  • Sycho Sid defeated Shawn Michaels to win the WWF Championship.

19 years ago today was one of the oddest days in the history of the Monday Night Wars.

Nitro (WWE Network link) opens with an nWo promo (a staple of the show around that time), but moments later, they introduce their newest member, Ravishing Rick Rude.

An hour later on RAW is WAR (WWE Network link), Ravishing Rick Rude appears to open the second hour as part of a promo segment with D-Generation X.

You’re probably all confused by this, but there’s a perfectly good explanation, and it’s not really that complicated. The RAW episode that week was taped (Comwall, Ontario, Canada if you’re wondering), while Nitro was live (Cincinnati, Ohio if you’re curious). Still confused? Well, here’s what happened: Rude was on a per-appearance deal with the WWF, but in the six days between the taped RAW and Nitro, Rude negotiated a deal to join WCW. Why? A little something or other known as the Montreal Screwjob. Rude was understandably still salty over it, and he used it as way to get out of the WWF.

As a bonus bit of trivia, Rude that weekend appeared on ECW Hardcore TV (WWE Network link), making him the only wrestler to appear on all three promotions’ television programs in the same week.

Speaking of the Montreal Screwjob, the end of the Survivor Series was the subject of a two-part interview Jim Ross conducted with WWF chairman Vince McMahon. In the interview, McMahon defended his controversial decision to get the WWF title from a soon-to-be-exiting Bret Hart:

“Some would say I screwed Bret Hart. Bret Hart would definitely tell you I screwed him. I look at it from a different standpoint. The referee didn't screw Bret Hart. Shawn Michaels certainly didn't screw Bret Hart. Nor did Vince McMahon screw Bret Hart. I truly believed that Bret Hart screwed Bret Hart. And he can look in the mirror, and know that.”

“…and as far is screwing Bret Hart is concerned, there's a time honored tradition in the wrestling business that when someone is leaving, that they show the right amount of respect to the WWF superstars --in this case-- who helped make you that superstar. That you show the proper respect to the organization that helped you become who you are today. It's a time honored tradition, and Bret Hart did not want to honor that tradition. And that's something that I would have never ever expected from Bret, because he is known somewhat as a traditionalist in this business. It would have never crossed my mind that Bret would not have wanted to show the right amount of respect to the superstars who helped make him and the organization who helped make him what he is today. Nonetheless that was Bret's decision. Bret screwed Bret.”

In the second part of the interview, Ross asked McMahon if Bret would ever be welcomed back in the WWF:

“This is a strange business. And, yes I would. We would have to have a real frank understanding. I would want to hear Bret say, "Vince, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be selfish and I just kind of lost it there for a while." And I have no problem saying "Bret, jeez, I'm sorry. That I had to do what I had to do as well." Would I welcome him back? And I would also tell Bret no more free shots. I would want that strictly from a man's standpoint I'd want him to know that. And in the future if we're going to have problems along those lines, yeah, we're going to have them, but no more free shots. Yeah. If Bret could tear up his contract with the other guys right now and return, I would welcome him back under those conditions.”

McMahon went on to say that while what happened in Montreal affected him personally and he stands by his decision, he’s over it and the WWF will go on, yet he does express regret for his fans being hurt by the decision he had to make.

The interview did have an unintended consequence: it for all intents and purposes gave birth to the Mr. McMahon character, a ruthless businessman who would go to any means to get his way for the betterment of his company, consequences be damned.

In the end, the interview did little to reverse the momentum in the ratings: Nitro still beat RAW soundly in the ratings 4.1 to 3.1.

18 years ago today at a RAW is WAR taping in Columbus, Ohio (WWE Network link), Duane Gill defeated Christian to become the WWF Light Heavyweight Champion.

Because of a deemphasis on the light heavyweights, Gill would hold the championship for 15 months, not losing it until February 13, 2000 to Essa Rios.

16 years ago today, WWF No Mercy is released for the Nintendo 64 in North America.

The followup to Wrestlemania 2000 was the last WWF game to be released for the console. Despite early copies being plagued with a bug that could erase game data, No Mercy was well-received by critics and fans alike, and is often regarded as one of, if not the best wrestling games ever. The game goes on to sell 1.5 million copies worldwide, just over the 1.48 million copies sold for Wrestlemania 2000.

A Game Boy Color version of the game that would have been a supplement to the N64 version was in the works, but it was ultimately cancelled.

14 years ago today, WWF presented Survivor Series (WWE Network link) from Madison Square Garden in New York City. 17,930 people were in attendance, with 340,000 homes watching on PPV. That's down from 450,000 homes for 2001's edition that saw the conclusion to the Invasion storyline.

There were no elimination tag team matches on the show for just the second time in WWE history, but there were three elimination matches on the show, including the first ever Elimination Chamber match in company history.

  • Jeff Hardy, Bubba Ray Dudley and Spike Dudley defeated 3-Minute Warning (Rosey and Jamal) and Rico 3-2 in an elimination tables match.
  • Billy Kidman defeated Jamie Noble to win the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
  • Victoria defeated Trish Stratus in a hardcore match to win the WWE Women's Championship.
  • The Big Show defeated Brock Lesnar to win the WWE Championship. The loss, which took all of about four and a half minutes, was the first in Lesnar's WWE career by pinfall.
  • Los Guerreros (Eddie Guerrero & Chavo Guerrero) defeated Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit and Edge & Rey Mysterio in a three-team elimination match to win the WWE Tag Team Championship.
  • Shawn Michaels defeated Triple H, Booker T, Rob Van Dam, Kane, and Chris Jericho in a Elimination Chamber match to win the World Heavyweight Championship. The win made Shawn Michaels a world champion for the first time since 1998.

2 years ago today on RAW from Roanoke, Virginia (WWE Network link), Luke Harper defeated Dolph Ziggler to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship.

It's a happy 36th birthday for famed independent wrestler Mercedes Martinez.

Born in Waterbury, Connecticut, Martinez turned to wrestling after an injury ended her basketball career at the college level. Training under Jason Knight, she made her professional debut in November 2000. Over the next four years, she would travel mostly throughout the Northeastern United States, competing for New England Championship Wrestling, Connecticut Championship Wrestling, and Combat Zone Wrestling, along with Louisville-based IWA Mid-South.

Martinez has competed for many of the major independents. She was a part of the initial SHIMMER show in November 2005, where she'd wrestle Sara Del Rey to a 20-minute time limit draw. A few months before joining SHIMMER, she had won the World Xtreme Wrestling Womens Championship from Talia Madison (who would go on to major success as TNA's Velvet Sky). Martinez would go on to win the title five times through 2013, more than anyone in the promotion's history. She also won the Cruiserweight Championship in early 2006, and is a two-time winner of their Elite 8 tournament.

Mercedes is perhaps best known for her work in Womens Superstars Uncensored. She competed in the two longest matches in the promotion's history, an Ironwoman match that went 70 minutes in 2009 against Angel Orsini, and a 73-minute bout with Lexxus in 2011. She is a two-time WSU Champion, and was briefly a tag champion with Orsini, and won the 2011 King and Queen of the Ring with Julio Dinero.

Martinez also appeared for Wrestilicious as Maria Toro in 2010 and NCW Femme Fatales, where she held their Championship for 504 days in 2013 and 2014, just over a month off the record held by Kalamity.

At the height of her career, Mercedes was ranked second in the Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Female 50 in 2011, finishing behind only then-SHIMMER Champion at the time Madison Eagles.

It’s a happy 37th birthday to Katsuyori Shibata.

Born in Kuwana, Mie, Japan, Shibata attended Kuwana Kogyo High School with future pro wrestler Hirooki Goto. Shibata, a second-generation wrestler (his father, Katsuhisa Shibata, wrestled for New Japan Pro Wrestling and Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance), wrestled in high school and was a nationally recognized amateur wrestler in 1997.

Shibata made his professional wrestling debut for New Japan in October 1999 against close friend Wataru Inoue. Shibata along with Hiroshi Tanahashi and Shinsuke Nakamura became known as the new Three Musketeers (the original trio consisted of Shinya Hashimoto, Masahiro Chono, and Keiji Mutoh; the threesome were a part of the same graduating class of New Japan’s Dojo in 1984). Shibata finished third in the 2000 Young Lion Cup; the tournament was marred by the death of one of its competitors, Masakazu Fukuda (an elbow drop by Shibata ultimately caused Fukuda to go into a coma and die of a brain hemmorage four days later). He challenged for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight singles and tag team titles but would never win them.

In 2003, Shibata joined the heavyweight division as a member of the Makai Club, a heel stable of wrestlers and MMA fighters who worshipped Antonio Inoki as a god. In 2004, Shibata defeated three former IWGP Heavyweight Champions in Masahiro Chono, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Genichiro Tenryu on his way to winning his block, but lost in the semifinals via knockout to the tournament’s eventual winner, Hiroyoshi Tenzan. Following the tournament, Shibata joined another heel stable in Black New Japan, and would remain there until his controversial exit in January 2005.

Over the next two years, Shibata would become a freelance performer, wrestling most notably for Big Mouth LOUD and Pro Wrestling NOAH. He would return to New Japan on January 4, 2006 and defeat Hiroshi Tanahashi. He left wrestling altogether at the end of the year and turned his attention to mixed martial arts.

After a one-off for Jungle Fights in 2004, Shibata made his full-time MMA debut for K-1 Hero’s in March 2007 with a nine-second TKO win over Yoshihisha Yamamoto. After two wins, Shibata would struggle, losing his next five, including a loss to Ralek Gracie. Shibata would go winless until April 2009 when at Dream 8 he defeated Ikuhisha Minowa. He would defeat New Japan alumnus Tokimitsu Ishizawa at Dream 12 later in the year. It would be his last win in an MMA fight. Shibata would go on another five-fight losing streak spanning twenty months. His final MMA fight came for Deep; he was defeated at 55 Impact by Ryuta Sakurai in August 2011.

After a year away from combat sports, Shibata along with Kazushi Sakuraba returned to New Japan Pro Wrestling. In their return bout, they defeated Hiromu Takahashi and Wataru Inoue. Together known as Laughter7, Shibata and Sakuraba would dominate the tag team division until Invasion Attack in April 2013 when they were defeated by Hirooki Goto and Yuji Nagata; Sakuraba was injured in the bout and was unable to continue. Goto and Shibata would have three singles bouts against one another over the next three months, with Shibata winning at Dominion 6.22 and the two going to draws in the bookend bouts at Wrestling Dontaku 2013 and in July. Shibata narrowly missed out on being in the G1 Climax final in August when he lost to Hiroshi Tanahashi on the final day of the round robin stage.

The rivalry between Shibata and Goto picked up at Wrestle Kingdom 8 (it had been put on hold for five months due to an injury); this time around, Goto won. Their rivalry would end up bringing the former high school classmates together. At New Japan’s 42nd anniversary show in March, Goto and Shibata defeated Bullet Club’s Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows in a non-title match. That led to the duo getting a title match at Invasion Attack, but Bullet Club would retain. In November 2014’s annual World Tag League, Shibata and Goto came back from an 0-3 start to win their block and a slot in the final. They would defeat Gallows and Anderson (the winners of the other block) in a non-title match, earning them an IWGP Tag Team Championship match at Wrestle Kingdom 9. This time, Shibata and Goto defeated the long-reigning champions to win the titles. Their glory was short-lived; just five weeks later at The New Beginning in Osaka, Gallows and Anderson would win the titles back.

At Wrestle Kingdom 10, Shibata won his first singles title with New Japan, defeating Tomohiro Ishii for the NEVER Openweight Championship. In March, Shibata committed to the promotion with a one-year deal, ending his eleven-year run as a freelancer. Shibata held the title until Wrestling Dontaku when he was defeated by Yuji Nagata. Nagata didn’t get to enjoy the title for long; just six weeks later at Dominion, Shibata won the title back. In August, Shibata missed a trip to the G1 Climax final by losing to Evil on the final day of round robin.

Less than a week later, Shibata made his debut for Ring of Honor with a win over Silas Young. He defended the NEVER Openweight Championship against Bobby Fish at Destruction and Fish’s partner Kyle O’Reilly at King of Pro Wrestling. On November 5, he lost the title to Evil. But he wouldn’t be without a championship long; just five days later, Shibata defeated Zack Sabre, Jr. to win the Revolution Pro Wrestling British Heavyweight Championship, the promotion’s top title. Earlier this week, Shibata would win the NEVER Openweight Championship from Evil at Wrestling World 2016 in Singapore.

Shibata, the Wrestling Observer Newsletter winner for Best Brawler in 2013, was ranked the #35 singles wrestler in the world by Pro Wrestling Illustrated in their annual PWI 500 in 2016.

Today would have been the 61st birthday of Ted Lipscomb, best known to wrestling fans as "Nightmare" Ted Allen.

Born in Carterville, Georgia, Allen was multi-talented as a kid. He was a four-sport athlete, edited the Cass High School newspaper, and even did play-by-play for some of their games. At age 14, he was the ring announcer for the weekly matches at the Sports Palace in Cartersville.

Allen made his pro wrestling debut in the summer of 1975 shortly after dropping out of college and got married. By 1977, he was wrestling in Nashville under Nick Gulas while maintaining a real job; however, he'd often quit in the name of a good booking. He would wrestle full time by 1980 as one half of the masked Nightmares with Danny Davis. Wrestling under a mask was almost a way of life for Allen: he was a Mr. Wrestling, a Black Tiger, even a Power Ranger for Smoky Mountain Wrestling.

Allen's biggest contribution to the business came as a trainer. He most notably trained Arn Anderson, Ray Traylor (aka Big Boss Man), Scotty Riggs, Bull Buchanan, and referee Randy "Pee Wee" Anderson. Post-in-ring career, he promoted local wrestling shows in Georgia, ran a furniture moving business, and even build wrestling rings.

Allen died in his home in Carterville, Georgia on August 17, 2010. He was 54. At the time of his death, he was survived by two children and three grandchildren.

2015: Melissa Joan Hart finds a WWE supporter in her feud with Kevin Owens (One day after the actress calls Owens a “lazy wrestler”, Goldust jumps in to Melissa Joan Hart’s defense—then deletes his tweets)

2014: Brock Lesnar added to January Raw card; checking the status of WWE's absentee champ (Amidst rumors that the WWE champion may be on his way out, the mostly absent Brock Lesnar is set to appear on a January RAW)

2013: WWE Survivor Series 2013 match card and line-up (Just one week out from Survivor Series, the card is mostly a mystery with just three matches announced)

2012: Cody Rhodes injury update: Separated shoulder among list of injuries likely to keep him out of Survivor Series (Rhodes out of Survivor Series after MRI reveals he’s got more than just a separated shoulder)

2011: Following Kevin Nash's return, can we expect X-Pac to show up on WWE TV next? (With Kliquer Kevin Nash back on WWE programming, a few Youtube clips featuring Sean Waltman seem to suggest an X-Pac return is imminent)

2010: Goldberg in the Hall of Fame Next Year? Triple H and Shawn Michaels Think Not (Triple H and Shawn Michaels in an interview with SBNation Atlanta thinks the former WCW world champion isn’t a Hall of Famer)

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