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This Day in Wrestling History (Nov. 18): The Invasion Era Ends

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this day in wrestling history

78 years ago today in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Jim Londos defeated Bronco Nagurski for the World Heavyweight Championship. He would hold the title until his retirement in 1946.

24 years ago today, WCW presented Clash of the Champions XXI (WWE Network link) from the Macon Coliseum in Macon, Georgia.

  • Flyin' Brian defeated Brad Armstrong in just 25 seconds.
  • Scotty Flamingo defeated Johnny B. Badd by knockout in a boxing match in just 61 seconds.
  • Erik Watts & Kensuke Sasaki defeated Arn Anderson & Beautiful Bobby.
  • WCW Champion Ron Simmons and 2 Cold Scorpio defeated Cactus Jack, The Barbarian and Tony Atlas in a 2-on-3 handicap match. This was 2 Cold Scorpio's WCW debut, and he unleashed the 450 splash to win, believed to be the first time such a maneuver was executed on an American wrestling show.
  • Madusa and Paul E. Dangerously fought to a five-minute time limit draw. This was actually the final television appearance for Heyman as he would be fired a few weeks later for allegedly falsifying expense reports. Heyman would retaliate and sue WCW claiming anti-Semitism. Heyman would get a huge undisclosed settlement out of it.
  • Sting defeated Rick Rude in a King of Cable Tournament semifinal match via judges' decision.
  • Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas defeated Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes to win the NWA/WCW Unified World Tag Team Championship.

21 years ago today, ECW presented November to Remember (WWE Network link) from the ECW Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The show featured the return of Sabu, who was fired just six months earlier after missing a show. Also returning to ECW was Taz, who had been out with a neck injury since July.

Portions of the event would play over three episodes of Hardcore TV, covering November 21, November 28, and December 5 (all WWE Network links).

  • Broad Street Bully and Don E. Allen fought to a no contest.
  • Buh Buh Ray Dudley defeated Broad Street Bully in just 57 seconds.
  • Konnan defeated Jason Knight in just 14 seconds. Taz was the special referee.
  • Stevie Richards defeated El Puerto Ricano.
  • The Pitbulls (Pitbull #1 and Pitbull #2) defeated The Eliminators (John Kronus & Perry Saturn).
  • Rey Misterio Jr. defeated Psicosis in a Mexican deathmatch.
  • The Sandman & Too Cold Scorpio defeated The Public Enemy (Johnny Grunge & Rocco Rock) to retain the ECW World Tag Team Championship.
  • Axl Rotten defeated JT Smith.
  • Bill Alfonso defeated Tod Gordon. Beulah McGillicutty was the special referee. Taz came in late in the match to take over refereeing duties and turned on Gordon just as he had the match won. This match actually planted the seeds of the long-running Taz-Sabu feud that would not culminate until a year and a half later.
  • Mikey Whipwreck defeated Steve Austin to retain the ECW World Heavyweight Championship. The Sandman was the original opponent for Whipwreck, but Austin jumped Sandman before the match and took his place.
  • Sabu defeated Hack Myers.
  • Terry Funk & Tommy Dreamer defeated Cactus Jack & Raven.

15 years ago today, WWF presented Survivor Series (WWE Network link) from the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina. 10,142 were in attendance, with 450,000 homes watching on PPV. That's up from 400,000 for the 2000 edition.

The hook of the show was the lone Survivor Series match that marked the conclusion of the Invasion angle. Of note, a planned cruiserweight/light heavyweight championship unification match between Tajiri and X-Pac was cancelled due to X-Pac being injured. The light heavyweight title was quietly retired soon after.

  • In a preshow Sunday Night Heat match, Lance Storm, Justin Credible and Raven defeated Albert, Scotty 2 Hotty and Spike Dudley.
  • Christian defeated Al Snow to retain the WWF European Championship.
  • William Regal defeated Tajiri.
  • WCW United States Champion Edge defeated WWF Intercontinental Champion Test in a title unification match. The Intercontinental Championship remained, though it was retired for a short period the following year. It was brought back in May 2003. The United States Championship returned in July 2003.
  • WCW Tag Team Champions The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) defeated WWF Tag Team Champions The Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff) in a steel cage title unification match. The WWF Tag Team Championship remained and was retired in 2010. A second version of the tag team championship was commissioned in 2002, and is the version used today.
  • Test won the Immunity battle royal by last eliminating Billy Gunn. The win protected Test's job for a year, regardless of which side won the "Winner Take All" match.
  • Trish Stratus defeated Lita, Jacqueline, Mighty Molly, Jazz and Ivory in a six-pack Challenge to win the vacant WWF Women's Championship. This was Trish's first match since suffering an ankle injury over the summer. This was also the first women's title match since Chyna left the company in May as the women's champion.
  • Team WWF (The Rock, Chris Jericho, The Undertaker, Kane and The Big Show) defeated The Alliance (Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Booker T, Rob Van Dam and Shane McMahon) 5-4 in a "Winner Take All" Survivor Series match. The win brought an official end to the WCW and ECW entities, though ECW would be revived due to popular demand four and a half years later.

9 years ago today, WWE presented Survivor Series (WWE Network link) from the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. 12,500 were in attendance, with 325,000 homes watching on PPV. That's down from 383,000 for the 2006 edition.

This show featured the return of Edge, who had been sidelined with a pectoral injury since July.

  • CM Punk defeated John Morrison and The Miz in a triple threat match to retain the ECW Championship.
  • Mickie James, Maria, Michelle McCool, Kelly Kell, and Torrie Wilson defeated Beth Phoenix, Jillian Hall, Layla El, Melina, and Victoria.
  • Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch defeated Hardcore Holly and Cody Rhodes to retain the World Tag Team Championship.
  • Team Triple H (Triple H, Jeff Hardy, Rey Mysterio and Kane) defeated Team Umaga (Umaga, Mr. Kennedy, Montel Vontavious Porter, Finlay, and Big Daddy V) 5-3 in a Survivor Series elimination match. Matt Hardy was to be a part of Triple H's team, but was injured by MVP prior to the event.
  • The Great Khali defeated Hornswoggle by disqualification.
  • Randy Orton defeated Shawn Michaels to retain the WWE Championship. Per prematch stipulations, Michaels could not use the superkick; otherwise he'd be disqualified and could not get a rematch. Orton could also have lost the championship on a disqualification.
  • Batista defeated The Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.

6 years ago today, a press conference in Australia to hype up the Hulkamania: Let the Battle Begin tour degenerated into a brawl, with Hogan being left a bloody mess by Ric Flair. Ric Flair, as you will recall, retired following Wrestlemania XXIV the previous year.

The publicity stunt was an effort to drive ticket sales for the tour. It did not work. The tour was largely considered a disappointment.

Many of the big names from that tour would wind up in TNA just a few weeks later, including Hogan, Flair, The Nasty Boys, Sean Morley, and Orlando Jordan. Side note: news agency Reuters correctly saw this as an angle, while Australia's top two newspapers reported this as a legitimate incident.

5 years ago today, Ring of Honor presented Survival of the Fittest '11 from the Montgomery County Fairgrounds Coliseum in Dayton, Ohio.

  • The Briscoes (Jay Briscoe & Mark Briscoe) defeated The Bravado Brothers (Harlem Bravado & Lancelot Bravado).
  • Kyle O'Reilly defeated Andy Ridge.
  • Eddie Edwards defeated Mike Bennett.
  • Michael Elgin defeated Adam Cole, Kenny King, and Tommaso Ciampa in a Four Corners Survival match.
  • El Generico and Steve Corino fought to a 20-minute time-limit draw.
  • Roderick Strong defeated Rhett Titus.
  • Wrestling's Greatest Tag Team (Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin) defeated Davey Richards & Jay Lethal.
  • Michael Elgin defeated Jay Briscoe, Mark Briscoe, Kyle O'Reilly, Eddie Edwards, and Roderick Strong to win the 2011 Survival of the Fittest Tournament and a future ROH World Championship match.

4 years ago today, WWE presented Survivor Series (WWE Network link) from Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. 8,500 were in attendance, with 208,000 homes watching on PPV. That's down 73,000 for the 2011 edition. Sole survivors in bold.

  • In a preshow match, 3MB (Heath Slater, & Jinder Mahal) defeated Zack Ryder & Santino Marella.
  • Team Clay (Brodus Clay, Justin Gabriel, Rey Mysterio, Sin Cara and Tyson Kidd) defeated Team Tensai (Tensai, Epico, Primo, and The Prime Time Players (Darren Young & Titus O'Neil)) 5-1 in a Survivor Series match. Of note, both captains were the first two eliminated.
  • Eve defeated Kaitlyn to retain the WWE Divas Championship.
  • Antonio Cesaro defeated R-Truth to retain the WWE United States Championship.
  • Sheamus defeated The Big Show by disqualification in a World Heavyweight Championship match.
  • Team Ziggler (Dolph Ziggler, Wade Barrett, Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow) and Alberto Del Rio) defeated Team Foley (The Miz, Kofi Kingston, Team Hell No (Kane & Daniel Bryan) and Randy Orton) 5-4 in a Survivor Series match.
  • CM Punk defeated John Cena and Ryback in a triple threat match to retain the WWE Championship. Near the conclusion of the match, three men jumped the rails and attacked Ryback. Those three men were identified as Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns, all from NXT. The three would soon be collectively known as The Shield. As for Punk, the win made Punk the first man to hold the WWE Champion for one full year since John Cena in 2007.

3 years ago today on RAW from Nashville, Tennessee (WWE Network link), Big E Langston defeated Curtis Axel to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship.

It’s a happy 40th birthday to Tomoaki Honma.

Born in Higashine, Yamagata, Japan, Honma trained in the Big Japan Pro Wrestling Dojo before debuting for the company in May 1997. He wrestled primarily in the lower card until making a name for himself in Big Japan's deathmatch division.

Honma left due to a dispute with management in October 2000 and would wrestle on the Japanese independent circuit for the next year before landing with All Japan Pro Wrestling in November 2001. He wrestled as a freelancer for a few months before signing a full-time deal in March 2002. He spent the next few years shedding his deathmatch reputation and proved himself to be a solid worker. He remained with the company until April 2006, shortly after returning from a severe neck injury that sidelined him for most of 2005.

In 2007, Honma landed in New Japan Pro Wrestling and debuted in the New Japan Cup tournament, losing to Takashi Iizuka. Honma would align with Hiroyoshi Tenzan's Great Bash Heel (GBH) faction. When Togi Makabe assumed leadership of the group, the rest of the group left to form Chaos with Shinsuke Nakamura. Honma stuck with Makabe, but the group virtually disbanded as Makabe was a main eventer. Honma was released due to personal issues in March 2012.

After a year in Pro Wrestling Zero1, he returned to New Japan and reunited with Togi Makabe. That summer, Honma would go 0-10 in the G1 Climax tournament (finishing dead last in his block), but gained a bit of popularity with a fan movement known as "Honmania". The reunited GBH would go 3-4 in the World Tag League that fall, again finishing last in their block.

Honma would break through in the new year, when he pinned Yujiro Takahashi in a six-man tag match at Wrestle Kingdom 9. But he was soon back to his losing way, losing to Togi Makabe for the NEVER Openweight Championship in March. A month earlier, Honma wrestled his first Wrestling Observer Newsletter five-star rated match, losing to Tomohiro Ishii. In August, he would defeat Ishii to win his first G1 Climax match after starting 0-7. The lone win led to Honma challenging Ishii for the NEVER Openweight Championship at Power Struggle, but he was defeated.

In November 2015, Honma was accused of domestic violence by fellow wrestler Kiyoko Ichiki. Honma denied the accusation, claiming she abused him and he had planned to seek legal action against her.

In December, Honma and Makabe would win the World Tag League, defeating Evil and Tetsuya Naito of Los Ingobernables de Japon in the finals for an IWGP Tag Team Championship match. At Wrestle Kingdom 10, Honma would win his first title in New Japan, teaming with Makabe to defeat Bullet Club’s Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship. The next month, he made his Ring of Honor debut at Honor Rising: Japan 2016 in a losing effort to Jay Lethal for the ROH World Championship. At Invasion Attack, Honma and Makabe lost the IWGP tag titles to Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Roa).

Honma, who's nicknamed "Minna no Kokeshi" for his penchant of trying (and often missing) his falling headbutt, has a characteristically hoarse voice, something made possible for having crushed vocal chords, the same affliction that most famously affected John Laurainitis and Genichiro Tenryu.

The best of cSs on this day:

2015: Eva Marie vs. Bayley for the women’s championship set for NXT TV next week (NXT and Internet favorite Bayley set to take on Total Diva and Internet pariah Eva Marie)

2014: Divas elimination tag match official for WWE Survivor Series 2014 (Less than a week before Survivor Series, an eclectic Divas elimination tag match is announced: Alicia Fox, Natalya, Naomi, and Emma versus Paige, Cameron, Summer Rae, and Layla)

2013: Traditional Survivor Series match announced for PPV on Nov. 24 in Boston (Less than a week before Survivor Series, the show gets its traditional elimination tag match: The Usos and the Rhodes brothers and TBD versus The Shield and The Real Americans)

2012: WWE Survivor Series 2012 results and live match coverage TONIGHT (Nov. 18) from Indianapolis (Survivor Series 2012 live blog)

2011: Is 'Internet Champion' Zack Ryder to blame for WWE's countless and annoying Twitter plugs? (Zack Ryder figuring out the Internet before most anyone else in WWE may have led to the company’s obsession with “trending worldwide”)

2010: Cageside Clutch: Phil Davis' Open Scissors Leg Lock (cSs’ KJ Gould breaks down one of MMA’s most effective holds)