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This Day in Wrestling History (Nov. 22): The Undertaker’s WWF Debut

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this day in wrestling history

61 years ago today in Tokyo, Japan, Rikidozan defeated King Kong to become the first All Asia Heavyweight Champion.

He would hold the championship until his fatal stabbing on December 15, 1963. That’s 2,945 days, longer than the longest world title reigns of both Bruno Sammartino (2,803) and Verne Gagne (2,625).

Only four men would hold the All-Asia heavyweight title; the other three are Kintaro Ohki (he held it four times), Giant Baba, and Bill Dromo.

32 years ago today, NWA presented Starrcade: The Million Dollar Challenge (WWE Network link) from the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina.

  • Denny Brown defeated Mike Davis to become the new NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion.
  • Brian Adias defeated Mr. Ito.
  • NWA Florida Heavyweight Champion Jesse Barr defeated Mike Graham.
  • The Assassin and Buzz Tyler defeated The Zambuie Express (Elijah Akeem and Kareem Muhammed) in a tag team elimination match.
  • Manny Fernandez defeated Black Bart to win the Brass Knuckles Heavyweight Championship.
  • Paul Jones defeated Jimmy Valiant in a "loser leaves town" tuxedo street fight.
  • NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion Ron Bass defeated Dick Slater by disqualification.
  • Ivan Koloff and Nikita Koloff defeated Ole Anderson and Keith Larson.
  • Tully Blanchard defeated Ricky Steamboat to retain the NWA World Television Championship and win $10,000.
  • Wahoo McDaniel defeated Billy Graham to retain the NWA United States Championship.
  • Ric Flair defeated Dusty Rhodes to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship and win $1 million. Former boxing world heavyweight champion Joe Frazier was the referee.

26 years ago today, WWF presented Survivor Series (WWE Network link) from the Hartford Civic Center in Hartford, Connecticut. 16,249 were in attendance, with a then-record 380,000 homes watching on PPV.

The event is famous for the television debut of The Undertaker (he had actually made his debut at a Wrestling Challenge taping a day earlier as Cain the Undertaker), but is infamous for the debut of the Gobbeldy Gooker, considered by many to be one of the worst, if not the worst, gimmicks in professional wrestling history. Wrestlecrap.com pays tribute to this gimmick by naming the year's worst moment or angle in wrestling award after the Gooker.

The show also included a one-of-a-kind main event: all of the winners of their Survivor Series matches would face off in a Grand Finale Match of Survival.

  • In a preshow match, Shane Douglas defeated Buddy Rose.
  • The Warriors (The Ultimate Warrior, The Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal), and The Texas Tornado) defeated The Perfect Team (Mr. Perfect and Demolition (Ax, Smash, and Crush) 4-3 in a Survivor Series match.
  • The Million Dollar Team (Ted DiBiase, The Undertaker, and Rhythm & Blues (The Honky Tonk Man and Greg Valentine)) defeated The Dream Team (Dusty Rhodes, Koko B. Ware, and The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart)) 4-3 in a Survivor Series match.
  • The Visionaries (Rick Martel, The Warlord, Power and Glory (Hercules and Paul Roma)) defeated The Vipers (Jake Roberts, Jimmy Snuka, and The Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty)) 4-1 in a Survivor Series match.
  • The Hulkamaniacs (Hulk Hogan, Jim Duggan, The Big Boss Man, and Tugboat) defeated The Natural Disasters (Earthquake, Haku, Dino Bravo, and The Barbarian) 4-3 in a Survivor Series match.
  • The Alliance (Nikolai Volkoff, Tito Santana, and The Bushwhackers (Luke and Butch) defeated The Mercenaries (Sgt. Slaughter, Boris Zhukov, and The Orient Express (Sato and Tanaka)) 4-3 in a Survivor Series match.
  • Team Warrior (Ultimate Warrior, Hulk Hogan, and Tito Santana) defeated Team DiBiase (Ted Dibiase, Warlord, Paul Roma, Rick Martel, and Hercules) 5-1 in the Grand Finale Match of Survival.

24 years ago today in Tokyo, Japan, Ultimo Dragon defeated El Samurai to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. On the same show, Scott Norton and Tony Halme (who would go on to small fame in the WWF as Ludvig Borga) defeated The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott) to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship.

18 years ago today, WCW presented World War 3 (WWE Network link) from the Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan. 17,670 were in attendance, with 250,000 homes watching on PPV. That's up from 205,000 buys in 1997, but is down from 310,000 for Halloween Havoc.

Bill Goldberg, the reigning WCW World Heavyweight Champion, was not booked for the event. This was also the final World War 3 event, as the concept would be abandoned next year for Mayhem.

  • Wrath defeated Glacier.
  • Stevie Ray defeated Konnan by disqualification.
  • Sony Onoo & Ernest "The Cat" Miller defeated Perry Saturn & Kaz Hayashi.
  • Kidman defeated Juventud Guerrera to win the WCW Cruiserweight Championship.
  • Chris Jericho defeated Bobby Duncum Jr. to retain the WCW Television Championship.
  • Kevin Nash last eliminated Scott Hall and Lex Luger in a 60-man, three-ring battle royal to win a WCW World Heavyweight Championship match at Starrcade. Other participants in the match were Alex Wright, Bobby Blaze, Barry Darsow, Chavo Guerrero Jr., Chip Minton, Chris Adams, Chris Benoit, Ciclope, Damien 666, Saturn, The Disciple, Disco Inferno, Eddie Guerrero, El Dandy, The Giant, Hector Garza, Horace Hogan, Chris Jericho, Bobby Duncum Jr., Wrath, Ernest Miller, Scott Steiner, Scott Norton, Scotty Riggs, Rey Mysterio Jr., Barry Horowitz, Bobby Eaton, Stevie Ray, Kidman, Juventud Guerrera, Psychosis, Dean Malenko, Kaz Hayashi, Konnan, Steve McMichael, Kendall Windham, Booker T, Johnny Swinger, The Renegade, Scott Putski, Silver King, Super Calo, Magnum TOKYO, Van Hammer, Villano V, Vincent, Kenny Kaos, La Parka, Lenny Lane, Lizmark Jr., Mike Enos, Lodi, Norman Smiley, Prince Iaukea, Buddy Lee Parker and Glacier.
  • Diamond Dallas Page defeated Bret Hart to retain the WCW United States Championship.

17 years ago today on Nitro from Detroit, Michigan (WWE Network link), Creative Control (Gerald & Patrick) defeated The Filthy Animals (Billy Kidman & Konnan) to win the WCW World Tag Team Championship.

11 years ago today at a Smackdown taping in Sheffield, England (WWE Network link), Juventud defeated Nunzio to win the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.

7 years ago today, WWE presented Survivor Series (WWE Network link) from the Verizon Center in Washington, DC. 12,500 were in attendance, with 225,000 homes watching on PPV. That's down from 319,000 homes for 2008. Survivor Series winners in bold.

  • In a preshow dark match, Santino Marella defeated Chavo Guerrero.
  • Team Miz (The Miz, Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre and Jack Swagger) defeated Team Morrison (John Morrison, Matt Hardy, Shelton Benjamin, Finlay and Evan Bourne) 5-2 in a Survivor Series match.
  • Batista defeated Rey Mysterio by knockout.
  • Team Kingston (Kofi Kingston, MVP, Mark Henry, Christian and R-Truth) defeated Team Orton (Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, Ted DiBiase, CM Punk and William Regal) 5-4 in a Survivor Series match. Kingston eliminated Punk and Orton in a 15-second span to win.
  • The Undertaker defeated Big Show and Chris Jericho in a triple threat match to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.
  • Team Mickie (Mickie James, Melina, Kelly Kelly, Gail Kim and Eve Torres) defeated Team Michelle (Michelle McCool, Alicia Fox, Layla, Jillian and Beth Phoenix) 5-3 in a Survivor Series match.
  • John Cena defeated Triple H and Shawn Michaels in a triple threat match to retain the WWE Championship.

6 years ago today on RAW from Orlando, Florida, Randy Orton defeated Wade Barrett to retain the WWE Championship.

Post-match, Orton was beaten down by Nexus. Unfortunately, his night wasn’t over; just moments later, The Miz elected to use his Money in the Bank briefcase for a guaranteed WWE Championship match.

Moments later, The Miz defeated Randy Orton to win the WWE Championship. Sure there was shock, but the best reaction came from this little girl.

The reaction lives on in wrestling and Internet lore as Angry Miz Girl. Cayley, the then nine-year-old, won a Slammy for WWE Universe Reaction of the Year at the Slammys a month later. No, seriously.

In an interview with Chair Shot Reality a few days after the Slammys, The Miz explained how it all came together:

"Well, the way that happened was the father saw me give out the [WWE] address, I gave the address out the next week and I showed the picture of her, and so it was one of those moments. It just kind of happened.

The father called up WWE headquarters and was like, that’s my daughter and she would love to do something, and I literally went ‘bring her in!’ She ended up winning a Slammy for ‘Best Crowd Reaction,’ which honestly it was the best crowd reaction of the year. And me going out there and… how do you take something from a little kid? How do you get it? So you have to be extremely, excruciatingly nice.

You have to be so nice to them that they trust you, and that’s basically how I went out there and took her Slammy away from her. I was so nice that she trusted me and I took her Slammy and I gave her her own face right back to her. The cool part was backstage everyone was telling me how shy she was. Just watching her go out there and saying thank you to my mom and my sister who always sticks up for me.

It was so cute and she was so shy. Someone told me that Randy Orton went up and hugged her and she wouldn’t let go. It was kind of cute."

1 year ago today, WWE presented Survivor Series (WWE Network link) from the Phillips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.

The show’s primary hook was the final four of a tournament to crown a new WWE World Heavyweight Champion (the title had been vacated earlier in the month by Seth Rollins after he suffered an injury at a house show in Dublin, Ireland).

The show’s secondary hook was the celebration of the Undertaker’s 25th anniversary of his WWE debut.

Sole survivors in bold.

  • In a preshow match, Neville, The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray Dudley & D-Von Dudley), Titus O'Neil, and Goldust defeated The Miz, Bo Dallas, Stardust, and The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor) 5-1 in a Survivor Series match.
  • Roman Reigns defeated Alberto Del Rio in a WWE World Heavyweight Championship tournament semifinal match.
  • Dean Ambrose defeated Kevin Owens in a WWE World Heavyweight Championship tournament semifinal match.
  • Ryback, The Lucha Dragons (Sin Cara & Kalisto) & The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) defeated The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods), Sheamus, and King Barrett 5-2 in a Survivor Series match.
  • Charlotte defeated Paige by submission to retain the WWE Divas Championship.
  • Tyler Breeze defeated Dolph Ziggler.
  • The Brothers of Destruction (The Undertaker & Kane) defeated The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper).
  • Roman Reigns defeated Dean Ambrose in a tournament final to win the vacated WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Moments later, Sheamus ambushed Roman Reigns and exercised his Money in the Bank cash-in privilege.
  • Sheamus defeated Roman Reigns in just 34 seconds to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

The Best of cSs on this day:

2015: Roman Reigns' reaction to losing the world championship is priceless (Roman Reigns wins WWE title, loses WWE title, takes it super hard)

2014: Roman Reigns says comparisons to John Cena are 'completely asinine' (In an interview with the Reno Gazette-Journal, Roman Reigns brushes at the label that he is the next John Cena)

2013: Every Tombstone by The Undertaker in one YouTube Video (In celebration of the anniversary of the Undertaker’s debut, WWE compiled a supercut of (nearly, probably) every one of his Tombstone Piledrivers caught on tape)

2012: Video: John Cena commemorates 10 years strong in WWE (WWE looks back on a decade of John Cena moments)

2011: Cageside Quote: Randy Orton is over the bitterness of The Rock being back (Randy Orton with an interview with SportstownChicago.com talks Rock vs. Cena at Wrestlemania XVIII)