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This Day in Wrestling History (Nov. 24): A Flair For The Gold

this day in wrestling history

If you’re in the States, happy Thanksgiving!

33 years ago today, NWA in association with Jim Crockett Promotions presented Starrcade: A Flair for the Gold (WWE Network link) from the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina. A sold-out 15,447 were in attendance, with about 30,000 watching on closed-circuit television in locations throughout the South.

The closed-circuit number was seen as disappointing, but a winter storm affecting much of the Southern half of the country affected viewership.

  • The Assassins (Assassin #1 & Assassin #2) defeated Bugsy McGraw & Rufus R. Jones.
  • Johnny Weaver & Scott McGhee defeated Kevin Sullivan & Mark Lewin by disqualification.
  • Carlos Colon defeated Abdullah The Butcher by disqualification.
  • Bob Orton Jr. & Dick Slater defeated Mark Youngblood & Wahoo McDaniel.
  • Charlie Brown defeated The Great Kabuki in a title versus mask match to win the NWA World Television Championship.
  • Roddy Piper defeated NWA United States Heavyweight Champion Greg Valentine in a non-title dog collar match.
  • Jay Youngblood & Ricky Steamboat defeated The Brisco Brothers (Jack & Jerry Brisco) to win the NWA World Tag Team Championship. Angelo Mosca was the special referee.
  • Ric Flair defeated Harley Race in a steel cage match to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Gene Kinski was the special referee.

28 years ago today, WWF presented Survivor Series (WWE Network link) from the Richfield Coliseum in Richfield, Ohio. 13,500 were in attendance, with 310,000 homes watching on PPV. That's down 15,000 homes from the first Survivor Series event.

One of the matches on the show was the last 10-on-10 Survivor Series match in WWE history until this past Sunday’s Survivor Series, with eliminations coming two at a time (when one person was eliminated, his tag team partner was eliminated as well).

  • The Ultimate Warrior, Brutus Beefcake, The Blue Blazer, Sam Houston and Jim Brunzell defeated The Honky Tonk Man, Ron Bass, Greg Valentine, Danny Davis and Bad News Brown 5-4 in a Survivor Series match. Brunzell was a replacement for Don Muraco.
  • The Powers of Pain (The Warlord and The Barbarian), The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid), The Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty), The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart) and The Young Stalliions (Jim Powers and Paul Roma) defeated Demolition (Ax and Smash), The Consquistadors (Uno and Dos), The Brain Busters (Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard), The Bolsheviks (Boris Zhukov and Nikolai Volkoff) and The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers (Jacques Rougeau and Ray Rougeau) 10-8 in a tag team Survivor Series match.
  • Andre the Giant, Dino Bravo, Mr. Perfect, Rick Rude and Harley Race defeated Jake Roberts, Jim Duggan, Tito Santana, Scott Casey, and Ken Patera 5-3 in a Survivor Series match.
  • The Mega Powers (Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage), Hercules, Koko B. Ware and Hillbilly Jim defeated The Twin Towers (Big Bossman and Akeem), King Haku, Ted DiBiase and The Red Rooster 5-3 in a Survivor Series match.

23 years ago today, WWF presented Survivor Series (WWE Network link) from the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. 15,509 were in attendance, with a record-low 180,000 homes watching on PPV. They would surpass that low just two years later. In relation to the 1992 edition, it's down 70,000 homes.

Of note, Shawn Michaels substituted for Jerry Lawler due to Lawler at the time facing charges of raping a 15-year old girl. The charges were ultimately dropped when the girl admitted to making the whole thing up.

He wasn’t the only commentator in legal hot water; WWF chairman Vince McMahon was indicted on federal steroid distribution charges just six days prior to the show.

Sole survivors in bold.

  • In a dark match, Billy Gunn defeated The Brooklyn Brawler.
  • Marty Jannetty, Randy Savage, Razor Ramon, and The 1-2-3 Kid defeated Irwin R. Schyster, Diesel, Rick Martel, and Adam Bomb 4-2 in a Survivor Series match.
  • The Hart Family (Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Bruce Hart, and Keith Hart) defeated Shawn Michaels and his Knights (Shawn Michaels, The Red Knight, The Blue Knight, and The Black Knight) 4-1 in a Survivor Series match. For the record, playing the roles of the Knights were Barry Horowitz (red), Greg Valentine (blue), and Jeff Gaylord (black; in his only WWF appearance)
  • The Heavenly Bodies (Jimmy Del Ray and Tom Pritchard) defeated The Rock 'n' Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson) to win the Smoky Mountain Wrestling Tag Team Championship.
  • The Bushwhackers (Luke & Butch) & Men on a Mission (Mo & Mabel) defeated The Headshrinkers, Bastion Booger, and Bam Bam Bigelow 4-0 in a Survivor Series match.
  • The All-Americans (Lex Luger, The Undertaker, Rick Steiner, and Scott Steiner) defeated The Foreign Fanatics (Yokozuna, Crush, Ludvig Borga & Jacques Rougeau) 4-3 in a Survivor Series match.

20 years ago today, WCW presented World War 3 (WWE Network link) from the Norfolk Scope in Norfolk, Virginia. 10,314 were in attendance, with 200,000 homes watching on PPV. That's down 50,000 from the previous month, but more than doubles the homes for the 1995 edition of the event (90,000 homes).

  • The Ultimate Dragon defeated Rey Misterio, Jr. to retain the J-Crown Championship.
  • Chris Jericho defeated Nick Patrick. Jericho had one arm tied behind his back during this match.
  • The Giant defeated Jeff Jarrett.
  • Harlem Heat (Booker T and Stevie Ray) defeated The Amazing French-Canadians (Jacques Rougeau and Pierre Ouelette). With the win, Sherri got a match with Col. Parker.
  • Sister Sherri defeated Col. Robert Parker by countout.
  • Dean Malenko defeated Psychosis to retain the WCW Cruiserweight Championship.
  • The Outsiders (Scott Hall and Kevin Nash) defeated The Faces of Fear (Meng and The Barbarian) and The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags) in a triangle match to retain the WCW World Tag Team Championship.
  • The Giant won a three-ring, 60-man battle royal last eliminating Lex Luger to win a future WCW World Heavyweight Championship match. Other participants in the match were Arn Anderson, Marcus Bagwell, The Barbarian, Chris Benoit, Big Bubba, Jack Boot, Bunkhouse Buck, Ciclope, Disco Inferno, Jim Duggan, Bobby Eaton, Mike Enos, Galaxy, Joe Gomez, Jimmy Graffiti, Johnny Grunge, Juventud Guerrera, Eddy Guerrero, Scott Hall, Prince Iaukea, Ice Train, Mr. JL, Jeff Jarrett, Chris Jericho, Kenny Kaos, Konnan, Dean Malenko, Steve McMichael, Meng, Rey Misterio, Jr., Hugh Morrus, Kevin Nash, Scott Norton, Pierre Ouelette, Diamond Dallas Page, La Parka, Sgt. Craig Pittman, Jim Powers, Robbie Rage, Stevie Ray, Lord Steven Regal, The Renegade, Scotty Riggs, Roadblock, Jacques Rougeau, Tony Rumble, Mark Starr, Rick Steiner, Ron Studd, Kevin Sullivan, Syxx, Booker T, David Taylor, Último Dragón, Villaño IV, Michael Wallstreet, Pez Whatley, and Alex Wright.

19 years ago today on RAW is WAR from Fayetteville, North Carolina (WWE Network link), The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg Jesse James and "Badd Ass" Billy Gunn) defeated The Legion of Doom (Animal and Hawk) to win the WWF Tag Team Championship.

8 years ago today on RAW from Providence, Rhode Island (WWE Network link), former RAW Diva Search contestant Milena Roucka makes her WWE debut as an audience plant.

She was seen on camera during Beth Phoenix's entrance for a 3-on-3 divas match holding up a sign saying "Glamazon in Training", much in the way Emma made her debut in 2014.

Roucka remains in the WWE to this day as Rosa Mendes, though she had not been seen on WWE programming since August 2015, when she announced her pregnancy. She gave birth to her first daughter, Jordan, in February 2016.

3 years ago today, WWE presented Survivor Series (WWE Network link) from the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. 13,500 were in attendance, with 184,000 homes watching on PPV. That’s down from 216,000 homes for the 2012 event.

The show finished second (albeit a distant second) to Battleground for Worst Major Wrestling Show of 2013 by Wrestling Observer Newsletter readers. This would be the third in a trilogy of critically panned PPVs by WWE in the latter half of the year (Night of Champions would finish third in the worst show category. No other show received votes.)

Though the show finished second in the worst major show voting, three matches from the show would be voted among the worst matches of 2013 by Observer readers.

Sole survivors in bold.

  • In a preshow match, The Miz defeated Kofi Kingston.
  • The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, and Seth Rollins) and The Real Americans (Antonio Cesaro & Jack Swagger) defeated Cody Rhodes, Goldust, The Usos (Jey Uso & Jimmy Uso), and Rey Mysterio 5-4 in a Survivor Series match.
  • Big E. Langston defeated Curtis Axel to retain the Intercontinental Championship.
  • Eva Marie, JoJo, Natalya, The Bella Twins (Brie Bella & Nikki Bella), and The Funkadactyls (Cameron & Naomi) defeated AJ Lee, Aksana, Alicia Fox, Kaitlyn, Rosa Mendes, Summer Rae, and Tamina Snuka 7-5 in a Survivor Series match. This bout was voted the Worst Match of 2013 by Observer readers.
  • Mark Henry defeated Ryback. This match finished fifth in the Worst Match of 2013 by Observer readers.
  • John Cena defeated Alberto Del Rio to retain the World Heavyweight Championship. Of note, this was the final PPV defense of the World Heavyweight Championship. The championship was retired the next month at TLC when the title was unified with the WWE Championship.
  • CM Punk and Daniel Bryan defeated The Wyatt Family (Luke Harper & Erick Rowan).
  • Randy Orton defeated The Big Show to retain the WWE Championship. The bout finished second in the Worst Match of 2013 by Observer readers.

It's a happy 36th birthday to Elizabeth Kocianski, best known to wrestling fans as "The Glamazon" Beth Phoenix.

Born in Elmira, New York to Polish-American parents, Elizabeth was more or less destined for the wrestling business. At age 11, she won a coloring contest for tickets to a WWF event, and cites this as when she fell in love with pro wrestling. She was a three-sport athlete at Notre Dame High School, running track, playing tennis, and wrestled. She won both the Northeast freestyle women's championship and the New York State Fair tournament in her weight class (72kg) in 1999. Her amateur background made her a natural to transition into the pro game, as it was her lifelong goal.

After graduating high school, she enrolled in Canisius Collge in Buffalo (where she would graduate with a Bachelor's in criminal justice and public relations) and trained at a local wrestling school run by the All Knighters, who were trained in the Hart Dungeon. Her professional debut was against Alexis Laree (who would go on to fame under her real name Mickie James). She would work the independent circuit for the next two years taking on both male and female competitors. As the only female wrestler in Far North Wrestling, Elizabeth as Phoenix would win the cruiserweight championship in 2003. She was also the inaugural champion of GLORY Wrestling and appeared in the first ever Shimmer Women Athletes show. She was beaten by founder Alison Danger, but would defeat MsChif in a non-title match. Late in 2003, she took part in the World Extreme Wrestling Women's Elite 8, losing to April Hunter in the final.

In May 2004, she impressed WWE officials in her tryout, then relocated to Louisville to work with their then-territory Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW). She debuted as Beth Phoenix that summer as the girlfriend of Chris Masters, then quickly repackaged as the manager of "The Idol" Aaron Stevens. She signed a developmental contract with WWE in October 2005, around the time she broke her hand.

Phoenix made her WWE debut in May 2006 attacking Mickie James as a fan favorite who was affected by James' psychotic behavior. She was formally introduced the next week and attacked Mickie again. And again the following week. Phoenix's initial run did not last long, as she fractured her mandible during a match with Victoria. She would spend the next year getting surgeries, including a titanium plate and nine screws under her jaw. Though it would be a while before she returned to WWE, she was back in the ring in only a couple of months.

She returned in August chasing the OVW Womens Championship. She defeated Serena Deeb in a non-title match in her return bout, then again for the title in early October. She would hold the title for just over two weeks before losing it to Victoria Crawford (aka Alicia Fox), but Beth regained the title the next night. Neither of those reigns is recognized. Phoenix would lose the title officially to Katie Lea in a gauntlet match on November 1. Nonetheless, Beth still proclaimed herself to be the women's champion. The two would meet in a ladder match, with Katie Lea becoming the undisputed OVW Womens Champion. She would chase the title for the next few months, but never won it again before leaving OVW for good in August 2007.

Beth returned to the main roster in July 2007 as a replacement for Melina in a tag team match. She and Jillian Hall would lose to Candice Michelle and Mickie James. At Summerslam the next month, Beth won an interpromotional battle royal for a shot at the WWE Womens Championship. She would be pushed as a dominant diva and call herself a "Glamazon". She failed to defeat then-Womens Champion Candice Michelle at Unforgiven, but beat her in a mixed tag team match two weeks later. At No Mercy, she defeated Michelle to win the Womens Championship. They met again two weeks later in a two out of three falls match, a match that abruptly ended when Phoenix shook the top rope, causing Candice to fall to the canvas and break her clavicle. Beth would hold the title until April 2008 when she lost it to Mickie James. Shortly after, her alliance with Melina would fall apart. The two would face off in the first ever women's I Quit match in WWE history at One Night Stand in June.

After a few weeks off television, Beth returned to answer an open challenge by Santino Marella, and win. The next week, Santino tried again, losing to a returning D-Lo Brown. Phoenix would confront Santino, and after a brief grapple, the two kissed, much to the confusion of many. The two would become an on-screen couple known as "Glamarella", with Santino being over the top and embarrassing, and Beth more the "play it straight" type. The duo would garner some success, defeating Kofi Kingston and Mickie James in a winner-take-all intergender match for the Intercontinental and Womens championships at Summerslam. Phoenix would win the 2008 Diva of the Year, then resume her feud with a just-returning Melina. This included the debut of Milena Roucka, aka Rosa Mendes, a Beth Phoenix superfan. Beth lost thewomen's title at the 2009 Royal Rumble event to Melina. In March, Beth participated in the 25-diva "Miss Wrestlemania" battle royal, but lost to Santina Marella, aka Santino in drag. Needless to say, Beth was not pleased with the Santino/Santina getup, and the couple split.

In January 2010, she became the second woman to enter the Royal Rumble match and recorded just a single elimination (The Great Khali) before being eliminated by CM Punk. Beth would briefly feud with Smackdown general manager Vickie Guerrero and Laycool (Michelle McCool and Layla), with Beth defeating McCool in an "extreme makeover" match at Extreme Rules to win the women's title for the third time. A week later, Beth would tear her ACL in a match against Rosa Mendes and was defeated for her title soon after by Layla.

She returned in November after Laycool lost the Divas Championship to Natalya, and the two would form an alliance, defeating them in a tag team tables match at TLC in December. Phoenix returned to RAW in the 2011 Supplemental Draft, but would not become a factor until the summer when she won a battle royal to become the #1 contender for the Divas Championship. She turned heel and formed Natalya to form the Divas of Doom and made a mockery of the other divas. They would feud with Kelly Kelly, Eve Torres, and the Chickbusters (AJ and Kaitlyn). After a pair of unsuccessful tries, Beth won the Divas title for the first time at Hell in a Cell in October 2010. Beth would hold the championship until losing it in a lumberjill match to Nikki Bella after going down with a (kayfabe) ankle injury. Beth would remain with the WWE until October 2012 when she lost to, then defeated AJ Lee. Her poor performance got her (kayfabe) fired, but in reality, Beth had given her notice that she was leaving due to family obligations.

Beth was married to Joey Carolan, aka Joey Knight, one of her trainers when she first broke into the business, but has since divorced. Beth recently married former WWE superstar Adam Copeland, aka Edge (the couple married on October 30, Copeland’s 43rd birthday). The couple have two children, Lyric Rose (age 2), and Ruby Ever (age five months).

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