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This Day in Wrestling History (Nov. 26): Diesel Wins The WWF Championship

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this day in wrestling history

29 years ago today, two wrestling promotions in direct competition with one another each put on a PPV for the only time in American professional wrestling history.

WWF presented Survivor Series (WWE Network link), while NWA in association with Jim Crockett Promotions presented Starrcade (WWE Network link). With two companies putting on a show on the same night, wrestling fans across the country salivated at the choice of two marquee events. So were cable companies. But as Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Newsletter explained in 2013 (subscription required), the joy was short-lived:

Cable companies, short on PPV product, were thrilled, looking at marketing the two events together as a package deal, Starrcade in the afternoon, and Survivor Series at night. McMahon, realizing that what he just did may have benefitted him as the greater awareness would have helped both sides, did not run a show to also benefit his competitor.

He told the cable companies that they would have to pick one show or the other, knowing he had all the leverage as a proven PPV winner. (Note from Eddie: Wrestlemania III at the time was the most-watched sporting event in PPV history, thus the reason why WWF had so much leverage.) To make it more emphatic, he said that any company that aired Starrcade would not be allowed to have WrestleMania on PPV in 1988.

Only five cable companies bucked the system–four in the Carolinas where Starrcade was expected to do more business, and one in San Jose, CA, where the company said they had made a verbal deal with Crockett, and unlike every other company in the country, their word was their bond, and, despite WWF being the home promotion and them admitting they were making a decision that would cost them business. But they said they weren’t going to be strong-armed.

Did the strong-arming work? In a word, yes. Survivor Series got a 7.0 buyrate to Starrcade’s 3.3. The news is much worse for JCP when accounting for home buys: 325,000 for Survivor Series, just 20,000 for Starrcade, a ratio of more than 16 to 1.

Probably not helping matters for JCP was that fans didn’t buy into Ron Garvin as NWA world champion and the savvier ones knew that he was but only a stopgap so that Ric Flair could win the title back in their PPV debut.

Seeing that cable providers may have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars (maybe millions) in revenue because of the tactic, they told the WWF and NWA to never again run PPVs on the same day. One more side note: McMahon eventually had a change of heart. The five cable companies that passed on Survivor Series were allowed to broadcast Wrestlemania IV after all.

Airing in the afternoon was Starrcade '87: Chi-Town Heat, emanating from the UIC Pavillion in Chicago, Illinois with about 8,000 in attendance.

In addition to being the first PPV presented by the National Wrestling Alliance, this was the first major event from Jim Crockett Promotions since the merger with Bill Watts' Universal Wrestling Federation. This is also the final Starrcade under the JCP banner, as Ted Turner would buy the promotion and rebrand it World Championship Wrestling just before next year’s edition.

  • Sting, Michael Hayes, and Jimmy Garvin fought Eddie Gilbert, Rick Steiner, and Larry Zbyszko to a 15-minute time limit draw.
  • Steve Williams defeated Barry Windham to retain the UWF Heavyweight Championship.
  • The Rock 'n Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson) defeated The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane) in a Skywalkers match. That's basically a five-dollar term for a scaffold match.
  • Nikita Koloff defeated Terry Taylor to unify the NWA and UWF World Television Championships.
  • Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard defeated the Road Warriors (Hawk and Animal) by disqualification to retain the NWA World Tag Team Championship.
  • Dusty Rhodes defeated Lex Luger in a steel cage match to win the NWA United States Heavyweight Championship.
  • Ric Flair defeated Ron Garvin in a steel cage match to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.

In the night cap, WWF presented Survivor Series from the Richfield Coliseum in Richfield, Ohio, where 21,300 fans were on hand.

The hook of the show was a series of elimination tag team matches. The main event tag team match was the first televised meeting between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant since Wrestlemania III. Sole survivors in bold.

  • Brutus Beefcake, Jake Roberts, Jim Duggan, Randy Savage, and Ricky Steamboat defeated Danny Davis, Harley Race, Hercules, Ron Bass, and The Honky Tonk Man 5-2 in a Survivor Series match.
  • Rockin' Robin, The Fabulous Moolah, The Jumping Bomb Angels (Itsuki Yamazaki and Noriyo Tateno), and Velvet McIntyre defeated Dawn Marie, Donna Christianello, Sensational Sherri, and The Glamour Girls (Judy Martin and Leilani Kai) 5-3 in a Survivor Series match.
  • Strike Force (Rick Martel and Tito Santana), The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid), The Fabulous Rougeaus (Jacques Rougeau and Ray Rougeau), The Killer Bees (B. Brian Blair and Jim Brunzell) and The Young Stallions (Jim Powers and Paul Roma) defeated Demolition (Ax and Barry Darsow), The Bolsheviks (Boris Zhukov and Nikolai Volkoff), The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart), The Islanders (Haku and Tama), and The New Dream Team (Dino Bravo and Greg Valentine) 10-6 in a Survivor Series match. In this match, eliminations occurred in pairs; when one member of a team was defeated, his partner was also eliminated.
  • Andre the Giant, Butch Reed, King Kong Bundy, One Man Gang, and Rick Rude defeated Bam Bam Bigelow, Don Muraco, Hulk Hogan, Ken Patera, and Paul Orndorff 5-4 in a Survivor Series match.

22 years ago today in Madison Square Garden in New York City, Diesel defeated Bob Backlund in just eight seconds to win the WWF Championship.

To this day, it's still the shortest WWE Championship match in history, and a feat that has been matched only once since: Randy Orton defeating Daniel Bryan in eight seconds following his Money in the Bank cash-in at Summerslam in 2013.

In an interesting bit of trivia, the win made Diesel, who was in the WWF for only a year and a half at the time, the first man to win the WWF's triple crown (WWF world, Intercontinental, and tag team) championships in less than a year. Diesel did it in just 227 days, a record that would stand until CM Punk broke the mark in 2009 when he completed the triple crown in 203 days.

21 years ago today, Smoky Mountain Wrestling presented Thanksgiving Thunder from the Knoxville City Coliseum in Knoxville, Tennessee. About 1,100 fans were in attendance for what would be the last show presented by the company.

  • Flash Flanagan defeated Thrasher.
  • Sgt. Rock defeated The Wolfman.
  • Butch Cassidy defeated Jim Cornette by disqualification.
  • Brad Armstrong defeated Terry Gordy in a Country Whipping match to become the last SMW Heavyweight Champion.
  • Buddy Landel & The Bullet defeated The Punisher & Tommy Rich.
  • Robert Gibson & The Heavenly Bodies (Jimmy Del Ray & Tom Prichard) defeat Dirty White Boy, Ricky Morton, and Tracy Smothers by disqualification. At the end of the event, all of the wrestlers attacked Cornette and hit them with their finishers. Brian Hildebrand, who would go on to fame as Mark Curtis in WCW, pinned Cornette to end SMW.

21 years ago today, WCW presented the first World War 3 (WWE Network link) from the Norfolk Scope in Norfolk, Virginia. About 12,000 were in attendance, with just 90,000 homes watching on PPV. That's down from 120,000 the previous month.

The show's hook was a three-ring, 60-man battle royal for the vacant WCW World Heavyweight Championship. The title was vacated the previous month following the events of Halloween Havoc involving Hulk Hogan and The Giant.

  • Johnny B. Badd defeated Diamond Dallas Page to retain the WCW World Television Championship. The win also gave Badd the services of Page's manager Kimberly.
  • Big Bubba Rogers defeated Jim Duggan in a taped fist match.
  • Bull Nakano and Akira Hokuto defeated Mayumi Ozaki and Cutie Suzuki.
  • Kensuke Sasaki defeated Chris Benoit to retain the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship.
  • Lex Luger defeated Randy Savage.
  • Sting defeated Ric Flair.
  • Randy Savage last eliminated One Man Gang to win a 60-man, three-ring battle royal and the vacated WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Other participants in the match were Scott Armstrong, Steve Armstrong, Arn Anderson, Johnny B. Badd, Marcus Bagwell, Chris Benoit, Big Train Bart, Bunkhouse Buck, Cobra, Disco Inferno, Jim Duggan, Bobby Eaton, Ric Flair, Eddy Guerrero, Hulk Hogan, Mr. JL, Chris Kanyon, Brian Knobbs, Kurasawa, Lex Luger, Joey Maggs, Meng, Hugh Morrus, Maxx Muscle, Scott Norton, One Man Gang, Paul Orndorff, Diamond Dallas Page, Buddy Lee Parker, Brian Pillman, Sgt. Craig Pittman, Stevie Ray, Lord Steven Regal, Scotty Riggs, Road Warrior Hawk, Big Bubba Rogers, Jerry Sags, Ricky Santana, Kensuke Sasaki, Shark, Fidel Sierra, Dick Slater, Mark Starr, Sting, Dave Sullivan, Kevin Sullivan, Super Assassin #1 and #2, Booker T, Squire David Taylor, Bobby Walker, VK Wallstreet, Pez Whatley, Mike Winner, Alex Wright, James Earl Wright, The Yeti, and Zodiac.

As legend has it, Hulk Hogan changed the booking of the match as the match was in progress. The original plan was for Giant to cleanly eliminate Hogan; what ended up happening was Hogan got cold feet about it and changed it so that Giant pulled Hogan under the ring out of the linesight of any of the referees (think Bret Hart eliminating Steve Austin from the 1997 Royal Rumble match, but none of the referees saw it). Unsurprisingly, all this went over like a lead balloon. Oh, and by the way, Savage’s winning elimination was missed on camera.

16 years ago today, WCW presented Mayhem (WWE Network link) from the US Cellular Arena in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. About 3,800 were in attendance, with just 55,000 homes watching on PPV. That is just over a quarter of what the first Mayhem got (200,000 buys), and down 15,000 buys from Halloween Havoc the previous month. The end was near indeed for WCW.

  • Mike Sanders defeated Kwee Wee to retain the WCW Cruiserweight Championship.
  • Three Count (Shane Helms and Shannon Moore) defeated Evan Karagias and Jamie Knoble, and The Jung Dragons (Kaz Hayashi and Yun Yang) in a triangle match.
  • Mancow defeated Jimmy Hart.
  • Crowbar defeated Reno and Big Vito in a three-way match to retain the WCW Hardcore Championship.
  • The Filthy Animals (Rey Misterio, Jr. and Billy Kidman) defeated Alex Wright and KroniK (Brian Adams and Bryan Clark in a handicap match.
  • Ernest Miller defeated Shane Douglas.
  • Bam Bam Bigelow defeated Sgt. AWOL.
  • General Rection defeated Lance Storm to win the WCW United States Championship.
  • Jeff Jarrett defeated Buff Bagwell.
  • The Insiders (Kevin Nash and Diamond Dallas Page) defeated The Perfect Event (Chuck Palumbo and Shawn Stasiak) to win the WCW World Tag Team Championship.
  • Goldberg defeated Lex Luger.
  • Scott Steiner defeated Booker T in a strait jacket steel cage match to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Steiner would hold the title until the last show in company history when he is defeated by Booker T.

10 years ago today, WWE presented Survivor Series (WWE Network link) from the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 15,400 were in attendance, with 383,000 homes watching on PPV. That's down from 400,000 for the 2005 edition.

  • In a dark match, Carlito defeated Charlie Haas.
  • Team WWE Legends (Ric Flair, Sgt. Slaughter, Dusty Rhodes, and Ron Simmons) defeated the Spirit Squad (Kenny, Johnny, Nicky, and Mikey) 4-3 in a Survivor Series match.
  • Chris Benoit defeated Chavo Guerrero to retain the WWE United States Championship.
  • Mickie James defeated Lita to win the WWE Women's Championship. The bout was Lita's last in the WWE as a full-time roster member. She had a one-off match in 2012 on RAW 1000.
  • Team DX (Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Jeff Hardy, CM Punk, and Matt Hardy) defeated Team Rated-RKO (Edge, Randy Orton, Johnny Nitro, Mike Knox, and Gregory Helms) 5-0 in a Survivor Series match. To this day, this is the only 5-0 win in Survivor Series history.
  • Mr. Kennedy defeated The Undertaker in a first blood match.
  • Team Cena (John Cena, Kane, Bobby Lashley, Sabu, and Rob Van Dam) defeated Team Big Show (The Big Show, Test, Montel Vontavious Porter, Finlay, and Umaga) 5-3 in a Survivor Series match.
  • Batista defeated King Booker to win the World Heavyweight Championship. Had Batista lost, he could never again challenge for the world title.

7 years ago today, Alexis Reed, the stepdaughter of the late Brian Pillman, was killed in an auto accident.

Reed, who was working as "Sexi" Lexi Pillman on the independent circuit, had debuted as a manager in Georgia in January 2008. About six months later, she appeared as a ring girl for a TNA house show in Cincinnati. She had most notably appeared for Tennessee-based Showtime All-Star Wrestling as a valet for Brian Pillman trainee Sean Casey.

It's a happy 40th birthday for Maven Klint Huffman.

Born in Crimora, Virginia, Huffman was adopted by his maternal uncle and his wife after the death of his mother. Before becoming a wrestler, Huffman, a graduate of Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, was a middle school teacher in Tigard, Oregon.

In 2001, Huffman was one of the thirteen people on the cast of the original Tough Enough. Ultimately, Maven along with Nidia Guenrad would win the competition and a WWF contract (of note, four of the final five eventually got WWF deals). He would be sent to the Cincinnati-based Heartland Wrestling Association for further development.

He would make his in-ring debut on the October 4, 2001 episode of Smackdown against one of his trainers, Tazz. Tazz would submit him, then clothesline him as the two shook hands. They briefly feuded, with Maven getting his first win off Tazz with Nidia's help two weeks later.

Maven then famously feuded with The Undertaker in the new year, kicking off—literally—with Maven dropkicking him out of the 2002 Royal Rumble match. Undertaker responded by putting a serious beating on Maven (and yes, that did include Undertaker eliminating Maven from the Rumble, albeit illegally as Undertaker was already out). Maven was awarded a WWF Undisputed Championship match the next night against Chris Jericho, but was submitted by the champion. Just over a week later, Maven won his first championship, the Hardcore Championship, from the Undertaker. He would lose it—and gain it back—at Wrestlemania X8 from Spike Dudley and Christian respectively.

During the 2003 Royal Rumble match, Maven tried to dropkick Undertaker out again. This time around, it didn't work, and Undertaker eliminated Maven (Undertaker would go on to finish second in the Rumble, behind only Brock Lesnar).

Maven would receive his biggest push in late 2004 when he was part of a team taking on Evolution at Survivor Series for full control of RAW for a month. Maven would be eliminated by Triple H, but his team would ultimately win the match, with Randy Orton as the sole survivor. On Maven's night, he booked himself in a world title match against Triple H. The match went on despite Triple H offering Maven a place in Evolution, but Triple H ultimately retained.

The next week, Maven was eliminated by Eugene in a battle royal to determine the #1 contender for the World Heavyweight Championship. The following week, the two faced off, with Eugene winning via disqualification after Maven attacked Eugene's injured knee, then choking him out. Maven then went after William Regal, solidifying his heel turn. He briefly feuded with Shelton Benjamin over the Intercontinental Championship, culminating with Maven being quickly defeated by Benjamin—twice—at New Year's Revolution. Maven would then team with Simon Dean as comedy jobbers before the team split in the summer of 2005 (Dean was traded to Smackdown, while Maven was released altogether).

Following his release, Huffman appeared on an episode of MTV's The 70's House, as a part of the sixth and final season of The Surreal Life, and as an exercise and wellness expert on the Home Shopping Network's morning show, HSN Today.

In 2012, Huffman was arrested in Florida for doctor shopping (the act of using multiple physicians to obtain multiple drugs) due to an addction of oxycodone and hydrocodone. After being released on $2,000 bond, Huffman joined WWE's former talent rehabilitation program.

As of September 2013, Huffman, the 2002 PWI Rookie of the Year, worked as a bouncer at a nightclub in New York City. In 2015, he returned to the ring, wrestling for Create-a-Pro Wrestling Academy in Long Island, New York.

The best of cSs on this day:

2015: What are you thankful for as a pro wrestling fan? (Yours truly asks what are you thankful for as a fan on Thanksgiving)

2014: This interview with new WWE Divas champ Nikki Bella is probably why they didn't want any Total Divas cast members to win the title (Nikki Bella confuses everybody in her first interview with E! Online after winning the Divas title)

2013: So I should still wait and see on Daniel Bryan, right? (The General is tired of the long game in regards to the start-stop push of Daniel Bryan)

2012: WWE TLC 2012: CM Punk vs Ryback official in a tables, ladders, and chairs match (CM Punk and Ryback to meet in their second one-on-one PPV match in three months at TLC—spoiler: injury prevents the match from happening until the new year)

2011: On the brink of a world title, Daniel Bryan is doing better in the WWE than you think (Sergio Hernandez chronicles Daniel Bryan's ascent to the main event)