97 years ago today, Evan "The Strangler" Lewis died following a two-year battle with cancer in Dodgeville, Wisconsin. He was 59.
Born May 24, 1860 in Ridgeway, Wisconsin, Lewis began wrestling professionally in May 1882. In his professional debut, he won a 64-man tournament. Less than a year after his debut, he became the Wisconsin Heavyweight Champion, and by 1885, he was defeating international sensations including Tom Cannon and Matsada Sorakichi (the first match with Sorakichi is where he garnered the nickname "The Strangler") often with a stranglehold that is known today as the rear naked choke. He defeated Joe Action to win the American Catch-as-Catch-can Championship then unified them with the world Catch-as-Catch-can title after defeating Ernest Roeber in a best-of-five falls match in March 1893. With the rear naked choke declared largely illegal, in 1895, Lewis was defeated by "Farmer" Martin Burns.
Lewis retired soon after to his Ridgeway farm and served on the town board as a game warden. While Evan toiled mostly in anonymity, his namesake Ed "Strangler" Lewis (who lost the heavyweight championship on the day of the original Strangler's death-real name Robert Freidrich) went on to become one of the most famous and richest pro wrestlers in history more than a quarter century later. In another bit of cruel irony, the second Strangler is in the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame, while the original, who actually spent the majority of his life in Wisconsin, is not.
19 years ago today on Nitro from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (WWE Network link), Perry Saturn in his WCW television in-ring debut defeated Disco Inferno to win the WCW World Television Championship.
Saturn, real name Perry Satullo, had actually wrestled two dark matches on Nitro and at a WCW Saturday Night taping prior to this bout (the Saturday Night match had yet to air); his last televised bout was for ECW at Wrestlepalooza ‘97 in June, just a week after he tore his ACL when he landed on a crutch following a kick to Big Dick Dudley.
Expected to be out for up to a year, Saturn returned in just two months. However, due to what he felt was a lack of motivation in his his tag team partner George Caiazzo, aka John Kronus, Saturn refused to reform the Eliminators. ECW owner Paul Heyman offered him an outright release if he could find employment elsewhere. Perry would quickly negotiate on a deal to join WCW, and would debut for them in late August.
18 years ago today, Jesse "The Body" Ventura, running as an Independent candidate, is elected the thirty-eighth Governor of Minnesota.
Ventura, who served two terms as the mayor of Brooklyn Park, ran on the Reform Party ticket (the same ticket that Ross Perot famously ran on in his 1996 Presidential run). Ventura won with just 37% of the vote, with Republican Norm Coleman finishing second (34%) and Democrat Hubert Humphrey III finishing third (28%). The win is considered one of the greatest political upsets in American history, leading Ventura to rightly say in his speech, "We shocked the world".
18 years ago today at a RAW is WAR taping in Dallas, Texas (WWE Network link), Mankind defeated Ken Shamrock to retain the WWF Hardcore Championship.
Airing six days later, it was the first defense of the title that was awarded to him by Vince McMahon the previous night.
15 years ago today, WWF presented Rebellion (WWE Network link) from the Manchester Evening News Arena in Manchester, England. 15,612 were in attendance for the UK-exclusive event. The event was made available in the United States via WWF Home Video on January 29, 2002.
- In a dark match, Billy and Chuck (Billy Gunn & Chuck Palumbo) defeated Lance Storm & Justin Credible.
- Edge defeated Christian in a steel cage match to retain the WWF Intercontinental Championship.
- Scotty 2 Hotty defeated The Hurricane.
- The Big Show defeated Diamond Dallas Page.
- The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) defeated The APA (Faarooq and Bradshaw) & The Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff) in a Triangle match to retain the WCW World Tag Team Championship.
- William Regal defeated Tajiri.
- Chris Jericho defeated Kurt Angle to retain the WCW Championship.
- Torrie Wilson and Lita defeated Stacy Keibler and Mighty Molly. Trish Stratus was the special guest referee.
- Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated The Rock to retain the WWF Championship.
13 years ago today in Yokohama, Japan, Hiroyoshi Tenzan defeated Yoshihiro Takayama to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
8 years ago today, on RAW from Tampa, Florida (WWE Network link), Chris Jericho defeated Batista in a steel cage match to win the World Heavyweight Championship.
2 years ago today, WWE announces the WWE Network in the United Kingdom is delayed indefinitely less than a half hour before it was set to launch.
The reasons for the delay were never quite clear, though the most likely cause was British pay-TV provider Sky Sports had an issue with the Network. Sky had an exclusive deal to broadcast PPV events from WWE through 2019 to the United Kingdom and Ireland.
This was the second time in as many months the Network was delayed in the United Kingdom (it was originally set to launch in October). The Network finally launched on January 19, 2015 in the UK and Ireland, just in time for the Royal Rumble.
That news came just days after WWE announces it would drop its six-month commitment requirement and that new subscribers could get a free month if they joined, essentially giving away that month’s Survivor Series.
That evening on RAW from Buffalo, New York (WWE Network link), Rusev defeated Sheamus by submission to win the WWE United States Championship.
The championship was actually won in the post-show, making this the first (and to this day, only) time a main roster WWE title changed hands in a Network-exclusive match.
It's a happy 29th birthday for Ariane Nicole Andrew, best known to wrestling fans as ex- WWE diva Cameron.
Born in the Northridge area of Los Angeles, Calfornia, Andrew was a two-sport athlete in high school as well as a member of the drama club. She graduated from Cal State-Northridge with a BA and BS degree in psychology. She moved to North Hollywood and worked as a behavioral therapist for autistic children.
In 2011, after failing to crack the WWE through their Diva Search, she was one of fourteen contestants on the rebooted Tough Enough. Despite being the first person eliminated, Cameron would be signed to a WWE developmental deal . Ariane debuted in July 2011 as Cameron Lynn. She made her Florida Championship Wrestling television debut three months later as the manager for Naomi Knight.
In the new year, she would join the main roster as one of the Funkadactyls, the dancers for "The Funkasaurus" Brodus Clay. Naomi would also be one of the Funkadactyls. Her in-ring debut wouldn't come until December in a "Santa's Little Helpers" battle royal.
In August 2012, Andrew was arrested for driving under the influence by Tampa police. She was more than double the legal limit; compounding her troubles, she tried to bribe one of the arresting officers. WWE wouldn't be notified of the incident until days after it happened. Andrew would be dropped from their international tour and suspended by the company.
In June 2014, Cameron would briefly feud with Paige for the WWE Divas Championship. She had three shots at it, and would lose them all. The feud drove a wedge between the Funkadactyls, and the duo would soon split.
Andrew was a part of the WWE "reality series" Total Divas for the first three seasons, and had a recurring role for the fourth season. She's also had two singles released, "Bye Bye" in 2014, and "Wrong Number" in 2015. The latter single is also the name of an anti-bullying campaign she had started that summer.
On May 6, 2016, Andrew was one of eight WWE superstars released. At the time, she had not appeared on WWE programming since February.
It’s a happy 46th birthday to Sharmell Sullivan-Huffman.
Born in Gary, Indiana, Sullivan, a graduate of Spelman College, won the Miss Black America pageant in 1991 (the pageant is more remembered by one of its contestants, Desiree Washington, accusing boxer Mike Tyson of rape). Sullivan began dancing professionally afterwards, touring with hip-hop and R&B artists, most notably singer James Brown for over three years.
In December 1998, Sullivan joined WCW as Nitro Girl Storm. She would redub herself Paisley, a valet for The Artist, in early 2000. She made her in-ring singles debut against Tammy on the April 26, 2000 WCW Thunder. She would also valet for Kwee Wee and form a brief alliance with fellow Nitro Girl Tygress. The two were also a part of pop music group Diversity 5 with Fyre, Chae, and Spice.
Sharmell would sign with the WWF just before the company was bought out in 2001; intending to become both an in-ring performer and backstage interviewer; she was injured while training in November 2001, forcing her to end her in-ring career. She briefly served as a backstage interviewer for Smackdown until early 2002 before she was released. Sullivan briefly retired and ran a clothing store in Houston.
Sullivan returned to WWE in 2005 as the valet for her husband Booker T. After briefly being involved in a feud with Kurt Angle, she turned heel when she unknowingly helped Booker win his matches. After Booker had won the WWE United States Championship from Chris Benoit late in the year, he revealed it was all a ruse, and Booker knew the entire time.
After a brief feud with The Boogeyman (where he kissed Sharmell with a mouth full of worms at Wrestlemania 22), Booker would win the King of the Ring tournament that summer. Booker, referring to himself as King Booker, would along with Queen Sharmell, would speak with fake British accents and began acting pompous. Sharmell turned on her husband in April 2007, claiming Booker didn’t care about her honor following her nearly being attacked by Matt Hardy at Wrestlemania 23. Booker tried to win her back by attacking the Undertaker, but Undertaker would give him a tombstone piledriver on the announce table. Booker would be sidelined with a strained neck.
Sharmell and King Booker was drafted to RAW in June 2007, but they wouldn’t be around long. In October, the couple requested and were granted their releases from WWE.
The couple just one month later joined TNA, debuting in Booker T’s world title match against Kurt Angle by attacking Kurt’s wife Karen. After feuding with Robert Roode and Payton Banks, Sharmell joined the Main Event Mafia when she helped Booker T win the TNA world title at Victory Road (the victory was overturned and the match ruled officially as a no contest).
It was at the next Victory Road in 2009 that Sullivan gained infamy; she was defeated by fellow Main Event Mafia member Jenna Morasca (with an assist from Awesome Kong) in what is often regarded as one of the worst matches in wrestling history. Her final appearance for TNA came at Bound for Glory before she and Booker left the company.
Sullivan and Booker Huffman (aka Booker T) began dating while the two were in WCW. The couple married in February 2005. They have twins (one boy and one girl, each six years old), as well as stepson Brandon from Huffman’s first marriage.
The best of cSs on this day:
2015: Steve Austin, Batista offer damning indictment of WWE creative (Two WWE legends are not high on WWE’s creative system)
2014: Rusev wins US title on the WWE Network (In a company first, a WWE main roster title changes hands in a Network-exclusive match)
2013: Poor PPV buyrates for SummerSlam, Night of Champions not helping Daniel Bryan (PPVs with Daniel Bryan in the main event performing lower than expected)
2012: The Martial Chronicles: Origins of Mixed Martial Arts - The Brazilian Connection (Brazil’s role in the evolution of MMA)
2011: The Miz: Brock Lesnar winning the UFC heavyweight title was an homage to the WWE (Mike Mizanin confuses everyone by comparing UFC to WWE)
2010: Footage of Linda McMahon’s Concession Speech (Linda McMahon concedes the Senatorial election to Richard Blumenthal—video no longer available on the page... but there’s one on the Nov. 2 TDIPWH)