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This Day in Wrestling History (Nov. 7): Randy Savage Leaves The WWF

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this day in wrestling history

37 years ago today in Amagasaki, Japan, Harley Race defeated Giant Baba to regain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship he'd lost a week earlier to Baba in Nagoya.

31 years ago today, WWF presented The Wrestling Classic (WWE Network link) from the Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont, Illinois. About 14,000 were in attendance, with 52,000 homes watching on PPV.

Two common misconceptions about the show: (1) this was not the first PPV in WWF history (that honor went to the original Wrestlemania; that show was available on PPV in some markets; however, this was the first WWF show available through PPV only). (2) This was not the first tournament in WWF history (that honor went to King of the Ring, which took place in July 1985 as a one-night house show in Providence, Rhode Island; Don Muraco won it).

The show’s two hooks: (1) a one-night single-elimination tournament, and (2) a Rolls-Royce giveaway. Michael Hamley from Batvia, Illinois won the car.

Though it was touted as part of Wrestlevision: A Series of Special Events, this is the only event presented under that banner.

First Round:

  • Adrian Adonis defeated Corporal Kirchner.
  • Dynamite Kid defeated Nikolai Volkoff in just six seconds.
  • Randy Savage defeated Ivan Putski.
  • Ricky Steamboat defeated Davey Boy Smith.
  • Junkyard Dog defeated Iron Sheik.
  • Moondog Spot defeated Terry Funk by countout in just 17 seconds.
  • Tito Santana defeated The Magnificent Muraco.
  • Paul Orndorff defeated Cowboy Bob Orton by disqualification.

Quarterfinals:

  • Dynamite Kid defeated Adrian Adonis.
  • Randy Savage defeated Ricky Steamboat.
  • Junkyard Dog defeated Moondog Spot in just 45 seconds.
  • Tito Santana fought Paul Orndorff to a double count-out, eliminating both men. The result gave Junkyard Dog a bye into the finals.

Semifinal:

  • Randy Savage defeated Dynamite Kid.

Final:

  • Junkyard Dog defeated Randy Savage by countout to win the tournament.
  • In a non-tournament match, Hulk Hogan defeated Roddy Piper by disqualification to retain the WWF Championship.

22 years ago today on RAW from Bushkill, Pennsylvania (WWE Network link), Bret “Hitman” Hart and the British Bulldog defeated Owen Hart and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart.

The show is most remembered for what happened at about the halfway point. An emotional Vince McMahon on commentary announced that “Macho Man” Randy Savage had left the WWF.

Savage’s final appearance came on the previous week’s RAW (the show was taped back on October 17) as he got into a heated argument during the Bob Backlund-Lex Luger match. Randy’s contract had expired during the three-week interim between the RAW tapings, and a new deal could not be reached, ending his nine-year run with the company.

Savage desired a more active in-ring role, as he’d largely been doing commentary since being the last man eliminated from the 1993 Royal Rumble (he’d wrestle a total of 15 matches for the WWF according to the Internet Wrestling Database). McMahon discussing Savage’s departure:

"Conspicuous by his absence, is the Macho Man Randy Savage.

“I would like to announce that unfortunately Randy Savage has been unable to sign a new contract with the World Wrestling Federation. Not unable to, rather come to terms with the World Wrestling Federation for a new contract.

“Randy, I know you are out there listening and on behalf of all of us here in the World Wrestling Federation, all of your fans and certainly from me your number one fan, I'd like to thank you for all of your positive contributions to the World Wrestling Federation.

“Thank you Randy Savage for all of the wonderful memories for so many years in the World Wrestling Federation, we wish you nothing but the best. God speed and good luck."

Just one month later, Randy would make his debut for WCW on their then-flagship show, WCW Saturday Night. He would remain with the company until May 2000, less than a year before they were bought out by the WWF.

Despite his many contributions to the WWF, Savage surprisingly never returned to the company. A common reason given was Savage may have had an inappropriate relationship with Vince’s daughter Stephanie. To this day, the rumors have not been proven.

Just as it appeared inroads were being made to repair the relationship between Savage and WWE, Randy died of a heart attack in May 2011. Savage would be posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2015.

Also, on this day, one match for Survivor Series Showdown was taped for a November 20 broadcast: Yokozuna defeated John Crystal in just 66 seconds.

17 years ago today, ECW presented November to Remember (WWE Network link) from the Burt Flickinger Center in Buffalo, New York.

  • Spike Dudley defeated Simon Diamond.
  • Little Guido defeated Nova.
  • Jerry Lynn defeated Yoshihiro Tajiri and Super Crazy in a three-way dance.
  • Da Baldies (Spanish Angel, Tony DeVito, Vito LoGrasso, and P.N. News) defeated New Jack and The Hardcore Chair Swingin' Freaks (Axl Rotten and Balls Mahoney) in a 4-on-3 handicap match.
  • Sabu defeated Chris Candido.
  • Mike Awesome defeated Masato Tanaka to retain the ECW World Heavyweight Championship.
  • Rob Van Dam defeated Taz to retain the ECW World Television Championship.
  • Rhino and The Impact Players (Justin Credible and Lance Storm) defeated Raven, Tommy Dreamer, and The Sandman.

12 years ago today, TNA enters the monthly PPV era with Victory Road from the Impact Zone at Universal Orlando.

  • Hector Garza won a 20-man X-Division Gauntlet match. Other participants included Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin, D-Ray 3000, Jason Cross, Jerrelle Clark, Kazarian, LA Par-K, Matt Sydal, Michael Shane, Mikey Batts, Miyamoto, NOSAWA, Psychosis, Puma, Shark Boy, Sonjay Dutt, Sonny Siaki, Spanky and The Amazing Red.
  • Erik Watts, Johnny B. Badd, Pat Kenney, and Ron Killings defeated Dallas, Kid Kash, and The Naturals (Andy Douglas & Chase Stevens).
  • Mascarita Sagrada defeated Piratita Morgan in a midget match.
  • 3 Live Kru (BG James & Konnan) defeated Team Canada (Bobby Roode & Eric Young) to win the NWA World Tag Team Championship.
  • Trinity defeated Jacqueline.
  • Monty Brown defeated Abyss and Raven in a Monster's Ball match.
  • Petey Williams defeated AJ Styles to retain the TNA X-Division Championship.
  • America's Most Wanted (Chris Harris & James Storm) defeated Triple X (Christopher Daniels & Elix Skipper) in an elimination last team standing match. The match could only be won when both members, whether separately or simultaneously, could not answer the referee's ten count.
  • Jeff Jarrett defeated Jeff Hardy in a ladder match to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. The post-match featured the TNA debut of Macho Man Randy Savage, who last appeared in a wrestling ring for WCW back in 2000.

11 years ago today, Midway Games announced a video game deal with TNA. The game, TNA Impact, would be released in 2008, to generally mediocre reviews.

Despite selling 1.5 million copies, a sequel would not be produced, as Midway would go bankrupt shortly after the game's release.

6 years ago today, TNA presented Turning Point from the Impact Zone at Universal Orlando.

  • Robbie E defeated Jay Lethal to win the TNA X-Division Championship.
  • Mickie James fought Tara to a no contest.
  • The Motor City Machine Guns defeated Team 3D to retain the TNA World Tag Team Championship. The bout was billed as Team 3D's final match before their retirement. Needless to say, the retirement didn't stick: the team split up and feuded with each other, but would reunite during the Aces and Eights storyline a couple years later. And as of this writing, the duo are still teaming. As the Dudley Boyz. In WWE.
  • Rob Van Dam defeated Tommy Dreamer.
  • Fortune (A.J. Styles, Kazarian, Douglas Williams, Robert Roode, and James Storm) defeated EV2.0 (Raven, Rhino, Sabu, Brian Kendrick and Stevie Richards). As a result of the loss, one member of EV2.0 would be fired. That man was Sabu. In a bit of TNA being TNA, it was leaked that Sabu was informed prior to the event that he was legitimately getting fired following the event.
  • Abyss defeated D'Angelo Dinero in a lumberjack match. Lumberjacks were members of the Pope's Congregation.
  • Jeff Jarrett defeated Samoa Joe.
  • Jeff Hardy defeated Matt Morgan for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.

5 years ago today, TNA announces they have signed a deal with Ohio Valley Wrestling to become their developmental territory. The deal would last just two years before budget cuts ended the relationship.

4 years ago today, WWE videogame publisher THQ's stock plummets 50% following their poor financial outlook and announcement that some of their coming games would be pushed back indefinitely (most notably Company of Heroes 2, Metro: Last Night, and South Park: Stick of Truth).

The Los Angeles Times reported the stock was down to $1.52 a share (it went down to as low as $1.50 earlier in the day), down from $3.02 at the start of the day, down 80% since January 1, and down 99.6% from its high in March 2007. Just a week later, the company reported it had defaulted on a $50 million loan from Wells Fargo.

In a last ditch effort to raise funds and stay afloat, THQ partnered with Humble Bundle. Despite raising around $5 million, THQ files for bankruptcy a month later. Its licenses and intellectual properties would be sold off by April 2013. THQ was reborn in August 2016 as THQ Nordic, two years after Nordic Games had acquired the THQ trademark.

1 year ago today, New Japan Pro Wrestling presented Power Struggle from the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium in Osaka, Japan.

  • Jushin Thunder Liger, Máscara Dorada, Ryusuke Taguchi, and Tiger Mask defeated David Finlay, Jay White, Sho Tanaka, and Yohei Komatsu.
  • Bullet Club (Cody Hall, Doc Gallows, and Tama Tonga) defeated Captain New Japan, Juice Robinson, and Togi Makabe.
  • Hirooki Goto defeated EVIL by disqualification.
  • Alex Shelley, Bobby Fish, Kushida, and Kyle O'Reilly defeated Bullet Club (Chase Owens, Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, and Nick Jackson).
  • Matt Sydal and Ricochet defeated Roppongi Vice (Beretta and Rocky Romero) to win the 2015 Super Junior Tag Tournament.
  • Bullet Club (A.J. Styles and Bad Luck Fale) defeated Chaos (Toru Yano and Yoshi-Hashi).
  • Tomohiro Ishii defeated Tomoaki Honma to retain the NEVER Openweight Championship.
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi and Katsuyori Shibata defeated Kazuchika Okada and Kazushi Sakuraba.
  • Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Karl Anderson to retain the IWGP Intercontinental Championship.

It's a happy 59th birthday to Christopher Allan Pallies, best known to wrestling fans as King Kong Bundy.

Born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Pallies is a graduate from Washington Township High School in Sewell, New Jersey. Pallies was originally Big Daddy Bundy during his run with World Class Championship Wrestling, the namesake being a combination of famed British wrestler Shirley "Big Daddy" Crabtree and notorious serial killer Ted Bundy). He wore blue jeans and a rope belt and was a fan favorite, but a storyline dispute with the Von Erich family forced a dramatic change. Recruited by Gary Hart, Pallies became King Kong Bundy, now wearing a black singlet. During the feud, he also lost his hair, completing his signature look. King Kong Bundy would be the final opponent for Fritz Von Erich at Texas Stadium in 1982.

He would also compete in the AWA, NWA, and Mid-South Wrestling, and in Memphis over the next few years. It was in Mid-South where Bundy adopted his most famous aspect of his gimmick: demanding a five count (instead of three) at the end of squash matches. After a few appearances for a WWF/New Japan Pro Wrestling interpromotional tour, King Kong Bundy made his WWF debut in March 1985. Initially managed by Jimmy Hart, he received a rocket push by dominating the competition, including a 24-second win over S.D. Jones at the first Wrestlemania, a record that would stand for more than 20 years.

After a trade in September, Bundy, now a member of the Heenan Family, feuded extensively with Andre the Giant, leading to a "Colossal Jostle" in Madison Square Garden and a pair of tag team matches on Saturday Night's Main Event late in the year. His feud with Andre bled over to a feud with Hulk Hogan in 1986. Following a Hogan-Magnificent Muraco match, Bundy and Heenan ambushed the champion Hogan, crushing his ribs with repeated splashes and avalanches. The feud would cap off with the only traditional steel cage match in Wrestlemania history at Wrestlemania 2 in Los Angeles, with Hogan winning. Bundy would defeat Hogan on an episode of Saturday Night's Main Event via countout in late 1987, but lost the rematch on the next episode in early 1988.

Bundy would virtually disappear from the main event scene afterwards, landing in a six-man tag bout at Wrestlemania III. After Bundy bodyslammed Little Beaver and gave him an elbow drop (a disqualifiable offense as it was big wrestler on little wrestler), his own tag partners Little Tokyo and Lord Littlebrook would turn against him, as the two midgets and the Haiti Kid defended Beaver. In a 1998 interview, Bundy said he'd hope that he wasn't responsible for Beaver's early death, saying he wouldn't want that on his conscience (Beaver, real name Lionel Giroux, died in December 1995 from emphysema).

After six and a half years away, Bundy returned to the WWF in the fall of 1994 as a part of Ted DiBiase's Million Dollar Corporation. Bundy and fellow Corporation member Bam Bam Bigelow were the sole survivors against the Guts and Glory team led by Lex Luger. His big match success would not come after that: billed as a favorite to win the 1995 Royal Rumble match, he was eliminated by Mabel in three minutes, then was defeated by The Undertaker in an otherwise forgettable match at Wrestlemania XI.

After leaving the WWF in 1995, Bundy would wrestle on the independent circuit for more than a decade, mainly in the Northeast. Bundy last wrestled in 2006 at the Legends of Wrestling show in Somerset, Kentucky, losing to Hacksaw Jim Duggan.

Bundy, who dabbles in stand-up comedy, appeared on two episodes of Married...with Children, once as Peg Bundy's brother Uncle Irwin in 1987, then as himself in 1995.


The best of cSs on this day:

2015: Seth Rollins details knee injury, talks WWE return: ‘I’ll be back stronger and better than I was before’ (Seth talks with WWE.com about his injury)

2014: Hulk Hogan on John Cena heel turn: I think he could pull it off (Hulk Hogan weighs in on the Cena heel turn scenario with The Turnbuckle Weekly)

2013: Too Smark For Our Own Good (Nick Bond of Juice Make Sugar and The Classical challenges us all to think about how we watch wrestling a little differently—totally worth the read)

2012: WWE's Mount Rushmore: Undertaker, Stone Cold Steve Austin, John Cena, Hulk Hogan (WWE.com polls its fans on who should be the faces of WWE’s Mount Rushmore)

2011: WWE Survivor Series 2011: Traditional elimination match announced with 'Team Orton vs Team Barrett' (Survivor Series teams to be led by rivals Wade Barrett and Randy Orton)