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This Day in Wrestling History (Dec. 1): Undertaker Crucifies Stone Cold Steve Austin

this day in wrestling history

44 years ago today in Yokohama, Japan, Bobo Brazil defeated Kintaro Oki to win the vacated NWA International Heavyweight Championship.

The championship was vacated back in September when Giant Baba left Japan Wrestling Association to start his own company, All Japan Pro Wrestling. The championship resides with the promotion today as a part of their top title, the All Japan Triple Crown Championship.

42 years ago today in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Stan Stasiak defeated Pedro Morales to win the WWWF Heavyweight Championship.

There appeared to be a double pin following a back suplex and the winner was never officially announced in the building due to fear of a riot. The title change was announced on television over the weekend.

Stasiak, who ended Pedro's title run at an astounding 1,027 days, only held the title for just over a week before losing it to Bruno Sammartino, who would go on to hold the title until 1977. Surprisingly, no known footage of the match exists.

18 years ago today at a RAW taping in New Haven, Connecticut (WWE Network link), Stone Cold Steve Austin and Mankind defeated The Undertaker and The Rock via disqualification.

It’s what went down post-match that got the WWF in some heat with the USA Network when the show airs six days later. Mankind was handcuffed to the ring ropes, while Austin, in one of the company’s most infamous moments, was handcuffed to a large-sized version of the Undertaker's logo and raised above the entrance ramp.

Considering that Steve Austin was practically Wrestling Jesus to many fans, the show’s final image is exactly what you think it is: the Undertaker performing wrestling’s version of a crucifixion.

The Catholic League, an organization dedicated to fighting for Catholics against defamation and discrimination, contacted the WWF about the angle after it aired:

On Monday, December 7, on the USA Network, wrestling star “Stone Cold” Steve Austin was strapped by his wrists to a cross-like structure while Gregorian chants played and an image of a Celtic cross flashed behind him; those responsible for the “crucifixion” were associates of the “Undertaker,” another wresting favorite.

When contacted by TV Guide Online, William Donohue commented, “Mocking Christ is not within the parameters of acceptable theatrics, even in professional wrestling; at this time of the year, it is particularly egregious.” Donohue then called the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) to complain.

Donohue’s exchange with an official from the WWF proved beneficial. When Donohue was told that this really wasn’t meant to be a “crucifixion”—that is was some kind of Egyptian image—Donohue replied that what mattered what was what most people perceived the characterization to be, and that, he stressed, was the image of a “crucifixion.”

Donohue was then asked if he could make any suggestions. His answer struck the WWF official as reasonable, and the recommendation was accepted. Donohue said that the controversy could be ended if the next time this happens, the “crucified” wrestler extends his hands directly over his head, instead of stretching them straight-out.

10 years ago today, Vince Russo, Jeremy Borash, and the Voodoo Kin Mafia (BG & Kip James) crash a WWE house show in Knoxville, Tennessee.

The TNA film crew film vignettes at the event that would air on a future episode of Impact. Voodoo Kin Mafia do have tickets to the show and take their place in the upper level and take in the remainder of the show. No one in WWE acknowledges TNA's presence in the building.

7 years ago today, WWE signs 2008 Playboy Model of the Year and Playmate of the Year finalist Jillian Beyor. The former Beauty and the Geek contestant doesn't last long: she's released just three months later.

4 years ago today in Resada, California, Adam Cole defeated Kevin Steen in a Guerrilla Warfare match to win the Pro Wrestling Guerrilla World Championship.

3 years ago today, Davey Richards announces via Facebook that he had left Ring of Honor. The statement from Richards:

"With a heavy heart I can announce I announce that myself and ROH have parted ways for good and I will not be at Final Battle. Please continue to support them and the incredible talent they have. Thanks for the memories. It was an amazing ride.

What exactly went down in Richards' final days with ROH depends on who's telling the story. PWInsider claimed through a source that his unbooking (one person claimed it as a firing) that it stemmed from comments made in a British wrestling magazine. The site through another source also said that Richards was unhappy with plans for his final appearance at Final Battle.

It was heavily implied that Richards and his tag team partner Eddie Edwards were heading to WWE through a developmental deal, but the next month, the duo known as the American Wolves would sign with TNA.

Last month, Richards announced on Twitter he plans to retire next year.

It’s a happy 45th birthday of Stephanie Finochio, best known to wrestling fans as Trinity.

Born and raised in Long Island, New York, Stephanie is a graduate from Dowling College with Bachelor degrees in accounting and psychology, and earned a master's in education.

Stephanie made her professional wrestling debut in October 2002. Within her first year, she took on women's wrestling standouts such as Simply Luscious, Mercedes Martinez and April Hunter, whom she won her first championship from.

In January 2003, Finochio debuted for TNA as Trinity. In her debut, she and Kid Kash defeated Desire and Sonny Siaki in a mixed tag team match. In March, she became the first woman to compete for one of TNA's male championships, but was defeated by Kid Kash for the X Division title.

In April 2004, Finochio formed NYC, the New York Connection, an all New Yorkers stable that included Glenn Gilbertti, Vito LoGrasso, and Johnny Swinger. Following the group's split late in the year, she feuded with Tracy Brooks over the right to be Dusty Rhodes' personal assistant, a position that she would ultimately win in March 2005.

She would leave TNA later in the year for WWE. She received a tryout match in November 2005 where she and Chris Cage lost to Beth Phoenix and Aaron Stevens in a mixed tag match. After appearing in a segment with the Heart Throbs in January 2006 on Heat, she was offered a contract. After a brief run in Ohio Valley Wrestling, WWE's developmental territory, Finochio debuted as Trinity for the rebooted ECW as a member of the Full Blooded Italians.

Less than two weeks after her ECW debut, she injured her knee on a moonsault to the outside during a catfight. She underwent surgery and returned that October at a house show in a losing effort to Jazz. After winning a Halloween Costume Contest featuring fellow ECW divas Kelly Kelly and Ariel, Trinity would be sparingly used until her release in June 2007.

Outside of a pair of one-night only returns in 2008 and 2013, Finochio left the wrestling business following her WWE release and began concentrating on stunt work. Her stunt work has been in a number of Hollywood blockbusters, including Anaconda, Daredevil, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Spider-Man 2, The Bourne Ultimatum, Burn After Reading, and Sex and the City 2. She also did stunt work on an episode of Oz and Sex in the City.

Finochio, a certified aerobics instructor and dancer, has dabbled in roller derby in recent years, joining the Strong Island Derby Revolution as a jammer.

The best of cSs on this day:

2015: WWE survey on Raw issues features some interesting questions (WWE turns to its Fan Council to fix RAW)

2014: Chris Jericho comments on CM Punk's 'revealing' appearance on Colt Cabana's podcast (Chris Jericho weighs in on CM Punk’s appearance on Art of Wrestling)

2013: WWE TLC 2013 match card and rumors (Latest developments heading into WWE’s final major show of the year)

2012: Hulk Hogan has made TNA Impact Wrestling his vanity show (Our own Geno on how Impact has essentially become The Hulk Hogan Show)

2011: Is the WWE championship spinner design being replaced by a classic belt? ( jumps on the “kill the spinner belt” bandwagon)

2010: Mick Foley says he's unlikely to re-sign with TNA, expresses frustration (Mick Foley on Geek Week Live and The Daily Show expresses his frustration with TNA, basically saying he’s out the door when his contract comes up)

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