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This Day in Wrestling History (Dec. 12): No Holds Barred

this day in wrestling history

27 years ago today, WWF taped No Holds Barred: The Match/The Movie from the Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.

The No Holds Barred match, a tag team steel cage match between the duo of Hulk Hogan and Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake and the tandem of “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Zeus, was the featured bout of a Wrestling Challenge taping.

Airing December 27 on PPV, the No Holds Barred double feature began with the titular movie starring Hulk Hogan airing in its entirety. That was followed by the steel cage match, the first in WWF history that was billed as “no holds barred”. Also in a WWF first, the bout could be won by one pinfall, one submission, or both members of the team escaping the cage.

With the movie initially released in theaters just six months earlier (and a week after the release of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), the movie-and-match-in-one PPV was a last ditch effort for the film to turn in a profit. It didn’t really work; just 185,000 homes bought the show, less than half the number of homes as Survivor Series just a month earlier. Despite the PPV’s failure, WWF owner Vince McMahon contends that because of distribution fees, the film managed to break even.

Also of note, this would be the final appearance of Tom Lister Jr., aka Zeus, in the WWF; he left the company shortly thereafter the event.

  • In a dark match, Dusty Rhodes defeated Big Boss Man.
  • In a dark match, The Ultimate Warrior defeated Dino Bravo to retain the WWF Intercontinental Championship.
  • In a dark match, The Colossal Connection (Andre the Giant & Haku) defeated Demolition (Ax & Smash) via countout in a WWF Tag Team Championship match.
  • In a dark match, Mr. Perfect defeated Ron Garvin.
  • Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake defeated Randy Savage and Zeus in a tag team steel cage match.

26 years ago, the AWA World Heavyweight Championship is retired when their champion Larry Zbyszko leaves for WCW.

The American Wrestling Association had been inactive since the fall, but continued to air programming until 1991, when the promotion filed for bankruptcy and ultimately shut down.

17 years ago, WWF presented Armageddon (WWE Netowrk link) from the National Car Rental Center in Sunrise, Florida, a suburb of Fort Lauderdale. 17,054 were in attendance, with 371,000 homes watching on PPV.

  • The Acolytes (Bradshaw and Faarooq) won a tag team battle royal. Other participants were The Godfather and Mark Henry, The Headbangers (Mosh and Thrasher), Edge and Christian, The Hardys (Matt & Jeff), The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von), Mean Street Posse (Pete Gas and Rodney) and Too Cool (Grand Master Sexay and Scotty 2 Hotty).
  • Kurt Angle defeated Steve Blackman.
  • Miss Kitty defeated Ivory, Jacquline and B.B. in a four corners Evening Gown match to win the WWF Women's Championship. Post-match, Miss Kitty stripped off her gown and briefly flashed the crowd before Sgt. Slaughter rushed in and covered her with a towel. Though it’s not the first time there was intentional nudity on a WWF show (Capital Carnage, the UK-exclusive event, holds that distinction), it’s the first time intentional nudity happened at a WWF PPV held in the United States.
  • Hardcore and Crash Holly defeated Rikishi and Viscera.
  • Val Venis defeated The British Bulldog and D'Lo Brown in a triple threat match to win the WWF European Championship.
  • Kane defeated X-Pac in a steel cage match.
  • Chris Jericho defeated Chyna to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship.
  • Rock 'n' Sock Connection (The Rock & Mankind) defeated The New Age Outlaws (Mr. Ass & Road Dogg) by disqualification in a WWF Tag Team Championship match.
  • The Big Show defeated Big Boss Man to retain the WWF Championship.
  • Triple H defeated Vince McMahon in a street fight. With the win, Triple H earned a WWF Championship match. Had he lost, his marriage to Stephanie McMahon would have been annulled. Stephanie turned heel post-match when she dropped the sledgehammer and embraced Triple H. The next night, the couple revealed it was a ruse concocted by the couple in response to how Vince treated Stephanie earlier this year during the Corporate Ministry run.

12 years ago today, WWE presented Armageddon (WWE Network link) from the Gwinnett Center in Atlanta, Georgia. About 5,000 were in attendance, with just 230,000 homes watching on PPV. It's down from 240,000 for the 2003 edition and the least-watched edition of the event until the final one in 2008, which had 193,000 buys.

  • In a preshow Sunday Night Heat match, Akio & Billy Kidman defeated Paul London & Chavo Guerrero.
  • Rob Van Dam & Rey Mysterio defeated René Duprée & Kenzo Suzuki to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship.
  • Kurt Angle defeated Santa Claus.
  • Daniel Puder defeated Mike Mizanin via judge's decision to win the $1,000,000 Tough Enough competition.
  • The Basham Brothers (Doug and Danny) defeated Hardcore Holly and Charlie Haas.
  • John Cena defeated Jesús in a street fight to retain the WWE United States Championship.
  • Dawn Marie defeated Miss Jackie. Charlie Haas was the special referee.
  • The Big Show defeated Mark Jindrak, Luther Reigns, and Kurt Angle in a handicap match.
  • Funaki defeated Spike Dudley to retain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
  • John "Bradshaw" Layfield defeated Eddie Guerrero, The Undertaker, and Booker T in a fatal four-way match to retain the WWE Championship.

9 years ago today, WWE releases A Jingle with Jillian on iTunes.

The album plays up Jillian Hall's gimmick of being a terrible singer. A second version of the album with two new tracks was released in 2010. The first version actually sold pretty well, breaking into the top 50 albums on iTunes in the UK, but in the US, it was largely a bust, peaking at just #120 on the Billboard 200.

6 years ago today at a Lucha Libre USA: Masked Warriors taping in Alberquerque, New Mexico, Lizmark, Jr. defeated Charly Malice, Marco Corleone, and RJ Brewer in a fatal four-way elimination match to become the first ever Lucha Libre USA Champion.

The show doesn't air until the following October for MTV2, by which point, Lizmark, Jr. had lost the title to Brewer.

5 years ago today, WWE aired a special edition of RAW featuring the 2011 Slammy Awards from Norfolk, Virginia (WWE Network link). The show is noted for the return of a remasked Kane.

  • "Tell Me I Did NOT Just See That" Moment: Jim Ross dancing during the Michael Cole Challenge
  • Holy S#!& Moment: Big Show superplex to Mark Henry collapsing the ring at Vengeance
  • Pipe Bomb: CM Punk
  • Divalicious Moment: Kelly Kelly wins her first Divas Championship
  • OMG Moment: Undertaker kicks out of tombstone piledriver against Triple H
  • Trending Star: Zack Ryder
  • Game Changer: The Rock challenges John Cena to a match at Wrestlemania a full year in advance
  • WWE A-Lister: Snooki
  • Superstar of the Year: CM Punk

4 years ago today, reported that WWE was talking to focus groups online about ways to generate interest in the Divas division. The research and feedback would give birth to the reality series Total Divas.

The show is currently in its sixth season, with nearly 80 episodes of the series airing to date.

2 years ago today at Pro Wrestling Guerrilla's Black Cole Sun in Resada, California, Kyle O'Reilly defeated Ricochet via submission to retain the PWG World Championship... only to lose it moments later in a Guerrilla Warfare match to Roderick Strong.

Plenty of birthdays, so the profiles will be brief.

It's a happy 35th birthday for Edward Moore, best known to wrestling fans as Eddie Kingston.

Kingston is best known for his long-time association with Chikara, though he has also competed for Combat Zone Wrestling, IWA Mid-South, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, and Ring of Honor. Kingston, a former Chikara Grand Champion, IWA Mid-South Heavyweight Champion, CZW World Champion, and two-time All American Wrestling Heavyweight Champion is one-half of the current Jersey All Pro Wrestling Tag Team Champions with Homicide (the championship is considered inactive).

In September 2016, the well-traveled Kingston was among about forty wrestlers invited to the WWE Performance Center for a tryout.

Kingston recently joined TNA as a member of the Death Crew Council alongside James Storm and Bram.

It's a happy 50th birthday for Yoshihiro Asai, best known to wrestling fans as Ultimo Dragon.

Best known for his time in WCW, Asai, who once had the gimmick of being the last student trained by legendary martial artist Bruce Lee (thus the name Ultimo Dragon, translating to "The Last Dragon"), is one of the most successful junior heavyweights ever. For about one week, Dragon held ten championships at once: the J-Crown (an eight-belt conglomerate of junior heavyweight championships), the NWA Middleweight Championship, and the WCW Cruiserweight Championship. It's believed to be the most number of active championships held simultaneously by one man in wrestling history.

Dragon is credited with popularizing the Asai moonsault, a springboard moonsault from the apron of the ring to an opponent on the outside. Dragon also competed for the top three federations in Mexico, the Universal Wrestling Association, AAA, and CMLL. In Japan, he wrestled for the Universal Wrestling Federation, Wrestle and Romance (WAR), and briefly for New Japan Pro Wrestling. Dragon also briefly competed for WWE in parts of 2003 and 2004.

In 1997, Asai founded a wrestling school, Toryumon, and would form an independent of the same name. The independent would be renamed Dragon Gate in 2004 following Asai leaving the company.

In recent years, Asai has worked as a freelancer, primarily for All Japan Pro Wrestling, but has also competed for the Inoki Genome Federation. He’s held gold as recently as last October when he and Yoshinobu Kanemaru vacated the All Asia Tag Team Championship after holding it for about seven months.

Asai, a two-time WCW cruiserweight and television champion, won Wrestling Observer Newsletter‘s best wrestling maneuver of 1996, not for his moonsault, but for his running Liger bomb. He also won the publication's most underrated of 2003 and is a member of the publication's Hall of Fame class of 2004. At the height of his popularity, he was listed as one of the top 20 singles wrestlers in the world by Pro Wrestling Illustrated in 1997.

It's a happy 52nd birthday for Terry Michael Brunk, best known to wrestling fans as Sabu.

Trained by his uncle Ed "The Sheik" Farhat, Brunk got his start in his uncle's promotion, Big Time Wrestling in 1985. He would make a name for himself as a hardcore specialist for Japan's Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling (FMW), where he competed in over two dozen no-rope barbed wire deathmatches. Brunk claimed many of his well-known scars came from his battles in FMW.

Brunk most famously wrestled for Philadelphia-based Extreme Championship Wrestling, winning the ECW world title twice (once in 1993 when it was known as NWA-Eastern Championship Wrestling, and again in 1997 from Terry Funk). Sabu also was a part of a one-hour three-way draw with Terry Funk and Shane Douglas in his early run. After about two months in WCW in the fall of 1995, Sabu returned to ECW. He would win the ECW tag titles twice with Rob Van Dam and engage in an extended feud with Taz, highlighted by a featured bout at Barely Legal won by Taz. Sabu is one of just four men to win ECW's Triple Crown (the others are Johnny Hoybody, Mikey Whipwreck, and Taz).

After leaving ECW in early 2000, Sabu went on the independent circuit, wrestling primarily for Juggalo Championship Wrestling and World Wrestling All-Stars. Sabu had a brief run in TNA's early days, but he's most noted for his time there from 2004 to 2006 (he also had a brief run in 2010). He joined WWE following his release from TNA and took part in the second ECW One Night Stand, challenging Rey Mysterio for the World Heavyweight Championship.

After his release from WWE in 2007, he returned to the independent circuit and Juggalo Championship Wrestling, where he remains today.

Brunk has won championships for 30 different wrestling promotions around the world, and the Wrestling Observer Newsletter award winner for reader's favorite wrestler in 1994. In 1995, Sabu ranked fifth in the PWI 500, and is one of the top 100 wrestlers of the PWI years in 2003. Brunk is married to Hitomi, who has a kayfabe name herself, Mibu, to match his own (Sabu came from Indian actor Sabu Dastagir, one of his uncle's favorite actors). The couple have been married for 19 years.

Sabu has recently started a crowdfunding page to repair his left hip so he could attempt a comeback to the ring. To date, he’s raised over $24,000 towards getting the operation and the physical therapy afterwards.

It's a happy 65th birthday for Gary Michael Cappetta.

Once dubbed "the world's most dangerous ring announcer", Capetta is most famously known for his work in WCW in the early 1990s, though he also did work for AWA, the WWF, Pro Wrestling USA, and various independents. He briefly worked for Ring of Honor in its early years as a backstage interviewer for their DVD releases. His ring announcing also appears in a video game, Showdown: Legends of Wrestling in 2005.

Cappetta wrote an autobiography released in 2006, Bodyslams: Memoirs of a Wrestling Pitchman, and wrote, directed, and starred in a one-man show based on his autobiography, Bodyslams! & Beyond. Today, Cappetta is a Spanish teacher at Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft, New Jersey.

It's a happy 82nd birthday for Guadalupe Robledo, best known to wrestling fans as Jose Lothario.

Competing primarily for the National Wrestling Alliance's Florida and Houston territories, Lothario is most famously known to younger fans as the trainer for WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels. He managed Michaels in 1996 during Shawn's run as WWF Champion.

Jose is married to his wife Jean, who wrestled for the Southwest Wrestling Alliance, and the couple have two children, Pete (who is a wrestler in Texas) and Gina.

The best of cSs on this day:

2015: Lucha Underground season 2 trailer (Lucha Underground’s second season teaser drops…. And it features the newly signed Rey Mysterio)

2014: Dean Ambrose reveals The Shield used to 'gang up on people' to get their way backstage at WWE (Ambrose on Talk is Jericho says The Shield’s on-screen gimmick carried over behind the scenes, assumingly without three-man powerbombs)

2013: Ruh-roh Cena! More info on WWE Scooby Doo animated movie (WWE/Scooby-Doo crossover animated film to be released on home video platforms just before Wrestlemania XXX)

2012: Buff Bagwell says he's in talks to return to TNA (The former WCW star, eight months removed from a serious auto accident and seizure, tells Shining Wizards he’s in talks to return to the promotion)

2011: Video: WWE's creepy kid with a thesaurus is back ... and he brought his special lady (Another cryptic teaser video teasing a major event on January 2)

2010: Why isn't Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) being discussed more by the MMA media and athletic commissions? (cSs’ Keith Harris wonders why CTE isn’t being discussed in MMA circles like in other sports)

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