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This Day in Wrestling History (Dec. 22): nWo Takes Over Monday Nitro

this day in wrestling history

19 years ago today, WCW presented nWo Monday Nitro (WWE Network link) from Macon, Georgia.

Though the three-hour episode—the final show before Starrcade that Sunday—began as WCW Monday Nitro, near the end of the first hour, the set was transformed to nWo Monday Nitro. It was actually a test balloon in progress: the remaining two hours was an experiment to see if the nWo could sustain its own show (with WCW getting the soon-to-be-debuting Thunder, thus the stipulation for the Eric Bischoff-Larry Zbyszko match at Starrcade)

Simply put: no. No, it couldn’t. The changeover itself takes nearly a half hour and ratings dropped 25% during that period. It never recovered, as that evening’s taped RAW (the one with Triple H “beating” Shawn Michaels for the WWF European Championship) would actually beat Nitro in the 10pm hour (3.2 to 3.0).

The episode ends with (and you truly have to see it to believe it) Hollywood Hogan getting a severed head of himself as a Christmas present. To reiterate, this was the final show before Starrcade.

Nitro still won the night narrowly (3.5 to 3.1, the closest margin since July 28, ironically the last time Nitro produced that low of a rating for an entire episode prior to this one), but the experiment’s a failure. Plans for nWo Nitro are immediately abanonded, and Nitro is returned to its owner that Sunday when Zbyszko defeated Bischoff at Starrcade.

16 years ago today at a RAW is WAR taping in Chattanooga, Tenneessee, Raven defeated Steve Blackman and Hardcore Holly in a triple threat match to win the WWF Hardcore Championship.

8 years ago today, NBC cancels the rebooted American Gladiators.

Based on the popular 1990s competition series of the same name, American Gladiators, hosted by Hulk Hogan and Lalia Ali, debuted in January 2008 to an audience of about 12 million viewers.

But the series featuring MMA fighter-turned-actress Gina Carano, former Million Dollar Tough Enough contestant Justice Smith, and former WWE and then-current TNA wrestler Matt Morgan as Gladiators couldn’t find traction in its second season when it debuted in May; just 5 million viewers watched the season opener, and about 5.5 million watched the finale in August.

8 years ago today at a Smackdown taping in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Maryse defeated Michelle McCool to win the WWE Divas Championship. Maria was the special referee.

Maryse would hold the championship for 216 days, a record that stood until 2014 when AJ Lee surpassed the mark at 295 days ending the day after Wrestlemania XXX. Nikki Bella would break that mark with a 301-day reign from November 2014 to September 2015.

That mark is also surpassed, albeit with an asterisk: Charlotte Flair was the WWE’s ladies champion for 309 consecutive days, spanning the end of the Divas Championship and the beginning of the new WWE Women’s Championship. The run ended on July 25, 2016 when Sasha Banks defeated Charlotte for the women’s title.

3 years ago today, Jeff Jarrett announces via Twitter that he has resigned from the company.

The four-time WCW world champion was a founding partner in TNA Wrestling in 2002 alongside his father Jerry, a long-time promoter. Jarrett became a minority owner in early 2003 when he sold a majority share of the company to Panda Energy for $250,000.

Jarrett’s biggest in-ring success came in the promotion’s early years, where he won the NWA World Heavyweight Championship six times in the first four years, holding it for a total of 1,006 days.

In 2009, Jarrett and TNA president Dixie Carter had a rift over his relationship with Karen Angle after it was outed by an alleged employee with the company on the Bubba the Love Sponge radio show (Jarrett was pulled from TNA programming as a result).

Jarrett remained involved in the company as a minority investor after his resignation took effect on January 6, 2014. He would briefly return to the promotion in 2015 as part of a crossover angle with his new promotion, Global Force Wrestling.

2 years ago today, WWE presented It's a RAW Christmas! (WWE Network link) from the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

  • John Cena defeated Seth Rollins.
  • Fandango defeated Jack Swagger.
  • R-Truth defeated Adam Rose in just 54 seconds.
  • Roman Reigns defeated The Big Show by countout. This was Reigns' first televised match after missing three months following a sports hernia injury.
  • Natalya defeated Brie Bella.
  • Los Matadores (Diego & Fernando) & El Torito defeated Gold & Stardust.
  • Dolph Ziggler defeated Luke Harper to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
  • Naomi, Alicia Fox, and Emma defeated Cameron, Paige, and Summer Rae in a Santa's Little Helpers match.
  • The Miz defeated Jey Uso.
  • Bray Wyatt defeated Dean Ambrose in a Miracle on 34th Street Fight.

The best of cSs on this day:

2015: Cageside Countdown Nomination Thread: Greatest Lucha Underground Season 1 Moments (Cagesiders pick the best moments from Lucha Underground’s inaugural season)

2014: AJ Styles isn't interested in working for the 'struggling' WWE (In an interview with MLW’s Talking Shop, Styles says he’s in the hottest company in the world, New Japan Pro Wrestling, so why would he go to WWE?)

2013: CSS Year-End Awards: Moment of the Year nomination thread (Cagesiders pick their favorite moments in wrestling from 2013)

2012: WWE books itself into a corner with The Rock, John Cena, CM Punk, and WrestleMania 29 (Geno breaks down possible scenarios regarding the main players in WWE leading up to Wrestlemania)

2011: Is Vince McMahon following in struggling Oprah Winfrey's footsteps with his WWE network? (Keith Harris points out eerie similarities between WWE launching its own cable channel with the Oprah Winfrey Network; spoiler: it’s not good)

2010: New information comes out about Chris Benoit and his murder-suicide (Dave Meltzer brings new information about the Chris Benoit double murder-suicide in the wake of WWE lawyer Jerry McDevitt saying Benoit did not have CTE)

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