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This Day in Wrestling History (Dec. 27): Kevin Nash Breaks Goldberg’s Streak

this day in wrestling history

33 years ago today at a Wrestling at the Chase taping in St. Louis, Missouri, Hulk Hogan made his return to the World Wrestling Federation with a win over Bill Dixon.

Hogan had left the WWF in 1980 after he decided against the wishes of then-WWF owner Vincent J. McMahon to film a small role in Rocky III. He went to the American Wrestling Association, where he would rise to national and international prominence, especially after the film’s release in 1982.

But AWA’s stubborness to make Hogan their world heavyweight champion (allegedly, Hogan refused to give up a portion of the money he was making with his bookings with New Japan Pro Wrestling) made Hogan return to the WWF.

Under Vince K. McMahon, who took over for his father in early 1982, Hogan would be the centerpiece of the WWF’s expansion from regional territory to national promotion.

Also debuting for the WWF during that taping would be AWA’s longtime interviewer, Gene Okerlund. Okerlund would be the WWF’s main interviewer until leaving the promotion in 1993.

29 years ago today in Las Vegas, Nevada, Greg Gagne defeated Adrian Adonis in a tournament final to become the first AWA International Television Champion.

On the same show, Madusa Miceli defeated Candi Devine to win the AWA World Women’s Championship. The title had been vacant for about six months when Sherri Martel, the previous champion, left for the WWF.

29 years ago today in Tokyo, Japan, Antonio Inoki defeated Riki Choshu via disqualification. However, the story would be what followed the bout.

Comedian and actor Takeshi Kitano (aka Beat Takeshi, the man behind Takeshi’s Challenge, often regarded as one of the worst video games of all time) introduced the newest member of his Takeshi Puroresu Gundan stable: Leon White, aka Big Van Vader. The gimmick is based on Japanese folklore; Vader had fought off attackers on his village for three days straight.

A couple of side nuggets: Leon White wasn't the first choice for the Vader gimmick. That was Sid Vicious. He wasn't their second choice either; that was Jim Hellwig, who wound up in the WWF as the Ultimate Warrior. Leon was actually set to debut for New Japan rival All Japan Pro Wrestling, but All Japan owner Giant Baba traded away his contract just before debuting for them.

Vader in his first act demanded a match with the vulnerable Inoki, and he got it. Vader would defeat Inoki in under three minutes. This was a big deal as Inoki rarely lost, much less lose in such decisive fashion.

The pro-Inoki crowd was immediately whipped into a frenzy and a riot ensued. As a result, New Japan Pro Wrestling was banned from running events in Sumo Hall. The ban was rescinded in February 1989.

Vader wasn't the only debut at the show: Hiroshi Hase made his New Japan debut earlier in that show and won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship from Kuniaki Kobayashi.

Hase would go on to a legendary career, winning the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title twice and the IWGP tag title four times, as well as serving as chairman of the PWF, the governing body for the championships for All Japan Pro Wrestling.

27 years ago today, WWF presented No Holds Barred: The Movie/The Match on PPV.

The program consisted of the movie released in theaters earlier in the year, followed by the rematch from Summerslam with WWF Champion Hulk Hogan teaming with Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake taking on “Macho King” Randy Savage and Zeus, this time in a steel cage.

The match, taped during a set for Wrestling Challenge on December 12, was won by Hogan and Beefcake. It would be the final match for Zeus in the WWF, as he left the company shortly thereafter. For results of the full card, check out TDIPWH from December 12 here.

23 years ago today, WCW presented Starrcade '93: 10th Anniversary (WWE Network link) from the Independence Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina. 8,200 were in attendance, with 115,000 homes watching on PPV.

It's the most bought PPV for WCW in more than a year (Halloween Havoc '92 had 165,000 buys; shows since then had about 100,000 buys, except for the most recent event, Battlebowl with 55,000 buys). It's up just 10,000 buys from the 1992 event.

It's the first Starrcade since the NWA/WCW split was made official a few months earlier. A side note: Sid Vicious was originally the opponent lined up for Vader, but he was involved in a stabbing incident with Arn Anderson and was fired two months before the event.

  • In a dark match, Terry Taylor defeated The Equalizer.
  • Pretty Wonderful (Paul Orndorff & Paul Roma) defeated Marcus Alexander Bagwell & Too Cold Scorpio.
  • The Shockmaster defeated King Kong.
  • Lord Steven Regal and Ricky Steamboat went to a time limit draw for the WCW World Television Championship.
  • Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne defeated Shanghai Pierce & Tex Slazenger.
  • Rick Rude defeated The Boss to retain the WCW International World Heavyweight Championship.
  • Steve Austin defeated Dustin Rhodes 2-0 in a best of three falls match to win the WCW United States Championship.
  • Road Warrior Hawk & Sting defeated The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs & Jerry Sags) by disqualification in a WCW World Tag Team Championship match.
  • Ric Flair defeated Big Van Vader to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Had Flair lost, he would have been forced to retire.

22 years ago today, WCW presented Starrcade (WWE Network link) from the Nashville Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. 8,200 were in attendance, with 130,000 homes watching on PPV, is up just 15,000 from 1993's event. However, it's down 80,000 from Halloween Havoc two months earlier.

  • Vader defeated Hacksaw Jim Duggan to win the WCW United States Championship.
  • Alex Wright defeated Jean-Paul Levesque.
  • Johnny B. Badd defeated Arn Anderson to retain the WCW World Television Championship. Originally, Honky Tonk Man was supposed to face Johnny, but Honky was fired by WCW following a dispute with management prior to the event (basically, Honky did not want to lose to Johnny). In a side note, Eric Bischoff in his book Controversy Creates Cash vowed never to use Honky Tonk Man ever again (and he never did) and that firing him was his favorite thing he’d ever done in WCW.
  • The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags) defeated Harlem Heat (Booker T and Stevie Ray) by disqualification in a WCW World Tag Team Championship match.
  • Mr. T defeated Kevin Sullivan.
  • Sting defeated Avalanche by disqualification.
  • Hulk Hogan defeated The Butcher to retain the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.

21 years ago today, WCW presented Starrcade (WWE Network link) from the Nashville Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. 8,200 were in attendance, with just 75,000 homes watching on PPV.

It's the least bought WCW event since Battlebowl in 1993. The show's hook was the "World Cup of Wrestling", featuring seven WCW stars taking on seven of New Japan Pro Wrestling's best.

  • In a preshow dark match, Diamond Dallas Page defeated Dave Sullivan.
  • In a preshow dark match, The American Males (Marcus Alexander Bagwell & Scotty Riggs) defeated The Blue Bloods (Earl Robert Eaton & Lord Steven Regal).

World Cup of Wrestling:

  • Jushin Thunder Liger [NJPW] defeated Chris Benoit [WCW].
  • Koji Kanemoto [NJPW] defeated Alex Wright [WCW] to retain the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.
  • Lex Luger [WCW] defeated Masahiro Chono [NJPW].
  • Johnny B. Badd [WCW] defeated Masa Saito [NJPW] by disqualification.
  • Shinjiro Otani [NJPW] defeated Eddie Guerrero [WCW].
  • Randy Savage [WCW] defeated Tenzan [NJPW].
  • Sting [WCW] defeated Kensuke Sasaki [NJPW], winning the World Cup of Wrestling for WCW.

Other matches in order of occurrence:

  • Ric Flair defeated Lex Luger and Sting by countout to become the #1 contender for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
  • Ric Flair defeated Randy Savage to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
  • In a post-show dark match, Kensuke Sasaki defeated The One Man Gang to retain the WCW United States Championship. In a bit of bizarre trivia, the match aired on WCW Saturday Night on January 13, 1996 with One Man Gang winning the title. The match was then restarted with Sasaki going on to win the match and retain the title. The second match was never mentioned on WCW television.

18 years ago today, WCW presented Starrcade (WWE Network link) from the MCI Center in Washington, DC. 16,066 were in attendance, with 460,000 homes watching on PPV. That's down from WCW's record high of 700,000 homes for the 1997 event.

  • Kidman defeated Juventud Guerrera and Rey Mysterio Jr. to retain the WCW Cruiserweight Championship.
  • Kidman defeated Eddie Guerrero to retain the WCW Cruiserweight Championship.
  • Norman Smiley defeated Prince Iaukea.
  • Perry Saturn defeated The Cat.
  • Brian Adams & Scott Norton defeated Fit Finlay & Jerry Flynn.
  • Konnan defeated Chris Jericho to retain the WCW Television Championship.
  • Eric Bischoff defeated Ric Flair.
  • Diamond Dallas Page defeated The Giant.
  • Kevin Nash defeated Goldberg in a no disqualification match to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. The win ends Goldberg's undefeated run in WCW at just over 15 months and 173 matches.

11 years ago today at a Smackdown taping in Uncasville, Connecticut (WWE Network link), MNM (Joey Mercury & Johnny Nitro) defeated Batista & Rey Mysterio to win the WWE Tag Team Championship. It's the third time the duo won the tag titles in 2005.

8 years ago today, Ring of Honor presented Final Battle from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.

  • Kenny Omega defeated Claudio Castagnoli.
  • Jerry Lynn defeated Chris Hero, Necro Butcher, and Rhett Titus in a Four Corner Survival match.
  • El Generico & Kevin Steen defeated The Age of the Fall (Delirious & Jimmy Jacobs) to retain the ROH World Tag Team Championship.
  • Brent Albright, Erick Stevens & Roderick Strong defeated Sweet 'n' Sour Inc. (Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards & Go Shiozaki) in a street fight.
  • Briscoe Brothers (Jay & Mark Briscoe) defeated Kensuke Office (Katsuhiko Nakajima & Kensuke Sasaki.
  • Austin Aries defeated Tyler Black to become the #1 contender for the ROH World Championship.
  • Nigel McGuinness defeated Naomichi Marufuji to retain the ROH World Championship.
  • Bryan Danielson defeated Takeshi Morishima in a Fight Without Honor.

Birthdays aplenty today, so the profiles will be brief.

It's a happy 29th birthday for Andrew “Andy” Leavine.

Leavine, a cousin of Dan Spivey, is most famous for being the winner of the 2011 Tough Enough series. Shortly after reporting to FCW, he was suspended for violating the WWE's Wellness Policy, and his career never recovered, being released just ten months after his Tough Enough win.

Post-WWE, he wrestled for Puerto Rico-based World Wrestling Council, where he briefly held the WWC Universal Heavyweight Championship in 2012 and the WWC Tag Team Championship with Samson Walker in 2013.

It's a happy 36th birthday for Claudio Castignoli, known these days as Cesaro.

The Swiss-born Castignoli is one of the more accomplished tag team wrestlers of the 21st century, notably winning tag team championships for Ring of Honor, Chikara, Juggalo Championship Wrestling, Combat Zone Wrestling, and WWE. His 364-day tag team title run with Chris Hero as The Kings of Wrestling is the longest in company history. Castignoli also won Chikara's Tag World Grand Prix in 2006 and 2007 and was a part of the winning trio with Ares and Turas in their 2010 King of Trios tournament.

He also had some singles success, winning the Westside Xtreme Wrestling Unified World Wrestling Championship in 2003 and 2004, the Pro Wrestling Guerilla World Championship in 2010, the WWE United States Championship in 2012, and the Andre the Giant Memorial Trophy for winning a 30-man battle royal at Wrestlemania XXX. Earlier this month, Cesaro along with Sheamus ended The New Day’s record WWE tag title reign and claimed their first championship as a duo.

Castignoli has won Wrestling Observer Newsletter's Most Underrated award the last three years, and their Tag Team of the Year in 2010 with Chris Hero. In the 2014 PWI 500, Castignoli was ranked the thirteenth best singles wrestler in the world.

Today would have been the 47th birthday for Joan Marie Laurer, best known to wrestling fans as Chyna.

Laurer's made a bit of history in her wrestling life, being the only woman to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship, the only woman to qualify for the King of the Ring tournament, and was the first woman to enter the Royal Rumble. Oh, and she won the WWF Womens Championship too. She wrestled sporadically after leaving the WWF in 2001, wrestling briefly for New Japan Pro Wrestling in 2002, and one match for TNA in 2011. While in WWE, she appeared twice for Playboy magazine and appeared on a celebrity episode of Fear Factor. She also released a New York Times bestseller, If They Only Knew in 2001.

Post-wrestling, Laurer appeared on reality series The Surreal Life, The Surreal Life: Fame Games, and Celebrity Rehab. Relationship-wise, she's dated fellow wrestlers Paul Levesque (from 1996 to 2000) and Sean Waltman, the latter she infamously made a sex tape with in 2004, 1 Night in China. In an interesting bit of trivia, she appeared in the 2007 B-movie, Illegal Aliens, the last movie to feature former Playboy playmate Anna Nicole Smith (the movie was released straight-to-video about three months after her death).

On April 20, 2016, Laurer was found dead in her home in Redondo Beach, California. She was 46. At the time of her death, she had been taking medication for anxiety and insomnia. Her manager claimed that her death was due to an accidental overdose. Her brain has been donated to science to study the effects of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). After a memorial service in June 2016, Laurer was cremated and her ashes scattered in the Pacific Ocean.

It's a happy 50th birthday for William “Bill” Scott Goldberg, but wrestling fans just call him Goldberg.

Wrestling briefly for WWE in 2003 and 2004, Goldberg is best known for his exaggerated undefeated streak of wins in 1997 and 1998 (173 of them—allegedly) in WCW from his debut in September 1997 to December 1998. Goldberg is a two-time world champion, winning the World Heavyweight Championship once each in WCW and WWE, and in 1999 won the WCW World Tag Team Championship with Bret Hart. He also was briefly WCW United States Champion during his undefeated run.

Goldberg was briefly a color commentator for mixed martial arts promotions World Fighting Alliance, K-1, and Elite XC in 2006 and 2007. Bill also appeared in the 1999 film Universal Soldier: The Return in 1999, the WCW-backed Ready to Rumble in 2000 and hosted three seasons of Bullrun. He also appeared in the 2005 remake of The Longest Yard and starred in Santa's Slay that same year. In 2010, Goldberg was a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice (he finished eighth of fourteen participants).

After appearing at two Legends of Wrestling Events (one in June 2015, another in January 2016), Goldberg made his return to WWE in October, answering a challenge to face Brock Lesnar. At Survivor Series, Goldberg made quick work of Lesnar, defeating him in just 86 seconds. The next night, Goldberg announced he will participate in the 2017 Royal Rumble match.

Goldberg, an animal welfare advocate and vintage car collector (he has over two dozen of them), is married to Wanda Ferraton, a stunt double he met while filming Santa’s Slay. The couple have been married for eleven years and has one son, Gage.

It's a happy 53rd birthday for Michael Polchlopek. Known in various lives as Mike Barton and Bodacious Bart, he's best known as Bart Gunn.

Polchlopek was one half of the Smoking Gunns with his kayfabe brother Billy, winning the WWF Tag Team Championship three times in 1995 and 1996. In 1998, he was Bodacious Bart, one half of a rebooted Midnight Express with Bombastic Bob. They didn't win a lot, though they were briefly NWA World Tag Team Champions together in 1998.

Later that year, Mike made a name for himself by winning the Brawl for All tournament, including scoring an upset knockout win over "Dr. Death" Steve Williams in the second round. He parlayed that into a match at Wrestlemania XV against Eric "Butterbean" Esch, but Butterbean quickly finished him, knocking out Gunn in just 35 seconds.

Following his release from the WWF in 1999, he joined All Japan Pro Wrestling full time, becoming a member of Johnny Ace's gaijin stable, The Movement. He briefly held the All Japan World Tag Team Championship with Ace in the June and July 1999. The next year, Barton stayed behind when Mitsuhara Misawa led a mass exodus of the promotion; around the same time, Johnny Ace left for WCW, leaving Mike to find a new partner in Jim Steele. The two would team until Barton's retirement in 2004.

Following his retirement, he fought two MMA fights, a TKO victory in the first round, and a unanimous decision defeat. He made one last in-ring appearance, at RAW 15th Anniversary in 2007. Today, the grandfather is an electrician and an avid Star Wars fan, attending multiple conventions each year.

The best of cSs on this day:

2015: WWE Match of the Year 2015: We can't agree (Cageside’s masthead picks the WWE match of the year)

2014: Cageside Seats Year-End Awards: Moment of the Year (VOTE) (Cagesiders pick wrestling’s best moment of 2014)

2013: Brock Lesnar UFC return rumors are heating up again ( reports Brock Lesnar will be at UFC 168, hinting a possible return to the promotion)

2012: Cageside Seats Year-End Awards: 'Prop of the Year' (Cagesiders pick wrestling’s best prop of 2012)

2011: Video: Kane tells John Cena to embrace the hate, WWE continues teasing Cena heel turn (Kane tells John Cena why he’s his latest target on RAW, while continues to tease a heel turn that will never come)

2010: Jeff Hardy to plead guilty on drug charges (Jeff Hardy, TNA’s world champion, set to plead guilty to multiple drug charges stemming from his September 2009 when he appears in court next month)

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