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This Day in Wrestling History (Dec. 31): Brock Lesnar Retires from MMA

this day in wrestling history

15 years ago today, WWF RAW scores a paltry 2.4 rating.

Ok, it was a clip show (WWE Network link), counting down the company’s ten best matches of the year as selected by a WWF fan poll. And it was New Year's Eve. But the three-hour special is the lowest-rated RAW since October 1997. The mark has since been surpassed multiple times, especially in recent years; the low mark for any episode was the Christmas 1996 episode, which drew a 1.5 rating.

On September 27, 2016, RAW posted a 1.75 rating (2.46 million viewers), the second-lowest in the show’s history. Notably, the show was on the night of the first United States Presidential debate, which was seen by more than 80 million people.

6 years ago today, CZW star Nick Gage (real name Nicholas Wilson) turns himself in one day after New Jersey authorities announced he was wanted for robbing a PNC Bank in Collingswood, New Jersey on December 22.

During the robbery, he handed a female employee a note demanding money and got about $3,000. Wilson and his girlfriend then went to Atlantic City to gamble. In March 2011, Wilson pled guilty to second degree robbery and was sentenced to five years in prison a month later. He was also ordered to pay restitution to the bank and the employee. Wilson, who was homeless and addicted to oxycotin and painkillers at the time of the robbery, was released on parole in March 2015. Less than two weeks after his release, he was back in a wrestling ring.

In September 2015, just six months after his release, he was back in a New Jersey state prison for violating the terms of his parole. Gage was re-released last month.

5 years ago today, Brock Lesnar announces his retirement from MMA just one day after his loss to Alistar Overeem via TKO at UFC 141.

The bout was Lesnar's first since overcoming diverticulitis 14 months earlier, an ailment that nearly killed Lesnar. Lesnar said that he had promised his wife Rena (aka former WWE diva Sable) that he was done with MMA had he lost, and had he won, he would retire following his next bout. Just four months after his retirement, Lesnar returned to WWE after an eight-year absence.

After speculation that he would return to the Octagon when his WWE deal expired following Wrestlemania 31, Lesnar announced a week before the show that he was done with MMA for good... except he wasn’t. Lesnar made a one-time return at UFC 200 in July 2016 with a unanimous decision win over Mark Hunt.

Earlier this month, the win was changed to a no contest after Lesnar had failed two United States Anti-Doping Agency-issued drug tests around the time of UFC 200 (one on the day of the event, the other on June 28, just over a week prior). Lesnar was suspended from MMA for one year (retroactive to July) and fined $250,000, 10% of Lesnar’s UFC-record $2.5 million purse. The suspension did not affect his WWE status, as he is considered a part-time performer by the company.

The best of cSs on this day:

2015: WWE announces NXT Year-End Awards 2015; voting starts tomorrow, show airs Jan. 13, 2016 (NXT announces its own fan-voted year-end awards)

2014: WWE reports Edge & Christian have filed a MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR lawsuit against the company (Edge & Christian sue WWE—storyline, of course—for the treatment they received at the hands of Seth Rollins and Big Show; this, of course, was never followed up on)

2013: Daniel Bryan joins The Wyatt Family: Reasons to be Excited and Afraid (Sean Rueter gives reasons why Daniel Bryan, Wyatt Family member could be good—and why it won't be)

2012: Cageside Seats Year-End Awards: CM Punk wins 'Wrestler of the Year' (Cagesiders overwhelmingly pick CM Punk as the best wrestler of 2012)

2011: UFC 141: Brock Lesnar loses in one round and retires from MMA, can a WWE return be far behind? (Lesnar's quick loss and retirement from MMA may mean a return to WWE)

2010: Optimistic for Frank Edgar vs Gray Maynard at UFC 125 (KJ Gould previews the UFC 125 main event—the bout went to a time-limit split decision draw)

It’s been a pleasure once again to bring you 365—366, rather—days of wrestling history. If there’s anything to take away from the year, it’s this: while the world slowly burns around us, at least we’ll always have that 20 feet by 20 feet ring. Sometimes smaller. Sometimes with more than four sides. And as long as we have wrestling to bring us together, maybe the world isn’t all that bad after all. And it’s worth fighting for.

As I’ve done in past year, I leave with my favorite moment from this past year. But this year was so good, it’s difficult to pick just one. So here are three.

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