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This Day in Wrestling History (Dec. 4): Hulk Hogan Stripped of the WWF Championship

this day in wrestling history

25 years ago today, Hulk Hogan is stripped of the WWF Championship following a controversial finish to the end of his bout with The Undertaker the previous night at This Tuesday in Texas by WWF president Jack Tunney.

The decision to strip Hogan of the title was not announced until that weekend's Superstars. Also, Tunney announces that the winner of the forthcoming 30-man Royal Rumble match would be the undisputed WWF Champion.

23 years ago today, Kevin Sullivan and Tazmaniac defeat Tommy Dreamer and Shane Douglas (subbing for Johnny Gunn) to win the ECW Tag Team Championship. Douglas turned on Dreamer and cost him the match and the titles.

18 years ago today in Salem, Indiana, Ian Rotten defeated Corporal Robinson to win the IWA Mid-South Heavyweight Championship for the fourth time.

The win wasn't the story; what led to it was. Rotten hit Robinson in the head with a window pane that had fluorescent light tubes attached to it. The shattered glass cut an artery above Robinson's temple, making him gush blood out of his head. They quickly went to the finish, with Rotten hitting a double-arm DDT to win the match. Robinson was rushed to a hospital and would suffer a brain aneurysm due to a blood clot.

16 years ago today on RAW is WAR from East Rutherford, New Jersey (WWE Network link), William Regal defeated Crash Holly by submission to win the WWF European Championship.

In the show's main event segment, Vince McMahon takes a Last Ride, Rock Bottom, and Stone Cold Stunner back-to-back-to-back in response to McMahon protesting the weekend’s upcoming Hell in a Cell match at Armageddon.

16 years ago today on Nitro from Lincoln, Nebraska (WWE Network link), WCW Commissioner Mike Sanders awards the vacant WCW World Tag Team Championship to Perfect Event (Chuck Palumbo and Shawn Stasiak).

For anyone wondering (and I know you are), this is the fifteenth tag title change since WCW’s reboot on April 10 (including two title vacations), or about one change every sixteen days.

On the same taping, but airing on Thunder two days later, Sanders, who was also the WCW Cruiserweight Champion, is defeated for the title by Chavo Guerrero.

15 years ago today at a Smackdown taping in Chicago, Illinois (WWE Network link), the first iteration of the Vince McMahon "Kiss My Ass" Club ends.

McMahon, who lost the fall in a luchas apuestas tag match to The Rock and Trish Stratus the previous night on RAW (McMahon teamed with Kurt Angle), was forced to kiss The Rock’s ass. But it was a swerve, you see. McMahon ended up kissing the ass of the returning Rikishi, who had been out since May to recover from a shoulder injury.

10 years ago today, Paul Heyman leaves WWE just one day after a disastrous December to Dismember PPV.

Heyman was sent home following a meeting with Vince and Stephanie McMahon, one that saw Heyman removed from the ECW creative team. Heyman took the fall for the poor show, despite the show having McMahon fingerprints all over it.

Paul would work on an autobiography (still unreleased as of this moment), launch a web series, co-wrote Brock Lesnar's autobiography, and nearly took a deal to jump to TNA. Heyman would not return to WWE until 2012.

That evening, Paul "Big Show" Wight wrestled his final match for more than a year during the ECW taping in Greensboro, North Carolina, a rematch for the ECW World Championship. He would lose the title rematch to Bobby Lashley, who had won the title in the extreme elimination chamber match two nights earlier.

After attempting to get a boxing career off the ground (and failing miserably—seriously, you oughta read this piece by David Bixenspan on Wight trying boxing), Paul would return to WWE just before Wrestlemania XXIV in 2008—where he ironically would be defeated by a boxer in Floyd Mayweather.

For the curious, here’s Heyman’s final promo, airing the next night on ECW on Sci-Fi.

7 years ago today, Edward Smith Fatu, Jr., best known to wrestling fans as Umaga, died of a pair of heart attacks he suffered that day. He was just 36.

Born March 28, 1973 in San Francisco, he was a member of the famous Anoa'i wrestling family; his mother Vera was the sister of The Wild Samoans. He was the youngest of three brothers; his older brothers Sam and Solofa also would be in the wrestling business (as The Tonga Kid and Rikishi, respectively), as was his cousin Dwayne Johnson (as The Rock).

He trained in the Wild Samoan Pro Wrestling Training Center under his uncles Afa and Sika. He made his debut for World Xtreme Wrestling in 1995. He had a brief stint in the WWF with another cousin Matt in 1996 in an angle that was to include brother Solofa Jr., but was quickly dropped. He and Matt would team up in various organizations over the next few years, including WWF developmental territory Heartland Wrestling Association, Memphis Championship Wrestling, and Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling as The Samoan Gangstas and The Island Boyz.

The duo returned to WWE in 2002 as Rosey (Matt) and Jamal (Eddie), aka 3 Minute Warning, a pair of enforcers for RAW general manager Eric Bischoff. Eddie would be released in June 2003 after he was reportedly involved in a bar fight. He would spend the next couple years in All Japan Pro Wrestling as Jamal, usually in tag team bouts.

Eddie would re-sign with the WWF in December 2005. A reunion of 3 Minute Warning was in the works, but Matt would be released from the company before it could happen. He would be reintroduced the day after Wrestlemania 22 as Umaga, translated as "the end", named after the final and most painful part of the Samoan tattoo process, a destructive island savage who could only be controlled by his manager Armando Alejandro Estrada. He would destroy jobbers at first, then work through the majority of the RAW roster, including Ric Flair, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and Kane. He would win 34 consecutive television matches without a loss before being defeated at New Years Revolution 2007 in a WWE Championship match by John Cena. With his manager Estrada claiming the loss was a fluke, they rematched at Royal Rumble later in the month in a last man standing match, won again by Cena.

Umaga's highest profile bout came at Wrestlemania 23 when as the Intercontinental Champion (he beat Jeff Hardy for the title), he represented Vince McMahon in the Battle of the Billionaires against Donald Trump's charge, ECW Champion Bobby Lashley. Umaga came out on the losing end, but the two would continue feuding for the remainder of the spring; Lashley cost Umaga the Intercontinental title against Santino Marella in Italy, while Vince McMahon won the ECW title, largely with Umaga's help. The feud ended at One Night Stand, with Lashley defeating The McMahons and Umaga in a handicap street fight.

In the summer, Umaga won back the Intercontinental Championship from Santino Marella and teased a face turn, but went heel again after he laid out a returning Jeff Hardy. Umaga lost the title to Hardy a week later, then was kayfabe injured in an assault by Triple H. The assault was to write off Fatu, who was one of ten men identified by Sports Illustrated as receiving HGH from an online pharmacy, a violation of the WWE Wellness Policy that got him suspended for a month. He returned at No Mercy against Triple H in what would be a match for the WWE Championship and lost.

Umaga briefly feuded with Batista in the leadup to and at Wrestlemania XXIV, losing the interpromotional bout at the event. He feuded again with Jeff Hardy during the spring, culminating in a loss in a falls count anywhere match. Umaga would be drafted to Smackdown in the 2008 WWE Draft in June, but would not make a serious impact on the brand until January 2009 (he missed five months due to a torn PCL at a Smackdown house show in Johnson City, Tennessee). He would remain undefeated until being defeated by disqualification by Triple H when Legacy interfered.

CM Punk would be Umaga's last feud when he repeatedly prevented Punk from cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase. Umaga would speak English for the first and only time when he challenged Punk to a Samoan strap match at Extreme Rules. It would turn out to be his final match with the company; he lost the match. Two weeks later, he was released following a second violation of the Wellness Policy and refusing to enter rehab.

Fatu spent his final days on the independent circuit, competing for World Wrestling Council in Puerto Rico and as a part of the Hulkamania tour in Australia in November 2009. In his final bout on November 28, he defeated Mr. Anderson.

On December 4, he was found with blood coming out of his nose and not breathing, and was rushed to a hospital in Houston, Texas. He suffered a heart attack. He would suffer a second heart attack and was pronounced dead late in the day. The official cause of death was acute toxicity due to combined effects of hydrocodone, carisoprodol, and diazepam. At the time of his death, he was survived by his wife and four children.

7 years ago today, WWE taped Tribute to the Troops from Joint Base Balad in Baghdad, Iraq.

The show, airing December 19 on NBC, actually featured a WWE Championship match, though by the time the show had aired the title had changed hands.

  • In a dark match, MVP defeated Chris Masters.
  • Rey Mysterio & Mark Henry defeated Carlito & CM Punk.
  • The Miz defeated John Morrison. Neither The Miz’s United States Championship nor Morrison’s Intercontinental Championship were at stake.
  • John Cena defeated Chris Jericho to retain the WWE Championship.

4 years ago today, Ring of Honor presented Northern Agression from the Greensboro Coliseum Complex in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The show is famous for an eight-man elimination tag team match that went an hour and 20 minutes, the longest match in company history.

  • Mike Bennett defeated TJ Perkins.
  • The All-Night Express (Kenny King & Rhett Titus) defeated The Bravado Brothers (Harlem Bravado & Lancelot Bravado).
  • Jay Lethal defeated Adam Cole in a Proving Ground Match.
  • The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) defeated Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander
  • Grizzly Redwood defeated Sonny Samson.
  • Eddie Edwards, El Generico, and Wrestling's Greatest Tag Team (Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin) defeated The Briscoes (Jay Briscoe & Mark Briscoe) and The House Of Truth (Michael Elgin & Roderick Strong) 4-3 in an eight-man elimination tag team match.

3 years ago today, WWE announces that CM Punk underwent emergency knee surgery.

The surgery kept him out off WWE television altogether until the new year. It also has an unintended consequence: the extended time off enables him to pass John Cena's 380-day run as the longest WWE Champion since Hulk Hogan's four-year run from 1984 to 1988. Punk's run would end at the 2013 Royal Rumble event at 434 days.

3 years ago today, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nensi declared the Hart Mansion a heritage site, the equivalent of a landmark.

Originally a home for orphans, Stu Hart purchased the house in 1951 and would become the headquarters of Stampede Wrestling and the basement, nicknamed "The Dungeon", would be the breeding and proving ground for hundreds of wrestlers.

It's a happy 32nd birthday for Brooke Nichole Adams, best known to wrestling fans as Miss Brooke Tessmacher.

The three-time TNA Knockouts Champion and Knockouts Tag Team Champion first got her first national exposure as a member of ECW's Extreme Expose dance troupe in 2007. Before and in between her WWE and TNA runs, Brooke was a bikini and fitness model, competing in pageants for Miss Hawaiian Tropic, Miss Swimsuit USA, and Miss Hooters most notably. Brooke appeared in a pair of music videos, Timbaland's "Throw It On Me" in 2007 and Doorough's "Bounce Dat" in 2011.

In 2014, Adams along with Robert Strauss, aka Robbie E, competed on the 25th edition of The Amazing Race, finishing fourth (the couple, billed as dating pro wrestlers, broke up during filming). Brooke left TNA in November 2015 due to her pregnancy (though that was not publicly announced until February 2016). She gave birth to her first child, Jace, on September 3.

The best of cSs on this day:

2015: WWE sends out survey asking fans to compare WWE to NXT (WWE sends another survey to its Fan Council, this time focusing on NXT)

2014: Ryback responds to CM Punk criticism: He never said that to my face (In an interview with The Franchise 107.7 in Oklahoma, Ryback responds to CM Punk calling him dangerous)

2013: WWE Raw ratings reach a year low on Dec. 2 (Just 3.53 million people watched RAW, lowest audience of the year, and a number not seen since prime WCW)

2012: CM Punk undergoes knee surgery (The WWE champion undergoes emergency knee surgery just hours after he’s injured in a brawl with Ryback on RAW)

2011: That was awesome! (clap clap clapclapclap): Hayabusa makes his Japanese debut at Super J Cup 1994 (Eiji Ezaki debuts the Hayabusa gimmick at the 1994 Super J Cup; the video’s no longer available, but here’s the match)

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