42 years ago today in Toyohashi, Japan, Jack Brisco defeated Giant Baba to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
21 years ago today, ECW presented December to Dismember from the ECW Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Selected matches from the event would air on the December 12 and December 19 editions of Hardcore TV (WWE Network links).
- Dances with Dudley and Dudley Dudley defeated Bad Breed (Axl & Ian Rotten) in just two minutes.
- Taz defeated El Puerto Ricano.
- Hack Myers defeated Bruiser Mastino.
- The Eliminators (John Kronus & Perry Saturn) defeated The Pitbulls (Gary Wolfe & Anthony Durante).
- Raven defeated Tommy Dreamer.
- JT Smith defeated Tony Stetson.
- The Sandman defeated Mikey Whipwreck and Steve Austin in a three-way dance to win the ECW World Heavyweight Championship. This was Austin's last bout in an ECW ring, as he would leave later in the month for the WWF. He'd wrestle a total of two matches in his brief time with the company, both losing efforts for the ECW title.
- Public Enemy (Flyboy Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge) defeated The Heavenly Bodies (Jimmy Del Rey & Tom Pritchard).
- Public Enemy, The Pitbulls, and Tommy Dreamer defeated The Heavenly Bodies, The Eliminators, Raven, and Stevie Richards in an Ultimate Jeopardy steel cage match. As a result of being pinned, Stevie Richards was forced to spend five minutes in the cage alone with the entire winning team.
15 years ago today, WWF presented Vengeance (WWE Network link) from the San Diego Sports Arena in San Diego, California. 11,800 were in attendance, with 315,000 homes watching on PPV. That's down from 465,000 homes for the December 2000 event Armageddon, and down from 450,000 homes just from the previous month's Survivor Series.
The show's hook was a one-night tournament to unify the WWF and former WCW world titles to create the WWF Undisputed Championship.
- In a preshow Sunday Night Heat match, The Acolyte Protection Agency (Faarooq and Bradshaw) defeated Billy Gunn & Chuck Palumbo.
- Albert & Scotty 2 Hotty defeated Christian & Test.
- Edge defeated William Regal to retain the WWF Intercontinental Championship.
- Jeff Hardy defeated Matt Hardy. Lita was the special referee.
- The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) defeated Kane & The Big Show to retain the WWF Tag Team Championship.
- The Undertaker defeated Rob Van Dam to win the WWF Hardcore Championship.
- Trish Stratus defeated Jacqueline to retain the WWF Women's Championship.
- Steve Austin defeated Kurt Angle to retain the WWF Championship.
- Chris Jericho defeated The Rock to win the World Heavyweight Championship.
- Chris Jericho defeated Steve Austin to unify the WWF and World Heavyweight Championships and become the first WWF Undisputed Champion.
12 years ago today in Osaka, Japan, Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Hiroyoshi Tenzan to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
8 years ago today, Ron Killings announces that he had left TNA.
Killings was a TNA original, around with the company since its inception in June 2002. In August, he became the first African-American to hold the NWA World Heavyweight Championship (he’s still the only one to this day). He would win it a second time in May 2004, holding it for just two weeks before being defeated for it by Jeff Jarrett (Jarrett ended his first run back in 2002 as well).
In later years, Killings was a part of 3 Live Kru with BG James (he would win the NWA world tag titles twice with him) and Konnan. In 2007, Killings would win the TNA world tag titles with pro football player Adam “Pacman” Jones.
Killings actually attempted to leave the company about six months prior to join AAA in Mexico, but his release was turned down. He would return to the WWF the following summer as R-Truth, where he remains to this day.
8 years ago today, Lisa Marie Varon, best known as Victoria, announced her intention to retire from professional wrestling.
She did retire following a loss to Michelle McCool in January 2009 and would appear for WWE just one other time, a part of the Miss Wrestlemania battle royal at Wrestlemania 25.
As is usually the case in pro wrestling, the retirement didn't stick, and Lisa was back in the ring for TNA less than six months later. Varon was released from TNA in July 2013 and has since stated publicly that she would never return.
She is the founder of wrestling-themed eatery The Squared Circle restaurant in Chicago, but is no longer running it, leaving it to her husband and a friend in January 2015 when Varon moved back to California. She still makes regular visits to the restaurant.
As for Varon’s wrestling career: it’s still going. Most recently, she wrestled at Chikara’s annual King of Trios tournament in September 2016. Her squad, the Original Divas Revolution (Victoria, Mickie James, and Jazz) defeated Team Shimmer’s Candice LeRae, Crazy Mary Dobson, and Solo Darling in the first round, but were knocked out in the quarterfinals by The Warriors Three (Oleg the Usurper, Princess KimberLee, and ThunderFrog).
6 years ago today at an Impact taping at Universal Orlando, Angelina Love and Winter defeated Madison Rayne and Tara in a tournament final to win the TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship.
4 years ago today, TNA presented Final Resolution from the Impact Zone at Universal Orlando.
- James Storm defeated Kazarian.
- Rob Van Dam defeated Kenny King to retain the TNA X-Division Championship.
- Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez defeated Joey Ryan & Matt Morgan by disqualification to retain the TNA World Tag Team Championship.
- Austin Aries defeated Bully Ray.
- Tara defeated Mickie James to retain the TNA Knockouts Championship.
- Garett Bischoff, Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe & Wes Brisco defeated Aces & Eights (Devon & DOC, and two players to be named later).
- Christopher Daniels defeated AJ Styles.
- Jeff Hardy defeated Bobby Roode to retain the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
3 year ago today, WWE presented the 2013 Slammy Awards on a special edition of RAW from Seattle, Washington (WWE Network link).
- "What A Maneuver" of the Year: Roman Reigns' Spear
- Faction of the Year: The Shield
- "You Still Got It" of the Year (Best Return): Goldust
- Couple of the Year: Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella
- Tag Team of the Year: Cody Rhodes and Goldust
- Feat of Strength of the Year: Mark Henry pulls two trucks with his bare hands
- "Say What?" of the Year (Best Quote): Dusty Rhodes for "One stipulation: I'm in my boys' corner and I'll be your huckleberry all night long."
- Best Dance Moves of the Year: The Funkadactyls
- Favorite Web Show: The JBL and Cole Show
- Best Crowd of the Year: Smarkamania 2 (East Rutherford, NJ)
- Catchphrase of the Year: Daniel Bryan's "YES! YES! YES!"
- Trending Now Hashtag of the Year: The Shield's #BelieveInTheShield
- "This is awesome!" Moment of the Year: Big Show knocks out Triple H on RAW
- Breakout Star of the Year: The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns)
- Beard of the Year: Daniel Bryan
- LOL Moment of the Year: The Rock Concert on the January 14 RAW 20th Anniversary Special
- Double Cross of the Year: Shawn Michaels costs Daniel Bryan the WWE Championship at Hell in a Cell
- Diva of the Year: The Bella Twins
- Superstar of the Year: Daniel Bryan
- Fan Participation of the Year: YES! YES! YES!
- Insult of the Year: Stephanie McMahon insults Big Show
- Extreme Moment of the Year: CM Punk's vengeance on Paul Heyman at Hell in a Cell
- Match of the Year: John Cena vs. The Rock at Wrestlemania 29
2 years ago today, WWE presented Tribute to the Troops (WWE Network link) from the Columbus Civic Center in Columbus, Georgia.
The show aired on December 17 on USA Network, and a one-hour edited version aired for NBC ten days later. Of note, Daniel Bryan made his first appearance on WWE programming since forfeiting the WWE Championship in June.
- The Usos (Jey Uso & Jimmy Uso) defeated Stardust and Goldust.
- Naomi won a Santa's Little Helper divas battle royal, last eliminating Nikki Bella and Natalya to win. Other participants were Brie Bella, Paige, Alicia Fox, Cameron, Summer Rae, Rosa Mendes, and Emma.
- Dean Ambrose defeated Bray Wyatt in a no disqualification Boot Camp match.
- Ryback, Erick Rowan, John Cena, and Dolph Ziggler defeated Big Show, Kane, Seth Rollins, and Luke Harper.
It's a happy 48th birthday for Kurt Steven Angle.
Born in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, Angle began wrestling at age seven. A two-sport letterman at Mt. Lebanon High School (football and wrestling) and an All-State linebacker, Angle was a dominant wrestler throughout his high school years, going undefeated his freshman year, and qualifying for the state wrestling tournament the next three years (winning his senior year).
That dominance carried over to the collegiate ranks, winning the NCAA Division I National Championship at 100kg for Clarion University of Pennsylvania twice, and named a three-time NCAA Division I All-American. He was also a national junior and senior wrestling freestyle wrestling champion. In 1995, Angle won a gold medal at the FILA Wrestling World Championships at 100kg. The next year, despite losing his coach to murder and suffering a severe neck injury, Angle won the gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics. He's one of only four people to complete amateur wrestling's Grand Slam (winning junior nationals, NCAA nationals, world championship, and Olympics).
A few months after his victory, Angle was invited to an ECW event and provided guest commentary for a match between Taz and Little Guido. It also just so happened that the night he showed up, Raven crucified Sandman in one of ECW's more controversial moments. Angle threatened to sue Heyman if he was on the same broadcast as the incident. Angle spent the next year or so away from wrestling, He would be a sports anchor for Pittsburgh's FOX affiliate, WPGH-TV.
After initially turning down a deal to join the WWF, Angle joined the WWF in October 1998. He would be assigned to Memphis-based Power Pro Wrestling, where he would briefly hold their heavyweight championship in July 1999. Angle worked dark matches for the WWF before finally debuting in front of the cameras at the 1999 Survivor Serieswith a win over Shawn Stasiak. Angle's gimmick would be that of an "arrogant American hero", preaching his morals and presenting himself as a role model, but often talking down to the audience.
To say that Angle got the rocket strapped to his back would be an understatement. Three months after his debut, he would win his first championship, the WWF European Championship. He'd soon win the Intercontinental title too and held them both simultaneously briefly before losing both titles at Wrestlemania 2000 without ever being beaten for it. In June, he would win the WWF's annual King of the Ring tournament, then win the WWF Championship in October, concluding what many consider the greatest rookie year in wrestling history.
Angle would go on to win the WWF Championship four times, the World Heavyweight Championship once (in 2006), the WCW Championship once (post-purchase in 2001), the United States Championship, the Intercontinental Championship, the European Championship, and the Tag Team Championship before being granted his release in August 2006 due to health reasons.
Of note, in November 2004, Angle was nearly defeated in a legit shoot match with Tough Enough contestant (and eventual winner) Daniel Puder. Puder was taken down by Angle, but while being taken down, Puder put the kimura lock on Angle. Angle's shoulders were pushed down and referee Jim Korderas quickly counted three.
Just a month after his WWE release, Angle signed with TNA Wrestling, quickly getting into a feud with Samoa Joe. At Genesis in November, Angle became the first man to pin Samoa Joe in a TNA ring. Angle would go on to become the first ever TNA World Heavyweight Champion in May 2007, but the belt would be quickly vacated following an inconclusive finish at Sacrifice. He'd win it back a month later at Slammiversary, then two months later, would win the X Division and tag team championships (around that time, Angle would also hold the Inoki Genome Federation version of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship), making him the only man to hold all of TNA's men's titles at once. Angle would win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship a total of six times (a company record), and the tag titles twice. After nearly a decade with the company, Angle left TNA in January 2016.
Altogether, Angle's amassed 21 total championships, 13 of them world titles. Kurt is the only man to hold WWF's, WCW's, TNA's and IWGP's top prizes. He's also the only man to win both a King of the Mountain match (he did so twice) and the King of the Ring tournament. And that's just the beginning of Angle's accomplishments. A partial list:
- USA Wrestling named Angle the greatest shoot wrestler of all time in 2006, and is a member of their 2001 Hall of Fame class.
- From Pro Wrestling Illustrated, he's a three-time feud of the year winner (2000 with Triple H, 2003 with Brock Lesnar, and 2007 with Samoa Joe), two-time match of the year winner (the Ironman match on Smackdown in 2003, and his 2005 bout with Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 21), the most hated wrestler and rookie of the year of 2000, most inspirational wrestler of 2001, and most popular and wrestler of the year for 2003.
- In 2001, Angle was ranked the world's top singles wrestler by Pro Wrestling Illustrated.
- From Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Kurt won for best gimmick and most improved in 2000, best on interviews in 2002, match of the year in 2002 (his No Mercy bout with Chris Benoit against Edge & Rey Mysterio), wrestler of the year in 2002, feud of the year in 2003, three-time most outstanding wrestler (2001-2003), a two-time readers' favorite wrestler (2002, 2003), and was voted wrestler of the decade of the 2000s. He is also a member of the publication's Hall of Fame in 2004.
- Angle is also a member of the National Amateur Wrestling Hall of Fame (2001), the professional wing of the International Wrestling Hall of Fame (2012), and the TNA Hall of Fame (2013).
Kurt has also gotten into acting in recent years, appearing in films such as End Game in 2009, Warrior in 2011, Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies in 2013, and Sharknado 2: The Second One in 2014. He also has a cameo appearance in Pain and Gain. Most recently, he has a small role in The Last Witch Hunter, released last year. He's also flirted with mixed martial arts; he was in talks to appear on the tenth season of The Ultimate Fighter, but ultimately failed the physical. In October 2015, he signed with Bellator MMA and has teased possibly fighting for the promotion.
Angle is currently married to actress Giovanna Yannotti, and the couple has two children. Kurt also has two children from his first marriage, to Karen Smedly (Karen is married today to Jeff Jarrett).
The best of cSs on this day:
2015: A Look at the 2015 Observer Awards (Cagesider Vidence releases his Wrestling Observer Newsletter Awards ballot)
2014: GIF: No, Jerry Lawler, AJ Lee does not want to hug you (WWE Hall of Famer gets no love from the 2014 Diva of the Year—and it’s kinda hilarious)
2013: WWE reports Alberto Del Rio suffered a concussion on Raw (WWE.com reports he’s in concussion protocol after suffering one following a top rope sunset flip powerbomb)
2012: Head WWE trainer Bill DeMott attacked on Twitter by former trainee Kevin Matthews (Former WWE developmental wrestler Kevin Matthews goes in the recently rehired developmental trainer)
2011: Creative has nothing for Brodus Clay but he had something for them (Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Newsletter details Brodus Clay’s intended return to WWE—a monster heel that would induct them into his personal House of Pain. Sound familiar?)
2010: The Fight Network's parent company files for bankruptcy, owes over $13.7 million (619661 Canada Inc., the parent company of The Fight Network, files for bankruptcy just before they’re set to meet with creditors)