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This Day in Wrestling History (Mar. 12): That One Time Mick Foley Lost An Ear

33 years ago today in Greensboro, North Carolina, Ricky Steamboat  & Jay Youngblood defeated Sgt. Slaughter & Don Kernodle in a steel cage match to win the NWA World Tag Team Championship. On the same show, NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair and NWA United States Champion Greg Valentine fought to a one hour time limit draw with the world title at stake.

23 years ago today in Radnor, Pennsylvania, Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka defeated Glen Osbourne in a tournament final to win the ECW Television Championship. The title was vacated a month earlier for unknown reasons. The title change highlighted the first ever ECW television taping for Sportschannel Philadelphia.

22 years ago (give or take a day or two--the date differs depending on who tells the story) today in Dresden, Germany, Mick Foley, then wrestling as Cactus Jack, loses an ear during a match with Big Van Vader.

During the bout, Foley performed a hangman spot, where a wrestler is tied between two ropes by the head. The spot, usually safe, yet painful, was made even more so with WCW using elevator cables wrapped in rubber instead of actual ropes wrapped in rubber or tape. The ropes were tied to the maximum due to 2 Cold Scorpio complaining about the ropes being too loose. So when Foley was tied to the ropes by the head, blood was not flowing to his brain, and it could have ended badly for him in a hurry: cerebal anoxia (that's oxygen deprivation, kids), possible brain damage, even death could have resulted from this. Mick frees himself eventually, but loses 2/3 of his ear in the process.

The ear was put on ice and Foley following his match was rushed to a hospital to get surgery to reattach the cartilage from the ear to his head so that a full reconstruction would be possible. Foley put off said full reconstruction because he and Kevin Sullivan were set to win the WCW World Tag Team Championship at Slamboree, which they did. It was Foley's only championship in WCW. Though WCW had a potential storyline dropped right on their lap, Foley's ear loss was never followed up on.

Needless to say, the video which shows Foley losing his ear is not suitable for all viewers.

21 years ago, Brian Adams, aka WWF's Crush, was arrested on drugs and weapons charges after anabolic steroids, unregistered semi-automatic weapons, a stun gun, and marijuana were found in his home in Hawaii. The arrest leads to Adams being fired from the WWF.

16 years ago today, ECW presented Living Dangerously (WWE Network link) from the O'Neill Center in Danbury, Connecticut. The show's focus was on crowning a new ECW World Television Champion after Rob Van Dam vacated the title due to injury earlier in the month.

  • In a dark match, Mikey Whipwreck defeated Pitbull #1.
  • Dusty Rhodes defeated Steve Corino (w/ Jack Victory) in a bullrope match.
  • The New Dangerous Alliance (C.W. Anderson and Bill Wiles) defeated Danny Doring and Amish Roadkill.
  • Mike Awesome defeated Kid Kash to retain the ECW World Heavyweight Championship.
  • Super Nova and Chris Chetti defeated Jado and Gedo.
  • Rhino defeated The Sandman by forfeit in a semifinal match in the ECW World TV Championship tournament.
  • Super Crazy defeated Little Guido in a semifinal match in the ECW World TV Championship tournament.
  • Balls Mahoney defeated Kintaro Kanemura.
  • New Jack and Vic Grimes fought to a no contest. The match abruptly ended when New Jack and Grimes fell from a structure 25 feet high. They were to crash on a set of tables set up below to break their fall. New Jack pulled Grimes off the structure before the two were set, and they fell together, missing the tables completely and landed on the concrete floor, with Grimes landing on New Jack's head. Grimes suffers nerve damage, while New Jack suffers permanent blindness in his right eye. The incident is known forever in wrestling lore as The Danbury Fall.
  • The Impact Players (Lance Storm and Justin Credible) defeated Raven and Mike Awesome and Tommy Dreamer and Masato Tanaka in a three-way dance to win the ECW World Tag Team Championship.
  • Super Crazy defeated Rhino in the tournament final to win the vacant ECW World Television Championship.

14 years ago today at a Smackdown taping in Cleveland, Ohio, Maven defeated Al Snow to win the WWF Hardcore Championship.

13 years ago today at a NWA-TNA weekly PPV taping in Nashville, Tennessee, Lelani Kai defeated Madison in a dark match to win the NWA Womens Championship.

12 years ago today, Kensuke Sasaki defeated Hiroyoshi Tenzan to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. On the same show, Bryan Danielson and Curry Man defeated Gedo & Jado to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.

10 years ago today, TNA presented Destination X from the Impact Zone at Universal Orlando. Of note, Scott Steiner makes his debut with the company.

  • In a preshow match, Shannon Moore defeated Cassidy Riley.
  • In a preshow match, The Diamonds in the Rough (David Young and Elix Skipper) defeated Shark Boy and Norman Smiley.
  • Alex Shelley defeated Jay Lethal.
  • Lance Hoyt defeated Matt Bentley.
  • Team Canada (Bobby Roode and Eric Young) defeated The Naturals (Chase Stevens and Andy Douglas).
  • The James Gang (B.G. James and Kip James) and Bob Armstrong defeated The Latin American Exchange (Konnan, Homicide and Machete).
  • Chris Sabin defeated Petey Williams, Sonjay Dutt, and Puma in a four-way match.
  • Jeff Jarrett, Abyss, and America's Most Wanted (Chris Harris and James Storm) defeated Rhino, Ron Killings, and Team 3D (Brother Ray and Brother Devon).
  • Christopher Daniels defeated Samoa Joe and A.J. Styles in an Ultimate X match to win the TNA X Division Championship.
  • Christian Cage defeated Monty Brown to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.

6 years ago today, Chessman defeated Hernandez and Marco Corleone in a three-way dance to win the AAA Rey de Reyes (King of Kings) Tournament. On the same show, Electroshock defeated El Mesias and Mr. Anderson in a triple threat match to win the AAA World Heavyweight Championship.

Today would have been the 92nd birthday of Johnnie Mae Young, or simply Mae Young.

Born in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, Johnnie Mae was the youngest of eight children in a single-mother household (her mother Lilly Mae's partner left to find work and never returned). In high school, with the help from teaching of her brothers, she wrestled for the high school's boys wrestling team. While still in high school, Young went to a professional wrestling show in Tulsa, Oklahoma and challenged then champion Mildred Burke. As she was told by promoters she couldn't wrestle the champion, she challenged Mildred's opponent for the evening, Gladys Gilliem, to a shoot fight. Mae quickly won. That got Mae in the door of promoter Billy Wolfe, and Mae would leave home two years later to become a pro wrestler.

When Mae Young began wrestling professionally depends on who's telling the story. Mae claimed at different points in her life to began wrestling in 1939 and 1940; Wrestling Observer Newsletter's Dave Meltzer believes her career began in 1941, as there are no written records of Mae wrestling prior to that year. That year, Young and Mildred Burke wrestled for famed Canadian promoter Stu Hart. On December 7, the day of the Pearl Harbor bombing, Mae was wrestling in Memphis. With many men off to fight during World War II, Mae used this as an opportunity to expand women's wrestling.

Fighting occasionally as "The Queen" and "The Great" Mae Young (but usually under her real name), Young would find success all over the world, becoming the NWA's first Florida Women's Champion in 1951, and the first NWA United States Women's Champion in 1968. In 1956, Young was a part of a battle royal to determine the new NWA World Women's Champion; the battle royal would be won by her friend and future protégé The Fabulous Moolah.

In 1991, the 68-year old Young quit the wrestling business and moved to California to care for her ailing mother. After briefly taking on a lifestyle as a Christian evangelist, she moved in with the Fabulous Moolah and fellow women's wrestler Katie Glass in Columbia, South Carolina. The arrangement lasted until Moolah's death in November 2007.

In September 1999, Young made her WWF debut at the ripe age of 76 when she was seated with the Fabulous Moolah. Jarrett invited Moolah to the ring and smashed a guitar over her head. When Mae tried to come to Moolah's aid, she wound up in the figure four. Young and Moolah would become regulars on WWF programming, occasionally competing in tag team bouts.

Her most notable moments in the WWF came in 2000. First, at the Royal Rumble, she removed her top during a bikini contest. Though it was thought that she got naked, she was wearing a prosthesis. Around that time, she began a May-December romance with Mark Henry. In March, Young would be powerbombed by Bubba Ray Dudley on consecutive episodes of RAW is WAR; the second one, where Young was bound to a wheelchair before being powerbombed off a stage, is often described as the most famous--€”or infamous--€”powerbomb in WWE history. She gave birth prematurely... to a rubber hand.

Young would make occasional appearances, usually with the Fabulous Moolah, over the next few years, like in 2002 where she helped Moolah promote her autobiography The Fabulous Moolah: First Goddess of the Squared Circle, in 2003 where she performed a Bronco Buster on Eric Bischoff, and in a backstage segment at Summerslam 2007 just before Moolah's death.

In 2008, Mae was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by Pat Patterson (four years earlier, she would join the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame).

In November 2010 on an "old school" edition of RAW, Young defeated LayCool in a falls count anywhere handicap match, making Young the first person ever to wrestle past her eightieth birthday and the first person to wrestle in nine different decades.

In a rare bit of continuity, Young in 2012 showed up with a man dressed in a giant hand costume; the man claimed to be Mark Henry's son born from the infamous 2000 storyline. Mae continued to make occasional appearances until March 4, 2013 on another "old school" RAW where fellow wrestlers celebrated her 90th birthday. Backstage, Young was presented with a personalized WWE Divas Championship belt.

On New Year's Eve 2013, Young was reported to have been hospitalized and in poor health. The Charleston Post & Courier erroneously reported her death on January 9, 2014, but she would die five days later of natural causes in her home in Columbia, South Carolina. She was 90 years old. Her cremated remains were scattered at Greenlawn Memorial Park, the same cemetery her longtime friend The Fabulous Moolah was buried.

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