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This Day in Wrestling (Mar. 8): Monday Night War II Begins

33 years ago today in Allentown, Pennsylvania, The Wild Samoans (Afa & Sika) defeated Chief Jay & Jules Strongbow to win the WWF Tag Team Championship.

Chris Jericho VS Cactus Jack - ECW by RockWrestlingInc

20 years ago today, ECW presented Big Ass Extreme Bash Night 1 from the Lost Battalion Hall in Queens, New York. This is the second to last show of Mick Foley's ECW run, as he would leave for the WWF following the next night's show. Portions of the event aired on the March 12 and March 19 episodes of ECW Hardcore TV (WWE Network links)

  • Kendo Nagasaki & Chris Michaels defeated Damien Stone & Joel Hartgood.
  • JT Smith defeated Hack Myers.
  • Chris Jericho defeated Cactus Jack.
  • Taz defeated Mikey Whipwreck via submission.
  • The Eliminators (Perry Saturn & John Kronus) defeated The Pitbulls (#1 and #2) to retain the ECW World Tag Team Championship.
  • Juventud Guerrera defeated Rey Mysterio, Jr. 2-1 in a best of three falls match.
  • Big Titan defeated Judge Dredd.
  • 2 Cold Scorpio and Sabu fought to a 20-minute time limit draw for the ECW World Television Championship.
  • Buh Buh Ray Dudley & Dances with Dudley defeated The Headhunters.
  • Raven defeated The Sandman to retain the ECW World Heavyweight Championship.

17 years ago today on Nitro from Worcester, Massachusetts (WWE Network link), Goldberg and Ric Flair fought to a no contest. But that's not why the show's remembered.

Its infamy stems from the show airing no matches at all for the entire first hour. Bizarre, right? Well, it was an idea born from then-WCW booker (and at one point, simultaneously its world champion) Kevin Nash. From The Death of WCW:
Nash's first move was to present a Nitro that featured no wrestling in the first hour. None. Not a single solitary match. You might recall that Nitro was a wrestling show. Apparently, Nash thought that wrestling on this wrestling show was unnecessary, and he booked the show like this to prove that they'd draw the same rating if they had zero matches in the first hour as they would if there were ten.
In the end, Kevin was essentially right. The show did a 4.4 rating, consistent with what they were doing at the time. They still get stomped by RAW in the ratings with a 6.4.

11 years ago today at a Smackdown taping in Roanoke, Virginia, WWE Champion John Bradshaw Layfield blew up the John Cena custom spinner United States Championship belt and presented new champion Orlando Jordan the previous version of the belt.

6 years ago today, TNA presented Impact from Universal Orlando. It was their first live Impact in the regular Monday slot. The show's hook was the television in-ring returns of Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair; for Hogan, his first TV match since 2006, for Flair, his first since his retirement in 2008 (they wrestled against one another on the Hulkamania: Let the Battle Begin tour late the previous year). It's also noted for the TNA debut of Rob Van Dam.

Despite the all-in effort from TNA, the show not only gets trounced in the ratings by RAW (3.4 to 1.0), it would actually do a worse rating than their January 4 show that got them this slot (1.5).

  • Abyss & Hulk Hogan and AJ Styles & Ric Flair fought to a no contest. The match would be rebooked for later in the show.
  • Doug Williams defeated Daniels and Kazarian to retain the X Division Championship.
  • The Beautiful People (Madison Rayne & Velvet Sky) defeated Angelina Love & Tara and Sarita & Taylor Wilde in a triple threat tag team match to win the vacated TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship. The titles were vacated when Awesome Kong was released from the company following an altercation with shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge.
  • Rob Van Dam, making his TNA debut, defeated Sting in just 10 seconds. Post-match, Van Dam was assaulted by Sting with the baseball bat.
  • Eric Young defeated Syxx-Pac in just 72 seconds.
  • Beer Money Inc. (James Storm & Robert Roode) defeated Jeff Jarrett in a handicap match. Mick Foley was the special referee.
  • Abyss & Hulk Hogan defeated AJ Styles & Ric Flair in a no disqualification tag team match.

6 years ago today on RAW from Portland, Oregon, Vince McMahon defeated John Cena in a no disqualification match. This is the last time (to date) the two met in a match.

5 years ago today, Shelton Benjamin works a dark match prior to a Smackdown taping in Houston, Texas. Benjamin had been absent from Ring of Honor for the past few months, but would eventually return to the company.

4 years ago today on Impact, Eric Young and ODB defeated Gail Kim and Madison Rayne to win the TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship. They would be the last team to hold the titles before the titles are vacated and deactivated about 15 months later.

It's a happy 30th birthday for Charles Betts. Sometimes known as Chas, he's best known to wrestling fans as one half of American Alpha, Chad Gable.

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Betts was a high school state champion and graduated Northern Michigan University. He participated in the 2012 Summer Olympics in the 84kg category (185 lbs). He advanced out of qualifying, but was one and done in the tournament by Pablo Shorey of Cuba.

A year later, he signed a contract with WWE and was assigned to their developmental program, where he adopted the name Chad Gable. He made his in-ring debut at an NXT house show in September 2014 with a win over Troy McClain. He made his television debut the following January in a losing effort to Tyler Breeze.

In May, Gable tried to convince Jason Jordan to form a new partnership after Jordan's separation from Tye Dillinger. It took two months, but Jordan came aboard, and they've garnered moderate success. They would make it to the semifinals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic at NXT Takeover: Respect, losing to Rhyno and Baron Corbin. In a three-week span around the Thanksgiving holiday, Jordan and Gable defeated two former NXT tag champions in the Ascension and the Vaudevillains.

In January, the duo adopted a new name, American Alpha and added another victory over an ex-tag champion pair in Blake and Murphy.

Gable, a Pan-American Championships gold medalist in 2012, was Wrestling Observer Newsletter's Rookie of the Year for 2015.

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