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This Day in Wrestling History (Apr. 1): The Ultimate WrestleMania: Once In A Lifetime

26 years ago today, WWF presented Wrestlemania VI: The Ultimate Challenge (WWE Network link) from the SkyDome in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. A stadium record 67,678 were in attendance, with 560,000 homes watching on PPV. That's down from 767,000 for Wrestlemania V.

The show's hook was a title unification match between WWF Champion Hulk Hogan and WWF Intercontinental Champion Ultimate Warrior, with the winner leaving a double champion. It was the first time in company history that both championships were on the line in the same match.

At the time of the event, SkyDome was open for just ten months, making it the youngest venue to host Wrestlemania, a record that stood until Wresltemania 31, when Levi's Stadium at just nine months old hosted the event.

Match ratings are provided by Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Newsletter as recorded in the Internet Wrestling Database. All ratings are out of a possible five stars.

  • In a dark match, Paul Roma defeated The Brooklyn Brawler.
  • Rick Martel defeated Koko B. Ware. (2/5)
  • Demolition (Ax & Smash defeated The Colossal Connection (André the Giant & Haku) to win the WWF Tag Team Championship. Post-match, Bobby Heenan berated Andre and Andre turned on Heenan and his Family. Though he would appear at Wrestlemania VII the next year, this would be the final televised match for Andre the Giant as his health was in serious decline. (2)
  • Earthquake defeated Hercules. (1)
  • Brutus Beefcake defeated Mr. Perfect. This was Mr. Perfect's first televised loss in the WWF. (2.75)
  • Roddy Piper and Bad News Brown fought to a double countout. (1.75)
  • The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart) defeated The Bolsheviks (Nikolai Volkoff & Boris Zhukov) in just 19 seconds. (0.25)
  • The Barbarian defeated Tito Santana. (0.75)
  • Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire defeated Randy Savage & Sensational Queen Sherri. Miss Elizabeth appeared in the corner for Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire. It would be her last WWF appearance until the following Wrestlemania a year later. (1.5)
  • The Orient Express (Kato & Tanaka) defeated The Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty). (3)
  • Jim Duggan defeated Dino Bravo. (1.5)
  • Ted DiBiase defeated Jake Roberts by countout to retain his Million Dollar Championship. (2.5)
  • The Big Boss Man defeated Akeem. (-0.5)
  • Rick Rude defeated Jimmy Snuka. (1.75)
  • The Ultimate Warrior defeated Hulk Hogan unify the WWF Intercontinental and World Heavyweight Championships. As the WWF had a one person, one belt rule at the time, the Intercontinental Championship would soon be vacated. (3.75)

20 years ago today at a RAW taping in San Bernadino, California (WWE Network link), Mick Foley makes his WWF in-ring debut as Mankind, defeating Bob Holly by submission with the Mandible Claw and attacking the Undertaker to close the show.

Later in the taping, Goldust defeated Savio Vega to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship. This comes after the title was held up due to controversy in another match between them earlier in the taping. The match where the title was held up aired on April 15 (WWE Network link), with Goldust finally claiming the title on the April 22 episode (WWE Network link).

16 years ago today, Wrestlecrap, a website dedicated to poking fun at the worst in professional wrestling, was born.

Created by RD Reynolds and Merle Vincent, the site serves as a "hall of shame" for some of the worst gimmicks and storylines in pro wrestling history. The site's most well known feature is its annual Gooker Award (named after the Gobbledy Gooker), handed out yearly to the worst storyline, gimmick, or event in wrestling.

The site closed briefly in 2001 and again in 2010, but relaunched in January 2013. Reynolds penned three books based on the site: WrestleCrap!The Death of WCW (an updated version of the book was released in 2014), and The WrestleCrap Book of Lists!

15 years ago today, WWF presented Wrestlemania X-Seven (WWE Network link) from the Astrodome in Houston, Texas. A stadium record 67,925 was in attendance, with a record 1,040,000 homes watching on PPV. That's up from 824,000 for Wrestlemania 2000.

The event was the first major show following the purchase of WCW just over a week earlier, and is often considered the peak--€”and for all intents and purposes, the end--€”of the Attitude Era. Selected matches from the event have been called among the greatest in the show's history, and a December 2013 list pins this event as the greatest WWE PPV of all time.

  • In a Sunday Night Heat preshow match, X-Factor (Justin Credible & X-Pac) defeated Steve Blackman & Grand Master Sexay.
  • Chris Jericho defeated William Regal to retain the WWF Intercontinental Championship. (2)
  • Tazz and The APA (Bradshaw and Faarooq) defeated Right to Censor (The Goodfather, Val Venis and Bull Buchanan). (0.5)
  • Kane defeated Raven and The Big Show in a triple threat hardcore match to win the WWF Hardcore Championship. (1.75)
  • Eddie Guerrero defeated Test to win the WWF European Championship. (2.25)
  • Kurt Angle defeated Chris Benoit. (4.25)
  • Chyna defeated Ivory to win the WWF Women's Championship. (-1)
  • Shane McMahon defeated Vince McMahon in a street fight. Mick Foley was the special referee. (3)
  • Edge and Christian defeated The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) and The Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff) in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match to win the WWF Tag Team Championship. (4.75)
  • The Iron Sheik last eliminated Sgt. Slaughter to win the Gimmick Battle Royal. Other participants were Bushwhacker Luke, Bushwhacker Butch, Duke Droese, Doink the Clown, Nikolai Volkoff, Tugboat, The Goon, Earthquake, The Gobbledygooker, Hillbilly Jim, Brother Love, Michael Hayes, Kim Chee, One Man Gang, Kamala, Jim Cornette, and Repo Man. (0)
  • The Undertaker defeated Triple H. (3.5)
  • Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated The Rock in a no disqualification match to win the WWF Championship. Post-match, Austin shook hands with Vince McMahon, signifying an alliance with his longtime archrival. (4.5)


13 years ago today at a Smackdown taping in Spokane, Washington (WWE Network link), Rena Mero, best known to wrestling fans as Sable, returned to the WWE after a four-year absence, interrupting Torrie Wilson's celebration of her Playboy magazine cover.

The return came as a shock to many as her departure from the company in May 1999 was an ugly one to say the least; citing sexual harrassment and unsafe working conditions, Rena sued the WWF for $110 million; the WWF countersued, and the two sides settled that summer for an undisclosed amount. Rena's second run with the WWE ended much more cordially in August 2004.

10 years ago today, WWE presented their annual Hall of Fame ceremony, with inductions for Bret Hart, Gene Okerlund, the Blackjacks, Tony Atlas, William "The Refrigerator" Perry, Sensational Sherri Martel, and the late Eddie Guerrero. For Hart, this was his first appearance in a WWE event since the infamous Montreal Screwjob in 1997.

9 years ago today, WWE presented Wrestlemania 23: All Grown Up (WWE Network link) from Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. A stadium record 80,103 were in attendance, with a record 1,188,000 homes watching on PPV, making it the most bought show in WWE history (at the time; the record would be broken five years later with Wrestlemania XXVIII). That's up from 930,000 homes for Wrestlemania 22.

There were quite a few callbacks to Wrestlemania III in Detroit, with Vince McMahon's original opening from the show and Aretha Franklin once again singing "America the Beautiful".

  • In a dark match, Ric Flair and Carlito defeated Gregory Helms and Chavo Guerrero in a tag team lumberjack match.
  • Mr. Kennedy defeated Edge, CM Punk, King Booker, Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, Finlay and Randy Orton in a Money in the Bank ladder match. (4.25)
  • The Great Khali defeated Kane. (-1)
  • Chris Benoit defeated Montel Vontavious Porter to retain the WWE United States Championship. (3.25)
  • The Undertaker defeated Batista to win the World Heavyweight Championship. (4)
  • The ECW Originals (Tommy Dreamer, Sabu, The Sandman and Rob Van Dam) defeated The New Breed (Elijah Burke, Marcus Cor Von, Matt Striker and Kevin Thorn). (2.25)
  • Bobby Lashley defeated Umaga in a "Battle of the Billionaires" hair versus hair match. Stone Cold Steve Austin was the special referee. With the win, Donald Trump's hair was spared, but Vince McMahon was forced to lose his. Though both Lashley and Umaga were champions at the time of the match (Lashley the ECW champion, Umaga the Intercontinental champion), neither championship was at stake. (3)
  • Melina defeated Ashley Massaro in a lumberjill match to retain the WWE Women's Championship. (0)
  • John Cena defeated Shawn Michaels to retain the WWE Championship. (4)

8 years ago today, Dusty Rhodes leaves his position on the WWE creative team to head creative for WWE's developmental program. He largely remained in that role, first for Florida Championship Wrestling, then for its successor, NXT, until his death in June 2015.

8 years ago today in Atlanta, Georgia, Harrison Norris, Jr., aka Hardbody Harrison of WCW fame, was sentenced to life in prison for his role in a federal prostitution and sex trafficking ring from 2001 to 2005. US Attorney David Nahmias as quoted in the Department of Justice press release:

"Defendant Norris ran a forced prostitution ring in which women were sexually assaulted, held in debt, and forced to work and perform sex acts against their will. This heinous conduct deserved the severe sentence handed down today. Human trafficking removes an individual's freedom to choose and can have long-lasting, psychological effects on the victims. In this case numerous victims were brave enough to come forward and testify at trial against their captor and abuser, defendant Norris. The jury specifically found aggravated sexual abuse by defendant Norris and the judge entered a sentence that should deter others from exploiting their fellow human beings."

In November 2007, Norris was convicted on 24 counts including conspiracy, trafficking, witness tampering, forced labor, holding women in peonage (meaning debt slavery), and obstruction. Four other people were also sentenced in connection with the ring.

5 years ago today in Atlanta, Georgia, Wrestling's Greatest Tag Team (Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin) defeated The Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero & Claudio Castignoli) to win the ROH World Tag Team Championship. Of note, the match took place at Center Stage Theater, which was for many years the home of WCW Saturday Night.

4 years ago today, WWE presented Wrestlemania XXVIII: Once in a Lifetime (WWE Network link) from Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida. 78,363 were in attendance, with a record 1,217,000 homes watching on PPV.That surpasses their old record of 1,124,000 homes for Wrestlemania XXVII.

With $67 million in global gross sales (including $8.9 million at the gate), this was the highest grossing event in WWE history.

  • In a preshow match, Epico and Primo defeated The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso) & Justin & Tyson (Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd) in a triple threat match to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship. (2.25)
  • Sheamus defeated Daniel Bryan in just 18 seconds to win the World Heavyweight Championship. (0)
  • Kane defeated Randy Orton. (1.75)
  • Big Show defeated Cody Rhodes to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship. (1.5)
  • Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos defeated Beth Phoenix & Eve. (0.25)
  • The Undertaker defeated Triple H in a Hell in a Cell match. Shawn Michaels was the special referee. The win gave The Undertaker his 20th Wrestlemania win without a defeat. (4.75)
  • Team Johnny (David Otunga, Mark Henry, The Miz, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre) Team Teddy (Santino Marella, R-Truth, Kofi Kingston, Zack Ryder, The Great Khali and Booker T). The win gave John Laurinaitis general manager duties for both RAW and Smackdown. (2.25)
  • CM Punk defeated Chris Jericho by submission to retain the WWE Championship. (3.75)
  • The Rock defeated John Cena. (3.75)

Happy 36th birthday to Randall Keith Orton, best known to wrestling fans as Randy Orton. Orton, a third-generation wrestler behind grandfather Bob Sr., father "Cowboy" Bob , and uncle Barry, is a 12-time world champion (eight WWE, four World Heavyweight) and the youngest world heavyweight champion in WWE history after defeating Chris Benoit in Summerslam in 2004. He's also the youngest man to win the WWE Championship more than one, with his second (and first) WWE title win coming at age 27.

Orton is also an actor, appearing in WWE Films' That's What I Am in 2011, 12 Rounds: Reloaded in 2013, and The Condemed 2 last year. He briefly got a surge in popularity in the fall of 2014 when he was superimposed into fail videos of him doing the RKO.

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