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This Day in Wrestling History (May 22): JBL and John Cena Break The Muta Scale

Today's TDIPWH will be presented in two parts. The second part will focus on the career and life of the recently retired Bryan Danielson, who turns 35 today.

32 years ago today in Tokyo, Japan, NWA World Heavyweight Champion Kerry Von Erich fought Jumbo Tsuruta to a double countout. On the same card of the double main event, Harley Race defeated Ric Flair.

27 years ago today in Bluefield, West Virginia, Lex Luger defeated Michael Hayes to win the NWA United States Championship.

Luger would go on to hold the championship for the next 523 days, the longest in the history of the championship. That crushes the old record held by Nikita Koloff, who held the championship for 326 days spanning parts of 1986 and 1987. The record still stands today.

24 years ago today in Knoxville, Tennessee, Brian Lee defeated Paul Orndorff via disqualification in the finals of a one-night tournament to become the first ever Smoky Mountain Wrestling Heavyweight Champion. Other participants were The Dirty White Boy, Dixie Dynamite, Buddy Landell, Tim Horner, Robert Gibson, and Jimmy Golden.

22 years ago today, WCW presented Slamboree: A Legends' Reunion (WWE Network link) from the Philadelphia Civic Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. About 4,000 were in attendance, with 105,000 homes watching on PPV.

In a bit of trivia, this was the last WCW PPV before Hulk Hogan's company-altering debut. Inducted into the WCW Hall of Fame were The Assassin, Ole Anderson, Harley Race, Ernie Ladd, The Crusher, and Dick the Bruiser.

  • In a dark match, Pretty Wonderful (Paul Orndorff & Paul Roma) defeated Brad Armstrong & Brian Armstrong.
  • Steve Austin defeated Johnny B. Badd to retain the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship.
  • Terry Funk and Tully Blanchard fought to a double disqualification in a legends match.
  • Larry Zbyszko defeated Lord Steven Regal.
  • Dustin Rhodes defeated Bunkhouse Buck in a bullrope match.
  • Ric Flair defeated Barry Windham to retain the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
  • Cactus Jack & Kevin Sullivan defeated The Nasty Boys in a "Broad Street Bully" match to win the WCW World Tag Team Championship.
  • Sting defeated Vader to win the vacant WCW International World Heavyweight Championship. The championship was vacated after Rick Rude's win over Sting in Tokyo, Japan a few days earlier was overturned. Sting refused the championship, thus making the championship vacant. In reality, Rude suffered a career-ending back injury during said bout.

21 years ago today in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada, Jeff Jarrett defeated Razor Ramon to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship just three days after losing the title in a ladder match in Montreal.

16 years ago today on Nitro from Grand Rapids, Michigan, Ric Flair is stripped of the WCW World Heavyweight Championship by Vince Russo. In the show's main event, Jeff Jarrett defeated Kevin Nash to win the vacated world title. This is the fourth title WCW world title change this month.

On the same show, Daffney defeated Crowbar to win the WCW Cruiserweight Championship.

WWF TLC 3 - the one on Smackdown! FULL by abbott1

15 years ago today at a Smackdown taping in Anaheim, California (WWE Network link), Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit defeated The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff), The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von), and Edge & Christian in a tables, ladders, and chairs match to retain the WWF Tag Team Championship. Benoit suffered a neck injury during the bout and would undergo neck fusion surgery about a month later.

14 years ago today, NWA-TNA announced they signed former WCW announcer Mike Tenay to be their lead announcer. Tenay served as their lead announcer for nearly all of their events, including ImpactXplosion, and their weekly and monthly PPVs until TNA's hiatus at the end of 2014. Tenay briefly hosted Impact Wrestling: Unlocked but the series was cancelled after just four months last year.

Tenay, who now host a sports betting podcast for, a podcast site supported by CBS Radio, still works for TNA despite Pop TV confirming earlier this year that Tenay will no longer be used for their programming.

11 years ago today, WWE presented Judgment Day (WWE Network link) from the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 9,500 were in attendance, with 260,000 homes watching on PPV. That's up from 235,000 homes for the 2004 edition.

  • In a Sunday Night Heat preshow match, Nunzio defeated Akio.
  • MNM (Joey Mercury and Johnny Nitro) defeated Hardcore Holly and Charlie Haas to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship.
  • Carlito defeated The Big Show.
  • Paul London defeated Chavo Guerrero to retain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
  • Booker T defeated Kurt Angle.
  • Orlando Jordan defeated Heidenreich to retain the WWE United States Championship.
  • Rey Mysterio defeated Eddie Guerrero by disqualification.
  • John Cena defeated John "Bradshaw" Layfield in an "I Quit" match to retain the WWE Championship.

6 years ago today, MacGruber opened in theaters.

The film based on the Saturday Night Live sketch of the same name, starred Will Forte as the titular MacGruber and Kristen Wiig as sidekick Vicki St. Elmo. The film featured cameos from WWE superstars Chris Jericho, MVP, The Great Khali, The Big Show, Mark Henry, and Kane.

The film gets mixed reviews (47% rating based on 123 ratings on Rotten Tomatoes), but it bombs at the box office. The film was shown in over 2,500 theaters on opening weekend, but just 177 theaters two weeks later, and pulled altogether a week after that. The film earns just $9.3 million at the box office.

5 years ago yesterday, WWE presented Over the Limit (WWE Network link) from the KeyArena in Seattle, Washington. 6,500 were in attendance, with 142,000 homes watching on PPV. That's down from 167,000 homes for the 2010 edition.

  • In a dark match, Daniel Bryan defeated Drew McIntyre.
  • R-Truth defeated Rey Mysterio.
  • Ezekiel Jackson defeated Wade Barrett by disqualification in a WWE Intercontiental Championship Match.
  • Sin Cara defeated Chavo Guerrero.
  • Big Show and Kane defeated CM Punk and Mason Ryan to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship.
  • Brie Bella defeated Kelly Kelly to retain the WWE Divas Championship.
  • Randy Orton defeated Christian to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.
  • Jerry Lawler defeated Michael Cole in a "Kiss My Foot" match. If Cole had won, Lawler would have to had surrender his WWE Hall of Fame ring to him and personally induct him into the WWE Hall of Fame. But since Cole lost, he was forced to kiss Lawler's foot.
  • John Cena defeated The Miz in an "I Quit" match to retain the WWE Championship.

It's a happy 28th birthday for Santana Garrett.

Trained by her father, fellow wrestler Kenny Garrett, the second generation wrestler has amassed championships with over a dozen independent organizations in her seven-year career, most notably the NWA World Women's Championship in February 2015 and the Shine Championship two months later. In November 2015, Garrett became the first American-born wrestler to hold the Wonder of Stardom Championship, the secondary singles title for World Wonder Ring Stardom. She held the title until just one week ago when she was defeated by Kairi Hojo.

Garrett made appearances for WWE's NXT promotion in 2013 and 2016 and appeared for TNA in 2010 and 2013 and was a full-time member of their roster in 2014 as Brittany.

The 2014 Cauliflower Alley Club Future Legend Award winner was ranked the #4 women's wrestler in the world by Pro Wrestling Illustrated in 2015.

It's a happy 41st birthday for Tracy Brookshaw, but she's best known to wrestling fans as Traci Brooks.

The Canadian-born Brooks was a model before breaking into the wrestling business, winning a local calendar contest in 2000, then doing promotional modeling for Molson, Labatt, and Budweiser.

After being trained by Ron Hutchinson at his wrestling school in Toronto, Brookshaw appeared for numerous independents throughout Ontario as Traci Brooks.

Brookshaw joined TNA in 2003 and would hold a variety of roles for the company over the next nine years, including wrestler, manager, and on-screen authority figure (most notably as "Knockout Law" in 2008). One of the wrestlers she managed would end up being her future husband. She married Frank Gerdelman, aka Frankie Kazarian, in January 2010. The couple started dating in 2006 when Brookshaw was managing Gerdleman. They have one child together.

Brookshaw suffered from Erb's palsy, a defect that impairs movement in the arms. Though she recovered, she noted that she has limited function in her right arm.

In July 2009, Brookshaw became the first TNA Knockout to pose for Playboy, but her shoot never made it to print. The shoot was released through Playboy's Cyber Club website in September.

Traci called it a career last July when she managed her husband Kazarian and Christopher Daniels, the Addiction, to a win over The Kingdom's Matt Taven and Michael Bennett at a House of Hardcore event in Toronto.

Today would have been the 54th birthday of Brian William Pillman.

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Pillman's athletic career began not in a wrestling ring, but on a football field.

He played college football as a defensive tackle for the Miami of Ohio Redhawks (then Redskins) where he set the school record for tackles for loss. He roommated with John Harbaugh, current head coach of the Baltimore Ravens. Despite being a second-team All-American twice, he went undrafted by the NFL and joined the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted free agent. He won the team's Ed Block Courage Award in 1984, but was cut following the season. He tried catching on for the Buffalo Bills in 1985, but was cut just before the season. He played for the Canadian Football League's Calgary Stampeders in 1986.

Late in the year, Pillman began his wrestling career for Stu Hart's Stampede Wrestling. He and Stu Hart's son Bruce would form Bad Company and would win their tag team titles twice from April 1987 to July 1988. To get Pillman over as a face, Pillman had his girlfriend Trisa Hayes portray his sister so he could come to the rescue of heel wrestlers taunting her (Hayes would

Pillman returned to the States in 1989 and wrestled as Flyin' Brian for WCW. He was nicknamed Flyin' Brian for his innovative (for American audiences) lucha libre-style offense, (he often drew comparisons to The Rockers, Shawn Michaels and Marty Janetty, who was doing the same for the WWF). Pillman would hold the United States Tag Team Championship with Tom Zenk for a few months in 1990 and would win the WCW Light Heavyweight Championship in 1991 and 1992. During that period, he feuded with Barry Windham and took on the Yellow Dog persona after leaving a Loser Leaves WCW match.

Brian turned heel in September 1992 after an injury forced Brad Armstrong to vacate the light heavyweight title. He would chase the NWA and WCW tag team titles, first with old rival Barry Windham, then "Stunning" Steve Austin as one half of the Hollywood Blonds. The duo won the titles in March 1993 from Ricky Steamboat and Shane Douglas, and would feud with the Four Horsemen for the spring and summer. Their brash attitudes and outright mocking of the Horsemen made the duo quite popular, but the duo would split later in the year.

After spending part of 1994 in ECW, he returned to WCW as a face, but eventually evolved into a tweener. He and old rival Arn Anderson teamed up and feuded with Ric Flair during the summer and fall of 1995. Flair would recruit Sting for their battle with Anderson and Pillman at Fall Brawl 1995, but it turned out to be a ruse: Pillman, Anderson, and Flair, along with newcomer Chris Benoit, would form a new version of the Four Horsemen.

His erratic behavior and strange look, which began to develop around this time, would be a part of his new "Loose Cannon" gimmick. In February 1996, Pillman and Kevin Sullivan fought in a strap match, where the loser would acknowledge defeat by saying they respect their opponent. The match went less than a minute before Pillman said "I respect you, booker man", outing Sullivan as a booker for WCW. Eric Bischoff fired Pillman following the event, but believed he would return to the company after some seasoning with the new gimmick. It didn't quite work out that way: Pillman left for ECW, and eventually the WWF.

After spending a couple of months wreaking havoc in ECW (and never wrestling a match), he was in a single car accident that shattered his angle and put him in a coma for a week. The surgery forced doctors to fuse the ankle together to a fixed walking position, forcing Pillman to abandon his high-flying offense.

While recovering from his injury, Pillman signed the first fully guaranteed contract in WWF history in June 1996 (this was done to curb the abrupt loss of talent WWF had suffered over the previous year). Brian would do commentary for the company before transitioning to a wrestling role late in the year.

He would take part in one of wrestling ‘s most infamous angles, "Pillman's Got A Gun" on the November 4, 1996 RAW. Brian's old tag team partner Steve Austin looked to take out Pillman for good after damaging Pillman's ankle with a chair a few weeks earlier (Austin wedged a chair in Pillman's ankle then stepped on the chair; the attack has become known as the Pillmanizer), but Pillman was prepared: he pointed a 9mm pistol at the intruding Austin. No shots were fired, but a few expletives definitely went off. The WWF and Pillman both had to issue apologies the next week following the event. Pillman would be a part of the last incarnation of the Hart Fountation in 1997, feuding with Austin. Pillman was in the midst of a feud with Goldust and Marlena at the time of his death.

Scheduled to wrestle Dude Love at Badd Blood: In Your House on October 5, 1997, Pillman was found dead by hotel maids in Bloomington, Minnesota at the hotel he was staying at the previous night. Though alcohol and drugs was found in the hotel room, an autopsy revealed that it was an undetected heart condition that contributed to his death, the same condition that lead to the death of his father.

Pillman was survived by his wife Melanie, two children together in Brian and Skylar (who was born after Brian's death), two daughters from previous marriages, Danielle and Brittany, and two stepchildren, Alexis and Jesse. Pillman's stepdaughter Alexis Reed, who got into the wrestling business in 2008, was killed in an auto accident in November 2009. She was 26.

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