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This Day in Wrestling History (May 24): RAW is Owen

32 years ago today in Yokosuka, Japan, Ric Flair defeated Kerry Von Erich 2-1 in a best of three falls match to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.

32 years ago today, Vincent James McMahon or simply Vince McMahon Sr., died of pancreatic cancer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was 69.

Born July 6, 1914 in Harlem, New York, promoting has always been in his blood. His father, Roderick James "Jess" McMahon, was a successful boxing, wrestling, and concert promoter alongside Tex Rickard, who promoted events for Madison Square Garden. Vincent was often seen with his father as he learned the family business.

McMahon was among the first wrestling promoters to see the potential of the sport on television, feeling it could adequately be covered with only a couple television cameras, a ring, and if needed, a television studio. Vincent led the Captiol Wrestling Corporation (later named the Worldwide Wrestling Federation, and later still the World Wrestling Federation), a pro wrestling group that ran out of the northeastern United States, primarily Baltimore, New York, and New Jersey.

Running out of an old barn in Washington, DC, McMahon began airing matches on the DuMont Network in 1955; it was one of the last live sports programs for the dying network, but their flagship station in New York, WABD (today known as WNYW, owned by Fox), picked up the program, and aired matches on Saturday nights until 1971.

Vince, Sr. was rarely on camera, as he believed promoters should never interfere with the in-ring action. However, he can be seen during the infamous Alley Fight between Sgt. Slaughter and Pat Patterson in the early 1980s. He could also be seen in the 1974 movie The Wrestler.

He also felt wrestlers shouldn't branch out into other forms of media, thus his disapproval of Hulk Hogan's appearance in Rocky III in 1981 leading to Hogan leaving the WWF for the AWA. Vince's son, Vince Jr., felt differently, and hired Hogan back two years later. Vince Jr. bought the WWF and its parent company, Titan Sports, Inc. from his father in 1982. Despite his father's reservations, McMahon took company national and eventually worldwide.

Vince Sr. would never get to see the fruits of his son's success; four months to the day Hulk Hogan defeated the Iron Sheik for the WWF Championship in Madison Square Garden, essentially launching the 1980s wrestling boom, he would die of pancreatic cancer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was 69.

McMahon Sr. would be posthumously inducted into the Madison Square Garden (1984), WWF (1996), Wrestling Observer Newsletter (1996), and Professional Wrestling (2004) Halls of Fame.

31 years ago today in Chicago, Illinois, Oprah Winfrey—the Oprah Winfrey—made an appearance at a WWF house show. The appearance was a cross-promotion with local morning show AM Chicago, with three matches from the event airing on the show...with Oprah doing guest commentary. In the show's main event, WWF Champion Hulk Hogan defeated Don Muraco.

25 years ago today, Scott Hall makes his WCW television debut as The Diamond Studd. In his debut bout, he defeats Tommy Angel.

17 years ago today, WWF presented RAW is Owen (WWE Network link) from the Kiel Center in St. Louis, Missouri. The show was a tribute to Owen Hart who died a day earlier at the Over the Edge PPV.

A number of wrestlers and co-workers through the show shared anecdotes about Owen throughout the show. Wrestling on the show was optional, and no storylines were advanced. There was also a ten-bell salute for Hart. The show ended with Stone Cold Steve Austin giving a toast to Owen while a graphic was displayed. The graphic would open the WWF Attitude game released that summer.

The show receives a 7.2 Nielsen rating, the highest for a special episode, and the third highest for any episode in the show's history. In an interesting bit of trivia, new WWF Champion The Undertaker was not in attendance; he was with the Hart family in Calgary.

  • Jeff Jarrett defeated Test.
  • X-Pac & Kane defeated Edge & Gangrel to retain the WWF Tag Team Championship.
  • The Hardy Boyz (Matt Hardy & Jeff Hardy) defeated Kaientai (Taka Michinoku & Sho Funaki).
  • Ken Shamrock defeated Hardcore Holly.
  • Mankind defeated Billy Gunn by countout.
  • D-Lo Brown & Mark Henry defeated The Acolytes (Bradshaw & Faarooq).
  • The Godfather and Road Dogg ended in a no contest in a WWF Intercontinental Championship match when both men chose not to compete.
  • Triple H defeated Al Snow.
  • The Big Show defeated Goldust in just 62 seconds.
  • The Rock defeated Val Venis in just 56 seconds.

15 years ago today in Birmingham, Alabama, Triple H underwent surgery on his torn quadriceps muscle. Famed orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery. Triple H would return to the ring in January 2002.

15 years ago today, AAA presented TripleMania IX from Plaza de Toros in Mexico City, Mexico.

  • Octagóncito, Mascarita Sagrada, and La Parkita defeated Espectrito, Mini Abismo Negro, and Rocky Marvin.
  • Pimpinela Escarlata, May Flowers, and Polvo de Estrellas defeated Blue Demon, Jr., Hijo del Solitario, and Oscar Sevilla.
  • Los Vipers (Psicosis II, Histeria, Maniaco, and Mosco de la Merced) defeated Los Vatos Locos (El Picudo, Silver Cat, Espiritu, and Nygma) to retain the Mexican National Atomicos Championship.
  • Latin Lover defeated Héctor Garza, Perro Aguayo, Jr., and Heavy Metal in a four corners elimination match.
  • Máscara Sagrada, El Alebrije, Octagón, and La Parka, Jr. defeated Máscara Maligna, Electroshock, Abismo Negro and Cibernético.
  • El Cobrade and Sangre Chicana defeated Pirata Morgan in a dog collar hair versus hair versus hair match. As Morgan was the last man in the ring, his head was shaved.

11 years ago today, former Major League Wrestling owner and promoter Court Bauer signs with WWE as a member of their creative team. Bauer, who ran MLW from June 2002 to February 2004, left the company just a year later. Bauer has spent most of the decade since podcasting, but more recently was a consultant for Ring of Honor for about two years.

8 years ago today , Xtreme Pro Wrestling presented a one-night reunion show, Cold Day in Hell, from Aviation Park in Redondo Beach, California. The event was filmed for DVD release by Big Vision Entertainment.

  • Carnage won the Dynamite D Memorial Battle Royal.
  • Kaos defeated Vampiro.
  • GQ Money defeated Angel the Hardcore Homo.
  • The Sandman defeated Pogo the Clown.
  • Johnny Webb & Raven defeated Concussion & Homeless Jimmy. Terry Funk was the special referee.
  • Team RevPro (Disco Machine, Joey Ryan & Ron Rivera) defeated Team XPW (Jardi Frantz, Vinny Massaro & X-Pac).
  • Luke Hawx defeated Jack Evans and Scorpio Sky in a three-way match.
  • The Gangstas (Mustafa & New Jack) defeated The Westside NGZ (Bigg Rott & Chronic).
  • Supreme defeated Necro Butcher in a No Ropes Barbed Wire Thumbtacks Bed Of Light Tubes Death Match to win the XPW King of the Deathmatch Championship.

7 years ago today, TNA presented Sacrifice from the Impact Zone at Universal Orlando.

  • Eric Young & Lethal Consequences (Consequences Creed & Jay Lethal) defeated Abdul Bashir & The Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin).
  • Taylor Wilde defeated Daffney in a Monster's Ball match.
  • Suicide and Daniels went to a time limit draw for the TNA X-Division Championship.
  • Angelina Love defeated Awesome Kong to retain the TNA Knockouts Championship.
  • Samoa Joe defeated Kevin Nash.
  • Beer Money Inc. (James Storm & Robert Roode) defeated The British Invasion (Brutus Magnus & Doug Williams) (w/Rob Terry) in the Team 3D Invitational Tournament Final.
  • AJ Styles defeated Booker T in an I Quit match to retain the TNA Legends Championship.
  • Sting defeated Mick Foley, Jeff Jarrett, and Kurt Angle in a four-way "ultimate sacrifice" match.
    • If Sting got pinned he would leave TNA.
    • If Angle got pinned the person who pinned him would gain ownership of the Main Event Mafia.
    • If Foley got pinned the person who pinned him would become TNA World Heavyweight Champion.
    • If Jarrett got pinned he would lose his match making abilities.
    • As Sting defeated Angle, he would become the leader of the Main Event Mafia. The TNA World Heavyweight Championship did not change hands.

6 years ago today on RAW from Toledo, Ohio, R-Truth defeated The Miz to win the WWE United States Championship.

5 years ago today, Brock Lesnar's autobiography, Death Clutch, co-written by Paul Heyman, is released.

4 years ago today, TNA files a lawsuit against WWE and former office worker Brian Wittenstein for allegedly interfering with existing contracts, conversion, breach of contract, civil conspiracy, unfair competition, breach of duty of loyalty, and violation of the Tennessee Uniform Trade Secrets Act.

Allegedly, Wittenstein provided inside information to WWE on TNA talent contracts and other matters related to the promotion. Wittenstein was with TNA for three years and worked briefly with WWE. TNA drops the lawsuit in January 2013, opening the door for Ric Flair to return full-time to the WWE.

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