Hiroshi Hase (c) vs Owen Hart - (NJPW 05/27/88) by SenorLARIATO
28 years ago today in Sendai, Japan, Owen Hart defeated Hiroshi Hase to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. On the same show, Tatsumi Fujinami and Riki Choshu fought to a no contest for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. The championship is held up pending a rematch. The rematch doesn't occur until nearly a month later in Osaka, with Fujinami reclaiming the title.
22 years ago today, AAA presented Triplemania II-C from El Toreo in Tijuana, Mexico. This was the last of a three-show Triplemania series for 1994.
- Super Amigo, El Plumo, and Depredator defeated May Flowers, Pimpinela Escarlata, and Rudy Reyna in a lucha libre rules match.
- Rambo, Magnate, and Espanto, Jr. defeated Winners, Super Caló and El Solar in a lucha libre rules match.
- El Torero, Rey Misterio, and Rey Misterio Jr. defeated Fuerza Guerrera, Fishman, and Pirata Morgan in a lucha libre rules match.
- Volador, Tinieblas Jr. and Lizmark, Jr. defeated Love Machine, Miguel Pérez, Jr. and Misterioso by disqualification in a lucha libre rules match.
- Blue Panther defeated Octagón via forfeit to win the Mexican National Middleweight Championship.
- Perro Aguayo, Lizmark, El Hijo del Santo, and Máscara Sagrada defeated La Parka, Psicosis, Black Cat and El Satánico 2-1 in a best of three falls atomicos match.
- Lizmark pinned El Satánico
- Black Cat won by submission
- Máscara Sagrada pinned El Satánico
- Los Hermanos Dinamita (Cien Caras, Máscara Año 2000 and Universo 2000) defeated Los Payasos (Coco Rojo, Coco Verde and Coco Amarillo) in a steel cage match.
- Konnan defeated Jake Roberts 2-0 in a best of three falls hair versus hair match. With the loss, Roberts had his head shaved.
20 years ago today, WCW presented the first two-hour edition of Monday Nitro from the Macon Coliseum in Macon, Georgia.
The show is noted for the return of Scott Hall to WCW after a four-year absence. Of course, Hall was last seen as Razor Ramon in the WWF. He enters through the crowd during a match and was never acknowledged by name. In essence, he comes in seemingly as an outsider from the WWF, letting Eric Bischoff know he was declaring war on WCW. The episode is up in full on WWE Network and you can watch it right here.
19 years ago today in Sapporo, Japan, Kenta Kobashi and Johnny Ace defeated The Holy Demon Army (Toshiaki Kawada and Akira Taue) to win the All Japan Unified World Tag Team Championship.
Rob Van Dam vs Eddie Guerrero (Raw 05.27... by zep81videos
14 years ago today on RAW from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (WWE Network link), Rob Van Dam defeated Eddie Guerrero in a ladder match to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
On the same show, Terri Runnels defeated Steven Richards to win the WWE Hardcore Championship...only to lose it back to Richards a few seconds later. Runnels is the last woman to win the WWE hardcore title.
11 years ago today, just one day after TNA cancels Impact tapings for the foreseeable future, Fox Sports Net airs their final contractually obligated episode of Impact. The show goes dark for a few months (except for the Internet) before finding a home on Spike TV.
1 year ago today, Destination America announces it has picked up Ring of Honor Wrestling less than a week after the network announced it will likely cancel all TNA programming at the end of the summer. The press release from the network via Figure Four Online:
Destination America announced today that it has signed a national broadcast deal with professional wrestling league RING OF HONOR, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc., bringing one of the most respected wrestling organizations to the only network dedicated to all-American entertainment. Destination America is now the one-two-punch to professional wrestling, adding RING OF HONOR (ROH) to its line-up after launching IMPACT WRESTLING in early 2015. RING OF HONOR has been delivering top wrestling matches for ten years with captivating hard-hitting stars such as Jay & Mark Briscoe, AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, The Young Bucks, Maria Kanellis, Adam Cole and Jay Lethal. Destination America will pack on the action beginning Wednesday June 3 with the series premiere of RING OF HONOR at 8/7c leading into brand new premieres of IMPACT WRESTLING at 9/8c.
"With the electric and intense matches that RING OF HONOR provides, Destination America is the network for fans to get an entire evening of jaw-dropping entertainment on Wednesday nights," said Marc Etkind, general manager of Destination America. "RING OF HONOR showcases tenacity, athleticism and passion and it serves as the place where America's favorite wrestling stars are born."
"We are very excited to be partnering with Destination America for the broader distribution of the ROH programming," commented Joe Koff, Chief Operating Officer - Ring of Honor Wrestling. "ROH will now reach an additional 57 million households including those in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and other large cities where Ring of Honor is not currently airing. ROH has a loyal fan base and is one of the fastest growing major wrestling franchises in the country. With this great partnership with Destination America, we can continue to expand our footprint and reach while producing entertaining, original content and continuing to provide wrestling fans some of the best wrestling content available."
RING OF HONOR will premiere on Wednesday, June 3 leading into IMPACT WRESTLING, making Destination America the home for wrestling every Wednesday evening. The first match will feature the Briscoe Brothers, Mark and Jay, as they face off with the House of Truth in the main event. Also catch athletes of New Japan Pro Wrestling battle it out with the RING OF HONOR stars and follow former NFL lineman Moose compete against BJ Whitmer.
Complicating matters for TNA: allegedly the deal between ROH and Destination America had been in the works for months, yet no one in TNA management knew about the deal until the morning of the announcement.
The series was picked up for 26 episodes effective June 3, after which time, Destination America will decide whether to commit to the program long-term. The deal also allowed ROH to continue airing on Sinclair-owned stations.
Understandably, this is probably a lot to take in, but Keith Harris put in the work and breaks it all down for you here.
Happy 34rd birthday to Natalie Katherine Neidhart, best known to wrestling fans as Natalya.
The world's first third-generation female wrestler (seriously), Natalie trained in the famous Hart family dungeon. She wrestled on the independent circuit from 2000 to 2006 before signing with WWE in 2007. She worked for their developmental territories Deep South, FCW, and OVW before being called up to the main roster in April 2008. She managed her cousin David Hart Smith and her longtime boyfriend (later husband) Tyson Kidd as The Hart Dynasty and managed them to the tag team championship. In 2010, Natalya became a champion herself, winning the WWE Divas Championship. Since July 2013, Neidhart has been a central cast member of the WWE reality series Total Divas.
It's a happy 61st birthday to Eric Aaron Bischoff.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, Bischoff held a number of occupations, including owning a landscape construction company, working as a veterinary assistant, kickboxing professionally, and running a butcher shop out of a van.
Eric broke into the wrestling business with Verne Gagne's American Wrestling Association and would be an on-air interviewer and host for their programming in its dying days. Before getting in front of the camera (which he initially wanted no part of), Eric worked at the sales department for AWA's syndicated show, AWA All-Star Wrestling. Bischoff was thrown into the fire so to speak because their regular announcer, Larry Nelson, was arrested on DUI charges. Verne and his son Greg recruited Bischoff simply because he was available and he was dressed for the job. With the AWA struggling to make ends meet, Bischoff tried to get a job with the WWF in 1990, but was unsuccessful.
Following AWA's demise in 1991, Eric joined World Championship Wrestling, debuting at The Great American Bash. Over the next couple years, Bischoff would announce for WCW's C-shows and report to producer/announcer Tony Schiavone and WCW's vice-president of broadcasting, Jim Ross. When Bill Watts resigned from WCW, Bischoff went to TBS executive Bill Shaw and WCW vice-president Bob Dhue and applied for the executive producer job. The job, seemingly a lock for either Ross or Schiavone, went to Bischoff. Schiavone stayed on as a producer and commentator. Ross, who had a contentious relationship with Bischoff, was pulled from WCW programming, leading him to demand his immediate release from the company.
Bischoff would become Executive Vice-President of WCW by 1994, making him WCW's top man (not named Ted Turner, obviously). Dhue resigned, as did Don Sandefur, an events manager for the company, and junior vice president and longtime promoter Jim Barnett. One of Bischoff's first acts when he took over WCW was to move the TV tapings to Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando, Florida. The move got him close to the retired-at-the-time wrestler-turned-actor Hulk Hogan. After meeting with Bischoff and Ric Flair, Hogan signed with WCW.
Bischoff would soon convince Turner executives to invest in WCW. He upgraded the production values of their programming and increased the company's PPV offerings (to seven in 1993 and 1994, then nine in 1995, then ten in 1996, then monthly shows beginning in 1997). Bischoff introduced Nitro in 1995 to compete with WWF's weekly offering, Monday Night RAW. The changes paid off; in 1995, WCW turned in a profit for the first time ever.
In 1996, Bischoff made two key signings that would contribute to WCW's rapid ascent: Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. Known as Razor Ramon and Diesel in the WWF, the two men, later dubbed "The Outsiders", were intentionally presented as WWF invaders who were not contracted to WCW. To avoid legal action by WCW, Bischoff asked point blank at The Great American Bash if either man still worked for the WWF, to which both men replied no. With the addition of perennial fan favorite Hulk Hogan, the threesome formed the New World Order, a renegade company looking to take over WCW through hostile means.
The power struggle would quickly engulf the entire company, from wrestlers to executives and announcers. It also proved to be quite popular with viewing audiences, and WCW would overtake the WWF as the top wrestling promotion in the company, highlighted by Nitro beating RAW in the head-to-head ratings for 84 consecutive weeks. Bischoff eventually became an on-screen manager and authority figure. Dubbed "Eazy E" by Scott Hall, Bischoff was depicted as an egomaniacal, power-hungry boss. Bischoff enjoyed some mainstream exposure around this time, appearing on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and the HBO hit series Arli$$.
WWF would rebound thanks in part to their "Attitude" movement in 1998, focusing on a new crop of stars including The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Mick Foley, and Vince McMahon (who transitioned into an on-screen character), with RAW overtaking Nitro in April 1998. WCW under Bischoff continued to remain strong against a resurgent WWF for the remainder of 1998, highlighted by Bill Goldberg defeating Hulk Hogan for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship in front of nearly 40,000 people in the Georgia Dome in July.
Despite the homegrown Goldberg being a huge draw at the box office (three shows around the 1998 holiday season drew nearly $1 million at the gate), the decision was made to end Goldberg's 15-month undefeated streak in late 1998, with Kevin Nash (who was promoted to head booker) chosen to be the man to end the streak. On the January 4, 1999 Nitro, Nash dropped the title to Hollywood Hogan in a match infamous for its Fingerpoke of Doom. The match and the nWo reunion began a tumultuous year for WCW.
In addition to WCW continuing to promote their aging stars, Eric brought in celebrities to the fold, including Master P, Chad Brock, Megadeth, Dennis Rodman, and KISS (who struck a deal with WCW to have their own wrestling character, the KISS Demon). With WCW ratings, revenue, and attendance falling, and the company performing at a loss, Eric Bischoff was removed from his post as President of WCW.
Bischoff would be replaced by accountant Bill Busch, who would be named senior vice-president of WCW. In one of his first acts, Busch brought in writers Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara, two men who worked with the WWF during their resurgence to head up WCW's creative direction. But with Russo and Ferrara (and later Kevin Sullivan) doing more harm than good, Bischoff was brought back as an on-screen character in April 2000. Bischoff and Russo would lead the New Blood faction in WCW and would co-wrote the shows. By July, Bischoff would be off camera again following Russo's worked shoot on Hulk Hogan.
With WCW in financial peril, Eric Bischoff and his group of investors, Fusient Media Ventures, made a play to buy WCW in late 2000. WWF made a play for WCW too, but when their broadcast partner Viacom objected, WWF withdrew. With the deal on the verge of being finalized, new head of Turner Broadcasting Jamie Kellner cancelled all WCW programming. Bischoff and Fusient withdrew their bid, seeing as the company was of virtually no value without television. With WCW cancelled and Viacom giving the okay, WWF bought most of its assets (tape library, trademarks, and selected contracts) for a substantially lower price than originally offered. Following the WCW sale, Bischoff served as president of youth-based wrestling company MatRats.
In 2002, Bischoff was brought into WWE to be the on-screen general manager of RAW. He displayed the same smarminess that made him famous as "Eazy E" in WCW during the nWo era. During his three-year run as General Manager, he created RAW Roulette and the Elimination Chamber match. Bischoff clashed with Stone Cold Steve Austin (who shared general manager duties briefly), Stephanie McMahon, and former ECW owner Paul Heyman. Bischoff even briefly had a face run after he had his head shaved by his storyline nephew Eugene at Taboo Tuesday in October 2004.
Bischoff turned heel again after John Cena refused to stand against the ECW revival. Bischoff "declared war" on Cena and his lifestyle, and enlisted several wrestlers to try and take Cena's WWE Championship away from him, including Christian, Chris Jericho, and Kurt Angle. Bischoff would also engage in an interbrand war with Smackdown and their general manager Teddy Long, who would defeat him at Survivor Series.
In December 2005, Bischoff was fired from his general manager post following a "trial" where his misdeeds were aired out. Bischoff was thrown in a garbage truck and driven out of the arena. He would sit out the remainder of the year and into 2006 to do something he didn't want to do: write a book. Why didn't he want to do a book? He answered it the book's opening pages: "most are bitter, self-serving revisionist history at best—and monuments to bullshit at their worst".
Bischoff made sporadic appearances on WWE over the next two years. In September 2006, he appeared on RAW to promote his book, Controversy Creates Ca$h and gave a worked shoot promo on McMahon and WWE. He would later give a multi-part interview with John "Bradshaw" Layfield discussing the book and his feelings on a number of topics, including Lex Luger, Paul Heyman, Kevin Nash, and his part in the Monday Night Wars.
In November, he was voted as the special referee for the D-Generation X versus Rated RKO match at Cyber Sunday; he interjected himself in the bout, costing DX the match. Bischoff was named general manager of RAW for one night the next night, restarting matches he didn't like the outcome of, forcing Maria (who played a key part in getting Bischoff fired a year prior) to face Umaga, told John Cena to "take the night off", and banned DX from the building (even though they got in during the show's main event anyway). His final appearance was during RAW's 15th Anniversary Special when he was confronted by Chris Jericho, whom he fired two years prior.
In October 2009, Bischoff negotiated a deal to bring himself and Hulk Hogan in TNA. The two debuted on the January 4, 2010 Impact as an alliance hoping to rebuild the company. Behind the scenes, Bischoff served as TNA executive producer. He interjected himself into a few storylines, particularly ones with Jeff Jarrett, Mick Foley (who shaved him bald on a March episode of Impact), and Abyss. During the spring and summer, Bischoff, Hogan, Jarrett, and Samoa Joe feuded with Sting and Kevin Nash, who claimed there was a conspiracy afoot. Abyss turned on Hogan around this time and attacked then TNA world champion Rob Van Dam; Abyss claimed that an outside entity made him do it. Abyss held TNA president Dixie Carter hostage just before Bound for Glory; Bischoff would present the paperwork to Carter that would get Abyss fired following his match against Van Dam at the event; Carter signed.
At Bound for Glory, Bischoff turned heel with Hogan as they helped Jeff Hardy win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. The threesome aligned themselves with Jarrett and Abyss to form Immortal. That group would align with Ric Flair's group, Fortune. Oh, and those papers Carter signed? They gave Hogan and Bischoff full control of the company. The alliance between Fortune and Immortal was brief; the two groups split up after just three months, saying they would not see TNA suffer the same fate as WCW.
Immortal briefly lost control of Impact in May when Mick Foley was brought in as the Network consultant; the angle was aborted less than a month later when Foley left the company. Bischoff feuded with the X Division though the spring and part of the summer following the firing of Jay Lethal. Shortly after Bischoff renewed his deal with TNA in October 2011, he and Immortal would lose control of TNA back to Dixie Carter when Sting defeated Hogan; Hogan immediately turned on his former stable when he saved Sting from a post-match beatdown. Eric would then feud with his son Garett; the feud culminated when son forced father out of the company when Garett's team defeated Bischoff's team in a Lethal Lockdown match at Lockdown. Eric never again appeared on TNA programming following Lockdown, focusing on his backstage roles. He remained there until he was set home by TNA in October 2013, as the company forced him to sit out the remainder of his soon-to-be-expiring contract. In May 2015, Bischoff, his son Garett, and business partner Jason Hervey sued TNA for unpaid salary. The suit appears to still be in litigation.
Bischoff-Hervey Entertainment is a production company that specializes in producing reality television. Most notably they produced a few reality shows for VH1, including two on actor Scott Baio, reality competition I Want to Be a Hilton, and Confessions of a Teen Idol. In 2009, the company produced Hulk Hogan's Celebrity Championship Wrestling, a wrestling reality competition featuring ten celebrities being trained to wrestle. In 2012, the company produced the TruTV spinoff, Hardcore Pawn Chicago.
Eric has homes in Cody, Wyoming, Scottsdale, Arizona, and Los Angeles. He and his wife Loree have two children, son Garett and daughter Montanna. The two-time Pro Wrestling Illustrated Feud of the Year winner (1996 versus Vince McMahon and 2002 versus Stephanie McMahon) won Wrestling Observer Newsletter's Best Non-Wrestler award in 2005.