50 years ago today in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Crusher & Dick The Bruiser defeated Larry Hennig & Harley Race to win the AWA World Tag Team Championship.
20 years ago today, WWF presented In Your House 8: Beware of Dog 2 (WWE Network link) from the North Charleston Coliseum in North Charleston, South Carolina.
The event was a make-good to home viewers that ordered Beware of Dog two days earlier when a severe thunderstorm knocked out power to the area for most of the show. The home audience got three matches live in addition to the two matches that did go on when there was power in the area, while the live crowd got a full card, including a WWF Superstars taping. For results of the Beware of Dog 2 event, click here.
16 years ago today in Monterrey, Mexico, El Hijo del Santo defeated Blue Panther to win the World Wrestling Association World Welterweight Championship for the seventh time.
15 years ago today, Brian Lawler, aka Grandmaster Sexay of Too Cool fame, was released after he had been arrested on drug possession charges in Calgary, where RAW is WAR was taking place that evening. This was despite the WWF warning its staff not to bring any illegal contraband through the Canadian border. Following his release, he went to World Wrestling All-Stars and TNA. He made brief appearances for WWE in the last decade, but has remained mostly on the independent circuit.
Chris Benoit VS Steve Austin I, WWE RAW, 2001. by akim93
In an unrelated story, members of the Hart family were in attendance for RAW that night, most notably patriarch Stu, oldest son Bruce, and Diana. Martha, the widow of Owen Hart, said that it would be "disgusting" if any member of the family showed up considering she was in litigation with the WWF.
And speaking of disgusting, they had a Montreal Screwjob-style finish in the show's main event, when WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin "defeated" Chris Benoit "via submission". Full show's here if you're interested.
14 years ago today, NWA announces via press release that Dan Severn has been stripped of the NWA World Heavyweight Championship due to a conflict in his schedule that prohibited him from appearing at the first NWA-TNA show in June. The press release:
"We regret that Dan Severn could not change his schedule to appear on the first NWA-TNA Pay Per View," said NWA President Jim Miller. "Dan Severn represented the NWA well during his two reigns as champion and proved with his difficult decision that he is truly a man of his word who could not honorably cancel a previous booking even if it meant losing the NWA World Heavyweight title. We look forward to having a new NWA World Heavyweight Champion crowned in Huntsville on 6/19/02."
The championship remained vacant until TNA's debut show, with Ken Shamrock winning a 20-man gauntlet battle royal for the NWA world title.
14 years ago today, WWE announced that Paul Heyman and Brian Gewirtz would head the Smackdown and RAW creative teams going forward.
Heyman remained on the Smackdown team until 2005 when he became the head booker for WWE's developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling. Heyman briefly returned to the creative team in 2006, overseeing the rebooted ECW until he was sent home following the disastrous December to Dismember event.
Gewirtz would remain the head writer for RAW until 2012, but would remain on staff in a consulting position until leaving WWE last summer. Gewirtz now works as an executive for Seven Bucks Entertainment, the production company founded by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and his ex-wife Dany Garcia.
8 years ago today, Mark Madden, best known for his brief time as color analyst for WCW, was fired from ESPN Radio in Pittsburgh a week after his remarks regarding US Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy, who had been recently diagnosed with brain cancer. The words that got him fired:
"I'm very disappointed to hear that Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts is near death because of a brain tumor. I always hoped Senator Kennedy would live long enough to be assassinated.
"I wonder if he got a card from the Kopechnes."
For those wondering why the statements were offensive, two of Ted's brothers Robert and John were both assassinated (John while as President of the United States). The Kopechnes was in reference to Mary Jo Kopechne, the woman who drowned when she was the passenger of a car Ted drove in July 1969, after which he fled the scene and did not report the accident in a timely manner (the tragedy is loosely known as the Chappaquiddick incident).
Though the radio station, WEAE, initially didn't punish Madden for the comments (other than an ordered apology from station management), ESPN, which owned the station at the time, came down with the banhammer. It didn't help that Madden had been in hot water with the worldwide leader in sports for months, especially following a meeting with them the previous December regarding his on-air demeanor.
Today, the controversial Madden is still doing radio in Pittsburgh for 105.9 The X.
7 years ago today, Time Warner announces that AOL would be spun off as an independent company, effectively ending largest merger in American history.
Since the merger in 2001 that contributed to the death of WCW, Time Warner stock plummeted 77%. America Online's plunged over 99%, with most of that drop coming within the first two years of the merger (AOL total stock value went from $226 billion pre-merger to $20 billion by the end of 2002).
The split was made official in December, ending what is often called one of, if not the biggest, corporate merger disasters in history.
7 years ago today, Midway Games announced that they were accepting offers for the company's assets.
The company most famously known for hit video game series such as Galaga, Mortal Kombat, NBA Jam, and Pac-Man (among many, many others, including TNA Impact in 2007), would mostly end up being acquired by Warner Bros. for $33 million. The TNA license did not go with the sale; that wound up going to Southpeak Games, which only has rights to a handheld game. So don't expect a console version of Impact any time soon.
3 years ago today, Eugene "Buck" Zumhofe, self-proclaimed wrestling's original rock ‘n roller, was arrested on 12 felony counts of criminal sexual misconduct.
Zumhofe's daughter alleged that he committed as many as 1,800 separate acts of sexual abuse from 1999 to 2011. This wasn't the first time Zumhofe got busted for such a charge: he was jailed for similar charges in 1986 and 1989 (the former forced him to vacate the AWA light heavyweight championship). Zumhofe was used as enhancement talent in the early and mid-1990s, most notably as Triple H's debut opponent and the first man to be stuffed in a body bag post-match by The Undertaker.
In March 2014, Zumhofe was convicted on all twelve counts. He tried to flee the courtroom and got an escape from custody charge tossed on top of the 12 charges he was already convicted of. In May 2014, Zumhofe was sentenced to 25 years in prison for two counts of first-degree and two counts of third-degree sexual misconduct. Upon his release (at which point he'll be well into his 80s), he will have to serve 10 years probation and register as a sex offender. Zumhofe will not be eligible for parole until 2031, seventeen years into his prison sentence.
1 year ago today, Sheamus announced that he would play Rocksteady in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot sequel. The film, Out of the Shadows premiered earlier this week in New York, and is set for a nationwide release on June 3.
Happy 30th birthday to Colby Daniel Lopez, best known to wrestling fans as Seth Rollins.
Before his successes in WWE, Lopez as Tyler Black won the Ring of Honor world and tag team titles and headed that promotion's top heel stable, the Age of the Fall from 2007 to 2009. In 2011, he signed with WWE. In their developmental territory, Lopez, now known as Seth Rollins, won every championship available in FCW (heavyweight, tag team, Jack Brisco 15). In July 2012, he became the first NXT champion, defeating Jinder Mahal in the finals of a tournament.
He debuted with the WWE late that year as part of a three-man riot squad known as The Shield. And he quickly found success there too. The group, which included Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose, went unbeaten for about six months. Rollins and Reigns won the WWE Tag Team Championship less than a week after their first loss. In July 2014, just one month after breaking up The Shield, Rollins won the Money in the Bank briefcase, enabling him to challenge for the WWE Championship at any time for up to one year. He used that one shot during the main event of Wrestlemania 31, defeating Roman Reigns to win the WWE world title from Brock Lesnar.
Rollins held the championship until suffering a knee injury in November during a match against Kane. Estimated to miss as many as nine months, Rollins returned after just over six months away, attacking Roman Reigns following the main event of Extreme Rules. Rollins will face Reigns for the WWE Championship next month at Money in the Bank.
Happy 42nd birthday to TNA's jack-of-all-trades, Jeremy Borash.
Borash started his career in radio at age 15 in Minneapolis. At just 19 years of age, he became the program director for a radio station in Iowa. It was through his work in Minneapolis he met wrestling journalist Bob Ryder, which led him to a job for WCW in 1999. His internet radio show, WCW Live!, quickly became the most listened to audio show in the world. He would move to Atlanta to work for WCW full-time until the promotion's shutdown in 2001. In 2002, Borash with Australian concert promoter Andrew McManus launched World Wrestling All-Stars. The promotion lasted for just over a year, touring Australia, New Zealand, and Scotland, with a stop in Las Vegas.
The same year, Borash was one of the first men hired for TNA Wrestling. He has been in the promotion ever since, working as a backstage interviewer, ring announcer, commentator, video editor, show writer, and Internet show host...and occasional wrestler. Borash also co-promotedHardcore Homecoming, a reunion of ECW talent that took place just two days before ECW One Night Stand in 2005. It holds the record to this day for the highest gate for any independent wrestling show in American history. That same year, Borash made Forever Hardcore, an independent documentary on the history of ECW.