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This Day in Wrestling History (May 5): WWE is Born

Happy Cinco de Mayo! If you're celebrating this evening, stay safe, and if you get a little bit tipsy, let someone else drive for you.

111 years ago today in New York City, George Hackenschmidt, the world Greco-Roman Wrestling champion, defeated Tom Jenkins, American heavyweight champion, 2-0 in a best of three falls match to become the World Catch-as-Catch-Can Heavyweight Champion. This is the origin of the first recognized world wrestling championship in the United States.

32 years ago today in Greensboro, North Carolina, Wahoo McDaniel and Mark Youngblood defeated Jack and Jerry Brisco to win the NWA World Tag Team Championship.

31 years ago today, World Class Championship Wrestling presented the second Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions from Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas. 26,153 were in attendance.

  • Johnny Mantell and Skip Young fought to a draw.
  • Brian Adias & Scott Casey defeated Kelly Kiniski & Nick Kiniski.
  • Terry Gordy defeated Kamala by disqualification.
  • Mike von Erich defeated Rip Oliver.
  • Scott Casey & The Great Kabuki defeated The Dynamic Duo (Chris Adams & Gino Hernandez).
  • The Fantastics (Bobby Fulton & Tommy Rogers) defeated The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton & Dennis Condrey) in a two-ring, no disqualification match to win the vacant WCCW American Tag Team Championship.
  • Kerry von Erich defeated The One Man Gang in a hair versus hair match. It was Kerry's hair at stake versus Gary Hart, the One Man Gang's manager.
  • The Fabulous Freebirds (Buddy Roberts, Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy), Kerry von Erich, Kevin von Erich, and Mike von Erich defeated Kamala, Rip Oliver, Steve Williams, The Dynamic Duo (Chris Adams & Gino Hernandez) & The One Man Gang 3-2 in a two-ring, best of five falls match.
    • Chris Adams defeated Buddy Roberts.
    • Gino Hernandez defeated Michael Hayes.
    • Kerry von Erich defeated Rip Oliver.
    • Buddy Roberts defeated Gino Hernandez.
    • Kevin von Erich defeated Steve Williams.
  • Ric Flair and Kevin Von Erich fought to a double countout for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.


21 years ago today, Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling Brass Knuckles Champion Atushi Onita defeated his protégé Hayabusa in a no ropes exploding barbed wire exploding cage deathmatch. 58,250 fans were in attendance at Kawasaki Stadium in Kawasaki, Japan, the largest attendance in stadium history at the time.

The bout was billed as Onita's final match. In an interesting side note, Hayabusa wasn't the original opponent; Onita's original choice (and Hayabusa's trainer), Tarzan Goto, refused to lose to Onita and walked out on FMW just two weeks before the show.

In another side note, Onita did not stay retired for long; he was back in the ring a year and a half later and has occasionally wrestled ever since, retiring and unretiring multiple times, wrestling as recently as last December. As for Hayabusa, he would go on to become one of the faces of puroresu (though not right away) until suffering a career ending injury in 2001. Hayabusa died in March 2016 of a subarachnoid hemmorage, an uncommon form of a stroke.

15 years ago today, WWF presented Insurrextion (WWE Network link) from Earls Court in London, England. 15,794 were in attendanance.

  • Eddie Guerrero defeated Grand Master Sexay.
  • Perry Saturn and Dean Malenko defeated The Hollys (Hardcore & Crash).
  • Bradshaw defeated The Big Show.
  • Edge and Christian defeated X-Factor (X-Pac and Justin Credible), The Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff), and The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) in a fatal four way elimination match.
  • Chris Benoit defeated Kurt Angle 2-0 in a best of three falls match.
  • Chris Jericho defeated William Regal by submission to win the "Queen's Cup".
  • The Undertaker defeated The Two-Man Power Trip (Stone Cold Steve Austin and Triple H) in a handicap match.

14 years ago today, World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. becomes World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. after losing a British court case to the World Wild Fund for Nature (formerly the World Wildlife Fund) in October 2001 over use of the WWF initials.

The two companies shared the initials since 1979, but the court ruled the World Wrestling Federation violated a 1994 agreement limiting their use of the initials. Under the ruling, all mentions of the WWF initials and the old logos would be censored. In 2012, the WWE and the WWF reached a settlement over the use of the initials and scratch logo, allowing them to use archived footage unedited.

6 years ago today, Ric Flair makes his Ring of Honor debut as the ROH Ambassador.

2 years ago today on RAW from Albany, New York, Sheamus last eliminates Dean Ambrose to win a 20-man battle royal and the WWE United States Championship. The win ends Dean Ambrose's 50-week run as champion, the longest in the WWE's era of the championship (dating back to 2001) and the third longest in the history of the title (dating back to 1979).

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