25 years ago today, the World Bodybuilding Federation presented the WBF Championship from the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The event was a culmination of what Vince McMahon had built since the previous summer. A booth bought at the 1990 Mr. Olympia event, considered to be the biggest event in bodybuilding, intended to promote a magazine turned out to be the announcement of the formation of the WBF.
In early 1991, thirteen men—all former International Federation of Bodybuilders (IFBB) pros—were introduced as the WBF roster, their "Bodystars", if you will. Many were offered two-year contracts at at least $200,000 annually, but Gary Strydom was offered the most at $1.2 million over three years. This was at a time when the top IFBBers were making at best around $50,000 a year.
The buyrate for the show is largely unknown, though it's believed to have done poorly. So did the video release of the event.
Gary Strydom won the event, with Mike Christian finishing second, Berry de Mey third, and Jim Quinn and Eddie Robinson rounding out the top five. In a bit of coincidence, that was the order of the five highest paid stars in the WBF, leading many to believe the competition was fixed. The rumors ultimately proved unfounded.
19 years ago today, WCW presented The Great American Bash (WWE Network link) from The MARK of the Quad Cities in Moline, Illinois. 9,613 were in attendance, with 220,000 homes watching on PPV. That's up from 170,000 homes for the 1996 event.
- Último Dragón defeated Psychosis.
- Harlem Heat (Booker T and Stevie Ray) defeated The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott) by disqualification.
- Konnan defeated Hugh Morrus.
- Glacier defeated Wrath.
- Akira Hokuto defeated Madusa in a title versus career match to retain the WCW Women's Championship. With the loss, Madusa was banished from WCW. In a bit of irony, soon after, so was Akira. She was released soon after the bout and the championship retired, making Akira the only WCW Women's Champion in company history.
- Chris Benoit defeated Meng via submission in a deathmatch.
- Kevin Greene defeated Steve McMichael.
- The Outsiders (Scott Hall and Kevin Nash) defeated Ric Flair and Roddy Piper to retain the WCW World Tag Team Championship.
- Randy Savage defeated Diamond Dallas Page in a falls count anywhere match.
18 years ago today on RAW is WAR from San Antonio, Texas (WWE Network link), Kane and Mankind fought Steve Austin and The Undertaker to a no contest in a Hell in a Cell match. It was the first time the Hell in a Cell match was presented on broadcast television.
14 years ago today, Major League Wrestling presented its first-ever event, Genesis from Viking Hall (the ECW Arena) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was highlighted by an eight-man tournament to crown the first MLW World Heavyweight Champion.
- Jerry Lynn defeated La Parka in a quarterfinal match.
- Vampiro defeated Christopher Daniels in a quarterfinal match.
- Taiyo Kea defeated The Wall in a quarterfinal match.
- Shane Douglas defeated Steve Corino in a quarterfinal match.
- Prince Nana, Super Hentai, and Ultra Taro, Jr. defeated Devon Storm, Abunai, and Rising Son.
- P.J. Friedman defeated Shirley Doe.
- Shane Douglas defeated Jerry Lynn in a semifinal match.
- Vampiro and Taiyo Kea fought to a draw. As there were no byes in the tournament, both men advanced to the final.
- Shane Douglas defeated Vampiro and Taiyo Kea in a three-way match to become the first MLW World Heavyweight Champion.
14 years ago today in San Antonio, Texas, cops were called into the home of Steve and Debra Williams (that would be Steve Austin and his wife Debra) after an argument that ended with Debra having a welt on her face and bruises on her back.
Debra said that Steve hit her "several times" during the argument. Steve fled the scene before police arrived. Two months later, Austin would be charged with misdemeanor assault and turned himself into Bexar County, Texas authorities. He was released on $5,000 bond.
That November, Steve pled no contest and was sentenced to one year probation, fined $1,000, and sentenced to 80 hours community service. He was also ordered to attend domestic violence counseling.
13 years ago today, WWE presented Bad Blood (WWE Network link) from the Compaq Center in Houston, Texas.
This was the first brand-exclusive PPV in the United States, with only RAW wrestlers featured on the show. This practice would continue for all B-show events until 2007. About 10,000 were in attendance, with 385,000 homes watching on PPV. That's up from 320,000 homes for the June 2002 event, King of the Ring.
- In a Sunday Night Heat preshow match, Ivory defeated Molly Holly.
- Rodney Mack and Christopher Nowinski defeated The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von).
- Scott Steiner defeated Test to win Stacy Keibler's managing services.
- Booker T defeated Christian by disqualification in a WWE Intercontinental Championship match.
- La Résistance (René Duprée & Sylvain Grenier) defeated Rob Van Dam & Kane to win the World Tag Team Championship.
- Goldberg defeated Chris Jericho.
- Ric Flair defeated Shawn Michaels.
- Triple H defeated Kevin Nash in a Hell in a Cell match to retain the World Heavyweight Championship. Mick Foley was the special referee.
12 years ago today at a Smackdown taping in Chicago, Illinois (WWE Network link), Rey Mysterio defeated Chavo Guerrero, Sr. to win the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. Following the taping, Guerrero was released, allegedly for no-showing some Smackdown house show events.
On the same taping, The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) defeated Charlie Haas and Rico to win the WWE Tag Team Championship. The win made the Dudleys the first duo to win both RAW's and Smackdown's tag team titles.
10 years ago today, ECW founder Tod Gordon shared his thoughts on the ECW reboot in a statement to PWInsider.com. He was perhaps foreshadowing:
From the Desk of Tod Gordon:
I have received hundreds of calls and e-mails regarding what the WWE's version of ECW looked like to me last night. Actually, nothing about the show was surprising to me in any way. It was what it was; a third brand extension of a stale wrestling product. If Paul Heyman and Tommy Dreamer have to worry about serving all of these masters from WWE creative (you know who I mean) to the Sci-Fi network, then any fan must realize you're not going to get authentic crowd reactions, let alone chants on basic cable. I assume that rather than dub over the crowd's vulgarity, it was easier to just feed them a crappy show so they could never get truly riled up. Enjoy it for what it is, but don't fool yourselves into thinking that it really IS possible to catch lightning in a bottle twice, because that is not the case.
9 years ago today, Sherri Russell, later Sherri Schrull, but best known to wrestling fans as "Sensational" Sherri Martel, died of a drug overdose at her mother's house in McCalla, Alabama. She was 49.
Born February 8, 1958 in Birmingham, Alabama, Sherri was first introduced to wrestling when her mother took her and her sister to wrestling events in Mississippi. When she was 16, she sought advice on how to become a wrestler by Grizzly Smith (father of Jake "The Snake" Roberts), but was told to come back in five years when she's an adult. During her second marriage, her interest in wrestling picked up again and began training with Butch Moore in Memphis, then with The Fabulous Moolah in South Carolina. It was there where Sherri picked up her ring name, Sherri Martel (she originally wrestled as Sherri Martine). Allegedly, it was Sherri's partying ways that got her kicked from wrestling school. Martel returned to Memphis and was managed by Jim Cornette, but her wrestling career was put on hold when she was injured in a battle royal.
When she recovered, she joined the American Wrestling Association with the help of Larry Zbyszko. In September 1985 at Superclash, Sherri defeated Candi Devine to win the AWA World Womens Championship. The two would trade the championship over the next nine months, with each woman winning the belt from the other twice. She doubled as a manager, managing "Playboy" Buddy Rose and "Pretty Boy" Doug Somers to the AWA World Tag Team Championship. Soon after winning the AWA Women's Championship for the third time, she was WWF bound thanks to a referral by Jesse Ventura.
On July 24, 1987, she debuted as Sensational Sherri, and success quickly found her. She defeated Fabulous Moolah for the WWF Womens Championship that day and held the championship for the next fifteen months, finally losing it to Rockin' Robin in Paris in October 1988. The women's division would be phased out by 1990, but Sherri remained on in her most famous role: manager to the stars.
Following Wrestlemania V, she aligned with "Macho Man" Randy Savage against Hulk Hogan and Miss Elizabeth. The feud, which would include Brutus Beefcake and Zeus of No Holds Barred fame, would last for the remainder of the year. At Summerslam, Martel got an unwanted haircut after she was knocked out by Elizabeth with Sherri's purse.
Martel and Savage would feud with Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire for most of 1990, but it would be Miss Elizabeth that foiled the WWF's king and queen again when she interfered on Dusty and Sapphire's behalf at Wrestlemania VI. The alliance between Sherri and Randy ended at Wrestlemania VII when Savage was forced to retire after being defeated by The Ultimate Warrior. An irate Sherri kicked away at the defeated Savage until Elizabeth came to his rescue. Later in the show, Sherri helped Ted DiBiase attack Rowdy Roddy Piper, aligning herself with the "Million Dollar Man".
A few months later, Sherri would align with Shawn Michaels (even providing the vocals for her theme). Later in 1992, Shawn Michaels would be confronted by a returning Marty Jannetty and grabbed the mirror he was looking at himself with. Jannetty, looking to hit Michaels, hit Sherri instead. She would be off television until the 1993 Royal Rumble, where Sherri turned on Michaels. Shawn confronted Sherri, but Marty came to her rescue. The feud was cut short when Jannetty was briefly released. Sherri aligned herself with Tatanka in their feud with Luna Vachon and Bam Bam Bigelow, but the feud never concluded with Sherri being released that summer.
After a brief run in ECW, Sherri went to WCW as Sensuous Sherri in 1994. She aided Ric Flair in his feud with Hulk Hogan and Sting. The next year, Sherriânow known as Sista Sherriâaligned with Harlem Heat. Under her management, the duo won the WCW world tag team championship seven times. She had a brief on-screen relationship with Col. Robert Parker, until Harlem Heat fired him. Sherri herself would be ditched by Harlem Heat in July 1997.
She would make cameo appearances for most of the remainder of her career, appearing at the infamous Heroes of Wrestling PPV in October 1999, returning briefly to WCW in 2000, as a part of the Kurt Angle-Shawn Michaels feud in 2005 (where Sherri sung a parody of Shawn Michaels' "Sexy Boy"), and for TNA in late 2006 offering her managerial services to Robert Roode. Sherri was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by Ted DiBiase in April 2006.
On the morning of June 15, 2007, Martel was found dead at her mother's residence in McCalla, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham. She was 49. Three months later, homicide investigators revealed that she died of a drug overdose with multiple drugs in her system, including high amounts of oxycotine. Martel, who was posthumously inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2014, had one son.
7 years ago today in perhaps one of the most infamous angles in wrestling history, Vince McMahon announces that he had "sold" Monday Night RAW to Donald Trump. In Donald Trump's first act as owner of RAW, he announced that the next episode would be presented without commercial interruption, the first time it's happened in the show's history.
2 years ago today, TNA presented Slammiversary XII from College Park Center in Arlington, Texas. At the show, Kurt Angle announced that the newest members of the TNA Hall of Fame would be Team 3D.
- Sanada defeated Manik, Tigre Uno, Crazy Steve, Eddie Edwards, and Davey Richards in a 6-man ladder match to retain the TNA X Division Championship.
- Bobby Lashley defeated Samoa Joe to earn a TNA World Heavyweight Championship match later in the show.
- Magnus defeated Willow.
- Austin Aries defeated Kenny King to earn a TNA World Heavyweight Championship match later in the show.
- Von Erich 3G (Marshall Von Erich and Ross Von Erichvs. DJ Z & Jessie Godderz by disqualification.
- Angelina Love defeated Gail Kim to retain the TNA Knockouts Championship.
- Ethan Carter III defeated Bully Ray in a Texas deathmatch.
- Mr. Anderson defeated James Storm.
- Eric Young defeated Austin Aries and Bobby Lashley in a three way steel cage match to retain the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
Many birthday hugs... 27 to be exact, for Pamela Rose Martinez, known these days as Bayley.
The Newark, California-born Martinez began her career on the independent circuit, specifically northern California-based Big Time Wrestling. She competed there for four years as Davina Rose. The latter part of her independent career saw her compete for bigger indies, including NWA Championship Wrestling from Hollywood, Shine Wrestling, and Shimmer Women Athletes.
She was picked up by WWE in December 2012; after initially competing under a mask, she debuted in March 13 as Bayley. Three months later, her character was fleshed out as a doe-eyed fangirl. Her naivety got her in more than a little hot water, having long-term feuds with Sasha Banks and Charlotte, as well as feuds with Becky Lynch and Emma.
Bayley's signature moment came at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn in August 2015 when Bayley defeated Sasha Banks for the NXT Women's Championship. The two rematched just over a month later at Takeover: Respect in the first ever women's Ironman match in WWE history. Bayley won the rematch 3-2 when she scored the decisive fall with just three seconds remaining.
After fending off challengers including Alexa Bliss, Eva Marie, Nia Jax, and Carmella, Bayley was defeated via technical submission at Takeover: Dallas by Asuka on April 1, ending her reign at 223 days.
Martinez, who includes Randy Savage, The Rock, Eddie Guerrero, and Lita among her influences, has been well-honored in her career already. Just in 2015, she won Match of the Year honors from Pro Wrestling Illustrated and Rolling Stone (her two major show bouts against Sasha Banks), won PWI's most inspirational wrestler award, and was named Wrestling Observer Newsletter's most improved wrestler. She also won 2 NXT year-end awards, one for female competitor, and one for match of the year (her bout against Banks at Takeover: Brooklyn).
Happy 55th birthday to Scott Norton.
Best known for his tenures in WCW and New Japan Pro Wrestling (where he captured the IWGP Heavyweight Championship twice), Norton also was a professional arm wrestler, gaining the nickname "Flash" for his sudden victories. He made an appearance in the arm wrestling movie starring Sylvester Stallone, Over the Top. Norton also was a bodyguard for Prince for the 1999 and Purple Rain tours.