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This Day in Wrestling History (June 28): "As God as my witness, he is broken in half!"

34 years ago today in New York City, Chief Jay and Jules Strongbow defated Mr. Fuji and Mr. Saito to win the WWF Tag Team Championship.

19 years ago today in Inglewood, California, Chris Jericho defeats Syxx to win the WCW Cruiserweight Championship. The match took place on an Internet-audio only edition of WCW Saturday Nitro. This was the first of six audio-only events put on by WCW in 1997 and 1998.

18 years ago today, WWF presented King of the Ring (WWE Network link) from the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 17,087 were in the arena, with 310,000 homes watching on PPV.

The event is famously and infamously noted for Mick Foley, then wrestling as Mankind, thrown off the Hell in a Cell cage--then chokeslammed through the cage ten minutes later. The match, arguably the defining moment of the Attitude Era, as recapped by Geno Mrosko in 2013:

"Instead of starting the match in the ring and working their way out of the cage, as Shawn Michaels had done with Undertaker in the first Cell match, Foley wanted to up the ante. So he (or Terry Funk, as he tells it) came up with the idea to start off by climbing the cage and beginning on top of it. This would also serve to set up a spot Foley had planned that would provide one of the most famous clips in pro wrestling history.

The two battled back and forth along the top of the cage. There was a bit of foreshadowing, though no one could know it at the time, when they walked over an area of the cage and it nearly collapsed underneath their weight. That should have been warning enough of how bad of an idea this was, but this is Mankind we're talking about here.

Eventually, they worked their way over to the edge of the Cell with Mankind teasing a fall. No one ever thought he would go through with it, though, nor did they think Undertaker would be willing to actually send him off, considering if made even a minor error in judgement, it could result in paralysis or, worse, death. But this was before Owen Hart's fall at the Kemper Arena and the wrestling business was in a different place at the time.

So they did it. Suddenly and without warning, 'Taker grabbed Mankind and sent him flying off the cage onto the Spanish announce table some 16 feet below, which separated his shoulder. This prompted Jim Ross to deliver one of his many famous calls.

"Good God, almighty. Good God, almighty; that killed him. As God as my witness, he is broken in half!"

Ross and his partner, Jerry Lawler, immediately started calling for medical assistance from those in the back, struggling to toe the line between keeping kayfabe and getting help for a friend who had just taken one of the most insane bumps in the history of the World Wrestling Federation (WWF).

Unbelievably enough, it didn't end there.

A whole gang of personnel came out to check on Mankind, including Sgt. Slaughter, Vince McMahon, Terry Funk, and a medical team. They raised the cage with Undertaker still on top in order to get a stretcher out to ringside to get Mankind to the back. As they were wheeling him out, the cage came back down and "The Deadman" started to slowly climb down it, even slower than normal thanks to a broken foot he was dealing with coming into the match.

But then there was some commotion in the entrance way and by the time cameras cut back over to see what was going on, Mankind was back up. And not only was he back up, he was heading back to the ring to continue the match. And not only was he back up and heading back to the ring to continue the match (with a smile on his face, no less), he was heading back to climb the cage again.

Undertaker, still hovering on the side of the contraption, climbed back up to greet him.

When they met again, 'Taker delivered a few punches before setting Mankind up for a chokeslam. When he picked him up and slammed him down, the top of the cage broke and Foley went crashing down to the hard mat below with a chair following right behind that cracked him in the face when it hit.

Lawler on the call:

"That's it, he's dead."

Ross right behind him:

"Will somebody stop the damn match?! Enough's enough!"

Mankind was knocked out by the fall and the chair had dislodged one of his teeth, which ended up coming out through his nose. Undertaker would later say he thought Foley may have been gone for good at this point and that he was extremely uncomfortable with continuing the match. He didn't show it, though, not while medical personnel rushed back into the ring to check on Foley, who was completely laid out and suffering badly at this point.

But still, it wasn't over.

Undertaker jumped down through the opening in the cage, an incredibly painful task considering his foot but nothing compared to what the man lying in a heap of flesh right next to him was going through, and the ring cleared out. Funk stayed in so Undertaker could attack him and deliver a chokeslam while Mankind recovered.

He managed to do so, too, standing up and taking a punch just minutes after suffering a concussion. The match would continue on for a few more minutes before Mankind went under the ring and found a bag full of thumbtacks. He brought them in the ring and poured them out on one side of it, leading to several big tease spots that either 'Taker or Mankind would take a back bump on them.

In the end, Mankind ended up jumping on Undertaker's back only to have "The Deadman" walk over to the thumbtacks and drop down. He missed the majority of them and it looked like Foley had been saved from having to absorb yet another painful spot.

But, again, we're talking about Mankind here, and he's legitimately a crazy person.

After getting back up from this, Undertaker chokeslammed Foley directly onto the big pile of thumbtacks. All that was left was a throat slash to signal the end and a tombstone piledriver to get the three count to mercifully bring to a close one of the most grueling matches in WWF history.

By the time all was said and done, the list of Foley's injuries was long and included but was not limited to: one and a half missing teeth, 14 stitches below his lip, a concussion, a dislocated jaw, a bruised kidney and a dislocated shoulder."

The bout was voted Match of the Year by Pro Wrestling Illustrated and finished second in the same category by Wrestling Observer Newsletter. The two falls were selected in a 2011 list as the biggest OMG incident in WWE history.

King of the Ring Semifinals:

  • Ken Shamrock defeated Jeff Jarrett by submission.
  • The Rock defeated Dan Severn.

King of the Ring Finals:

  • Ken Shamrock defeated The Rock by submission to win the King of the Ring tournament.

Non-tournament matches in order of occurrence:

  • The Headbangers (Mosh and Thrasher) and Taka Michinoku defeated Kaientai (Funaki, Men's Teioh, and Dick Togo).
  • Too Much (Brian Christopher and Scott Taylor) defeated Al Snow and Head. Jerry Lawler was the special referee.
  • X-Pac defeated Owen Hart.
  • The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg and Billy Gunn) defeated The New Midnight Express (Bombastic Bob and Bodacious Bart) to retain the WWF Tag Team Championship.
  • The Undertaker defeated Mankind in a Hell in a Cell match.
  • Kane defeated Steve Austin in a First Blood match to win the WWF Championship. Per pre-match stipulations, had Kane lost, he would have set himself on fire.

17 years ago today on RAW is WAR from Charlotte, North Carolina (WWE Network link), Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated The Undertaker to win the WWF Championship. The win made Austin just the third man to win the WWF Championship four times.

7 years ago today, WWE presented The Bash (WWE Network link) from the ARCO Arena in Sacramento, California. 11,946 were in attendance, with 178,000 homes watching on PPV. That's down from 196,000 homes for the 2008 event.

  • Tommy Dreamer defeated Jack Swagger, Christian, Mark Henry, and Finlay in a Championship Scramble match to retain the ECW Championship.
  • Rey Mysterio defeated Chris Jericho in a mask versus title match to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship. Had Mysterio lost, he would have been forced to unmask.
  • Dolph Ziggler defeated The Great Khali in a no disqualification match.
  • Edge and Chris Jericho defeated Carlito and Primo to win the WWE Unified Tag Team Championship.
  • Michelle McCool defeated Melina to win the WWE Womens Championship.
  • Jeff Hardy defeated CM Punk by disqualification in a World Heavyweight Championship match.
  • John Cena defeated The Miz.
  • Randy Orton defeated Triple H 2-1 in Three Stages of Hell match to retain the WWE Championship. Orton won the first fall via disqualification, but lost the second fall less than two minutes later in a falls count anywhere match. Orton won the deciding fall in a stretcher match.

4 years ago today on a live episode of Impact from Universal Orlando, Bad Influence (Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian) defeated AJ Styles and Kurt Angle on Impact! to win the TNA World Tag Team Championship.

3 years ago today, Matthew Wade Osborne, who had his biggest success as the original Doink the Clown, was found dead in his apartment in Plano, Texas. He was 55.

Born July 27, 1957 in Charlotte, North Carolina, Matt made his debut as Matt Borne and wrestled for various NWA territories, including Pacific Northwest Wrestling (where he won their heavyweight title and their tag team championship four times), Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling (where he won his first championship in 1980), Mid-South Wrestling, and All-Star Wrestling and Maple Leaf Wrestling in Canada.

He spent a year in the WWF in the mid-1980s and was a part of the first Wrestlemania, losing to Ricky Steamboat. He had a year run in World Class Championship Wrestling where he won the tag team championship with Buzz Sawyer and was a Texas Heavyweight Champion. In 1991, Osborne appeared in WCW as Big Josh, an outdoorsman who danced with bears. He won tag gold there too, winning the United States tag team and six-man tag team titles.

In late 1992, Matt arrived in the WWF in his most famous persona, the evil Doink the Clown. He feuded primarily with Crush (wrapped up infamously by the two Doinks trick at Wrestlemania IX) and Mr. Perfect, though he also had house show runs with Marty Jannetty and the 1-2-3 Kid. Doink turned face when he poured water over Bobby Heenan in September 1993. However, Osborne never got a decent run as face Doink; he was fired for recurring drug abuses. Face Doink would be played by Ray Apollo.

After leaving the WWF, he reprised his role in ECW. Fans didn't take a liking to this, seeing that ECW was presented as an alternative to the WWF and WCW's cartoonish worlds. Following a loss to Shane Douglas, Shane criticized Vince McMahon for turning a talented wrestler into a joke character and he would be the one to bring out Matt's full potential. Known going forward as Borne Again, he would wear the clown suit, but skimp on the face paint and ditch the wig. He also grew out his hair and beard. After beating his opponents, he would put a clown suit on them. But personal problems ended his ECW run.

Osborne spent the remainder of his life wrestling on the independent circuit and at various reunions. In December 2007, Osborne reprised the role for the final time in the WWF when he took part in the Legends Battle Royal.  He wrestled a full-time schedule for the last few years of his life.

On June 28, 2013, Osborne was found dead in the apartment he shared with his girlfriend. A preliminary homicide investigation was launched even though no weapons were found near his body and the death looked accidental. A few weeks later, it was determined Matt had died of an accidental overdose of morphine and hydrocodone. He also had heart disease at the time of his death, which may have played a factor. Earlier this week, the family of Matt Osborne announced they would file a wrongful death lawsuit against WWE.

1 year ago today, TNA presented Slammiversary XIII from the Impact Zone at Universal Orlando.

Of note, a scheduled TNA world title match between Kurt Angle and Ethan Carter III was dropped from the PPV in the week leading up to the show; the match took place three days prior to the PPV at an Impact taping with Carter winning the title.

  • Tigre Uno defeated Manik & DJ Z in a three-way elimination match to retain the TNA X Division Championship.
  • Robbie E defeated Jessie Godderz.
  • Bram defeated Matt Morgan.
  • Austin Aries defeated Davey Richards. This was Austin's final TNA match; his contract expired that evening and he chose not to renew.
  • Awesome Kong & Brooke defeated The Doll House (Taryn Terrell, Jade, and Marti Belle) in a 2-on-3 handicap match.
  • James Storm defeated Magnus. This was the final match (save for pre-taped appearances) for both Storm and Magnus as their contracts expired. Magnus signed with Global Force Wrestling the next day; Storm left for NXT—albeit briefly. Storm signed a fully-guaranteed contract six months later to return to TNA.
  • Ethan Carter III & Tyrus defeated Lashley & Mr. Anderson.
  • Jeff Jarrett defeated Eric Young, Drew Galloway, Bobby Roode, and Matt Hardy in a King of the Mountain match to win the TNA King of the Mountain Championship.

1 year ago today, Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports that Austin Aries, Taryn Terrell, and Awesome Kong were all leaving TNA.

In the end, only Aries actually leaves (his contract expired). After a brief run with Ring of Honor, he signed with WWE in January. Terrell and Kong would be gone soon enough though; Terrell would leave TNA—and the wrestling business altogether—in January, while Kong would be fired from the company in February following an altercation with Rebecca Hardy, aka Reby Sky.

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