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This Day in Wrestling History (June 5): Happy birthday Grado!

36 years ago today in Tokyo, Japan, Antonio Inoki defeated Stan Hansen via disqualification in the final to win the MSG League for a third straight year. In the history of the annual round robin tournament, known today as the G1 Climax, this is the only time the final match was won via disqualification.

16 years ago today on Nitro from Atlanta, Georgia, Eric Bischoff defeated Terry Funk to win the WCW Hardcore Championship. It would be the only championship win in Bischoff's career. It also didn't last long; he forfeited it the next night at the Thunder taping to Big Vito and Johnny "The Bull" Stamboli.

Jeff Hardy vs Jerry Lynn by carllfc06

15 years ago today at a Smackdown taping in Grand Forks, North Dakota, Jeff Hardy defeated Jerry Lynn to win the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship.

12 years ago today in Osaka, Japan, The World Class Tag Team (Gedo & Jado) defeated American Dragon & Curry Man (Bryan Danielson & Christopher Daniels) to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. The duo became the first team to hold the championship three times (they would add a fourth in 2006).

10 years ago today, Terry Taylor was named head of talent relations for TNA. Taylor had previously worked as a producer, road agent, and interviewer for the company. He was fired from TNA in May 2011.

10 years ago today, WWE announces they have acquired the World Class Championship Wrestling and Stampede Wrestling libraries. This makes the world's largest wrestling video library even larger, giving WWE an estimated 100,000 total hours of content.

However, it turned out WWE doesn't quite own all of the Stampede video library; Bret Hart owns the video rights to his matches in Stampede, leading WWE to pull all Stampede Wrestling video from WWE Network just days after it was uploaded to the streaming service.

9 years ago today, Scott Steiner undergoes successful trachea surgery in Puerto Rico after he suffered an injury while wrestling two days earlier.  In an interview on TNA Today a month later, Steiner revealed some details of the night of the injury and the days that followed:

  • He was coughing up blood post match and his lungs filled up with blood. Doctors told him he had about five hours to live.
  • After surgery which involved getting a tube installed to drain the blood, Steiner was in a coma for two days, followed by being on a respirator for several more days.
  • He would spend a total of two weeks in a Puerto Rican hospital, an experience Steiner called "brutal... like the 1950s." He also had to be wheeled in 100-degree heat to get a CAT scan.
  • He wanted to fly back home, but doctors told him not to for fear his lung could collapse and he could die. He had to return to the States via cruise ship. The trip took a week.

Needless to say, the surgery causes Steiner to miss his scheduled Slammiversary match between The Steiner Brothers and Team 3D.

9 years ago today, Digital Music Group, a company specializing in distributing independently owned music, announces via press release that they have acquired 100 hours of wrestling footage to be released under the name "Wrestling Titans". The footage, including wrestling from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, features matches from (among others) Gorgeous George, Classy Freddie Blassie, Andre the Giant, Lex Luger, Junkyard Dog, and Ric Flair. To date, none of the footage acquired from DMG has ever been released.

8 years ago today, WWE announces they have re-signed Accie Connor, aka D-Lo Brown.

Brown, a four-time WWE European Champion and Intercontinental Champion in the late 1990s and early 2000s, wrestles primarily in dark matches during his brief comeback. He made just one notable TV appearance in his return, defeating Santino Marella on RAW in his return bout in July. He's released due to budget cuts in January 2009.

Happy 32nd birthday to Alexandra Ryan, best known as Madison Eagles.

Beginning her professional wrestling career at just age 17 in her native Australia, she would win the International Wrestling Association's Womens Championship four times. In 2003, she left for the United States and trained alongside wrestlers such as Elijah Burke, Jillian Hall, Christopher Daniels, and Claudio Castignoli (known as Cesaro today in WWE).

She began wrestling for Shimmer Women Athletes in October 2008. In April 2010, she defeated MsChif to win the Shimmer Championship and would hold it for the next 18 months (despite the length, it's only the third longest in the history of the championship, behind Cheerleader Melissa's 19-month reign spanning 2013-14 and MsChif's two year run from April 2008-April 2010).

Despite suffering a career-threatening knee injury shortly after losing the Shimmer Championship, she was named ranked #1 in the Womens PWI 50 in 2011. She returned in 2013 after recovery and giving birth to her third child... and she got right back to winning. She became the first Pacific Pro Wrestling women's champion in March 2013, defeating Nikki Storm in a tournament final. In October 2015, Eagles defeated Nicole Matthews and joined Cheerleader Melissa as the only two-time Shimmer champions in company history.

Today, she still wrestles for Shimmer and its cousin promotion Shine. She is married to wrestler Ryan Eagles (real name Doug Ryan) and has a brother-in-law in the wrestling business.

Also having a happy 32nd birthday Actually having a 28th birthday this week (it was back on Thursday; he said so himself) is Graeme Stevely, though wrestling fans may know him as Grado.

Born in Stevenston, Scotland, Stevely began his wrestling career in 2002; one of the members of his training class was Drew Galloway (who would go on to somewhat moderate success in WWE and TNA). He debuted as Grant Dunbar for the Scottish Wrestling Alliance as one half of the Lowlanders in 2004. His singles success was limited, but he and Glen Dunbar would win their tag titles twice. He wrestled sporadically for the next decade or so, doubling as lead singer of Prezident Prime, a Scottish metalcore band.

Stevely made a Facebook video as a promotion to boost ticket sales to an SWA event; the video and promos would catch the eye of Insane Championship Wrestling founder Mark Dallas. He hatched a viral campaign to "Get Grado Booked" for an ICW event. The campaign worked, as Grado not only wound up on an ICW show; he would challenge for their heavyweight title against Red Lightning (another of Stevely's training classmates) at Super Smokin' Thunderbowl. Grado had the match and the title, but replay showing Red Lightning's leg was under the rope, forcing a restart. Red Lightning would go on to win the match and retain the title. Grado's journey would be the subject of a VICE documentary, The British Wrestler.

In August 2014, Grado teamed with Colt Cabana as Irn Jew and defeated the New Age Kliq (BT Gunn and Cris Renfrew) to win the ICW Tag Team Championship. They would only hold the title for two weeks before losing them back to the Kliq. Later in the year at the appropriately named GradoMania for Pro Wrestling Elite (named as such because he won the promotion's Elite Rumble match), Grado defeated Dave Mastiff for the PWE Heavyweight Championship. It didn't last long; he would lose it at the next event, Jingle All the Galloway, to Iestyn Rees.

2014 also saw the popular Grado appear on the second season of TNA British Boot Camp. Despite a few stumbles (including being disqualified from the competition for arriving late and being thrown out of two subsequent auditions), Grado made it to the semifinal round before being eliminated. He would face one of the show's trainers, Al Snow during TNA's Maximum Impact tour of the United Kingdom in January 2015. Grado would defeat Snow, and the two would shake hands afterwards.

Though Grado did not win the competition, he would still make it to the roster. He first appeared at the Destination X special in June 2015. Grado attempted to lose weight and do parkour, but was soon informed that the X Division is about no limits, not weight limits. He would defeat Kenny King and Cruz in a three-way match to qualify for the X Division Championship, but would fail to win the title in another three-way bout against Low Ki and the match's winner, Tigre Uno. That summer (though it did not air until late in the year), Grado was entered into the TNA World Title Series in the Team UK block. He went a combined 0-3 against Drew Galloway, Rockstar Spud, and Bram, and would be eliminated from the competition.

During TNA's hiatus, Grado returned to ICW, again challenging for the ICW Heavyweight Championship (renamed the ICW World Heavyweight Championship in February 2015). On November 15, he defeated Drew Galloway at the promotion's signature event, Fear and Loathing VIII.

Grado returned to TNA in January 2016 and would compete in the Feast or Fired match, a Money in the Bank-style match where participants would grab a briefcase containing a guaranteed championship match, but could also grab the case that would get the possessor of it fired. Grado was the first man to grab a case, but he got the booby prize, the pink slip, meaning he was fired from TNA. Unrelated, two days before the match aired, Grado lost the ICW world title to Chris Renfrew, ending his reign at just 70 days; at the time, the shortest world title reign in the company's 10-year history (the mark, ironically, is now held by Renfrew, as he was defeated for the title just five weeks later by Big Damo).

Grado returned to TNA a few weeks later, claiming he was screwed by Eli Drake and he had proof.  Grado returned to the TNA Maximum Impact Tour of the United Kingdom as the masked Odarg the Great, tagging with Mahabali Shera against Drake and Jessie Godderz. The unmasked Grado continued to champion his proof that he was wrongly fired. Once the proof got out, Grado got himself a ladder match against Eli Drake to earn his job back—and he would win. Grado, now employed again, returned to Impact and assisted Shera in a win over Al Snow.

Stevely had a few small acting roles, appearing on BBC Scotland shows Scot Squad and River City and starred in the BBC Two comedy pilot The Sunny. In 2014, Stevely cracked the Pro Wrestling Illiustrated's annual PWI 500 list. In 2015, he moved into the top 400.

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