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This Day in Wrestling History (July 29): The nWo Takes Over Disneyworld

39 years ago today in Richmond, Virginia, Ric Flair defeated Bobo Brazil to win the NWA United States Championship.

25 years ago today at an WWF Superstars of Wrestling taping in Worcester, Massachusetts, Bobby Heenan announces that Ric Flair was coming to the WWF. Heenan was carrying the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.

20 years ago, WCW presented Nitro from the Disney/MGM Studios in Orlando, Florida (WWE Network link).

In a featured bout, Sting, Randy Savage, and Lex Luger versus The Horsemen (Ric Flair, Chris Benoit, and Steve McMichael) went to a no contest. The story was after the match: Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, two-thirds of the New World Order, wreaked havoc backstage, taking out Arn Anderson, Marcus Bagwell, Scotty Riggs, and most notably, Rey Mysterio Jr. when he leaped off a trailer into the waiting arms of Nash, who then threw him head first to a trailer like a lawn dart. Savage jumped on a top of the getaway limo just as Hall and Nash were escaping. Unfortunately for the live crowd, they missed most of the chaos, and very audible chants of "boring" rang through the crowd. Even nearby residents were confused, as cops were called to sort the whole thing out.

Also of note, the very first nWo "Paid Announcement" comes on this episode.

  • Hacksaw Jim Duggan defeated Mike Enos.
  • Sting, Randy Savage, and Lex Luger versus The Horsemen (Ric Flair, Chris Benoit, and Steve McMichael) went to a no contest.
  • The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott) defeated High Voltage (Rage & Kaos). The American Males were the original opponents for the Steiners.
  • Eddie Guerrero defeated Big Bubba. Rey Mysterio was the original opponent for Guerrero.
  • The Giant defeated Greg Valentine. Arn Anderson was the original opponent for the Giant, making the subs for the evening a perfect 0-3.

The Rock Vs. Ric Flair by Rocky_TheRock_Maivia

14 years ago today on RAW from Greensboro, North Carolina (WWE Network link), two championships change hands.

First, Chris Benoit defeated Rob Van Dam to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship.

Second the WWE Hardcore Championship changes hands three times in less than a minute: Jeff Hardy defeated Bradshaw to win the WWE Hardcore Championship, who then loses the belt to Johnny Stamboli, who then loses the belt to Tommy Dreamer.

In the main event, WWE Undisputed Champion The Rock defeated Ric Flair in their first ever televised singles meeting.

1 year ago today at an Impact taping at Universal Orlando, the Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards) defeated Brian Myers & Trevor Lee to win the TNA World Tag Team Championship.

On the same taping, Gail Kim defeated Awesome Kong, Brooke Tessmacher, and Lei'd Tapa to win the TNA Knockouts Championship.

The taping ended with Team TNA (Bobby Lashley, Bram, The Wolves, and Drew Galloway) defated Team Global Force Wrestling (Brian Myers, Chris Mordetsky, Eric Young, Jeff Jarrett, and Sonjay Dutt) in a "Winner Take All" Lethal Lockdown match. The win gave full control TNA to Dixie Carter, ending the TNA-GFW invasion angle at just two and a half months.

It's a happy 54th birthday to Scott Carl Rechsteiner, but wrestling fans know him as Scott Steiner.

Best known as one half of the Steiner Brothers with his older brother Rick, Scott's one of the most successful tag team wrestlers in history. Scott is a 12-time world tag team champion (11 of them across three different promotions with his brother Rick), the next-to-last Triple Crown champion in WCW history (having won the WCW world, tag team, and United States titles), and a two-time WCW World Television Champion.

Scott also was a huge success in the amateur ranks. Wrestling at 190 pounds as a freshman, he was a three-time Big Ten Conference runner-up and a Division I All-American his senior year, when he finished sixth in the nationals.

In perhaps a tale of two careers, Scott has both a Best Match of the Year and a Worst Match of the Year award from Wrestling Observer Newsletter (best match as part of the WarGames match at WrestleWar '91; worst match against Triple H at the 2003 Royal Rumble). In 2014, he along with his brother Rick joined the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame.

I could show you a highlight video of his more awesome, less crazy daysOr his more crazy days as Big Poppa Pump. But you want the Steiner Math promo. So here you go.

Today would have been the 83rd birthday of Louis Vincent Albano, or simply "Captain" Lou Albano.

Born to Italian-American parents in Rome, Italy, Lou was one of nine children in their family, four of whom would die before adulthood. Albano was a two sport athlete in high school and was captain of the football team, which is how he got the nickname that would stick with him through his entire career. He received full scholarship offers from over 30 different schools before deciding on the University of Tennessee. However, poor behavior and cheating on a final exam got him kicked out of college. He joined the Army, but an injury from his childhood aggravated from his football playing got him honorably discharged after just eight months.

Against his father's wishes, Lou tried his hand at boxing, but through family friend and distant cousin Lou Duva (THAT Lou Duva), Lou tried wrestling at the suggestion of boxing promoter (and future WWWF president) Willie Glizenberg. Trained by Soldier Barry, Albano broke into the wrestling business in 1952. Beginning as babyface "Leaping" Lou Albano, he became more established after getting cut on his forehead in a non-wrestling related incident. Lou purposefully decided to not let the scar heel, and the "Mount Vernon Mauler" was born. Glitzenberg then introduced Albano to Capitol Wrestling Corporation's Vince McMahon, Sr., a relationship that would run for the remainder of his career. His singles success was minimal, but he found success on the tag team circuit with Tony Altomare, winning tag team championships in 1961 and 1967. Lou also found himself in a bit of hot water as Albano and Altomare were portraying a Sicilian mafia gimmick, and when the actual Chicago mafia caught wind of it, they were asked to not refer to themselves as "mafia".

In 1970, Bruno Sammartino suggested that Albano would be better served as a manager, as he was limited as a wrestler, but gold on the microphone. The decision would end the ten-year tag team partnership with Altomare, but the two remained close friends until Tony's death in 2003. Albano's first managerial job was with promising wrestler Oscar "Crusher" Verdu. Albano's ability to rile up audiences led to a Madison Square Garden main event in June 1970. The event would be a sellout for the building, at the time, the first in five years for a wrestling event. The feud brought consecutive record-breaking gates for the Garden, and although Verdi would be shifted to the background, it put the bombastic Albano on the map as the top heel manager in the WWWF.

Lou was the manager for Ivan Koloff when he ended the seven-year championship run of Bruno Sammartino. After the match, Koloff and Albano were rushed out of the building to a nearby cab as the crowd, which was silent in the moments immediately after the bout, began to riot. An angry mob surrounded the cab, so Albano, his wife, and a family friend rushed to a nearby bar, and the angry mob threw mud and objects at the bar. It cost Vince McMahon, Sr. some $27,000 in damages (over $150,000 a lot of damage), but it proved Albano was a hell of a heat magnet.

Koloff would lose the WWWF Championship just three weeks later, and Lou would never again manage a world heavyweight champion despite spending more than a decade trying to do so. He would manage a pair of Intercontinental champions in Don Muraco and Greg Valentine, and manage fifteen teams to the WWF Tag Team Championship, including the Valiant Brothers, the Wild Samoans, the Blackjacks, the Moondogs, the US Express, the British Bulldogs, and the Headshrinkers.

Albano's wrestling career high came in the 1980s as a part of the "Rock ‘n Wrestling Connection". Albano after meeting Cyndi Lauper (and through the suggestion of Lauper's manager David Wolff) appeared in the "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" video as the singer's father. His character would carry over to WWF television where Albano would run down Lauper's success, and Cyndi hit Lou with a purse. The duo settled their differences via proxies at The Brawl to End it All in July 1984. The Wendi Richter-Fabulous Moolah match (which was also for the WWF Womens Championship) would be the most watched show in MTV history at the time. Lauper's charge Richter defeated Albano's charge Moolah via the "loaded purse of doom".

Around the time of the event, Albano became involved in multiple charities, most notably those dealing with multiple sclerosis. His away from the ring involvement with rival Lauper turned him face pretty much by default after more than 30 years as a heel. While giving an award to Lauper, Lou and David Wolff were attacked by Cowboy Bob Orton and Roddy Piper, with Hulk Hogan breaking up the fracas. The events would lead to Albano getting back in the ring at The War to Settle the Score in January 1985, which would in turn lead to the first Wrestlemania a couple months later.

Lou would leave the WWF in 1986 and returned briefly in 1994, but would make many television and movie appearances into the 1990s, most famously as Mario on the Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, based on the Super Mario Bros. series of games. He had cameos in 227Hey DudeMiami Vice, and a recurring spot on the 1980s version of Hollywood Squares. He played a bad guy version of himself in the wrestling movie Body Slam and has a role in Wise Guys.

In addition to appearing in "Girls Just Want to Have Fun", Captain Lou would appear in three other Cyndi Lauper music videos and Cyndi would write the foreword for Albano's autobiography Often Imitated, Never Duplicated in 2008.

Lou at the time of his death, he was survived by his wife of 56 years Geri (whom he stayed faithful to-a rarity among wrestlers of his era), four children, and fourteen grandchildren. Albano is a member of the WWE Hall of Fame class of 1996, the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame class of 2009, and the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame class of 2012.

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