26 years ago today, the American Wrestling Association ran its final television taping ever at the Rochester Civic Center in Rochester, Minnesota.
It was a rough ending for what was once one of the leading wrestling organizations in this country. In recent years, the promotion reduced their schedule to only TV tapings and the occasional house show, and in 1989, they moved their TV tapings to their home base of Minnesota. But the AWA was hardly a priority for its television partner ESPN; they would often be moved or pre-empted in favor of live sports programming.
- Larry Zbyszko defeated Harley Race via disqualification in an AWA World Heavyweight Championship match.
- DJ Peterson & The Trooper defeated Destruction Crew (Mike Enos & Wayne Bloom) to win the AWA Tag Team Championship. Peterson and The Trooper would be the final team to hold the titles.
- Buck Zumhofe defeated Jonnie Stewart to win the vacated AWA Light Heavyweight Championship.
- Jake Milliman won a battle royal to give Larry's Legends the victory in the AWA Team Challenge Series and $1 million.
25 years ago today in Tokyo, Japan, Masahiro Chono defeated Keiji Mutoh in the final match to win the 1991 G1 Climax tournament.
In an interesting bit of trivia, pillows were sold to make seating more comfortable for patrons at Sumo Hall at the event (at the time, the seating was basically made of boxes). Fans were so enthralled by the match, they threw the pillows in the ring when it ended (in addition to your usual streamers).
It’s not the first time they did it; they did it a night earlier when Mutoh defeated Big Van Vader to clinch a berth in the final. The Japan Sumo Association, which owns Sumo Hall, weren’t amused: in response, they banned pillows from all pro wrestling events held in the building going forward.
19 years ago today on RAW is WAR in Biloxi, Mississippi (WWE Network link), Ravishing Rick Rude returns to the WWF as Shawn Michaels’ “insurance policy”.
Rude, who was actually collecting an insurance policy just before before his return from Lloyds of London, was last seen in the WWF in October 1990, shortly after finishing his feud with The Ultimate Warrior. Rude was set to feud with the Big Boss Man at the time of his departure.
He then spent a year on the independent circuit and All Japan Pro Wrestling before turning up in WCW as The Halloween Phantom at Halloween Havoc in October 1991. Rude was a member of the Dangerous Alliance and would win the WCW united States Championship. He would add the WCW International Heavyweight Championship in 1993. Rude retired after injuring his back in May 1994.
Rude’s WWF comeback was a brief one; just three months later, he left WWF for good in protest of the events of the Montreal Screwjob.
14 years ago today in Tokyo, Japan, Masahiro Chono defeated Yoshihiro Takayama in the final to win the 2002 G1 Climax tournament. It would be the fourth time Chono's won the tournament, a company record, and his first since 1994. He would add a fifth in 2005.
12 years ago today at an NWA-TNA weekly PPV from Nashville, Tennessee, Petey Williams last eliminated Amazing Red to win a 22-man Gauntlet for the Gold for the TNA X Division Championship.
Other participants in the match were AJ Styles, Chris Sabin, Chris Vaughn, Collyer, D-Ray 3000, Jason Cross, Jerrelle Clark, Jerry Lynn, Joey Matthews, Kazarian, Kid Kash, LA Par-K, Michael Shane, Mikey Batts, Nigel McGuinness, NOSAWA, Psicosis, Shark Boy, and Sonjay Dutt.
8 years ago today on RAW from Richmond, Virginia, Legacy (Ted DiBiase & Cody Rhodes) defeated Batista and John Cena to regain the World Tag Team Championship.
5 years ago today in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, Alan Scott LeDoux died from complications of ALS. He was 62.
Born January 7, 1949 in Crosby-Ironton, Minnesota, "The Fighting Frenchman" had a solid boxing career, going 33-13-4 in 50 professional fights. LeDoux fought some top boxers of the time, including Ken Norton, Leon Spinks, George Foreman, Larry Holmes, and Frank Bruno. He also fought an exhibition against Muhammad Ali and sparred for Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis. Perhaps his most famous of his knockouts was an unofficial one. Following a loss to Johnny Boudreaux in 1977, LeDoux errantly shoved ABC broadcaster Howard Cosell and knocked his toupee and headset off.
In his later years in combat sports, he served as a commentator and referee for the American Wrestling Association. He worked as a boxing analyst for ESPN before being elected as Anoka County commissioner in 2004. In 2006, he was the first executive director of the Minnesota Combative Sports Commission and was the honorary chair of the American Cancer Society. Three years after his diagnosis with ALS, he died of the illness. LeDoux also may have suffered a form of Dementia Pugilistica, or boxer's syndrome.
At the time of his death, he was survived by his second wife (his first wife died in 1996), two sisters, two children, a stepdaughter, and four grandchildren.
4 years ago today, Ring of Honor presented Boiling Point from the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, Rhode Island.
- In a preshow dark match, The Bravado Brothers (Harlem Bravado & Lancelot Bravado) defeated Jorge Santi & Mike Sydal
- Roderick Strong defeated Mike Mondo.
- QT Marshall defeated Antonio Thomas, Matt Taven, and Vinny Marseglia in a four corners survival match.
- Adam Cole defeated Bob Evans in a Proving Ground match.
- Charlie Haas defeated Michael Elgin.
- The Briscoes (Jay Briscoe & Mark Briscoe) defeated SCUM (Jimmy Jacobs & Steve Corino).
- Jay Lethal defeated Tommaso Ciampa 2-1 in a best of three falls match.
- Eddie Edwards & Sara Del Rey defeated Maria Kanellis & Mike Bennett. It was the final ROH appearance for Sara Del Rey, as she had signed a deal with WWE to serve as a trainer for their Performance Center a month earlier.
- Kevin Steen defeated Eddie Kingston to retain the ROH World Championship.