clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

This Day in Wrestling History (August 19): The Perfect Storm

this day in wrestling history

41 years ago today, Christos Theofilou, aka Christopher Theophelus, best known as “The Golden Greek” Jim Londos dies of a heart attack in Escondido, California. He was 78.

Born January 2, 1897 in Argos, Greece, the youngest child of thirteen left his home and family behind at 13 (his mom wanted him to be a priest, while his dad wanted him to be a soldier) and emigrated to the United States. He worked odd jobs to make ends meet including cabin boy, electrician, construction, nude modeling, and carnival acrobat catcher. It was during his carnival period he learned of the art of professional wrestling.

After initially wrestling as working man "The Wrestling Plasterer" Christopher Theophelus, he wrestled under the name Jim Londos. He compensated for his lack of in-ring ability by relying on his good looks and muscular physique and purposely took on the ugliest opponents he could find. The promotional tactic worked, and Londos became one of the most popular wrestlers of the Great Depression era. At the height of his popularity, he wrestled in front of nearly 100,000 fans in his native Greece.

Londos retired in 1946 and went into charity work, most notably dealing with Greek war orphans during and after World War II. He was honored by President Nixon and King Paul of Greece. Londos died of a heart attack in Escondido, California on August 19, 1975. He was 78. At the time of his death, he was survived by his wife and three children.

Londos was posthumously honored in 1996 as a charter member of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame, and was a charter member of the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame’s Pioneer Era wing in 2002.

27 years ago today, TBS airs a rerun of World Championship Wrestling.

No, seriously.

TBS re-airs the July 29 episode of World Championship Wrestling (the show that predated WCW Saturday Night, but airing at the same time). On the episode that never aired, Rick Steiner and Steiner superfan Robin Green go out on their first date (Green would clean herself up quite nicely as Woman the next week).

Also on the episode, Ric Flair breaks Dick Slater's arm using Terry Funk's branding iron following a Sting-Slater match. And to top off this comedy of errors, the show's main event is never recorded, and an emergency taping had to be held three days later.

A hell of a way to begin the tenure of Ric Flair as the head booker of WCW.

26 years ago today in Tokyo, Japan, Riki Choshu defeated Big Van Vader to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.

17 years ago today at a Thunder taping in Lubbock, Texas, Lenny Lane defeated Rey Mysterio Jr. to win the WCW Cruiserweight Championship.

It would be Lane's one and only championship in a major wrestling promotion. He would be stripped of the title six weeks later due to WCW's parent company Time Warner's concerns over Lane's homosexual gimmick. The title was "phantom switched" to Psicosis in early October, who would then lose it that night to Disco Inferno.

15 years ago today, WWE presented Summerslam (WWE Network link) from the Compaq Center in San Jose, California. 15,293 were in attendance, with 565,000 homes watching on PPV, a slight dip from 570,000 from 2000's edition.

  • In a Sunday Night Heat preshow match, Jacqueline, Molly Holly, and Lita defeated Stacy Keibler, Torrie Wilson, and Ivory.
  • Edge defeated Lance Storm to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship.
  • Test and The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) defeated Spike Dudley and The APA (Faarooq and Bradshaw).
  • X-Pac defeated Tajiri to unify the WWF Light Heavyweight and WCW Cruiserweight Championships. WWF would use the Cruiserweight Championship going forward until its deactivation in 2007.
  • Chris Jericho defeated Rhyno via submission.
  • Rob Van Dam defeated Jeff Hardy in a ladder match to win the WWF Hardcore Championship.
  • The Undertaker and Kane defeated Diamond Dallas Page and Kanyon in a steel cage match to unify the WWF and WCW Tag Team Championships.
  • Kurt Angle defeated Stone Cold Steve Austin via disqualification in a WWF Championship match.
  • The Rock defeated Booker T to win the WCW Championship.

14 years ago today on RAW from Norfolk, Virginia (WWE Network link), Bradshaw defeated Tommy Dreamer to win the WWE Hardcore Championship. He loses it moments later to Crash Holly, who then loses it moments later back to Dreamer. After two and a half years and more than 217 title changes, the WWE Hardcore Championship 24/7 rule is discontinued.

The championship would itself be discontinued the next week when Rob Van Dam unifies it with the Intercontinental Championship.

6 years ago today, Jim Kettner announces his retirement from wrestling just five days after his final show.

Kettner was the longtime promoter and booker of the Delaware-based East Coast Wrestling Association and the man that created one of the most prestigious tournaments on the independent circuit, the ECWA Super 8 Tournament, held annually since 1999 (usually in April).

Past winners include former ROH World Champions Christopher Daniels, Davey Richards, Low Ki, and Jerry Lynn, former TNA X Division Champion Petey Williams, former ROH World Television Champion Tommaso Ciampa, and WWE tag team champion Austin Creed. Napalm Bomb won the 20th anniversary tournament this past April.

4 years ago today, WWE presented Summerslam (WWE Network link) from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. 14,205 were in attendance, with 350,000 homes watching on PPV, up from 311,000 in 2011.

  • In a preshow match, Antonio Cesaro defeated Santino Marella to win the WWE United States Championship.
  • Chris Jericho defeated Dolph Ziggler.
  • Daniel Bryan defeated Kane.
  • The Miz defeated Rey Mysterio to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
  • Sheamus defeated Alberto Del Rio to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.
  • Kofi Kingston & R-Truth defeated Primetime Players (Darren Young & Titus O'Neil) to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship.
  • CM Punk defeated Big Show and John Cena in a triple threat match to retain the WWE Championship.
  • Brock Lesnar defeated Triple H via submission.

3 years ago today, two men go on the disabled list on RAW from Anaheim, California. During the show's opening segment, John Cena announces he will be undergoing surgery on a torn triceps muscle and will miss four to six months. Cena returns in just two months.

Later in the show, Luis Urive, aka the original Sin Cara, suffers broken fingers in his right hand after hitting a dive on Alberto Del Rio. The match was immediately stopped, with Del Rio declared the winner. It would be Urive's last televised match in the WWE. He would return on the Mexico tour in October before announcing his intention to leave the company a few months later. Urive would be released about two weeks before Wrestlemania XXX.

It’s a happy 50th birthday today to Lilian Annette Garcia.

Born in Spain, she describes herself as a military brat, spending most of her early childhood in Spain due to her father's employment with an American embassy. It was in Spain she developed her singing talents, participating in singing competitions starting at age five.

After graduating cum laude at the University of South Carolina, Lilian moved on to radio as one half of a popular morning show duo with Chuck Finley. She was also a VJ and afternoon drive-time host in Atlanta before landing in WWF in 1999.

Lilian made her television debut on the August 23, 1999 RAW is WAR just days after her 33rd birthday, and began singing at WWF house shows in February 2000. Her first televised singing performance came at Wrestlemania 2000. Her standout performance came in 2001 on a live Smackdown following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The next year, she cracked the Billboard Hot 100 with "Shout". Lilian also sang entrance themes for Torrie Wilson and herself during her tenure.

Lilian was more than just a ring announcer in her initial run; she was involved in angles with Jeff Jarrett, The Kat, Howard Finkel, Viscera, and Charlie Haas. Just before her first departure from WWE in September 2009, Lilian was nicknamed "The Decade Diva", becoming the first woman to appear on WWE programming on camera for ten straight years.

Post-retirement, she got married, worked on a second album, appeared at the 2011 Grammy Awards, sang the National Anthem for all four major sports leagues in the US, and briefly hosted a podcast. Save for a couple of one-off appearances, Lilian remained retired from WWE until December 2011 when she became the ring announcer for Smackdown and Main Event. Following the release of fellow ring announcer Justin Roberts in October 2014, Lilian once again assumed the ring announcing duties for RAW.

Lilian was WWE’s oldest active female performer until earlier this month when the longtime announcer left the company to care for her father, who is battling two forms of cancer.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats