62 years ago today in Atlanta, Georgia, June Byers defeated Mildred Burke to win the NWA World Women’s Championship.
The best two-out-of-three falls match with a one hour time limit ended while the second fall was in progress. With Byers up a fall when the time expired, she was awarded the championship.
Two things: (1) this was an actual match. As in a legit shoot match. (2) It didn’t count in Burke’s mind (or the NWA’s for that matter, as it wasn’t a sanctioned title at the time). Burke soon formed the World Women’s Wrestling Association, with herself as the first champion. That championship would become the top championship of All Japan Women’s Wrestling from 1970 to 2005.
Byers retired two years later as champion, and the Fabulous Moolah would win the title in Baltimore in September 1956, setting off a chain of events that would dramatically alter women’s wrestling in the country.
53 years ago today in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Crusher and Dick the Bruser defeated the Kalmikoffs (Ivan and Karol) to win the AWA World Tag Team Championship. Crusher and Dick the Bruiser would go on to win the AWA tag titles five times together.
21 years ago today in Kawasaki, Japan, Cactus Jack defeated Terry Funk in a no ropes, exploding barbed wire, and exploding ring timebomb match to win the International Wrestling Association Japan King of the Death Match Tournament. WARNING: THE ABOVE VIDEO IS NOT SUITABLE FOR ALL VIEWERS.
The show, known also as Kawasaki Dream, was the high-water mark for the Japanese independent. Despite not having a TV deal, 28,757 people were in attendance, collecting over $1.2 million at the gate.
It was all downhill from here though; Victor Quiñones, the founder of IWA-Japan, left the promotion a few months later, and by the next year, most of its talent followed Victor out the door. The promotion would fold by the end of 1996. IWA Japan rebooted in 2011, but folded again in 2014 when its founder retired.
20 years ago today at a WCW Saturday Night taping in Dalton, Georgia, Lord Steven Regal defeated Lex Luger to win the WCW World Television Championship.
15 years ago today on RAW is WAR from Sacramento, California (WWE Network link), Sara defeated Diamond Dallas Page. This is the only ever match for the then-wife of the Undertaker.
The show is best remembered for Kurt Angle spoiling “Austin Appreciation Night” by hosing the Alliance with milk, leading Jim Ross to spout the iconic line, “The billion dollar princess has become a dairy queen!”
13 years ago today at an NWA-TNA weekly PPV taping in Nashville, Tennessee, Michael Shane defeated Chris Sabin and Frankie Kazarian in an Ultimate X match to win the TNA X Division Championship.
10 years ago today, WWE presented Summerslam (WWE Network link) from the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. 16,168 were in attendance, with 541,000 homes watching on PPV. That's down over 100,000 from the 2005 edition. It featured the final WWE match of Hulk Hogan.
- In a preshow dark match, Carlito defeated Rob Conway.
- Chavo Guerrero defeated Rey Mysterio.
- The Big Show defeated Sabu to retain the ECW Championship.
- Hulk Hogan defeated Randy Orton.
- Ric Flair defeated Mick Foley in an I Quit match.
- Batista defeated King Booker via disqualification in a World Heavyweight Championship match.
- D-Generation X (Shawn Michaels & Triple H defeated Shane McMahon & Vince McMahon.
- Edge defeated John Cena to retain the WWE Championship. Edge could have lost the championship if he were counted out or got himself intentionally disqualified.
9 years ago today, WWE announces that Ashley Massaro would participate in the fall 2007 edition of Survivor (Survivor: China). She didn't get far, lasting just two episodes before she was eliminated.
8 years ago today, citing financial reasons, Gail Kim leaves TNA after three years with the company.
Kim's first run with the company was most noted for being the first ever TNA Knockouts Champion. Her final match with the company (at the time) aired the next night. She would return to TNA in 2011 after a disappointing two-year return in WWE.
6 years ago today, Jimmy Saied Wehba, best known to wrestling fans as Skandar Akbar, dies of prostate cancer in Garland, Texas. He was 75.
Born September 29, 1934 in Vernon, Texas to a Lebanese father and Syrian (but naturalized) mother, Jimmy, the youngest of three children in a Catholic family, began his career wrestling under his real name in 1963. At the suggestion of Fritz Von Erich, Wehba changed his named to Skandor Akbar, which was Arabic for Alexander the Great. He would wrestle for more than a decade, most notably for Mid-South Sports, NWA Tri-State, the WWWF, and Australian World Championship Wrestling.
Akbar retired from in-ring competition in 1977 and turned to managing, mainly in the Texas territory. He managed many versions of Devastation, Inc. for World Class Championship Wrestling, Mid-South Wrestling (later the Universal Wrestling Federation), and World Wrestling Council. His most notable traits were his lit cigars, harassing fans, and the occasional fireball. Akbar also briefly managed Kevin Von Erich for the Global Wrestling before Von Erich's retirement in 1995. Akbar at one point also managed Abdullah the Butcher, Cactus Jack, Dustin Runnels, Steve Austin, Ted DiBiase, and The Punisher (who would go on to have somewhat moderate success as The Undertaker).
Akbar still made frequent appearances on the independent circuit in his final years and appeared in two video releases chronicling the history of World Class Championship Wrestling in the mid-2000s.
Wehba, who lived in the same home in Garland for forty years, died at Baylor Medical Center in Garland following complications from a fall earlier that summer. At the time of his death, he was survived by a sister, a son, a stepdaughter, and a grandchild.
6 years ago today, Serena Deeb was released from WWE.
Her release, which wasn’t announced until four days later, caused quite a bit of controversy. Why? It turned out she was far from “straight-edge”; she was busted for drinking in a bar.
Deeb wrestled largely on the independent circuit for the next five years (save for a couple of appearances for TNA and an 18-month hiatus due to a severe concussion). Serena retired in July 2015.
The above video is Deeb's only WWE match, which aired three days after her announced release.
5 years ago today, Matt Hardy was arrested and subsequently released from TNA. Hardy was arrested following a single-car accident where he hit a tree.
Matt, who was alone in the car at the time, was showing "obvious signs of impairment" according to the North Carolina state trooper that arrested him. Though he walked away uninjured, he was charged with driving while intoxicated. TMZ first reported Hardy's release from TNA through an unnamed spokesperson. Hardy was on indefinite suspension from the company following a video he posted where the Hardys used a taser on Matt's then girlfriend (now wife) Reby Sky. There were plans for the Hardys to reunite at Bound for Glory that October.
Though Hardy briefly retired (he announced his retirement two weeks later), Matt returned to the independent circuit in May 2012. He joined Ring of Honor soon after, and returned to TNA in July 2014.
1 year ago today, John Cena grants his 500th wish on Today.
The longtime Make-a-Wisher holds the charity’s record for most wishes granted. The recepient of his 500th wish is Rocco, an eight-year old boy fighting leukemia. He was given tickets to that weekend’s Summerslam.
It’s a happy 52nd birthday to Terri Poch, best known as the WWF's Tori.
Born in Portland, Oregon, she began her pro wrestling career for Pacific Northwest Wrestling in 1988 as a valet for Scotty the Body under the name Taylor Made. She joined the Ladies Professional Wrestling Association in 1990 as Terri Power and won the LPWA Championship in 1992. She would be the promotion's last champion as the promotion disbanded shortly thereafter. She briefly competed for All-Japan Women's Pro Wrestling in 1992 and 1993 before semi-retiring.
She would remain out of the wrestling spotlight until joining the WWF in late 1998 as Tori, an obsessed fan of WWF Womens Champion Sable. Tori tried to get Sable's respect, but Sable kept degrading her, leading to a feud that would culminate at Wrestlemania XV, where she unsuccessfully challenged Sable for the title. She would feud with Jacqueline and Ivory through the spring and summer, highlighted by Ivory versus Tori in the first ever WWF women's hardcore match in September.
She would return in November and become the on-screen girlfriend of Kane, who was embroiled in a feud with X-Pac at the time. In January, Tori would turn heel on Kane and join D-Generation X, and in March helped Stephanie McMahon defeat Jacqueline for the WWF Womens Championship. Her feud with Kane ended at Wrestlemania 2000 when Kane pinned X-Pac and Rikishi gave her a stinkface. She would be a part of a feud with the Dudley Boyz, which ended with her going through a table at King of the Ring in June.
After a brief run as the masked Black Ninja, an assistant for Raven in his hardcore title defenses in early 2001, she became a trainer for Tough Enough before being released. After a one-off comeback in May 2011, she ran her own yoga studio in Portland.