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This Day in Wrestling History (August 23): Triple H Wins The WWF Championship

this day in wrestling history

19 years ago today, WWF presented two episodes of Friday Night's Main Event from the Rosemont Horizon in Chicago, Illinois.

Airing on August 29 and September 5 in place of RAW is WAR due to USA Network airing the annual US Open tennis tournament, Friday Night’s Main Event was essentially a reboot of the popular 1980s series Saturday Night’s Main Event, meaning the featured bout on the show went on first (to get the most possible viewers, as the shows did air at 11pm at night).

Matches airing on August 29:

  • Vader defeated Bret Hart by disqualification in a WWF Championship match.
  • Goldust defeated Salvatore Sincere.
  • Dude Love defeated Rockabilly.
  • Road Warrior Hawk defeated The British Bulldog by disqualification.
  • The Disciples Of Apocalypse (Chainz & Crush) and The Nation Of Domination (Faarooq & Rocky Maivia) fought to a double countout.
  • Taka Michinoku defeated Jerry Lynn.
  • The Truth Commission (Recon & Sniper) defeated The Head Bangers (Mosh & Thrasher).

Matches airing on September 5:

  • The Patriot defeated Owen Hart by disqualification.
  • Dude Love defeated The British Bulldog by disqualification.
  • The Undertaker defeated Hunter Hearst Helmsley by disqualification.
  • The Legion Of Doom (Road Warrior Animal & Road Warrior Hawk) defeated Los Boricuas (Jesus Castillo & Jose Estrada) by disqualification.
  • Ken Shamrock defeated Salvatore Sincere by submission.
  • Scott Putski defeated Steve Casey.
  • The Interrogator defeated Jerry Fox & Sonny Rogers in a handicap match.
  • In a post-show dark match, The Undertaker defeated Bret Hart by disqualification in a WWF Championship match.

17 years ago today on WCW Monday Nitro from Las Vegas, Nevada (WWE Network link), the West Texas Rednecks (Barry and Kendall Windham) defeated Harlem Heat (Booker T & Stevie Ray) to win the WCW World Tag Team Championship.

The biggest stories from that Nitro come away from the ring. First, a few hours before the show airs, Scott Levy, best known to wrestling fans as Raven, walks out on WCW.

The walkout stems from a talent-wide meeting held by WCW President Eric Bischoff concerning the morale of WCW. Several members of the roster were singled out in the meeting, including Raven. The meeting concluded with Bischoff offering a release to anyone that wanted it. Though some thought about it, only Raven, who reportedly was making $275,000 a year, took the deal.

It was a conditional release, however: Levy could go to the WWF, but only after one year. He used this loophole to go back to the promotion that made him a superstar, ECW. On August 24, 2000, the earliest possible date he could go to the WWF, Levy returned to the WWF as Raven (he had a previous run there in the early 1990s as Johnny Polo).

Second, the show was main-evented not by a match, but by a musical performance from legendary rock band KISS. The song they performed, “God of Thunder”, ended with the debut of the KISS Demon. The Demon was originally played by Brian Adams, but the gimmick was soon passed to Dale Torborg.

To say that the KISS Demon would be one of the biggest disasters in wrestling history would be an understatement. First off, the deal for a KISS-themed wrestler was made heavily leveraged in favor of the band. The group got all imaging and merchandising rights, meaning WCW would have a tough time making any money off the character. The Demon was mandated to be a main-eventer, and was to be the first of a “KISS Army” of wrestlers (based on the band member’s alter egos), with the storyline culminating at the New Year’s Eve WCW PPV New Year’s Evil.

Second, the band received a reported $500,000 to perform two songs on the show. (It’s not the first time a musical act got paid that year by WCW; rap group Master P and the No Limit Soldiers and rock group Megadeth also performed that summer).

Now here’s where the disaster really kicks in: the band only played one song that night—in the show’s final segment. No problem, you’re probably thinking. The play backfires: the segment goes down as one of the lowest-rated in Nitro history (the lowest ever according to Dean Malenko).

The KISS Demon experiment was abandoned almost immediately, especially when just a few weeks later, Eric Bischoff was ousted as WCW President. However, they still had to make the Demon a main-eventer (the contract said so). How did they get around it? They made The Demon’s PPV debut—which didn’t come until SuperBrawl 2000 (New Year’s Evil was cancelled following Bischoff’s firing—the band still got paid), a “special main event”. He was defeated by The Wall.

17 years ago today on RAW is WAR from Ames, Iowa (WWE Network link), Triple H defeated Mankind to win the WWF Championship. Shane McMahon was the special referee.

It’s not the only title change on the show; Mark Henry is awarded the WWF European Championship by Jeff Jarrett one day after Henry turned on D-Lo Brown and helped Jarrett unify the European and Intercontinental titles. It would be Henry’s first championship in the WWF—and his last until he won the ECW Championship in 2008.

The show features a pair of debuts: Stacy Carter debuts as Miss Kitty, the personal assistant for Jeff Jarrett’s manager Debra. Carter was soon renamed The Kat and managed Chyna before she went solo. Carter was released from the WWF in February 2001; out of protest, Carter’s husband, Jerry Lawler, quit the company.

Also debuting is radio show host Lilian Garcia. Garcia would be the WWF’s first full-time female ring announcer since Mike McGuirk in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Garcia would remain with the company for most of the next fifteen years, including ten in a row from 1999 to 2009 (the first female to appear on screen for the company for ten consecutive years). Her second run with the company, which began in December 2011, ended earlier this month when she left to care for her ailing father.

6 years ago today, WWE presented Summerslam (WWE Network link) from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. 14,116 were in attendance, with 369,000 homes watching on PPV, which was down from 477,000 in 2008.

This would be the first of six consecutive Summerslam events to be hosted at the Staples Center. The event was the return of The Undertaker, making his first PPV appearance since Wrestlemania 25.

  • In a preshow dark match, Beth Phoenix last eliminated Kelly Kelly and Eve Torres to win a 15-diva battle royal. Other participants were Mickie James, Layla, Gail Kim, Alicia Fox, Jillian Hall, Melina, Rosa Mendes, Brie Bella, Nikki Bella, Katie Lea Burchill, Natalya, and Maria. Chavo Guerrero was the special referee.
  • Rey Mysterio defeated Dolph Ziggler to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
  • Montel Vontavious Porter defeated Jack Swagger.
  • Jeri-Show (Big Show and Chris Jericho) defeated Cryme Tyme (JTG and Shad Gaspard) to retain the WWE Unified Tag Team Championship.
  • Kane defeated The Great Khali.
  • D-Generation X (Triple H and Shawn Michaels) defeated Legacy (Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase).
  • Christian defeated William Regal in just eight seconds to retain the ECW Championship. The win breaks the record for fastest win in Summerslam history by 17 seconds, set by Chris Benoit over Orlando Jordan in 2005. The record would be tied in 2013 when Randy Orton cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase to defeat Daniel Bryan in eight seconds for the WWE Championship.
  • Randy Orton defeated John Cena to retain the WWE Championship. The match had three restarts after Orton (1) was disqualified, (2) was counted out, and (3) had an illegal pin.
  • CM Punk defeated Jeff Hardy in a tables, ladders, and chairs match to win the World Heavyweight Championship.

1 year ago today, WWE presented Summerslam (WWE Network link) from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

  • Sheamus defeated Randy Orton.
  • The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) defeated the Prime Time Players (Darren Young & Titus O'Neil), the Lucha Dragons (Kalisto & Sin Cara) and Los Matadores (Diego & Fernando) in a fatal four-way match to win the WWE Tag Team Championship.
  • Dolph Ziggler and Rusev fought to a double countout.
  • Stephen Amell & Neville defeated Stardust & Wade Barrett.
  • Ryback defeated The Big Show and The Miz in a triple threat match to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
  • Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose defeated Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper.
  • Seth Rollins defeated John Cena in a winner-take-all match to unify the WWE World Heavyweight and United States Championships. Rollins’ WWE Championship was also at stake.
  • PCB (Paige, Charlotte and Becky Lynch) defeated Team Bella (The Bella Twins and Alicia Fox) and Team B.A.D. (Tamina, Sasha Banks and Naomi) in a three team elimination match.
  • Kevin Owens defeated Cesaro.
  • The Undertaker defeated Brock Lesnar by submission.

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