32 years ago today in Las Vegas, Nevada, The Road Warriors (Hawk and Animal) defeated The Crusher and Baron Von Raschke to win the AWA World Tag Team Championship.
25 years ago today in Atlanta, Georgia, Sting defeated Stunning Steve Austin in the finals of a one-night tournament to win the vacated WCW United States Championship.
The title was vacated when Lex Luger won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship at the Great American Bash a month earlier.
21 years ago today in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, 2 Cold Scorpio defeated Eddie Guerrero to win the ECW World Television Championship.
19 years ago today on WCW Monday Nitro from Columbia, South Carolina (WWE Network link), Martin Lunde, best known to wrestling fans as Arn Anderson, announces his retirement from professional wrestling at age 38.
Beginning his career at Southeastern Championship Wrestling in 1982, it wasn’t until 1984 that a chance meeting with Ric Flair combined with the Junkyard Dog remarking to Bill Watts that he looked like Ole Anderson that Lunde’s star took off.
Lunde landed with Jim Crockett Promotions in 1985 as Arn Anderson and would win the NWA National Tag Team Championship with his kayfabe brother Ole Anderson as the Minnesota Wrecking Crew. The Andersons along with Tully Blanchard and Ric Flair would form one of wrestling’s most notorious stables, The Four Horsemen. Under the guidance of James J. Dillon, the group would dominate Jim Crockett Promotions, with every member of the group simultaneously holding a championship.
That dominance carried over to the WWF when Anderson and Blanchard as The Brainbusters ended the 478-day reign of Demolition as WWF Tag Team Champions in July 1989.
Anderson continued to achieve success both in the singles and in the tag ranks when he returned to WCW late in 1989, winning the WCW World Television Championship three times in the first half of the 1990s (for a total of four) and the WCW world tag team titles three times (for a total of five).
Anderson, who had been away for months due to a neck surgery, remarked that he had a hard time doing even the most basic of tasks. He offered his “enforcer” spot in the Horsemen to Curt Hennig. The famous promo would be infamously spoofed by the nWo just before Fall Brawl a few weeks later.
As for this episode: thanks to RAW being pre-empted due to USA Network airing the US Open, the show posted a record rating and viewership for any wrestling show on cable: 4.97 rating, with 3.55 million people watching. They also had the highest quarter-hour in cable wrestling history in the segment immediately following the retirement (breaking the Hogan vs. Flair match from Clash of the Champions XXVIII). The match: Steve McMichael vs. Eddie Guerrero.
16 years ago today in New York City, Mikey Whipwreck & Yoshihiro Tajiri defeated Jerry Lynn & Tommy Dreamer and Johnny Swinger & Simon Diamond in a three way dance to win the vacated ECW World Tag Team Championship.
The titles were vacated back in April when the Impact Players—more specifically Justin Credible—threw down his half of the tag title belts when he won the ECW World Heavyweight Championship at Cyberslam. During the title’s four-month vacancy, the other half of the tag team champions, Lance Storm, left for WCW.
14 years ago today, WWE presented Summerslam (WWE Network link) from the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. 14,797 were in attendance, with 520,000 homes watching on PPV.
The show featured the first match by Shawn Michaels since Wrestlemania XIV in 1998 and the last match from The Rock as a full-time member of the roster, as his acting career was taking off by this point. This was also the last PPV until TLC in 2013 to have one undisputed world champion in WWE. Just over a week after the show, the World Heavyweight Championship was brought in.
- In a Sunday Night Heat preshow match, Spike Dudley defeated Steven Richards.
- Kurt Angle defeated Rey Mysterio by submission.
- Ric Flair defeated Chris Jericho by submission.
- Edge defeated Eddie Guerrero.
- The Un-Amercians (Lance Storm and Christian) defeated Booker T and Goldust to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship.
- Rob Van Dam defeated Chris Benoit to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
- The Undertaker defeated Test.
- Shawn Michaels defeated Triple H in an Unsanctioned Street Fight. Post-match, Triple H struck Michaels in the back twice with a sledgehammer. The attack was meant to write off Michaels, but following the match, Michaels felt he was ready for a full-time schedule again, and would return to the roster just three months later.
- Brock Lesnar defeated The Rock to win the WWE Undisputed Championship. The win would make the 25-year old Lesnar the youngest world champion in WWE history, a mark surpassed by Randy Orton just two years later.
5 years ago today, Grantland.com first publishes a scathing expose on then-TNA star Ric Flair.
Much of the information in the expose was taken from court documents in Mecklenburg County in North Carolina. Shane Ryan, the article's author, gives devastating accounts of some of Flair's domestic abuse issues with several of his ex-wives, his mounting debts, screaming matches with his family, and using the NWA World Heavyweight Championship belt as collateral.
5 years ago today at a Impact Wrestling taping in Huntsville, Alabama, Mickie James defeated Winter to win the TNA Knockouts Championship.
Today would have been the 45th birthday of Mike Lockwood, best known to wrestling fans as Crash Holly.
Born in Anaheim, California, Lockwood wrestled as Johnny Pearson for Bay City Wrestling from 1989 to 1994. During that period, he dislocated his shoulder five times and spent a year and a half recovering after leaving the promotion. He would wrestle on the independent circuit as "Irish" (and later "The Leprechaun") Erin O'Grady for All Pro Wrestling, where he would catch the interest of ECW's Taz. He wrestled a few untelevised matches for ECW in November 1997, then a tryout match with rival Vic Grimes for the WWF in January 1998.
Following their WWF tryout, they were both signed and wrestled for Power Pro Wrestling, then the WWF's developmental program. Lockwood also wrestled some lucha libre in Mexico briefly as The Green Ghost in preparation for Super Astros.
Lockwood would debut for the WWF in August 1999 as Crash Holly, the estranged cousin of Bob "Hardcore" Holly. The duo claimed to be super heavyweights, carrying a scale with them. The Hollys would briefly hold the WWF Tag Team Championships in October and early November after defeating the Rock ‘n Sock Connection.
Crash would have his breakout role in 2000 as part of the hardcore division. He defeated Test on the February 24 Smackdown, then a week later introduce what would be known as the "24/7 Rule", meaning the title is contested at all times, day or night, as long as there was a referee present. This often put Crash in some pretty sticky situations. His ability to worm his way out of trouble, or even back into the hardcore title shortly after being beaten for it, made him a fan favorite and earned him the moniker "The Houdini of Hardcore". Over the next two years, Crash would win the title 22 times, more than anyone ever except for Raven (who had 27). Crash briefly held the European Championship in late 2000, and the Light Heavyweight Championship in 2001.
After a year and a half of limited success, Crash joined the Mattitude stable as a Mattitude Follower (MFer) in 2003 before being released in June of that year. Lockwood would briefly join TNA later in the year, wrestling and doing angry promos as Mad Mikey for a little over two months before being released, then lastly for Pro Wrestling Iron.
Lockwood was found dead at his and his friend Stevie Richards' home in November 6, 2003 with alcohol and drugs near his body. His death, due to choking on his own vomit, was officially ruled a suicide. He was just 32.
It’s a happy 74th birthday to Oreal Perras, best known to wrestling fans as "The Russian Bear" Ivan Koloff.
Born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, he was one of ten children raised on a dairy farm in rural Ontario. He watched wrestling with his brothers as a child and became interested in becoming one himself. At age 18, he did just that, leaving high school behind to join a wrestling school in Hamilton, Ontario. Perras first wrestled professionally in the Toronto area as Red McNutty, an Irish rogue with an eyepatch.
Eventually, he would quit his regular job and began wrestling full-time. In 1967, Perras adopted his most famous persona, "The Russian Bear" Ivan Koloff, billed from the Ukraine. He wrestled for the International Wrestling Association out of Montreal, winning their heavyweight title before moving on to the World Wide Wrestling Federation in 1970 under the management of Captain Lou Albano.
He would score one of the biggest upsets in professional wrestling history on January 18, 1971 when he defeated Bruno Sammartino and ended his seven year run as the WWWF champion. He was a transitional champion, holding the title for just three weeks before being defeated by Pedro Morales. Koloff was one of only two men to face off against the four faces of the WWF in the pre-Hulkamania era (Sammartino, Morales, Superstar Billy Graham, and Bob Backlund), the other being another transitional world champion Stan Stasiak.
After leaving the WWWF in 1972, he would find success in the NWA, winning the NWA World Tag Team Championship four times from 1981 to 1986, two of them with his kayfabe nephew Nikita Koloff. The Russian duo would eventually feud with one another in 1986 and 1987. Koloff would manage the Powers of Pain briefly before reuniting with Nikita in 1988 before leaving Jim Crockett Promotions in 1989. Koloff appeared on the very first Smoky Mountain Wrestling televised event in 1991, and on the very first ECW card in 1992.
Today, Perras lives in Winterville, North Carolina with his wife Renae and has four children. A born again Christian and ordained minister, he travels to churches sharing his message.
It’s a happy 85th birthday of Regis Francis Xavier Philbin, or Regis Philbin for short.
Often called the "hardest working man in show business", Philbin holds the Guinness World Record for most time spent in front of a television camera, estimated to be at over 16,700 hours since his career began in 1958. Known for his excited mannerisms, Bronx accent, wit, and ad-libbing ability, Philbin is most widely known for his long run as the host of the daytime talk show Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee from 1988 to 2001 and Live! With Regis and Kelly from 2001 to his departure in 2011.
He also hosted a few game shows, including The Neighbors and Almost Anything Goes in the 1970s, the first season of America's Got Talent, and Million Dollar Password. Philbin as a game show host is most remembered for his multiple stints as host of the hit series Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.
Wrestling connection: Philbin, a longtime wrestling fan, was a celebrity guest for Wrestlemania VII and commentated the show's main event with Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan, and made a guest appearance on RAW in May 2011.