25 years ago today at a WCW TV taping in St. Joseph, Missouri, Big Josh, Dustin Rhodes, and Tom Zenk defeated The Fabulous Freebirds (Badstreet, Jimmy Garvin, and Michael Hayes) to win the WCW World Six-Man Tag Team Championship.
20 years ago today in Tokyo, Japan, The Great Sasuke defeated Ultimo Dragon to win the J-Crown tournament, and with it, a total of eight junior heavyweight championships. For the curious, here's the list:
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
- NWA Junior Heavyweight Championship
- NWA World Welterweight Championship
- WAR International Junior Heavyweight Championship
- UWA World Junior Light Heavyweight Championship
- WWA World Junior Light Heavyweight Championship
- British Commonwealth Junior Heavyweight Championship
- WWF Light Heavyweight Championship
The J-Crown was only around for 15 months; two of its other four holders of the J-Crown were its creator Jushin “Thunder” Liger and Ultimo Dragon, who at the time of holding the J-Crown was also NWA World Middleweight and WCW Cruiserweight Champion, meaning for a brief period, he held ten active titles at once, a pro wrestling record that still stands to this day.
The J-Crown was retired in November 1997 when the WWF revived their light heavyweight division and asked for their belt back. Shinjiro Otani, the champion at the time, also returned the other belts except the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.
16 years ago today, Pro Wrestling NOAH was born in Tokyo's Differ Ariake.
The promotion was founded by a group of All Japan Pro Wrestling defectors led by Mitsuharu Misawa. In the featured bout, Jun Akiyama and Kenta Kobashi (not to be confused with recent WWE signee KENTA Kobayashi) defeated Misawa and Akira Taue 2-0 in a best of three falls match.
10 years ago today at ROH Fight of the Century from Edison, New Jersey, Bryan Danielson and Samoa Joe fought to a one-hour draw for the ROH World Championship.
5 years ago today, WWE releases Chris Masters (real name Chris Mordetzky), David Hart Smith, Melina Perez, Vladimir Kozlov (Oleg Prudius), and developmental talents Bobby Dutch (William Carr), DeSean Bishop, Jason Mullen, Lucky Cannon (Jonathan Emminger), and Sonia (Su Yung).
Also released from developmental despite the fact that they were brought in that week were Colin Cassady (William Morrisey), Leroy Parks, and Cameron Lynn (Ariane Andrew). Andrew and Morrisey would eventually return to the company, but only Morrisey remains. Andrew would be released a second time in May 2016.
On the same day, Gail Kim announces via Twitter that she had quit the company. She wanted her release, but was not granted said release despite having less than two months remaining on her contract.
4 years ago today, AAA presented Triplemania XX from Arena Ciudad de Mexico in Mexico City.
- Faby Apache, Fénix, Octagóncito and Pimpinela Escarlata defeated Dark Dragon, Mini Charly Manson, Sexy Star and Yuriko.
- La Hermandad 187 (Joe Líder and Psicosis) were defeated by Chessman and Juventud Guerrera, La Familia de Tijuana (Extreme Tiger and Halloween), and The Hart Foundation 2.0 (Jack Evans and Teddy Hart) in a Parejas Suicidas steel cage match. As a result of being the last team in the cage, Lider and Psicosis had to compete in a hair versus hair match later in the show.
- La Parka and Los Psycho Circus (Monster Clown, Murder Clown and Psycho Clown) defeated El Consejo (Semental, El Texano, Jr. and Toscano) and Octagón
- Psicosis defeated Joe Líder in a hair versus hair match.
- Team Joaquín Roldán (Electroshock and L.A. Park) defeated Team Dorian Roldán (Jeff Jarrett and Kurt Angle) in a tag team hair versus hair match. As a result of the loss, Dorian's hair was shaved.
- El Mesías defeated El Hijo del Perro Aguayo to retain the AAA World Heavyweight Championship.
- Dr. Wagner, Jr. defeated Máscara Año 2000, Jr. in a mask versus mask match.
1 year ago today, 2K announces via press release its full list of features for the upcoming WWE 2K16 video game. The company said they improved on their 2K15 model based on critical and consumer feedback, touting improved gameplay and dynamic entrances, where players could run in on their opponent’s entrance pre-match. The full list of features:
Largest Roster Ever: Offering more than 120 unique playable characters, including cover Superstar Stone Cold Steve Austin alongside Seth Rollins, Daniel Bryan, Dean Ambrose, Bad News Barrett, Paige and Finn Bálor, WWE 2K16 includes the largest roster in WWE games history
The roster contains an unprecedented combination of current WWE Superstars and Divas, emerging NXT talent, WWE Hall of Famers and WWE alumni from multiple eras
Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator: Fans who pre-order WWE 2K16 at any participating retailer will receive two exclusive playable versions of Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator:
T-800 from The Terminator and T-800 from Terminator 2: Judgment Day
2K Showcase: The franchise's popular story-based mode returns in WWE 2K16, enabling players to relive iconic matches and moments in WWE history. Along the way, they will complete objectives to unlock legendary characters, entrance and ring gear, match types and unlockables.
MyCareer: The franchise's career-driven mode, now in its second year, will see players define their legacies by making critical choices while rising through the ranks from NXT to WWE to earn a spot in the WWE Hall of Fame. In addition, they will train, compete against others, conduct personality-driven interviews, interfere with rivals and/or form the ultimate tag team.
Creation Suite: Building on last year's foundation, WWE 2K16's Creation Suite deepens the player's arsenal with new feature options, including Create a Diva, Create a Championship, Create an Arena, and Create a Show. Key improvements have also been made to existing fan-favorite offerings, including Create a Superstar, Create an Entrance, Superstar Studio and Community Creations.
WWE Universe: WWE 2K16 makes core improvements to stories, rivals and match card selections. In addition, for the first time, Superstars can be assigned to multiple shows, enabling players to have a broader experience.
Online:Completely overhauled based on fan feedback,WWE 2K16 will provide users with multiple ways to play online with the WWE Games community, including an improved matchmaking system
Soundtrack: Players can customize their in-game music through the addition of Superstar entrance music to the WWE 2K16 Jukebox. Additional in-game music will be announced later this year.
Gameplay Improvements: WWE 2K16 will build upon last year's foundation, including key enhancements and innovations based on critical and consumer feedback, to deliver the strongest WWE gameplay experience to date:
Improved Controls: The controls and move library were overhauled to cleanly separate strikes from grapples. This change provides players with more control over the exact type of attacks they want to initiate in every situation.WWE 2K16 also includes new attack positions, such as seated, to increase options for how players attack while experiencing greatly improved attacks outside the ring near barricades. Opponents will now react more accurately to their environment.
New Reversal System: The reversal system has been reworked to improve the overall flow of the match and also create a new level of strategy during the matches. Each Superstar has a limited number of reversals he or she can perform that recharge over time, meaning players might not want to simply try and reverse every attack.In addition, WWE 2K16 introduces Major and Minor reversals for select moves.Minor reversals are easier to perform and only require a single reversal stock. Major reversals are more challenging to perform; however, they yield a much greater reward than damage. Successful Major Reversals weaken the opponent in various ways and provide a new way to swing the momentum of the match in one's favor.
New Pin System: The new pin system starts with an entirely new pin mini-game and offers a variety of new pin variations and reactions.If the opponent kicks out, a Superstar may react to the near pin fall and gesture to the referee in frustration. In addition, WWE 2K16 introduces dirty pins and rope breaks.Dirty pins allow players to use the ropes to their advantage to try and pin their opponents.There is a chance the referee may see this and call off the pin attempt.Rope Breaks are another way to get out of pin attempt but rely on the referee seeing the player grab the ropes.In line with WWE live events and programming, there is no guarantee what the referee is going to see during a match.
Chain Wrestling: New positions and attributes allow players to distinguish Superstars from one other. There can also be ties during a lockup; during the tie, there can be a clean break from the tie-up or a cheap shot from either the player or the opponent.
Working Holds: Working holds are new for WWE 2K16 and provide players with a way to regain stamina while depleting their opponents' stamina. Just like on WWE programming, Working Holds provide a way to collect one's self in the middle or late part of a match and prepare for the next plan of attack.
Improved AI: WWE 2K16 sees big improvements to the AI for Superstars, referees and managers. For example, managers can now engage during matches by either trying to distract the referee or get his attention to help out in the match. In addition, significant changes are included for match-specific AI, including Tag Team matches.
More Match Types: Many match types of been added for WWE 2K16, including Ladder, handicap and tornado tag matches.
Dynamic Entrances: With the improved presentation flow for matches, players are now able to take control of their Superstars during the entrances and have the option to attack their opponents before the match even starts.Why wait for the bell? In WWE 2K16, players can decide when they are ready for action.
Additional Improvements: WWE 2K16 also includes an improved Submission system and a vast number of new moves to create an even more engaging gameplay experience.
Overall Enhancements: WWE 2K16i mproves upon authenticity across the board, including:
New Commentary Team: For the first time, a three-man team is now a part of the franchise, with John "Bradshaw" Layfield, new to WWE 2K16joining returning commentators Michael Cole and Jerry "The King" Lawler. Thousands of new lines were recorded, primarily in side by side studio sessions, ensuring authentic interactions among the trio.
Visual Upgrades: This year's title features several thousand new animations. WWE Superstar and Diva appearance are also been updated, including implementation of a full cloth physics system, enabling attire to appear and respond as realistically as possible. Improved crowd variety, as well as more realistic sweat, better hair and hair physics round out the visual enhancements.
Broadcast Presentation: Gone are loading screens between entrances and the start of matches; instead, the camera pans the arena and over to the commentary team for thoughts on the upcoming match. Significant improvements were also made to overall match presentation and flow, including new crowd members.
In the end, the game, released in late October on Playstations 3 and 4 and Xbox 360 and Xbox One (later on PC in March 2016), received mostly positive reviews and has sold over 2.8 million copies to date.
It’s a happy 63rd birthday to one-half of legendary tag team The Fabulous Ones, Wallace Stanfield Lane, or simply Stan Lane.
Lane was a part of the Fabulous Ones with Steve Keirn in the early 1980s (and briefly again in the early 1990s) and pioneered the "MTV style" promotional video, where they would use flashy entrances and promo videos interspersed with popular songs of the time. In the late 1980s, he along with Bobby Eaton formed a rebooted Midnight Express, where they would win the NWA United States Tag Team titles three times and the World Tag Team titles once. He was also part of the original Heavenly Bodies with Tom Pritchard; together they won the Smoky Mountain Wrestling tag titles five times in the promotion’s brief history.
Lane was a part of the WWF broadcasting team for about a year in the mid-1990s, commentating matches for Superstars, Wrestling Challenge, and Coliseum Home Video releases, then again for the short-lived WXO in 2000. After a brief reunion of the Fabulous Ones on the independent circuit, Lane retired from wrestling altogether in 2005.
Lane is a part of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame Class of 2009 with Eaton.
It’s a happy 69th birthday to Rick Derringer.
The name may not mean much to you, but you certainly know his work: he's the man behind Hulk Hogan's WWF theme, "Real American", one of the defining wrestling themes of all time. (Side note: the theme was first used for the US Express, the team of Mike Rotundo and Barry Windham). It’s not the only theme he did, of course: he was the man behind the theme for Demolition, and had a duet with Gene Okerlund, “Rock ‘n Roll Hoochie Koo” on Piledriver: The Wrestling Album 2.
Derringer broke through as a member of The McCoys, who had a number one hit single with “Hang on Sloopy”. As a solo artist, Derringer has appeared on over a dozen albums, most notably All-American Boy in 1973, and was a guest musician on Kiss’ 1983 album Lick It Up.
Today would have been the 101st birthday of women's wrestling icon Mildred Bliss, aka Mildred Burke.
A member of the Wrestling Observer Newletter and Pro Wrestling Halls of Fame, Burke held the NWA World Women's Championship from 1937 to 1954. Mildred married her trainer Billy Wolfe, but life on the road put an eventual strain on the relationship (Wolfe garnered the reputation as a womanizer), and the couple, who had two children (one of whom died to injuries suffered in a match) divorced in 1952. The fallout led to the couple competing for women wrestlers and Burke virtually frozen out of the NWA altogether.
Burke lost the NWA Womens Championship to June Byers, Wolfe's daughter-in-law, in 1954. By that time, she had started her own promotion, the World Womens Wrestling Association, and recognized herself as champion until her retirement in 1956. The belt was revived for All Japan Womens Pro Wrestling in 1970.
Burke's later days saw her as a trainer for her own wrestling school in Encino, California; her most famous protégé was Rhonda Sing, who went on to fame internationally as Monster Ripper and as Bertha Faye in the WWF.
Burke died from a stroke in February 1989. She was 73.