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This Day in Wrestling History (Sept. 1): The Intercontinental Title Is Born

this day in wrestling history

37 years ago today, the WWWF introduces the Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship, with Pat Patterson as its first champion, "having won a tournament in Rio de Janerio".

In actuality, Patterson defeated Ted Dibiase to win the WWWF North American Championship back in June; the belt would be repackaged as the Intercontinental Championship. Except for a brief period in late 2002 and early 2003, the championship has been around ever since.

77 men and one woman have held the Intercontinental Championship through its lifespan, with ten title vacations and one unification (2002). Chris Jericho has the record for most reigns with nine, while Honky Tonk Man has the longest single reign at 454 days spanning parts of 1987 and 1988. Pedro Morales, Randy Savage, and Don Muraco are the only other men to have a year-long title reign. There have been seven one-day-or-less title reigns; two of them belong to current champion The Miz. The shortest reign belongs to Dean Douglas, whose lone Intercontinental title reign lasted 13 minutes and 52 seconds.

36 years ago today in Charlotte, North Carolina, Jimmy Snuka defeated Ricky Steamboat to win the vacated NWA United States Championship (Mid-Atlantic version).

The title was vacated when Ric Flair won the NWA World Tag Team Championship with Blackjack Mulligan a few weeks earlier. At the time, the NWA had the one person, one belt rule.

30 years ago today, World Class Wrestling Association presented Labor Day Star Wars from the Tarrant County Convention Center in Fort Worth, Texas.

The focus of the show was to crown their first tag team champions since the company's split from the NWA. Before the split, WCWA used the NWA American Tag Team Championship as their tag titles.

First round:

  • Mark Lewin and Kevin Sullivan defeated The Batten Twins (Bart and Brad).
  • Matt Borne and Buzz Sawyer defeated Kevin and Mike Von Erich by countout.
  • Chris and Mark Youngblood defeated Jos LeDuc and Rick Rude by disqualification.
  • The Dingo Warrior and Socko defeated Killer Tim Brooks and The Grappler.

Quarterfinals:

  • Matt Borne and Buzz Sawyer defeated Mark Lewin and Kevin Sullivan.
  • Chris and Mark Youngblood defeated Jerry and Ted Oates.
  • The Dingo Warrior and Socko defeated Brian Adias and Scott Casey.

Semifinals:

  • Chris Adams and Lance Von Erich defeated The Dingo Warrior and Socko.
  • Matt Borne and Buzz Sawyer defeated Chris and Mark Youngblood.

Finals:

  • Matt Borne and Buzz Sawyer defeated Chris Adams and Lance Von Erich to win the WCWA World Tag Team Championship.

Non-tournament bouts in order of occurrence:

  • Chris Adams defeated Rick Rude by disqualification to retain the WCWA Texas Heavyweight Championship.
  • Abdullah the Butcher defeated Bruiser Brody by disqualification.

26 years ago today, wrestling got a little too real for the people of Memphis.

During their Saturday morning wrestling broadcast on WMC-TV in Memphis, Eddie Gilbert hit Jerry Lawler with Doug Gilbert's car in the parking lot outside the studio. The collision caused Lawler to suffer a bruised hip after he rolled over the hood of the car. Apparently the angle got so real for some viewers, cops were called to the WMC studios.

Lawler had to return later in the show to ensure authorities that he was alright—and that he was gonna get payback on Gilbert in the Mid-South Coliseum that Monday—which he did. Obviously.

24 years ago today at a WWF Superstars taping in Hershey, Pennsylvania, Ric Flair defeated Macho Man Randy Savage to win the WWF Championship.

The match aired on Prime Time Wrestling 13 days later. Interesting bit of trivia: the match above is actually a retape. The first take of the match was stopped due to Vince McMahon being dissatisfied with how the match was progressing.

18 years ago today, WWF taped a special Saturday Night RAW (WWE Network link) from the Paul Tsongas Arena in Lowell, Massachusetts.

The episode did not air until eleven days later due to USA Network's coverage of the US Open, which aired in place of RAW. The episode featured a replay of the Lions Den match from Summerslam between Owen Hart and Ken Shamrock.

  • Edge defeated Jeff Jarrett by disqualification.
  • Bradshaw defeated Darren Drozdov.
  • Marc Mero defeated Miguel Perez.
  • The Disciples Of Apocalypse (8-Ball & Skull) defeated The Oddities (Golga & Kurrgan) by disqualification.
  • Southern Justice (Dennis Knight & Mark Canterbury) defeated Too Much (Brian Christopher & Scott Taylor).
  • Vader defeated Dustin Runnels.
  • The Nation (D-Lo Brown & Mark Henry) defeated The Headbangers (Mosh & Thrasher) by disqualification.
  • D-Generation X (Billy Gunn, The Road Dogg, Triple H & X-Pac) (w/ Chyna) defeated Kai En Tai (Dick Togo, Mens Teioh, Sho Funaki & Taka Michinoku).

11 years ago today, WWE Smackdown airs for the final time on Thursday night.

The show, taped two days earlier from the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Jacksonville, Florida, would be the last Smackdown on Thursday before moving to Friday the next week (one that most of the country did not get to see; more on that next week).

Smackdown returned to its original timeslot last year on SyFy (the show's home since 2008), and retained the timeslot when the show moved to USA Network. In July, the show was moved to Tuesday and renamed Smackdown Live.

  • Heidenreich defeated Mercury by disqualification.
  • Chris Benoit defeated Orlando Jordan by submission in just 23 seconds to retain the WWE United States Championship.
  • Ken Kennedy defeated Booker T.
  • Batista defeated Simon Dean.
  • Paul Burchill & William Regal defeated Funaki & Scotty 2 Hotty.
  • Randy Orton defeated Rey Mysterio.

9 years ago today in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Adam Pearce defeated Brent Albright to win the vacated NWA World Heavyweight Championship.

The title was vacated when NWA ended its partnership with TNA earlier that summer. Pearce took the place of Bryan Danieslon, who suffered a broken orbital bone just a week before the match when facing Takeshi Morishima for the ROH World Championship.

9 years ago today on ECW on Sci-Fi in Cincinnati, Ohio, CM Punk defeated John Morrison to win the ECW Championship. Had Punk lost, he could never challenge Morrison for the title again.

6 years ago today at a Smackdown taping in Cleveland, Ohio, John Morrison defeated Rey Mysterio to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship.

Today would have been the 63rd birthday of Theodore James Petty, or Ted Petty for short.

A graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in nutrition, Petty began wrestling in 1978 as "The Cheetah Kid" after a brief boxing career. He wrestled as Colonel DeKlerk for the NWA in 1990 and appeared on the promotion's signature show, Starrcade.

In 1993, Petty along with Michael Durham became Flyboy Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge respectively, aka The Public Enemy, a pair of inner city hoodlums. Wrestling first for the Universal Wrestling Federation, they gained infamy in ECW with their frequent uses of tables. The duo captured the ECW tag team titles four times in 1994 and 1995 (only the Dudley Boyz have more tag title reigns in ECW, with eight).

Petty and Durham left the next year for WCW, feuding primarily with The Nasty Boys and Harlem Heat and winning their tag titles briefly in September 1996. After a one-off return to ECW, a two-month stint in the WWF, and an even briefer stint back in WCW, and an even briefer stint than that in ECW (all in 1999), Petty competed largely as a singles wrestler on the independent circuit, most notably for i-Generation Superstars of Wrestling and Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling.

Petty died of a heart attack on September 21, 2002 while traveling to a Pro-Pain Pro Wrestling (3PW) event in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was 49.

Posthumously, IWA-Mid South renamed its annual Sweet Science Sixteen to the Ted Petty Invitational, a tournament showcasing the top independent wrestlers in the world. Past tournament winners included AJ Styles, BJ Whitmer, Drake Younger, Low Ki, Matt Sydal, and Chris Hero. Kongo Kong won the 2015 tournament, the first one contested in seven years.