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This Day in Wrestling History (Sept. 16): Angle vs. Lesnar III

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this day in wrestling history

21 years ago today, ECW presented Gangsta’s Paradise from the ECW Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

  • Bull Pain defeated Tony Stetson.
  • Dances With Dudley & Dudley Dudley defeated Chad Austin & Don E. Allen.
  • Hack Myers defeated JT Smith by countout.
  • Jason Knight & The Eliminators (John Kronus & Perry Saturn) defeated Taz & The Steiner Brothers (Rick Steiner & Scott Steiner).
  • The Pitbulls (Pitbull #1 & Pitbull #2) defeated Raven & Stevie Richards 2-1 in a best of three falls double dog collar match to win the ECW World Tag Team Championship. Late in the match, 911 finally chokeslammed referee Bill Alfonso. Pitbull #2 was stretchered out during the third fall of the match and Tommy Dreamer entered as a substitute, and even had the deciding fall on Raven, but it was never counted by Alfonso. Pitbull #2 eventually returned and The Pitbulls superbombed Raven and Richards, then ECW commissioner Tod Gordon counted the fall.
  • Rey Misterio Jr. defeated Psicosis. This was the ECW debut for both men.
  • Mikey Whipwreck and The Public Enemy (Johnny Grunge & Rocco Rock) defeated New Jack, The Sandman, and Too Cold Scorpio in a steel cage match. Late in the bout, Rocco Rock and Scorpio fell from the top of the cage onto a three-table stack in the ring.

20 years ago today on Nitro from Asheville, North Carolina (WWE Network link), Sting turns his back on WCW—literally.

It stems from the previous week when the nWo used a fake Sting to convince Lex Luger, Ric Flair, and Arn Anderson that the real Sting was joining the nWo. The real Sting (who was in Japan that prior week) showed up during the WarGames match at Fall Brawl to make a point that he was WCW through and through, and nobody believed him.

Needless to say, Sting was a little pissed.

"I want a chance to explain something that happened last Monday night at NITRO. Last Monday night I was on an airplane flying from L.A. to Atlanta. When I got to Atlanta I tuned in the TV to NITRO. And I thought I was watching a re-run. He was a very convincing built. Often imitated but never duplicated so; and what else did I see? I saw people, I saw wrestlers, I saw commentators, and I saw best friends DOUBT the Stinger... that's right... doubt the Stinger.

So I heard Lex Luger saying, 'I know where he lives, I know where he works out... I'm gonna go out and get him!' So I said to myself 'I'll just go into this conclusion. I wait and see what happens on Saturday Night.' And I tuned in Saturday night and what did I see? I saw more of the same - more doubt... Which brings me to Fall Brawl. I knew I had to get to Fall Brawl to get face to face with the Total Package to let him know that it wasn't me. And what I get out of that was, 'No Sting, I don't believe you Sting!' Well all I got to say is, I have been mediator... I have been babysitter... for Lex Luger. I have given him the benefit of a doubt about a thousand times in the last twelve months! And I have carried the WCW banner... and I have given my blood, my sweat, and my TEARS for WCW!

So for all of those fans out there and those wrestlers and people that never doubted the Stinger - I'll stand by YOU if you stand by ME! But... but for all of the people, all of the commentators, all of the wrestlers, and all of the best friends who did doubt me, you can STICK IT! From now on, I consider myself a free agent... But that doesn't mean that you won't see the Stinger, from time to time I'm gonna pop-in when you the least expect it."

Sting, it should be noted, cut this promo with his back to the hard camera. To drive the point home to the viewing, Sting was never shot directly in the face while he was doing the promo. This was a man who was both heartbroken and angry at the people that were supposed to have their faith in him.

Contrary to popular belief, this was not the last time Sting spoke on WCW programming for a while (that would come a month later), but it would be the last time he would ever appear in front of an American audience with the bright-colored facepaint and tights. A month later, Sting, with a little inspiration from Scott Hall, became a brooding, vengeful Sting wearing black and white. With an occasional tweak, it’s a look he would adopt for the remainder of his career.

There’s more: on the same episode, Sean Waltman makes his WCW debut.

Waltman, aka the 1-2-3 Kid, hadn’t been an integral part of WWF storylines since losing to Razor Ramon in a “Crybaby Match” at In Your House 6 in February. His last television appearance came in May in a loss to Savio Vega on Monday Night RAW. Waltman was the only member of the Kliq not involved in the infamous “Curtain Call”; he was in drug rehab at the time. Waltman asked for and was granted his release in July.

In Waltman’s debut for WCW, he was seen in the crowd and using a remote, dropped nWo propaganda on the unsuspecting crowd. By the end of the evening, he got his name: Syxx, as in the sixth member of the New World Order (it also was a play on his WWF in-ring name).

14 years ago today on RAW from Denver, Colorado (WWE Network link), Rico scored one of the biggest upsets in WWE history when he defeated Ric Flair.

Also on the show, Chris Jericho defeated Rob Van Dam to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship. The win joined him with Jeff Jarrett as the only five-time Intercontinental Champions in WWE history. Jericho would tie Jarrett a little over a year later when he defeated Van Dam for the title again. He would break the record in September 2004 when he defeated Christian at Unforgiven.

13 years ago today during a Smackdown taping in Raleigh, North Carolina (WWE Network link), Los Guerreros (Eddie & Chavo) defeated The World's Greatest Tag Team (Charlie Hass & Shelton Benjamin) to win the WWE Tag Team Championship.

In the show's main event, Brock Lesnar defeated Kurt Angle 5-4 in a one-hour Ironman match to retain the WWE Championship.

It would be the final singles bout between the two former amateur wrestling champions in a WWE ring, but the two would meet again for the Inoki Genome Federation in 2007, where Angle defeated Lesnar for their version of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.

10 years ago today, Ring of Honor makes its debut at the Manhattan Center with Glory by Honor V: Night Two.

  • Davey Richards defeated Jack Evans.
  • Adam Pearce defeated Delirious.
  • Jimmy Jacobs defeated Christopher Daniels and Colt Cabana in a three-way dance.
  • Homicide & Samoa Joe defeated The Briscoes (Jay Briscoe & Mark Briscoe).
  • The Kings Of Wrestling (Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli) defeated Austin Aries & Roderick Strong to win the ROH World Tag Team Championship.
  • Naomichi Marufuji defeated Nigel McGuinness to retain the GHC Heavyweight Championship. It’s the first time that Pro Wrestling NOAH’s top prize was defended on American soil.
  • Bryan Danielson defeated KENTA via submission to retain the ROH World Championship.

6 years ago today, WWE announces via a press release that Linda McMahon has resigned from her post as Chief Executive Officer effective immediately to run for U.S. Senate. The story in part via The Los Angeles Times:

Linda McMahon, chief executive of World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., announced Wednesday that she was resigning to run for the U.S. Senate in her home state of Connecticut. McMahon, a Republican, will look to unseat Democratic Sen. Christopher J. Dodd in the 2010 election.

Although not nearly as flamboyant as her husband, WWE Chairman and ringmaster Vince McMahon, Linda McMahon is considered the brains behind the brawn. She has been CEO of WWE since 1997 and before that served as president. WWE has a market cap of $1.03 billion and reported net income of $19.9 million on revenue of $138.8 million for the quarter ended June 30. According to the company's proxy statement, McMahon took home $508,880 last year.

With deep pockets and a fairly established presence in the state and on Wall Street, McMahon could be a force in the race. She has spent the last few years rubbing elbows with Lowell Weicker, a former Connecticut governor and U.S. senator who is on WWE's board of directors.

McMahon's opponents for the Republican nomination include former Rep. Rob Simmons and Tom Foley, a former ambassador to Ireland. Economist Peter Schiff is expected to announce his candidacy today.

McMahon, 60, said in an interview that she would fund her own campaign, would not take contributions from interest groups and would limit personal donations to $100. She said she was tired of career politicians.

"I think we need businesspeople," she said. "When you've grown a small, family-run company into a company traded on the New York Stock Exchange, you know about living on budgets and making payroll."

...

Linda McMahon said she had been disengaging from her day-to-day activities for the last year while she contemplated entering the Senate race. Vince McMahon will assume the CEO title, and Chief Operating Officer Donna Goldsmith will also take on additional management duties.

It remains to be seen whether McMahon's background in the at-times controversial world of wrestling will be a liability in an election. Over the last year, WWE has toned down the more violent and raunchy elements of its programming in an effort to broaden its advertising base and attract younger viewers and families.

McMahon said the shift in tone was in the works "long before my decision to have any kind of political career."

The last time McMahon appeared on a WWE show was in 2005. "I'm not a very good actress," she said.

Vince McMahon assumed the CEO title and duties to go with his position as Chairman in the wake of the resignation, a pair of titles he holds to this day.

As for Linda, she would emerge as the Republican challenger to Richard Blumenthal, but would lose handily in the general election 55% to 43%. She would try again two years later to win the seat of outgoing Senator Joe Lieberman, but would lose to Chris Murphy in the general election 55% to 43%. At an estimated $101.1 million ($50.2 million in 2010, $50.9 million in 2012), it’s the most money spent on a failed campaign for federal office in American history.

5 years ago today, Lindsay Hayward, known at the time as Aloisia but is best known as Isis the Amazon, announces in an interview that she had been released from WWE.

Lindsay was supposed to be a part of the all-women's season of NXT, but her developmental deal was pulled when a background check produced questionable photos. The 6'8" Hayward would have been the tallest woman to compete in a WWE ring in company history.

In an interesting twist, her replacement Celeste Bonin, who would compete as Kaitlyn, would win NXT’s third season.

Hayward would make an appearance for TNA in a dark match in 2011, but was ultimately unsigned. Most recently, Hayward appeared on two seasons of TLC series My Giant Life.

5 years ago today, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson announces via his Facebook page that he would return to the ring at Survivor Series to team with John Cena. It would be his first match since Wrestlemania XX.

Though WWE would announce that the two would be a part of a traditional Survivor Series match, the two ended up in a straight tag team match, facing and defeating Awesome Truth (The Miz & R-Truth).

5 years ago today, Claudio Castignoli signs a WWE developmental deal.

Known today as Cesaro (though he debuted as Antonio Cesaro), he's had moderate success, winning the WWE tag team and United States championships, but his most notable victory came at Wrestlemania XXX as the winner of the first Andre the Giant Memorial battle royal.

4 years ago today, WWE presented Night of Champions (WWE Network link) from the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. 14,886 watched in the building, with 189,000 homes tuning in on PPV. That was up 20,000 from the 2011 edition.

  • In a preshow match, Zack Ryder won a 16-man battle royal to earn a United States Championship match later in the show. Other participants included Brodus Clay, Primo, Epico, Justin Gabriel, Tensai, Tyson Kidd, Michael McGillicutty, Darren Young, Titus O'Neil, Jinder Mahal, JTG, Drew McIntyre, Ted DiBiase, Heath Slater, and Santino Marella.
  • The Miz defeated Cody Rhodes, Sin Cara, and Rey Mysterio in a Fatal Four-Way match to retain the Intercontinental Championship.
  • Kane & Daniel Bryan defeated R-Truth & Kofi Kingston to win the WWE Tag Team Championship.
  • Antonio Cesaro defeated Zack Ryder to retain the United States Championship.
  • Randy Orton defeated Dolph Ziggler.
  • Eve Torres defeated Layla to win the Divas Championship.
  • Sheamus defeated Alberto Del Rio to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.
  • CM Punk and John Cena fought to a draw in a WWE Championship match.

A belated happy 67th birthday to Theodore Robert Rufus Long, or simply Teddy Long for the wresting fans.

Before being affectionately known as "Teddy Tag Team Playa", Long, who broke into the business as an errand boy for Tommy Rich and Abdullah the Butcher, was a referee for Jim Crockett Promotions. After being relieved of his refereeing duties in 1989, he would (with some convincing from Kevin Sullivan and Eddie Gilbert to Jim Ross) become a manager for many wrestlers in JCP and later WCW, including Doom (Ron Simmons and Butch Reed), Norman the Lunatic, Johnny B. Badd, The Skyscrapers, Marcus Bagwell, 2 Cold Scorpio, and Ice Train.

In late 1998, Long began a nearly four-year run as a referee for the WWF; he was the official for two tragic events in 1999: Owen Hart's fall at Over the Edge in May, and Darren Drozdov's paralysis in September. He would be repackaged a villainous manager in 2003, most notably managing Rodney Mack, Jazz, and Mark Henry.

His most famous role began in July 2004 when he was named Smackdown's General Manager following the firing of Kurt Angle. His first act, fining Angle for forgetting his ring gear, made him face, a contrast to most authority figures in WWE. He instituted a "new talent initiative" in 2005 (something he would redo three years later for ECW) that saw the introductions of Bobby Lashley, Mr. Kennedy, and MVP. He feuded most notably with Eric Bischoff in the Smackdown vs. RAW war of 2005, and Edge and Vickie Guerrero in 2008, the latter leading to Long leaving Smackdown.

He had a second term as general manager in 2009; in the fall, he had a brief villainous run when he was part of a conspiracy to get the world title off the Undertaker. After turning face, he had a feud with "Mr. McMahon's chosen one," Drew McIntyre. After feuding with John Laurainitis in the leadup to Wrestlemania XXVIII, John won Theodore's job at the event as a result of his team winning a 12-man tag team match. It didn't last long; Laurainitis was fired after his charge The Big Show lost a match to John Cena at No Way Out in June 2012. After briefly serving as guest general manager in 2013, Long was fired and replaced with Vickie Guerrero. In June 2014, Long was released from his contract, ending a 15-year run with WWE.

Long won the Pro Wrestling Illustrated Manager of the Year award in 1990 and is a member of the National Wrestling Alliance Hall of Fame class of 2012.