31 years ago today in Long Island, New York, Captain Lou Albano, age 52, defeated 67-year old Freddie Blassie in a steel cage match. It would be Blassie's final match.
23 years ago today in Nagoya, Japan, Shinya Hashimoto defeated The Great Muta to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
The win ends Muta’s 400-day run as IWGP Heavyweight Champion, at the time a record for New Japan Pro Wrestling. Hashimoto would break the record with a 489-day reign spanning parts of 1996 and 1997.
19 years ago today, ECW presented As Good As It Gets from the ECW Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- The FBI (Little Guido & Tracy Smothers) defeated Axl Rotten & Balls Mahoney.
- Justin Credible defeated Jerry Lynn.
- Chris Candido defeated Lance Storm.
- Bam Bam Bigelow defeated Spike Dudley.
- Shane Douglas defeated Philip Lafon to retain the ECW World Heavyweight Championship.
- Taz defeated Pitbull #2 in just 30 seconds to retain the ECW World Television Championship
- Sabu and The Sandman fought to a no contest.
- Beulah McGillicutty & Tommy Dreamer versus Bill Alfonso & Rob Van Dam went to a no contest when Dreamer was injured in the early moments of the match.
- Beulah McGillicutty defeated Bill Alfonso. The bout is noted for Alfonso profusely bleeding; so much so, Alfonso had to be hospitalized for several days following the event. ECW owner Paul Heyman once noted that Bill may have lost as much as a third of the blood in his body. That’ll happen when you cut into an artery. Also of note, this was originally supposed to be a write-off for Alfonso. As the story goes, Alfonso was found out to be in cahoots with Tod Gordon about funnelling ECW talent to WCW (Paul Heyman didn’t have a lot of love for WCW; he sued the company, citing antisemitism in 1993. Heyman settled for a huge amount.). When Heyman found out, Gordon got the axe. Alfonso would have joined him if not for his performance in this match. In the end, Bill stuck around until ECW’s shutdown in early 2001. WARNING: THE LINKED VIDEO MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR ALL VIEWERS.
- The Gangstanators (John Kronus & New Jack) defeated The Dudley Boyz (Buh Buh Ray Dudley & D-Von Dudley) to win the ECW World Tag Team Championship. The makeshift duo was formed when both Kronus' and New Jack's partners (Perry Saturn and Mustafa Saeed, respectively) left the company.
19 years ago today, WWF presented One Night Only (WWE Network link) from the NEC Arena in Birmingham, England. About 11,000 were in attendance, with just 20,000 homes watching on PPV.
The reason for such a low number: the PPV was only made available in the United Kingdom and Canada.
In kayfabe, WWF Champion at the time Bret Hart used a clause in his contract to exclude US viewers from being able to see the event. The event was eventually made available on WWF Home Video in the US, but with three matches removed (including the WWF title match—then-WWF Champion Bret Hart was gone from the company by the time the event was released to American audiences) to fit the video in a two-hour window. The full show is included on the DVD release.
- Hunter Hearst Helmsley defeated Dude Love.
- Tiger Ali Singh defeated Leif Cassidy.
- The Headbangers (Mosh and Thrasher) defeated Los Boricuas (Savio Vega and Miguel Pérez, Jr.) to retain the WWF Tag Team Championship.
- The Patriot defeated Flash Funk.
- The Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal) defeated The Godwinns (Henry and Phineas).
- Vader defeated Owen Hart.
- Bret Hart defeated The Undertaker by disqualification to retain the WWF Championship.
- Shawn Michaels defeated The British Bulldog to win the WWF European Championship. The win made Michaels the first grand slam champion in WWF history, winning all four available championships.
19 years ago today in Kawaski, Japan, Devil Masami defeated Yoshiko Tamura to win the WCW Womens Championship. She would be the promotion's final women's champion as the title was abandoned when the WCW-GAEA Japan working relationship ended.
17 years ago today on RAW is WAR from Houston, Texas (WWE Network link), The Rock ‘n Sock Connection (The Rock and Mankind) defeated The Unholy Alliance (The Undertaker & Big Show) in a Darkside Rules match to win the WWF Tag Team Championship. It was their second tag title win as a team, and the sixth tag title reign overall for Mankind.
It would also be The Undertaker’s last bout for a while; the next night at the Smackdown taping, he was written off via “walkout” when he refused to participate in a casket match. Undertaker took time off to heal a nagging groin injury. Just days before he was set to return, Undertaker tears his pectoral muscle, delaying his return until Judgment Day in May 2000.
On the same episode, Vince McMahon vacates the WWF Championship just six days after defeating Triple H for the title. He also gets reinstated into the company by Stone Cold Steve Austin in exchange for Austin being the referee in the main event for Unforgiven that weekend and being the first man in line to challenge for the vacated WWF title once a champion is crowned.
But wait, there's more! Stephanie McMahon makes her in-ring debut in an intergender tag team match... and wins, as she and Test defeated WWF Intercontinental Champion Jeff Jarrett and Debra.
13 years ago today in New York City, Brock Lesnar defeated The Undertaker in a steel cage match to retain the WWE Championship.
13 years ago today, Ring of Honor presented Glory by Honor II from the Murphy Recreation Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The event would be the last ROH show to be held in their original home. In an interesting note, the show almost didn't happen at all, as a complaint was lodged against the promotion and the building about the crowd's size violating fire codes.
- Jimmy Jacobs defeated Alex Shelley, Josh Daniels, and Roderick Strong in a Four Way Dance.
- BJ Whitmer defeated Jimmy Rave in a Field Of Honor match.
- Xavier defeated John Walters in a Field Of Honor match.
- Teddy Hart defeated TJ Wilson.
- Steve Corino defeated Raven.
- Colt Cabana defeated AJ Styles, Chris Sabin, and Matt Stryker in a Four Corner Survival Match.
- The Backseat Boyz (Johnny Kashmere & Trent Acid) defeat Special K (Deranged & Hydro), Dunn & Marcos, Special K (Dixie & Izzy), The Briscoes (Jay Briscoe & Mark Briscoe), and The Carnage Crew (DeVito & Loc) in a Gauntlet Match to win the vacant ROH Tag Team Championship.
- The Backseat Boyz (Johnny Kashmere & Trent Acid) beat Special K (Dixie & Izzy).
- Alexis Laree defeated Hijinx. Julius Smokes was the special referee.
- Terry Funk defeated CM Punk by disqualification.
- Samoa Joe defeated Christopher Daniels to retain the ROH Championship.
12 years ago today on RAW from Tuscon, Arizona (WWE Network link), future pressure cooker pitchman Gene Snitsky delivers a signature line that would become a part of WWE nomenclature: "It wasn't my fault."
The line stems from an incident the prior week when Snitsky hit Kane with a chair, causing him to bump into Lita and causing a "miscarriage" and Lita to lose her expected child.
On the same episode, Christy Hemme wins the 2004 RAW Diva Search and $250,000. Carmella DeCesare was the runner-up. DeCeasare would be picked up by WWE, but would not stick around long afterwards. Joy Giovanni, Amy Weber, Maria Kanellis, and Michelle McCool would also receive contracts.
11 years ago today at a Smackdown taping in Lubbock, Texas, Bobby Lashley made his WWE television debut, defeating Simon Dean in less than three minutes.
It was only the second fastest match on that show: Chris Benoit successfully defended the United States Championship against Orlando Jordan again, this time submitting him in just 50 seconds.
10 years ago today, WWE releases Marty Wright, who wrestled under the gimmick The Boogeyman.
Wright, who came into WWE after initially lying about his age when he tried out for the Million Dollar Tough Enough in 2004 (he was 40 at the time when he claimed to be 30), was let go when he fell behind in his rehab for his biceps injury, including missing several doctor's appointments.
Wright wouldn't be unemployed long; he was rehired at the request of Booker T, then sent to his wrestling school for training. He would remain with the company until March 2009. He's made sporadic appearances for the company since 2012.
8 years ago today, ROH presented Glory by Honor VII from the New Alhambra Arena (aka the ECW Arena) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- Jerry Lynn defeated Kenny King.
- Adam Pearce defeated Brent Albright via submission to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
- Go Shiozaki defeated Kevin Steen to retain the FIP World Heavyweight Championship.
- Bryan Danielson defeated Katsuhiko Nakajima by submission to retain the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship.
- Erick Stevens defeated Rhett Titus.
- Kensuke Sasaki defeated Claudio Castagnoli.
- Austin Aries & the Briscoe Brothers (Jay & Mark Briscoe) defeated The Age of the Fall (Jimmy Jacobs, Tyler Black & Delirious) and Necro Butcher in a Steel Cage Warfare match.
7 years ago today, TNA presented No Surrender (pay link) from the Impact Zone at Universal Orlando.
In a side note, Ed Ferrara, D'Lo Brown, and Pat Kenney all returned to the company in backstage roles.
- Sarita & Taylor Wilde defeated The Beautiful People (Madison Rayne & Velvet Sky) to win the TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship.
- Hernandez defeated Eric Young in just 48 seconds.
- Samoa Joe defeated Daniels to retain the TNA X-Division Championship.
- D'Angelo Dinero defeated Suicide in a falls count anywhere match.
- ODB defeated Cody Deaner to win the TNA Knockouts Championship.
- Kevin Nash defeated Abyss to retain the TNA Legends Championship and collect the $50,000 bounty.
- Beer Money Inc. (James Storm & Robert Roode) and Team 3D (Brother Devon & Brother Ray) defeated Booker T, Scott Steiner, and The British Invasion (Brutus Magnus & Doug Williams) in a Lethal Lockdown match.
- Bobby Lashley defeated Rhino.
- AJ Styles defeated Kurt Angle, Hernandez, Matt Morgan & Sting in a five way match to win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
5 years ago today, Matt Hardy is arrested by the Moore County, North Carolina Sheriff's Office after a search warrant executed on his house found that he was in possession of anabolic steroids and ecstasy.
Hardy was charged with possession of controlled substances with intent to sell or deliver said substance, maintaining a place to keep the substances and possession of drug paraphernalia. Hardy, who wasn't home at the time of the raid on the house, turned himself in.
It’s Hardy’s second arrest in as many weeks, and his third in a month (he was arrested on DWI charges in late August that led to his release from TNA, then arrested on reckless driving a week prior to the drug arrest). After Matt is released, he posts a video on Youtube announcing he will enter a three-month WWE-sponsored rehab program, a program he would be kicked out of after only two months.
4 years ago today, TNA announces via press release that Impact would be a live show through the remainder of the year. Disappointing ratings on top of the added expense of doing live telecasts would in part lead to huge budget cuts and talent releases that are still being felt to this day.
3 years ago today, ROH presented Death Before Dishonor XI from the Pennsylvania National Guard Armory in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The show centered on the final four of a tournament to crown the new ROH World Champion after Jay Briscoe was stripped of the title earlier that summer.
- Jay Lethal defeated Silas Young.
- Adam Cole defeated Tommaso Ciampa in a ROH World Title Tournament semifinal match.
- Michael Elgin defeated Kevin Steen in a ROH World Title Tournament semifinal match.
- Forever Hooligans (Alex Koslov & Rocky Romero) defeated The American Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards) to retain the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.
- Adam Page defeated RD Evans.
- Roderick Strong defeated Ricky Marvin.
- Adrenaline RUSH (ACH & Tadarius Thomas) & C&C Wrestle Factory (Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander) defeated Matt Taven, Michael Bennett & reDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly).
- Adam Cole defeated Michael Elgin to win the vacant ROH World Championship.
1 year ago today, WWE presented Night of Champions (WWE Network link) from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
- In a preshow match, Stardust & The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor) defeated Neville & The Lucha Dragons (Kalisto & Sin Cara).
- Kevin Owens defeated Ryback to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
- Dolph Ziggler defeated Rusev.
- The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray Dudley & D-Von Dudley) defeated The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) by disqualification in a WWE Tag Team Championship Match.
- Charlotte defeated Nikki Bella by submission to win the WWE Divas Championship. If Nikki was counted out or disqualified, Charlotte would have won the championship.
- The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, and Braun Strowman) defeated Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and Chris Jericho.
- John Cena defeated Seth Rollins to win the WWE United States Championship.
- Seth Rollins defeated Sting to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The bout would turn out to be Sting’s final match. During the bout, Sting suffered a neck injury. In December, he underwent surgery to correct cervical spinal stenosis. In April 2016, Sting announced during his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame he has retired.
It’s a happy 34th birthday to Dulce Maria Garcia Rivas, best known to wrestling fans as Sexy Star.
Born in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, Garcia was always into athletics, devoting herself to boxing, kickboxing, and Muay Thai. She worked in communication sciences before deciding to become a professional wrestler.
Garcia is best known for her time in AAA, where she won the AAA Reina de Reinas Championship twice and was a mixed tag team champion with Pentagon Jr. In 2012, she won the Reina de Reinas tournament. Sexy Star was also a charter member of the Lucha Underground roster; she finished the show’s second season as the Gift of the Gods Champion.
In February 2016, Garcia forfeited her half of the AAA World Mixed Tag Team Championship and quit the company, announcing her intentions to retire from wrestling to pursue a boxing career. In July, she voluntarily unmasked at a boxing event in Mexico City, essentially making her wrestling retirement official.
Garcia is married to boxer Jhonny Gonzalez; the couple married in June 2015.
It’s a happy 41st birthday to Joel Gertner.
The longtime ring announcer made his debut at age 17 for a local wrestling federation as Joey Jaguar. He dropped out of Cornell University in 1995 and joined ECW full-time.
Gertner, who initially started as a straight-laced ring announcer for the promotion, eventually turned heel under the influence of Shane Douglas and would taunt babyface wrestlers during their introductions. He gained popularity with his Gertner-Vision segments where he would interact with fans and do innuendo-laced limericks.
Gertner is perhaps best known as the personal ring announcer and manager of ECW’s most successful tag team, the Dudley Boyz. Gertner took the Eliminators’ finishing maneuver, Total Elimination, at Barely Legal in 1997 and would begin to wear a neck brace (something he continues to do to this day). After the Dudleys left the WWF, Gertner would pair up with Joey Styles as the color commentator for ECW’s weekly show on TNN. Gertner actually has a win in ECW, defeating Cyrus the Virus at Anarchy Rulz in October 2000. Gertner remained with the company until the promotion’s shutdown in April 2001.
Gertner post-ECW has continued to make appearances in the wrestling world, most notably for TNA as the one-time manager of the Rainbow Express, at Hardcore Homecoming and ECW’s One Night Stand in 2005, at TNA’s Hardcore Justice in 2010, and for Extreme Rising in 2012. Gertner’s last notable appearance came in April 2014 for Masked Mania.
It’s a happy 52nd birthday to Scott Hudson.
Hudson is best known for role as a play-by-play announcer on WCW programming, including Nitro, Thunder, and some PPVs. He actually got his start with the Global Wrestling Federation in 1990 before joining WCW in 1995.
He remained with the company until WCW’s sale to the WWF in 2001. He briefly announced for the WWF alongside Arn Anderson for WCW during the infamous Invasion angle. Hudson once said of his experience with the WWF, “Basically, I was there exactly as long as they wanted me to be and exactly as long as I wanted to be there."
Hudson briefly joined TNA as a backstage interviewer in 2003. His last announcing gig came for Vince Russo’s Ring of Glory in 2005.
It’s a happy 58th birthday to Martin Anthony Lunde, best known to wrestling fans as Arn Anderson.
Lunde is best remembered for his longtime association with Ric Flair as a part of the legendary Four Horsemen stable in Jim Crockett Promotions and later WCW. In the 1980s, Anderson would win the NWA National Championship with his kayfabe uncle Ole Anderson, the NWA World Tag Team Championship twice with Tully Blanchard, and would win the NWA World Television Championship.
In late 1988, Blanchard and Lunde left JCP for the WWF and would become the Brain Busters. Under the management of Bobby Heenan, in July 1989, they defeated Demolition to win the WWF Tag Team Championship. They’d hold them for just over three months before being defeated by Demolition; soon after, Lunde returned to the rebranded WCW.
Success would find Anderson upon his return, winning the NWA World Television Championship in January 1990 and hold it for all but about six weeks over the next sixteen months. Following the Horsemen disbanding in 1991 (Flair and Sid Vicious both left for the WWF and Barry Windham was turned face), Anderson teamed with Larry Zbyszko as the Enforcers, winning the WCW World Tag Team titles in September 1991.
In 1992, Anderson would win the tag titles again, this time with Bobby Eaton. Eaton and Anderson would join Larry Zbyszko, Madusa, Rick Rude, and Steve Austin as the Dangerous Alliance, a group headed by Paul E. Dangerously, aka Paul Heyman. The Horsemen reformed in 1993, this time adding Paul Roma to the group. When that incarnation disbanded, Anderson joined Col. Robert Parker’s Stud Stable with Austin, Bunkhouse Buck, Terry Funk, and Meng. The group feuded with the Rhodes family (specifically Dusty and Dustin) throughout 1994.
In October 1993, Anderson was involved in a fight with Sid Eudy, aka Sid Vicious, while on tour in Europe. In a hotel bar in Blackburn, England, the two got into an argument. After being sent to their rooms by WCW security chief Doug Dillinger, Eudy came at Anderson with a chair leg. Eventually, a pair of safety scissors got involved in the brawl. The two were stabbed a combined 24 times, with Anderson receiving 20 of the 24 wounds, resulting in a pint and a half of blood lost. No charges were filed, but Eudy was fired over the incident. 2 Cold Scorpio broke up the fight and was credited with saving Anderson’s life.
Anderson would win the WCW World Television Championship one last time in January 1995. He held it for six months before dropping it to The Renegade. He briefly feuded with Ric Flair before reforming the Horsemen in September 1995 with Flair, Brian Pillman, and a player to be named later (it wound up being Chris Benoit).
Anderson’s hard-hitting, no-nonsense in-ring style would ultimately prove to be detrimental to his body. In August 1997, Anderson retired due to neck and back problems. He would offer his “spot” in the Horsemen to Curt Hennig (who ultimately turned on the group just a few weeks later). A year to the disbanding, the group reformed again with a returning Ric Flair, who had been absent from WCW for the bulk of that period (in part due to a lawsuit Flair had with WCW), Dean Malenko, Chris Benoit, and Steve McMichael. The group feuded with Bischoff for the remainder of the year, and Flair ultimately won Bischoff’s job in December 1998. Three months later, Anderson helped in defeating Ric Flair for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Anderson would remain a part of WCW until its sale in March 2001.
Following WWF’s purchase of WCW, Anderson became a road agent for the company after briefly trying his hand at commentary. He’d occasionally appear on RAW pulling apart backstage brawls, playing messenger (most notably delivering a video to Triple H just before he renewed his wedding vows to Stephanie McMahon), and once in a while get physically involved in a match (including delivering his signature spinebuster) to The Undertaker at Wrestlemania X8. He most recently appeared on an episode of Smackdown as a prospective tag team partner for Heath Slater during a tournament to crown Smackdown tag team champions. Anderson refused after Slater revealed he was not the first choice.
Anderson is married to his wife Erin, and has two sons, Barrett Anthony and Brock. He wrote an autobiography released in 1998, Arn Anderson 4 Ever: A Look Behind the Curtain. In 2012, Anderson was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as a member of the Four Horsemen. In 1990, Anderson won the Best on Interviews award from Wrestling Observer Newsletter. He is a two-time Pro Wrestling Illustrated Tag Team of the Year winner, winning it with Tully Blanchard in 1989 and with Larry Zbyszko in 1991. In 1991, Anderson was ranked as one of the top ten singles wrestlers in the world in the PWI 500. He won the publication’s Stanley Weston Award for lifetime achievement in 1997. In April 2016, Anderson was honored with the Lou Thesz/Art Abrams Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cauliflower Alley Club.