26 years ago today, NWA presented Clash of the Champions XII: Fall Brawl ‘90-Mountain Madness (WWE Network link) from the Civic Center in Asheville, North Carolina.
The show drew a record audience on TBS; 2.8 million homes watched the event on average, with a peak at 3.3 million homes for the double main event. It would be the most watched wrestling show in TBS history until the Hulk Hogan-Ric Flair rematch at Clash of the Champions XXVIII in August 1994.
- The Southern Boys (Steve Armstrong & Tracey Smothers) defeated The Freebirds (Michael Hayes & Jimmy Garvin).
- Mike Rotundo defeated Buddy Landell.
- The Master Blasters (Iron & Steel) defeated Brad Armstrong & Tim Horner.
- The Nasty Boys defeated Jackie Fulton & Terry Taylor.
- Tommy Rich defeated Bill Irwin.
- Susan Sexton defeated Bambi.
- The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott) defeated Maximum Overdrive (Tim Hunt & Jeff Warner).
- Stan Hansen defeated Tom Zenk.
- Lex Luger defeated Ric Flair via disqualification to retain the NWA United States Championship.
- Sting defeated The Black Scorpion (Al Perez under a mask) to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Post-match, a second Black Scorpion appeared and taunted Sting claiming he was the real thing.
25 years ago today, WCW presented Clash of the Champions XVI: Fall Brawl '91 (WWE Network link) from the Civic Center in Augusta, Georgia.
- In a preshow dark match, Tommy Rich defeated Joey Maggs.
- El Gigante won a 15-man battle royal. Other participants were Barry Windham, Beautiful Bobby, Big Josh, Buddy Lee Parker, Dustin Rhodes, Oz, PN News, Ranger Ross, Steve Austin, Terrance Taylor, One Man Gang, The Z-Man, Thomas Rich, and Tracy Smothers.
- Brian Pillman defeated Badstreet in a WCW Light Heavyweight Championship semifinal match.
- Sting defeated Johnny B. Badd to retain the WCW United States Championship.
- Ricky Morton defeated Mike Graham in a WCW Light Heavyweight Championship semifinal match.
- The Freebirds (Michael Hayes & Jimmy Garvin) defeated Todd Champion & Firebreaker Chip.
- Ron Simmons defeated The Diamond Stud (Scott Hall).
- Van Hammer defeated Terrance Taylor in just 67 seconds.
- Steve Austin defeated Tom Zenk to retain the WCW World Television Championship.
- The Enforcers (Arn Anderson & Larry Zbyszko) defeated Rick Steiner & Bill Kazmier to win the vacated WCW World Tag Team Championship.
9 years ago today, Andrew "Test" Martin is released from TNA just a month after debuting with the company.
Less than two weeks after his release, he was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. He would be arrested and charged again with DUI in April 2008 just weeks after wrestling his retirement match in France.
9 years ago today in Cape Town, South Africa, Paul London and Brian Kendrick defeated Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch to win the WWE Tag Team Championship. They would lose the titles just three days later back to Cade and Murdoch on the same South African tour.
6 years ago today, TNA presented No Surrender from the Impact Zone at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. The event focused on the semifinal round of the tournament to crown a new TNA World Heavyweight Champion at Bound for Glory.
- The Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin) defeated Generation Me (Jeremy Buck and Max Buck) to retain the TNA World Tag Team Championship.
- Douglas Williams defeated Sabu to retain the TNA X Division Championship.
- Velvet Sky defeated Madison Rayne.
- Abyss defeated Rhino in a falls count anywhere match.
- Jeff Jarrett and Samoa Joe defeated Sting and Kevin Nash via submission.
- AJ Styles defeated Tommy Dreamer in a "I Quit" match.
- Kurt Angle and Jeff Hardy fought to a no contest in a semifinal match of the TNA World Heavyweight Championship tournament. Had Angle lost the match, he would have been forced to retire. (In a side note, the two fought again a few days later on Impact, again going to a no contest. Both men would advance to the final, making the world title match at Bound for Glory a triple threat match.
- Mr. Anderson defeated D'Angelo Dinero to advance to the finals of the TNA World Heavyweight Championship tournament.
2 years ago today, TNA taped One Night Only: Turning Point from the John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Virginia.
- In a preshow dark match, DJ Z defeated Sonjay Dutt.
- Samoa Joe defeated Kenny King.
- The Great Sanada defeated Austin Aries.
- Gail Kim defeated Angelina Love and Madison Rayne in a three-way match to retain the TNA Knockouts Championship.
- Gunner & Mr. Anderson defeated Ethan Carter III & Rockstar Spud.
- Eric Young defeated Magnus.
- Bram defeated Abyss in a Monster's Ball match.
- Bobby Roode defeated James Storm.
- Jeff Hardy defeated MVP.
It’s a happy 29th birthday for Thomas James Ballester, best known to professional wrestling fans as AR Fox.
Trained by Curtis Hughes in Atlanta and briefly in the WWE developmental system, Ballester, who initially wrestled as Ampliflyer before settling on AR Fox when he debuted for Combat Zone Wrestling in February 2010. Later that year, he debuted for Evolve Wrestling, then wrestled for Evolve's sister promotion, Dragon Gate USA in January 2011.
Fox has also competed notably for Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, AAA, Chikara, and Ring of Honor.
He's quite accomplished on the independent circuit, becoming the last CZW Junior Heavyweight Champion in 2012 before the belt's retirement (it was revived in August 2014), two-time CZW Wired TV champion, and the 2013 co-winner of the Queen and King of the Ring tournament with Athena. He was the inaugural Evolve Champion in 2013, and the winner of the 2011 Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup, a showcase of junior heavyweight independent wrestlers.
Today would have been the 81st birthday of Carl Ray Stevens, best known to wrestling fans as Ray "The Crippler" Stevens.
Wrestling from the age of 15, one of his mentors was "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers, who called him one of the most graceful and talented wrestlers he's ever watched. Stevens' matches with Gorgeous George made him a main-eventer before he was old enough to vote. His first major championship came in August 1959 when he won the NWA World Tag Team Championship as one half of the Shire Brothers (Ray was Ray Shire, and his "brother" was Roy). The Shires once competed in a boxer versus wrestler bout with former world champion boxer Archie Moore.
Stevens reverted to his real name when he began wrestling in San Francisco in March 1961 and most famously feuded with Pepper Gomez, a man who was said to have an iron stomach. The heated rivalry drew a record crowd at the time for any event at the Cow Palace the next year. The rivalry got a little too real in 1963 when Gomez accidentally knocked out Stevens with a ring bell. Though Ray was taken to a hospital unconscious, Stevens suffered no serious injuries. In fact, the biggest injury came to the wallet of Gomez, who was fined a hefty $5,000 for the incident (about $39,000 today when adjusted for inflation).
During his time in San Francisco, he became an impeccable bumper, inventing the turnbuckle flip in 1965, and was often praised for his ability to make his opponent look good in the ring. His vicious demeanor both in the ring (his "Bombs Away" top rope knee drop to the throat was one of the most devastating maneuvers of the day) and on the microphone made Stevens the most hated—and most beloved—wrestler in the area. He would capture the San Francisco version of the NWA United States Championship nine times from 1960 to 1970, and win the NWA World Tag Team Championship in 1965 with Pat Patterson as The Blond Bombers. In July 1967, Stevens defeated Bruno Sammartino two falls to one in a best of three falls match, but did not win the WWWF World Heavyweight Championship, as he had won the deciding fall by countout, and WWWF rules stated titles could not change hands on a countout.
In 1971, Stevens joined the American Wrestling Association, and success found him there too, winning the AWA World Tag Team Championship four times (three with Nick Bockwinkel, and one with his old partner Patterson), and three more NWA world tag titles. It was in the AWA where Ray went from Blond Bomber to Crippler when in 1972, he hit his knee drop while Dr. X was tangled between two leg ropes (in reality, it was a write-off so Dr. X—real name Dick Beyer—could work in Japan as "The Destroyer"). Stevens' knee drop would be banned from the company. After a falling out with manager Bobby Heenan, Bockwinkel and Stevens would have a bitter feud in 1977.
Stevens would eventually land in the WWF under the management of "Classy" Freddie Blassie, then later Captain Lou Albano. But thirty plus years on the road and a shift in philosophy among promoters made Ray obsolete and his tenure in the WWF a short one.
His final days in the ring came for the AWA. Stevens was on commentary for the Nick Bockwinkel-Curt Hennig AWA world title match in May 1987. Zbyszko's use of a roll of coins led to Hennig winning the title. After the championship was held up due to a protest by Bockwinkel and Stevens, the original decision stood, and Hennig was allowed to keep the title. Stevens would feud with Zbyszko before finally calling it a career in 1992.
On May 3, 1996, Ray Stevens died of a heart attack while sleeping in his home in Fremont, California. He was 60 years old. At the time of his death, he was survived by five children. Posthumously, he was inducted into the inaugural class of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame in 1996 and the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2006, where he was inducted for both his singles and his tag team accomplishments.