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This Day in Wrestling History (Jan. 15): Big John Rumbles To Victory

this day in wrestling history

28 years ago today, WWE presented the Royal Rumble (WWE Network link) from The Summit in Houston, Texas. About 19,000 were in attendance, with 165,000 homes watching on PPV.

This was the PPV debut of the event, as the previous one was broadcast as a television special on the USA Network. The show also featured a "posedown" between The Ultimate Warrior and Ravishing Rick Rude.

Star ratings are from Wrestling Observer Newsletter's Dave Meltzer. Ratings are out of a possible five.

  • In a dark match, Jim Powers defeated Barry Horowitz.
  • In a dark match, Sam Houston defeated Steve Lombardi.
  • Jim Duggan & The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart) defeated Dino Bravo & The Fabulous Rougeaus (Jacques & Raymond Rougeau) 2-1 in a best of three falls match. (2.25/5)
  • Rockin' Robin defeated Judy Martin to retain the WWF Womens Championship. (1.25)
  • Haku defeated Harley Race. (0)
  • Big John Studd last eliminated "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase to win the Royal Rumble match. (2.5)

1989 Royal Rumble

Entrant # Entrant Elimination # Eliminated By Time in match
Entrant # Entrant Elimination # Eliminated By Time in match
1 Ax 4 Perfect 14:37
2 Smash 1 Andre 4:55
3 André the Giant 5 Himself 14:55
4 Mr. Perfect 11 Hogan 27:58
5 Ronnie Garvin 2 André 2:39
6 Greg Valentine 8 Savage 19:52
7 Jake Roberts 3 André 2:08
8 Ron Bass 7 Michaels and Jannetty 12:36
9 Shawn Michaels 9 Anderson and Savage 14:30
10 Butch Miller 13 Brown and Hogan 18:13
11 The Honky Tonk Man 6 Miller and Santana 4:12
12 Tito Santana 12 Savage and Anderson 12:47
13 Bad News Brown 20 Hogan 16:24
14 Marty Jannetty 10 Blanchard and Anderson 7:52
15 Randy Savage 19 Hogan 12:26
16 Arn Anderson 16 Hogan 10:00
17 Tully Blanchard 17 Hogan 8:02
18 Hulk Hogan 21 Akeem and Boss Man 11:31
19 Luke Williams 15 Hogan 3:08
20 Koko B. Ware 14 Hogan 1:08
21 The Warlord 18 Hogan 0:02
22 The Big Boss Man 22 Hogan 4:18
23 Akeem 28 John Studd 18:36
24 Brutus Beefcake 24 Barbarian and DiBiase 13:56
25 The Red Rooster 23 DiBiase 11:17
26 The Barbarian 26 Martel 11:15
27 Big John Studd - WINNER 12:21
28 Hercules 25 Barbarian and DiBiase 6:11
29 Rick Martel 27 Akeem 5:29
30 Ted DiBiase 29 John Studd 6:27
1989 Royal Rumble

Notes:

  • This was the first Royal Rumble to feature 30 entrants.
  • Hulk Hogan eliminated ten wrestlers, a record that would stand until Kane eliminated 11 in 2001.
  • One of the ten eliminated was The Warlord, who lasted just two seconds. That record stood until Santino Marella lasted 1.9 seconds in 2009.
  • At the time, this was the longest completed match in WWF history. At least two WWWF Championship bouts involving Bruno Sammartino (one in 1964 against Waldo Von Erich, and one in 1972 against Pedro Morales at Shea Stadium) went longer, but both had to end due to curfew regulations.

Cain A. Knight put together a full breakdown of survival times for the Rumble match, which you can read here.

11 years ago today, TNA presented Final Resolution from the Impact Zone at Universal Orlando.

  • In a preshow match, Team Canada (Petey Williams, Eric Young, and A-1) defeated Lance Hoyt, Jay Lethal, and Kenny King.
  • In a preshow match, The Latin American Exchange (Homicide and Konnan) defeated The Naturals (Andy Douglas and Chase Stevens).
  • Alex Shelley, Austin Aries & Roderick Strong defeated Chris Sabin, Matt Bentley & Sonjay Dutt. (3/5)
  • The James Gang (BG James & Kip James) defeated David Young & Elix Skipper. (1)
  • AJ Styles defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi. (3)
  • Sean Waltman defeated Raven in a "Raven's Rules" match. Larry Zbyszko was the special referee. (2)
  • Bobby Roode defeated Ron Killings. (2)
  • Abyss defeated Rhino. (1.75)
  • America's Most Wanted (Chris Harris & James Storm) defeated Team 3D (Brother Devon & Brother Ray) to retain the NWA World Tag Team Championship. (3.25)
  • Samoa Joe defeated Christopher Daniels to retain the TNA X-Division Championship. (4.25)
  • Christian Cage & Sting defeated Jeff Jarrett & Monty Brown. (2.75)

5 years ago today in Oakland, California, Primo & Epico defeated Air Boom (Evan Bourne & Kofi Kingston) to win the WWE Tag Team Championship.

It is the last time a main roster WWE championship changed hands at a non-televised event, and the last time any WWE-owned title changed hands at a non-televised event until Samoa Joe defeated Finn Balor on April 21, 2016 at an NXT house show in Lowell, Massachusetts.

4 years ago today, TNA voluntarily dropped their lawsuit against WWE over office staff member Brian Wittenstein obtained confidential documents relating to TNA, including talent contracts. This came around the time Ric Flair asked for his release from TNA, though Flair was released prior to the lawsuit being filed.

Contrary to popular rumor, WWE was allowed to hire or negotiate with ex-TNA talent and TNA talents whose contracts were expiring. As part of the settlement, both sides agreed to agree to pay for their own legal costs. The lawsuit settlement did open the door for Flair to return to WWE.

2 years ago today, WWE Immortals is released for Android and iOS devices.

The free-to-play game developed by NetherRealm Studios (the people behind the most recent Mortal Kombat games) incorporates elements from the Injustice: Gods Among Us mobile game and WWE Brawl, a cancelled fighting game developed by THQ.

2 years ago today, WWE announces that a Tough Enough reboot is in the works and has been picked up by the USA Network. From WWE.com:

"I am pleased to announce that USA is bringing back 'Tough Enough,' the action-packed competition reality show from the ratings juggernaut, WWE," McCumber said in a speech today during the Television Critics Association winter press tour. "The show will have a completely new format, with live elements that will truly make this event television."

McCumber continued, "After signing another multi-year deal for Raw and SmackDown, this is the perfect time to bring back the series and capitalize on the enormous audience appeal of sports-entertainment."

Event television the 2015 Tough Enough reboot was not. The show premiered six months later to an audience of just 1.21 million viewers, and would never recover. The series bottomed out at 850,000 viewers for the seventh episode, a far cry from the two million viewers on average the 2011 Tough Enough season did.


It's a happy 30th birthday to twice Shimmer tag team champion and Shimmer champion Nicole Matthews.

Born in Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada, Nicole was convinced to try professional wrestling by her friend and fellow wrestler Sid Sylum. She made her professional debut in February 2006; a month later she debuted for Supergirls Wrestling, a subsidiary of NWA Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling. In October 2006, she would win the championship in a three-way match involving Nattie Neidhart and Veronika Vice. She would hold the championship until the following April when Vice defeated her. Nicole would regain the title in March 2008 from Penni Lane and would hold it for nearly a year before losing it—€”again—€”to Vice.

Her most famous work came with Shimmer Women Athletes. After being initially rejected by the promotion in 2006 after she sent a demo tape, she joined the company in October 2007 when Portia Perez needed a tag team partner. The duo would form the Canadian NINJAs (or the Canadian National International Nation of Jalapeno Awesomeness€—this is a real name). In May 2009, the NINJAS defeated Ashley Lane and Neveah to win the Shimmer Tag Team Championship. They would hold the championship for nearly 700 days, not losing them until March 2011 when they were defeated by Hiroyo Matsumoto and Misaki Ohata. During that long title reign, the duo also took part in the lone season of Wrestlicious as the Naughty Girls, Hope and Faith (Hope was Nicole, while Portia was Faith).

Matthews would win the Supergirls Championship for a third time in October 2010, holding it for nearly a year before being defeated by KC Spinelli.

The NINJAs would win the titles a second time at an NCW Femme Fatales event in July 2012 just one night after being defeated by Courtney Rush and Sara Del Rey for the titles in a four-team elimination match. The NINJAs held the championships until the following April when they were defeated by Kellie Skater and Tomoka Nakagawa, the Global Green Gangsters.

On October 18, 2014, Nicole Matthews, with the help of a fireball to Madison Eagles' face, won a fatal-four way elimination match to become the new Shimmer Champion. Nicole would hold the title for nearly a year before losing it the following October in a no-disqualification match to Eagles.

Matthews, a two-time ECCW Champion, is a former swimmer and lifeguard and is an Aquatic Program Supervisor. She's also studying kinesiology part-time at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia. She has ranked sixteenth in each of the last two PWI Female 50 lists, Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s annual ranking of the world’s best female wrestlers.

It's a happy 30th birthday too for Barbara Jean Blank. Known these days as Barbie Blank, she's best remembered as WWE diva Kelly Kelly.

Born in Jacksonville, Florida, the longtime wrestling fan was a gymnast in her younger days before an injury forced her to leave the sport. She took up cheerleading and broadcast journalism, hoping to become a news anchor.

While working as a bikini model for Hawaiian Tropic and Venus Swimwear, Barbie was scouted by WWE official John Laurinaitis. Despite having no formal wrestling training, Blank at just 19 was offered a WWE contract in May 2006. In her early days on the main roster, she travelled to Ohio Valley Wrestling's home base in Louisville between shows and worked as a ring announcer, referee, and wrestler.

Blank debuted for the rebooted ECW as Kelly Kelly (originally it was to be just one Kelly, but WWE Chairman Vince McMahon made it two Kellys. Umm... thanks Vince?) Kelly Kelly was an exhibitionist, performing stripteases for the crowd. This was something that riled up her on-screen boyfriend Mike Knox, who would interrupt her routine. Eventually Kelly's Expose became Extreme Expose, which included fellow swimsuit model Brooke Adams and Diva Search winner Layla El. The trio performed regular dance segments for ECW's shows.

After the group split up in late 2007, Kelly began taking on a more active in-ring role, moving to RAW in July 2008. She occasionally challenged for the WWE Divas Championship, but would never win it. She moved to Smackdown in early 2010 and chased LayCool's WWE Women's Championship, but would never win it.

A little over a year later, Kelly returned to RAW, and on June 20, won a fan vote to challenge for Brie Bella's Divas Championship. And Kelly would win. She held the title for just over three months before losing it to Beth Phoenix at Hell in a Cell. The same year, Kelly appeared on The Price is Right with the Bella Twins, and was listed among Maxim Magazine's Hot 100 (#82). She would make the list again the next year at #38.

However, her feud with Phoenix would continue until Wrestlemania XXVIII, where Kelly and Extra correspondent Maria Menunous defeated Phoenix and Eve Torres in a tag match. Kelly would take a leave of absence in the summer, returning in August with a win over Eve. It would turn out to be her last television match; Blank was released from her contract in late September. In a December 2012 interview, Blank cited a neck injury and plans to resume her modeling career for why she left wrestling behind. Save for an appearance for North East Wrestling in late 2012, Blank's largely been away from the wrestling business. Blank is considered retired.

Barbie was in a relationship with Andrew Martin (best known as Test) for two and a half years, which ended just before Martin's death in 2009. In August 2014, she got engaged to former ice hockey player Sheldon Souray. The couple married in Mexico in February 2016. Blank these days is a part of the E! reality series WAGS, which follows the lives of the wives and girlfriends of athletes. Blank said on The Tomorrow Show with Keven Umdergaro podcast that she would be open to returning to the ring, but only as a part of a crossover with WAGS.

It’s a happy 47th birthday to pro wrestler/businessman/commissioner on TV Shane Brandon McMahon.

Born in Gaithersburg, Maryland, Shane is a fourth-generation member of the McMahon wrestling family; he is the great-grandson of Roderick “Jess” McMahon, grandson of Vincent James McMahon, son of Vincent Kennedy McMahon, and the elder brother of Stephanie McMahon.

Shane began with WWE at age 15 in their company warehouse, filling out merchandise orders. At age 19, Shane made his first television appearance as referee Shane Stevens at the 1989 Survivor Series. At Wrestlemania VI, he was the first man to walk out and greet the audience. He continued to referee until 1991, and took on a backstage agent role soon after; his most notable appearance came at Wrestlemania VIII when she tried to restrain Miss Elizabeth and breakup a post-match brawl between Randy Savage and Ric Flair.

Shane would begin making regular on-screen appearances in 1998 as one of the executives working with Mike Tyson to make an appearance at Wrestlemania XIV. He became more involved following the event, first offering support and advice in Vince McMahon’s feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin. During the summer and fall, McMahon became a color commentator for Sunday Night Heat alongside Jim Cornette and later Kevin Kelly, and lent his voice as an announcer for the WWF Attitude video game with Jerry Lawler.

Late in the year, Shane took on a more active on-screen role; in the fall, McMahon against the wishes of his father signed a new deal for the recently-fired Stone Cold Steve Austin. As punishment, Shane was demoted to referee. At Survivor Series, McMahon turned heel by turning on Austin during the semifinals of the Deadly Game tournament. With that, Shane officially became a member of the Corporation.

Shane left the commentary table in February 1999 and began wrestling; that month, he would defeat X-Pac for the WWF European Championship. He held onto it at Wrestlemania XV with help from Shane’s childhood friends, the Mean Street Posse, and former D-Generation X leader Triple H. McMahon briefly retired the title, saying he wanted to retire an undefeated champion. After Mideon found the title in his duffel bag, Shane gave it to him, thus reactivating the title.

Following Wrestlemania XV, Shane took over the Corporation stable, briefly turning his father Vince face. While Vince aligned with ex-Corporation members The Union, Shane aligned with the Undertaker’s Ministry of Darkness to form The Corporate Ministry. Eventually, it was revealed that Vince himself masterminded the supergroup to take the WWF Championship from Stone Cold Steve Austin. The plan wasn’t without consequence: Austin gained 50% ownership of the WWF when Linda and Stephanie McMahon were upset with the male McMahons’ plot to kidnap and shotgun wed daughter Stephanie. The McMahons would win it back at King of the Ring in a handicap ladder match when a mystery person prevented Austin from grabbing the briefcase.

With Vince back to focusing on Austin, Shane turned his attention to Test, who was dating Shane’s sister Stephanie. Shane didn’t like the relationship, feeling Test was beneath him. Shane and the Mean Street Posse feuded with Test over the next few months, culminating at Summerslam in a “Love Her or Leave Her” match. Test would win the bout (had he lost, he could no longer date Stephanie), meaning Shane was forced to give his blessing and let the beef go.

With his issues with Test settled, the two aligned with Vince McMahon in their feud against a reunited D-Generation X. In December 1999, Shane was attacked by the group and thrown off the stage. Shane's sister Stephanie would soon align with and marry (kayfabe) Triple H; with the McMahon-Helmsley faction in control of the WWF, both Shane and Vince disappeared from television.

Shane returned at No Way Out and helped The Big Show defeat The Rock to earn his WWF Championship match at Wrestlemania 2000. Just over a week later, Vince returned as well, helping The Rock defeat The Big Show to earn back his title match he had won at the Royal Rumble. This led to Wrestlemania 2000, where the WWF Championship would be contested with a McMahon in every corner. Shane aligned with The Big Show, Stephanie with Triple H, Vince with The Rock, and Linda with the unretired (albeit temporarily) Mick Foley. Shane's charge The Big Show was eliminated first; Triple H went on to win the bout. Soon after, the Shane-Big Show alliance dissolved and the two would face off at Judgment Day, with Shane winning.

Over the next few months, he would align with Edge, Christian, and Chris Benoit (and a returning Big Show) as the Conspiracy. Shane would briefly hold the WWF Hardcore Championship, but would be defeated by the man he beat for it, Steve Blackman, after Blackman sent McMahon 40 feet down after repeatedly hitting him with a Singapore cane. Following this, McMahon largely disappeared from television until the new year.

Shane returned in the lead-up to Wrestlemania X-Seven, upset with his father Vince's affair with Trish Stratus and his desire to divorce Linda McMahon. The feud took a turn just before the event; WWF had bought WCW just over a week before Wrestlemania. Vince announced his intention on RAW is WAR to have Ted Turner sign over the papers at the event; that opening allowed Shane McMahon to step in and (kayfabe) sign the papers himself, giving him ownership of WCW. Shane would go on to defeat Vince at Wrestlemania X-Seven in a father versus son street fight.

Shane briefly resumed his feud with Big Show following Wrestlemania; the two met in a last man standing match at Backlash (he debuted his new theme, “Here Comes the Money” by rap group Naughty by Nature at the event); Shane would win following an elbow from the top of a scaffolding and Test.

Shane next feuded with Kurt Angle. The feud culminated in a bloody bout at King of the Ring. Angle was on his third bout of the evening at the time of the street fight. Angle thought he had cracked his tailbone in the bout's early moments after a suplex on the floor. Later, Angle delivered an overhead belly-to-belly suplex to the plate glass set. The glass didn't break, causing McMahon's head to hit the concrete floor (Angle broke the glass on the second try). Angle tried to do the same behind the set, but Angle failed twice before throwing him through the glass. Shane also missed a shooting star press, landing on a garbage can. The bout ended with an Angle Slam from the top rope.

Shane would lead his WCW wrestlers and soon align with ECW wrestlers headed by Paul Heyman and Stephanie McMahon as the Alliance to run Vince McMahon and the WWF out of business. Though the Alliance would win a ten-man tag team bout at Invasion, the Alliance would be defeated by the WWF 5-4 in a winner-take-all bout at Survivor Series, forcing the Alliance to disband. Both Shane and Stephanie were fired the next night. Shane seemingly took it well, admitting he had lost to the better man.

Shane would disappear from WWE programming until just before Wrestlemania XIX watching his father train for his match against Hulk Hogan. Shane checked on a bloody Vince following the latter's defeat to Hogan at the event in a street fight. In the summer of 2003, Shane feuded with Eric Bischoff over Bischoff's comments towards Linda McMahon. He defeated Bischoff at Summerslam in a street fight. He also feuded with Kane, who gave Linda a tombstone piledriver. The two met in a pair of PPVs, with Kane winning both (a last man standing match at Unforgiven, then the WWE's first ever Ambulance match at Survivor Series).

Following the feud, Shane turned his attention to behind the scenes work, mainly working with the creative staff, and focusing on his new family (you can see Shane's son Declan in the opening of Wrestlemania XX). Shane's next notable appearance came at WWE Homecoming in October 2005; all four McMahons received Stone Cold Stunners that night. Shane returned as a regular on-screen character in 2006 when Shane McMahon eliminated Shawn Michaels from the Royal Rumble match. After weeks of attacks by Shane, the two met in a street fight at the Saturday Night's Main Event reboot in March 2006 in a street fight. In a rehash of the Montreal Screwjob, Vince McMahon called or the bell as Shane locked Shawn in the Sharpshooter. Following Wrestlemania 22 where Shawn defeated Vince in a no holds barred match, the feud got religious, with Vince claiming he got divine intervention to win. Vince booked a tag match at Backlash where he and Shane took on Shawn Michaels and “God”. The McMahons won with help from the Spirit Squad.

The McMahons' feud extended to Triple H and soon after, the reformed D-Generation X. The McMahons would be defeated by DX at Summerslam, and again at Unforgiven when The McMahons and Big Show lost a handicap Hell in a Cell match to DX. Shane was written off after he received an elbow drop from Michaels with a chair around his neck.

Shane would not return until six months later to inform Vince that their pick for special referee for the Battle of the Billionaires bout had lost in a 5-4 vote. The referee that got the vote: their longtime rival Stone Cold Steve Austin. Shane tried to interfere on Vince's behalf during the bout at Wrestlemania 23, hitting a coast-to-coast dropkick on Bobby Lashley, but was eventually thwarted by Austin. Lashley went on to defeat Umaga in the bout. Shane would join Vince and Umaga in their feud with Lashley, helping Vince win the ECW World Championship at Backlash. They had a return bout at Judgment Day, with Lashley defeating Shane. Lashley would defeat Vince for the title at One Night Stand despite Shane and Umaga trying to help Vince.

Shane made sporadic appearances for the next year and a half, and briefly was interim general manager of RAW alongside his sister Stephanie. Shane left in November 2008 after arguing with Stephanie about who was in charge of RAW; Stephanie slapped him, causing Shane to respond that he would watch her “run RAW right into the ground”.

In January 2009, Randy Orton feuded with the McMahon family. On January 19, Vince was punted in the head by Orton after he had tried to fire him from the company after some comments made towards Stephanie. Shane returned the next week to defend the family honor. Shane challenged Orton to a no holds barred match at No Way Out, with Orton winning. Orton won again the next night in an unsanctioned match after he punted Shane in the head and delivered an RKO to Stephanie.

Shane returned alongside Triple H and Vince McMahon to attack Orton’s group, Legacy (Randy Orton, Ted DiBiase Jr., and Cody Rhodes). This was to lead to a six-man tag team match at Backlash, but Vince was replaced in the bout by the returning Batista. Orton defeated Triple H to win the WWE Championship in the bout; per pre-match stipulation, Orton could have won the title had any member of his team won, while if any member of Orton’s team lost by any means, Triple H retained. In May, Shane suffered a broken leg and ankle; in reality, it was a write-off.

Shockingly, it would also be the last major television appearance for Shane. In October 2009, Shane tendered his resignation from the company effective at the end of the year. Shane’s exit left only his father Vince and his sister Stephanie as the only active McMahons in the company.

In August 2010, McMahon had signed a deal to become the new CEO of broadband service provider China Broadband, Inc.; the company would change its name at the beginning of the year to YOU On Demand. He stepped down in 2013, but remains Vice-Chairman of the Board. He also sits on the Board of Directors for International Sports Management, a marketing firm that represents golfers including Ernie Els, Darren Clark, and until 2014, Rory McIlroy. Shane can be seen with McIlroy and Clarke in the final hole of the 2011 US and British Opens respectively.

In 2006, McMahon was in attendance at Pride 32, leading to speculation that the WWE were interested in promoting MMA down the line. Ultimately, it never came to pass; in March 2007, Zuffa, then the parent company of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, bought Pride FC from Dream Stage Entertainment for about $70 million.

In February 2016, Shane McMahon returned to WWE, interrupting his sister Stephanie getting the “Vincent J. McMahon Legacy of Excellence” Award from their father Vince. Shane came back with the intention of controlling Monday Night RAW. This led to Shane facing the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 32, with the stipulation that had Shane won, he would get control of RAW. Shane lost, but he briefly got control anyway. At Payback in June, Vince announced that both Shane and Stephanie would have joint control of WWE.

In July, Shane and Stephanie each got their own show to coincide the return of the brand extension and Smackdown becoming a live show airing Tuesday. The McMahon children would act as Commissioners, with the show to be handled by hand-picked general managers; Shane selected the recently retired Daniel Bryan. At Summerslam in August, following Brock Lesnar defeating Randy Orton, Shane confronted Lesnar, but he got an F-5 for his troubles. His most recent physical involvement came at Survivor Series when he replaced Baron Corbin on the men’s Smackdown vs. RAW elimination tag team matach. Smackdown went on to win the bout 5-3, but McMahon got a concussion after a coast-to-coast dropkick was countered into a spear by Roman Reigns.

Shane has been married to Marissa Mazzola since September 1996 (Marissa briefly co-hosted WWF Livewire in 1999 and 2000). They have three children, Declan James (age 12), Kenyon Jess (age 10), and Rogan Henry (age 7). His sons accompanied Shane to the ring at Wrestlemania 32.

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