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This Day in Wrestling History (Jan. 31): The Radicalz Arrive in the WWF

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this day in wrestling history

19 years ago today, WCW presented the audio PPL (pay-per-listen) event Boston Brawl from the Fleet Center in Boston, Massachusetts.

  • Bill Goldberg defeated Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker.
  • Booker T defeated Mike Rotunda to retain the WCW World Television Championship.
  • Chris Jericho defeated Dean Malenko to retain the WCW Cruiserweight Championship.
  • Steve McMichael defeated Greg Valentine.
  • The Steiner Brothers (Scott Steiner and Rick Steiner) defeated Raven and Perry Saturn to retain the WCW World Tag Team Championship.
  • Chris Benoit defeated Eddie Guerrero.
  • Bret Hart defeated Ric Flair.
  • Diamond Dallas Page, Lex Luger and Larry Zbyszko defeated The nWo (Randy Savage, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall).
  • Sting defeated Hollywood Hogan in a steel cage match.

19 years ago today, ECW presented Hostile City Showdown '98 from the ECW Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Selected matches from the show would air on the February 2 and February 9 episodes of ECW Hardcore TV (WWE Network links).

  • Chris Chetti and Jerry Lynn defeated The Full Blooded Italians (Little Guido and Tracy Smothers).
  • Rob Van Dam and Sabu defeated Axl Rotten and Balls Mahoney by disqualification.
  • Spike Dudley defeated Gran Naniwa.
  • Justin Credible defeated Gran Hamada.
  • The Triple Threat (Shane Douglas, Chris Candido, and Lance Storm) fought Bam Bam Bigelow and Taz to a no contest.
  • Al Snow pinned Doug Furnas.
  • In a four-way dance, Rob Van Dam & Sabu defeated The Dudley Boyz (Buh Buh Ray & D-Von), The Gangstanators (Kronus & New Jack), and Tommy Dreamer & The Sandman.

18 years ago today, Shohei Baba, best known to wrestling fans as the legendary Giant Baba, died of cancer in Tokyo, Japan. He was 61 years old.

Born January 23, 1938 in Sanjo, Niigata, Japan, Baba spent his early adulthood mostly in the minor league system for the Yomiuri Giants, signing with them at age 17. He only appeared in three games with the Giants and did not win once. While he was with the Giants, Japanese Wrestling Association owner and founder Mitsuhiro Momota, aka Rikidozan, began looking for a successor to his throne.

In April 1960, Baba trained in Rikidozan's dojo. Six months later, he and his training partner Kanji Inoki (renamed later Antonio Inoki) made their professional debuts-Baba won, Inoki lost. In the early 1960's, Baba took on Buddy Rogers for the NWA world title, but lost. He also lost to Bruno Sammartino for the WWWF championship in 1963. From 1967 to 1971, the training partners won the NWA International Tag Team Championship four times, a record he would surpass with another partner, Jumbo Tsuruta.

With the Japanese Wrestling Association in decline, the two training partners would form competing organizations. Inoki would form New Japan Pro Wrestling, while Baba founded All Japan Pro Wrestling. With the support of Nippon TV, All Japan became the official Japanese promotion of the NWA, and the NWA would enjoy unprecedented business in the country. Baba would go on to hold the NWA World Heavyweight Championship three times, but never for long on any occasion. While his popularity was comparable to Hulk Hogan's of the mid-to-late 1980s, Giant Baba would phase himself out to give a focus to the next generation of talent, including Jumbo Tsuruta and Genichiro Tenryu.

Under the guidance of Baba, All Japan in the early and mid-1990s would be in their critical (in terms of match quality) and financial peak, as they sold out Tokyo shows on a regular basis (in fact, they had a sellout run of over 250 shows in a row; their Budokan Hall events would sell out as soon as tickets went on sale). With many of their top stars leaving for Super World of Sports, a new crop of talent would emerge on his watch including Kenta Kobashi, Akira Taue, and Toshiaki Kawada. Two of Baba's more controversial decisions paid off in the long run: unmasking Tiger Mask II, and having Mitsuhara Misawa defeat Jumbo Tsuruta in Budokan Hall in June 1990. The win for Misawa made him an instant main eventer. All Japan under Baba finally ran a Tokyo Dome show in 1998, and though the company was a few years past its prime, they still managed a crowd of over 58,000 fans.

Baba began his final comeback in 1994 when he and longtime rival Stan Hansen teamed for the World's Strongest Tag Determination League (a round robin tag team tournament similar to the G1 Climax), reaching the finals before losing to Misawa and Kobashi. He wrestled for the final time in December 1998 as part of a six-man tag team match. The last match he watched was just nine days before his death when Toshiaki Kawada defeated Mitsuhara Misawa for the All Japan Triple Crown Championship.

Baba, who was regarded as the most honest promoter in the business for keeping his word on handshake agreements rather than signed contracts, is one of the most honored men in puroresu history. He's garnered numerous awards from Tokyo Sports, including Match of the Year four consecutive years from 1979 to 1982, twice Wrestler of the Year, and three-time Tag Team of the Year winner. He was also a five-time Wrestling Observer Newsletter award winner for best promoter (1990 to 1994), three-time winner for best booker (1989 to 1991), and is a member of the publication's inaugural Hall of Fame class in 1996, and was posthumously inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2008.

17 years ago today on RAW is WAR from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (WWE Network link), former WCW champions Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Perry Saturn, and Dean Malenko all made their company debuts, running in during a tag team match between the New Age Outlaws and Head Cheese (Al Snow & Steve Blackman). Jim Ross dubbed the foursome as radicals, giving birth to the stable's name.

The foursome along with Konnan, Billy Kidman, and Shane Douglas all requested their release from WCW if Kevin Sullivan was to remain as the company’s head booker the Friday before Souled Out. Konnan, Kidman, and Douglas eventually backed off their threat (Konnan and Douglas probably due to their past issues with the WWF), but to placate the group, Benoit was booked to win the WCW world title.

When the remaining four arrived at Nitro that Monday, Guerrero, Saturn, and Malenko were informed they were being sent home for their part in the mutiny. Benoit found out about the meeting and decided that if they were leaving, so was he. Even though Busch told Benoit he would remain WCW world champion, Chris stuck to his guns and left the title belt with Nick Patrick on the way out.

Also on the undercard, Hervina, Harvey Whippleman in drag, defeated The Kat in a lumberjill match to win the WWF Women's Championship. He's the only male wrestler ever to win the title.

In the show’s main event, The Rock defeated Kurt Angle. This was Angle's first pinfall loss in the WWF.

7 years ago today, WWE presented Royal Rumble (WWE Network link) from the Phillips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. 16,697 were in attendance, with 462,000 homes watching on PPV.

The show is noted for the unadvertised return of Edge. He had been out the last five months with a shoulder injury.

  • In a preshow dark match, Kelly Kelly, Gail Kim, Eve Torres, and The Bella Twins defeated Alicia Fox, Natalya, Maryse, Jillian, and Katie Lea Burchill.
  • Christian defeated Ezekiel Jackson to retain the ECW Championship. This is the last time the championship is defended on PPV; it would be deactivated when the ECW brand folds the next month.
  • The Miz defeated MVP to retain the United States Championship.
  • Sheamus defeated Randy Orton by disqualification to retain the WWE Championship.
  • Mickie James defeated Michelle McCool in just 20 seconds to win the WWE Women's Championship.
  • The Undertaker defeated Rey Mysterio to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.
  • Edge last eliminated John Cena to win the Royal Rumble match and a championship match of his choosing at Wrestlemania XXVI.

2010 Royal Rumble Match

Draw Entrant Brand Order Eliminated by Time Eliminations
Draw Entrant Brand Order Eliminated by Time Eliminations
1 Dolph Ziggler SD 2 CM Punk 2:29 0
2 Evan Bourne Raw 1 CM Punk 2:26 0
3 CM Punk SD 7 Triple H 10:04 5
4 JTG SD 3 CM Punk 0:25 0
5 The Great Khali SD 4 Beth Phoenix 1:39 0
6 Beth Phoenix SD 5 CM Punk 1:37 1
7 Zack Ryder ECW 6 CM Punk 0:32 0
8 Triple H Raw 17 Shawn Michaels 17:55 3
9 Drew McIntyre SD 16 Triple H & Shawn Michaels 14:43 0
10 Ted DiBiase Raw 14 Shawn Michaels 13:40 0
11 John Morrison SD 15 Shawn Michaels 11:37 0
12 Kane SD 11 Triple H 11:00 1
13 Cody Rhodes Raw 13 Shawn Michaels 10:54 0
14 Montel Vontavious Porter Raw 9 Himself 0:07 1
15 Carlito Raw 12 Shawn Michaels 7:34 0
16 The Miz Raw 8 Montel Vontavious Porter 0:17 0
17 Matt Hardy SD 10 Kane 0:20 0
18 Shawn Michaels Raw 27 Batista 20:45 6
19 John Cena Raw 29 Edge 22:11 4
20 Shelton Benjamin ECW 18 John Cena 0:48 0
21 Yoshi Tatsu ECW 19 John Cena 0:29 0
22 Big Show Raw 22 R-Truth 5:04 1
23 Mark Henry Raw 21 R-Truth 3:09 0
24 Chris Masters Raw 20 Big Show 0:29 0
25 R-Truth SD 24 Kofi Kingston 5:22 2
26 Jack Swagger Raw 23 Kofi Kingston 2:06 0
27 Kofi Kingston Raw 25 John Cena 3:51 2
28 Chris Jericho SD 26 Edge 2:24 0
29 Edge SD Winner 7:19 2
30 Batista SD 28 John Cena 5:24 1

Notes:

  • Edge joins John Cena (2008), Triple H (2002), and Stone Cold Steve Austin (2001) as men who have won the Royal Rumble within six months of returning from a career-threatening injury.
  • Speaking of Edge, his 7 minutes, 19 seconds of in-ring time is the shortest of any Royal Rumble winner.
  • At seven seconds of in-ring time, MVP spent less time in a Royal Rumble match while recording an elimination than anyone in the history of the match.

2 years ago today at an Impact taping in London, England, Kurt Angle defeated Bobby Lashley by submission to win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.

1 year ago today at an Impact taping in Birmingham, England, Beer Money (James Storm & Bobby Roode) defeated the Wolves (Eddie Edwards & Davey Richards) to win the TNA World Tag Team Championship.

In the show’s main event, Bobby Lashley defeated Kurt Angle.

Airing March 8, it would serve as Kurt Angle’s (likely) final match in TNA. Debuting to great fanfare in 2006, Angle would go on to be the promotion’s greatest WWE import, winning the TNA World Heavyweight Championship six times, their tag titles twice (once each with Sting and AJ Styles), and the X Division title once.

For a brief period in 2007, Angle held all of TNA’s championships and the IGF version of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at the same time. He is also one of only two men to win one of TNA’s signature matches, the King of the Mountain match, more than once (he won it twice; only Jeff Jarrett has won more with three). In 2013, he was inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame.

After spending the last year on the independent circuit, he will rejoin WWE for at least one night when he is inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this April.

1 year ago today, Lucha Underground taped the second and third parts of Ultima Lucha Dos from the Temple in Los Angeles, California.

Airing July 6 and 13 respectively, the two parts served as the final episodes of Lucha Underground’s second season.

Part 2:

  • In a preshow dark match, Cage won a 15-man battle royal. Other participants were Captain De La Cruz, Chavo Guerrero Jr., Cortez Castro, Dr. Wagner, Jr., Joey Ryan, Kobra Moon, Mascarita Sagrada, Mr. Cisco, Pimpinela Escarlata, Ricky Mandel, Son Of Havoc, Texano, The Mack, and Vinny Massaro.
  • Sexy Star last eliminated Marty Martinez by submission in a seven-person elimination match for the Lucha Underground Gift of the Gods Championship. The win gave Sexy Star the right to trade it in for a Lucha Underground Championship match, provided that she give a week’s notice. Other participants in the match were Daga, El Sinestro de la Muerte, Kill Shot, Mariposa, and Night Claw.
  • Mil Muertes defeated King Cuerno in a death match.

Part 3:

  • Aero Star, Drago, and Fenix defeated Jack Evans, Johnny Mundo, and PJ Black to win the Lucha Underground Trios Championship.
  • Dragon Azteca Jr. and Black Lotus fought to a no contest.
  • “The Monster” Matazna Cueto defeated Pentagon Dark to retain the Lucha Underground Championship.
  • Taya defeated Ivellise.
  • Paul London defeated DelAvar Daivari.
  • Rey Mysterio defeated Prince Puma.

The best of cSs on this day:

2016: Who should Sister Abigail be? (As WWE flirts with the idea on bringing in Sister Abigail into their canon, Cagesiders weigh in on who it should be)

2015: Twitter mailbag: Randy Orton return, Seth Rollins' future, Brock Lesnar WWE contract, Stardust, more! (Geno answers questions from Cagesiders on Twitter)

2014: Video: Stone Cold Steve Austin discusses CM Punk walkout on Arsenio (WWE Hall of Famer Stone Cold Steve Austin weighs in on CM Punk walking out on Arsenio; video’s no longer on the page, but here’s the interview)

2013: Bret Hart goes in on Triple H, calls him overrated and claims he never had a great match (Bret Hart claims “1,000 time world champion” Triple H has only mediocre matches, a 4/10 at best in an interview with WrestleTalk TV)

2012: Pic and Video: Undertaker wears a wig on Raw to challenge Triple H to WrestleMania match (Undertaker returns and challenges Triple H to a third Wrestlemania bout, and... is that... is that a wig undertaker has on?)

2011: Who won the WWE Royal Rumble last night? (Geno weighs in on the 2011 Royal Rumble)