31 years and a day ago today, NWA in association with Championship Wrestling from Florida presented NWA: Battle of the Belts II from the Eddie Graham Sports Arena in Orlando, Florida.
The show is noted for the debut of the “Big Gold Belt”, replacing the NWA “domed globe” belt that had been in use since 1973. The belt would be used until Ric Flair departed what would become WCW in 1991. The belt had been in Flair’s possession for a time after he left the company as collateral for a deposit he put on the belt when he became champion ($38,000 total; $25,000 initial deposit, plus $13,000 in accrued interest). Eventually, WCW and Flair settled, and the belt was returned.
The Big Gold Belt would represent the NWA World Heavyweight Championship (WCW had commissioned its own belt by the time the belt was returned) until WCW seceded from the NWA in September 1993. WCW kept the Big Gold Belt, while NWA got the promotional rights to their heavyweight title. The Big Gold Belt would be the WCW International World Heavyweight Championship (predating WWE’s two world title concept by nearly a decade) until the championships were unified the following summer. The Big Gold Belt would represent WCW’s world title until its demise in 2001.
- Tyree Pride defeated Ron Slinker to retain the NWA Bahamas Championship.
- Kendall Windham defeated Prince Iaukea to retain the NWA Florida Heavyweight Championship.
- Denny Brown defeated The White Ninja by disqualification to retain the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship.
- Lex Luger defeated Jesse Barr to win the NWA Southern Heavyweight Championship.
- Bruiser Brody and Wahoo McDaniel fought to a double countout.
- Kevin Sullivan, Maha Singh, and Mark Lewin and The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Animal & Road Warrior Hawk) and Blackjack Mulligan fought to a double countout.
- Ric Flair defeated Barry Windham to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. The bout got a five-star rating from Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s Dave Meltzer.
31 years ago today, WWF taped the fifth edition of Saturday Night's Main Event (WWE Network link) from the Veteran's Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, Arizona.
Airing March 1, the show set up the triple main event for Wrestlemania 2 and featured the premiere of Hulk Hogan’s “Real American” video.
- Mr. T defeated "Cowboy" Bob Orton, Jr. in a boxing match. Post-match, Roddy Piper attacked Mr. T, setting up their Wrestlemania 2 boxing match.
- King Kong Bundy defeated Steve Gatorwolf.
- Hulk Hogan defeated The Magnificent Muraco by disqualification to retain the WWF Championship. King Kong Bundy interfered and injured Hogan following several Avalance splashes, setting up the steel cage match at Wrestlemania 2.
- The Dream Team (Brutus Beefcake & Greg Valentine) defeated The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith & The Dynamite Kid) to retain the WWF Tag Team Championship. The two teams would meet again at Wrestlemania 2.
- The Junkyard Dog defeated Adrian Adonis.
- In a post-show dark match, Pedro Morales defeated Bret Hart.
28 years ago today, NWA in association with WCW presented Clash of the Champions V: St. Valentine's Day Massacre (WWE Network link) from the CSU Convocation Center in Cleveland, Ohio.
- The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton & Stan Lane) defeated The Russian Assassins (#1 and #2).
- Butch Reed defeated Steven Casey.
- Lex Luger defeated The Blackmailer.
- The Varsity Club (Mike Rotunda & Steve Williams) defeated The Fantastics (Bobby Fulton & Tommy Rogers) to retain the NWA United States Tag Team Championship.
- Ricky Steamboat defeated Bob Bradley.
- Rick Steiner defeated Rip Morgan.
- Genichiro Tenryu and The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Animal & Road Warrior Hawk) and The Varsity Club (Kevin Sullivan, Mike Rotunda, and Steve Williams) fought to a double disqualification.
19 years ago today, WWF presented In Your House 20: No Way Out of Texas (WWE Network link) from the Compaq Center in Houston, Texas. 16,110 were in attendance, with 188,000 homes watching on PPV.
Of note, this was the beginning of the process of the WWF phasing out the In Your House PPV name. They would put the name of the event ahead of the In Your House name for about the next year before doing away with it altogether.
Match ratings are from Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s Dave Meltzer as recorded in the Internet Wrestling Database. Ratings are out of a possible five stars.
- The Headbangers (Mosh and Thrasher) defeated Goldust and Marc Mero. (1.5/5)
- TAKA Michinoku defeated Pantera to retain the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship. (2.25)
- The Godwinns (Henry and Phineas) defeated The Quebecers (Jacques Rougeau and Pierre). (-1.25)
- Justin Bradshaw defeated Jeff Jarrett by disqualification in a NWA North American Heavyweight Championship match. (0.5)
- Ken Shamrock, Ahmed Johnson, and The Disciples of Apocalypse (Chainz, Skull, and 8-Ball) defeated The Nation of Domination (The Rock, Farooq, D'Lo Brown, Kama Mustafa, and Mark Henry) in a "War of Attrition" match by submission. (2.25)
- Kane defeated Vader. (1.75)
- Steve Austin, Owen Hart, Cactus Jack, and Chainsaw Charlie defeated Triple H, Savio Vega (substituting for Shawn Michaels), and The New Age Outlaws (Billy Gunn and Road Dogg) in an unsanctioned tag team match. (3.5)
19 years ago today, Louis Mucciolo, Jr., best known to wrestling fans as Louie Spicolli, was found dead in sleep in his home in Los Angeles, California. He was just 27.
Born February 10, 1971 in San Pedro, California, Mucciolo trained under Bill Anderson after the two met at a wrestling show in the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. He debuted in the WWF in 1988 at just age 17 under the ring name Louie Spicolli and work squash matches until 1995.
He also spent some time in Mexico, spending three years there. Two of those three years, Louie, Tim Patterson, and Bill Anderson formed a stable known as Los Mercenarios Americanos (The American Mercenaries). The masked rudos feuded with the Villano family. The feud ended with the Mercernarios unmasking in July 1991. The trio disbanded in 1992.
Mucciolo spent some time on the independent circuit in the United States, including the Herb Abrams' version of the Universal Wrestling Federation, the Interwest Wrestling Federation out of Arizona, and Smoky Mountain Wrestling. He also made several appearances for Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling, but was fired from the company after throwing a bottle of urine out of a bus window.
In 1994, Mucciolo returned to Mexico and joined AAA. He was a part of the heel Los Gringos Locos stable with Eddie Guerrero, Konnan, and Art Barr. Mucciolo, known as Madonna's Boyfriend, competed in a six-man tag team match at When Worlds Collide in November 1994, the only AAA PPV ever held in the United States. The exposure led Spicolli back to the big leagues.
Louis returned to the WWF in 1995 as grunge fan Rad Radford, whose gimmick in part was he was the alleged boyfriend of Courtney Love. He had a brief feud with-then joined with The Bodydonnas. He was kicked out of the group due to his poorly toned physique. He rarely scored a significant win before being released in 1996 after he was found unconscious by a neighbor after he overdosed on Soma pills. After being released from intensive care, the WWF released him on the condition that he could not work in rival WCW for a year.
Mucciolo struggled with depression and drug abuse during his brief run in ECW in 1996. Intially debuting as a face, he turned heel and feuded with Tommy Dreamer. After it was discovered he was negotiating with both WWF and WCW undercover, Paul Heyman fired him.
Spicolli would split time with trainer Bill Anderson's Empire Wrestling Federation before signing with WCW in late 1997. He would serve as a lackey for the nWo, specifically Scott Hall in his feud with Larry Zbyszko. Spicolli and Zbyszko were set to face off at Superbrawl VIII, but the bout never took place.
Spicolli had stopped using drugs for a time, but relapsed when he found out that his mother was terminally ill with cancer. Louis overdosed on Soma and wine, choking on his own vomit in his sleep. He was found dead in his home in Los Angeles on February 15, 1998, just five days after his 27th birthday. LA County investigators found an empty vial of male horomone testosterone, pain pills, and an anxiety-reducing drug.
Michael Manna, best known to wrestling fans as Stevie Richards, wrote a posthumous tribute to Spicolli in WWF Magazine. Thomas Laughlin, aka Tommy Dreamer, would adopt many of Spicolli’s moves, including his finisher, the death valley driver. The two-time WWA trios champion was ranked among the 500 best singles wrestlers in the world by Pro Wrestling Illustrated in his final full year alive in 1997.
18 years ago today on RAW is WAR from Birmingham, Alabama (WWE Network link), The Rock defeated Mankind in a ladder match to win the WWF Championship.
On the undercard, Shane McMahon and Kane defeated Triple H and X-Pac. With the win, Shane McMahon becomes the WWF European Champion.
13 years ago today in Tokyo, Japan, Hiroyoshi Tenzan defeated Genichiro Tenryu in the finals of a one-night tournament to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. The title was vacated 10 days earlier due to injuries suffered by Shinsuke Nakamura.
13 years ago today, WWE presented No Way Out (WWE Network link from the Cow Palace in San Francisco, California. About 11,000 were in attendance, with 350,000 homes watching on PPV.
- In a Sunday Night Heat preshow match, Tajiri, Akio, and Sakoda defeated Billy Kidman, Paul London, and Último Dragón.
- Rikishi and Scotty 2 Hotty defeated The Basham Brothers (Doug and Danny) and Shaniqua in an Intergender two-on-three handicap match to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship.
- Jamie Noble defeated Nidia in a blindfold match.
- The World's Greatest Tag Team (Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas) defeated The APA (Bradshaw and Faarooq).
- Hardcore Holly defeated Rhyno.
- Chavo Guerrero defeated Rey Mysterio to win the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
- Kurt Angle defeated The Big Show and John Cena by submission in a triple threat match to earn a WWE Championship match at Wrestlemania XX.
- Eddie Guerrero defeated Brock Lesnar to win the WWE Championship. The win made Guerrero the first Latino-born WWE Champion since Pedro Morales in 1971.
8 years ago today, WWE presented No Way Out (WWE Network link) from the KeyArena in Seattle, Washington. 11,200 were in attendance, with 272,000 homes watching on PPV.
- In a dark match, Melina defeated Beth Phoenix to retain the WWE Women's Championship.
- Triple H defeated Edge, Vladimir Kozlov, The Big Show, Jeff Hardy, and The Undertaker in an Elimination Chamber Match to win the WWE Championship.
- Randy Orton defeated Shane McMahon in a no holds barred match.
- Jack Swagger defeated Finlay to retain the ECW Championship.
- Shawn Michaels defeated John Bradshaw Layfield. With the win, Michaels was freed from working for JBL with a full payout and benefits. If JBL had won, he would have become the owner of Michaels' name and likeness.
- Edge defeated John Cena, Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho, Mike Knox, and Kane in an Elimination Chamber Match to win the World Heavyweight Championship. Before the match, Edge jumped Kofi Kingston and took his place in the match.
7 years ago today, TNA announced they would move Impact to Monday night opposite RAW effective March 8. The press release in part:
"TNA iMPACT!" ON SPIKE TV MOVES TO MONDAY NIGHTS BEGINNING MARCH 8
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling's Flagship Series Will Air Live Every Other Week From Universal Studios In Orlando, Fl.
New York, NY, February 16, 2010 - "TNA iMPACT!," Spike TV's highly-rated two-hour weekly series, is moving from Thursday nights to Monday nights beginning Monday, March 8 (9:00-11:00pm ET/PT), it was announced today by TNA President Dixie Carter and legendary pop culture icon Hulk Hogan at a press conference at the "TNA iMPACT! Zone" at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.
"TNA iMPACT!" will air live on March 8, with subsequent telecasts live every other week. The series features many of the biggest names in wrestling including Hogan, Ric Flair, Mick Foley and Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle, as well as the hottest young talent in the industry: TNA World Heavyweight Champion "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles, "The Samoan Submission Machine" Samoa Joe and "The Blueprint" Matt Morgan.
The first ever Monday live "TNA iMPACT" broadcast on Spike TV, ran as a three-hour special head-to-head against WWE RAW on Monday, January 4, 2010, and drew a franchise-record 2.2 million viewers. Two wrestling companies have not broadcast head-to-head weekly since the "Monday Night Wars" in the late 1990's between WWE and WCW.
"On January 4 wrestling fans showed us they're ready for a new professional wrestling alternative on Monday nights, and we're answering that call. Bringing ‘iMPACT!' to Mondays is our most exciting move yet in a year that's already been filled with huge milestones for TNA" said Carter.
"Monday nights are now officially the best night of the week to be a fan of professional wrestling," Hogan said. "My mantra has been 'change is coming' since partnering with Dixie Carter and TNA Wrestling. This change is great for the business and all fans of professional wrestling will benefit because of it."
TNA was never able to recapture the magic of January 4, where their record rating and viewership (1.45 rating, with 2.2 million viewers) led them to get the timeslot to begin with. The March 8 episode got a 0.98 rating, which was lower than what they did before the move (1.1-1.2 rating).
The bottom came in late April when an episode got just a 0.5 rating. The mark doomed the Monday night experiment and Spike moved Impact back to Thursday in mid-May... where ratings returned to their pre-Monday night levels.
6 years and three days ago today at a Smackdown taping in San Diego, California, Edge loses--then regains—the World Heavyweight Championship.
Edge is stripped of the title at the top of the show by general manager Vickie Guerrero when Edge used the banned spear in a previous match. Vickie awards the title to Dolph Ziggler, but returning general manager Theodore Long orders a title match between Ziggler and Edge, one in which Edge wins.
5 years ago today, WWE announces that Wrestlemania 29 would be held at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.