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This Day in Wrestling History (Feb. 21): Batista Gives The Thumbs Down

this day in wrestling history

24 years ago today, WCW presented Superbrawl III (WWE Network link) from the Asheville Civic Center in Asheville, North Carolina. About 6,500 were in attendance, with 85,000 homes watching on PPV, though some estimates have the number of home buys as high as 95,000. Either way, it's down sharply from the previous year (160,000 home buys).

This was the first WCW PPV of the Eric Bischoff era; in January, Bill Watts was fired after racist remarks from an interview he did a year prior with Wade Keller got to the Turner executive offices, particularly one Hank Aaron, who had a front office position with Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves (and by proxy, the Turner organization, who owned the team at the time).

Watts was fired (though Bill himself contends he quit the company), and the decision was made from Turner executives that no one with a wrestling background would ever run WCW again. Eventually they went back on their stance and Bischoff (who had experience in wrestling as an announcer for AWA) got the executive producer gig, while Ole Anderson took over day-to-day wrestling operations.

  • Flyin' Brian & Steve Austin defeated Erik Watts & Marcus Alexander Bagwell.
  • Too Cold Scorpio defeated Chris Benoit.
  • Davey Boy Smith defeated Bill Irwin.
  • Cactus Jack defeated Paul Orndorff in a Falls Count Anywhere match.
  • The Rock 'n Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson) defeated The Heavenly Bodies (Stan Lane & Tom Prichard) by disqualification in a Smoky Mountain Wrestling Tag Team Championship match.
  • Dustin Rhodes defeated Maxx Payne by disqualification in a WCW United States Heavyweight Championship match.
  • Barry Windham defeated The Great Muta to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
  • Big Van Vader defeated Sting in a "White Castle Of Fear" leather strap match.

18 years ago today, WCW presented Superbrawl IX (WWE Network link) from the Oakland Arena in Oakland, California. 15,880 were in attendance, with 485,000 homes watching on PPV.

  • Booker T defeated Disco Inferno.
  • Chris Jericho defeated Perry Saturn by countout.
  • Kidman defeated Chavo Guerrero Jr. to retain the WCW Cruiserweight Championship.
  • Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko defeated Barry Windham & Curt Hennig in a WCW World Tag Team Title Tournament match. As the tournament was double elimination, the tournament was not over, as coming into the match, only Benoit & Malenko had a loss. That meant they had to wrestle again.
  • Barry Windham & Curt Hennig defeated Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko to win the vacant WCW World Tag Team Championship in just 20 seconds.
  • The Outsiders (Kevin Nash & Scott Hall) defeated Konnan & Rey Mysterio Jr. in a hair vs. mask match. A few side nuggets: it was Mysterio's mask against...Elizabeth's hair. Yeah, really. With the win by the Outsiders, Mysterio was forced to unmask. Small problem: Mysterio had a major bout in Mexico a few days later against Psicosis... in a mask versus mask match. Mexican fans were not happy with this, as per regulations (yes, there are regulations for this in Mexico), once a wrestler unmasks, he or she can't put it back on without expressed permission from the lucha libre governing bodies. Mysterio wrestled unmasked until WCW's sale in 2001. When he returned to WWE in 2002, Rey got to put the mask back on as he had essentially taken over the gimmick from Rey Mysterio Sr. He's wrestled with it ever since.
  • Scott Steiner defeated Diamond Dallas Page to retain the WCW World Television Championship.
  • Scott Hall defeated Roddy Piper to retain the WCW United States Championship.
  • Goldberg defeated Bam Bam Bigelow.
  • Hollywood Hogan defeated Ric Flair to retain the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.

12 years ago today on RAW from State College, Pennsylvania (WWE Network link), Chris Mordetsky makes his WWF television debut as "The Masterpiece" Chris Masters.

In his debut, Masters defeated Steven Richards with the Masterlock. During the bout, Richards suffers a broken orbital bone.

The show is best remembered for Royal Rumble winner Batista officially making his decision on the title match of choice for Wrestlemania 21.

Batista infamously gave the thumbs down to a Smackdown contract, choosing to stay on RAW and challenge for the World Heavyweight Championship. The moment ranked among the 100 greatest in RAW history in a 2012 countdown.

Ironically, Batista would join Smackdown just four months later via the draft lottery... as its World Heavyweight Champion.

11 years ago today during a Smackdown taping in Richmond, Virginia (WWE Network link), Smackdown general manager Theodore Long adds Rey Mysterio to the World Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestlemania 22, making it a triple threat match featuring Kurt Angle, Randy Orton, and Mysterio.

7 years ago today, WWE presented Elimination Chamber (No Way Out for German audiences) (WWE Network link) from the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri. About 17,000 were in attendance, with 285,000 homes watching on PPV.

Of note, The Undertaker suffered first and second degree burns when mistimed pyrotechnics went off on his coat during his entrance. Throughout the bout, he would douse himself with water handed to him from doctors through the cage.

  • In a preshow dark match, Christian defeated Ezekiel Jackson.
  • John Cena defeated Sheamus, Triple H, Randy Orton, Ted DiBiase, and Kofi Kingston in a Elimination Chamber match to win the WWE Championship. Post-match, Mr. McMahon orders another championship match, pitting Cena against Batista.
  • Batista defeated John Cena in just 31 seconds to win the WWE Championship.
  • Drew McIntyre defeated Kane to retain the Intercontinental Championship.
  • Michelle McCool and Layla defeated Maryse and Gail Kim.
  • The Miz defeated MVP to retain the WWE United States Championship.
  • Chris Jericho defeated The Undertaker, Rey Mysterio, John Morrison, R-Truth, and CM Punk in a Elimination Chamber match to win the World Heavyweight Championship.

6 years ago today on RAW from Fresno, California (WWE Network link), both The Undertaker and Triple H made their returns to WWE programming and without saying a word, made a match with one another for Wrestlemania XXVII. The plan originally was for an Undertaker-Sting match, but Sting and WWE could not come to an agreement on a deal.

Of note, John Cena brought back his Doctor of Thuganomics gimmick and cut a rap-style promo on The Rock.

On the undercard, the WWE Tag Team Championship changed hands twice (or not at all depending on how you look at it).

The Miz and John Cena defeated The Corre (Heath Slater & Justin Gabriel) to win the WWE Tag Team Championship... only to lose the championships again less than five minutes later back to Slater and Gabriel after Wade Barrett cashed in their rematch clause on their behalf.

But wait, there’s more: on the same show, it was announced that Hacksaw Jim Duggan would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.

3 years ago today, Ring of Honor presented their 12th Anniversary Show from the National Guard Armory in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

  • In a dark match, Caprice Coleman defeated Amasis.
  • Matt Taven defeated Silas Young.
  • The Decade (BJ Whitmer, Jimmy Jacobs, and Roderick Strong) defeated Adam Page, Cedric Alexander, and Mark Briscoe.
  • Tommaso Ciampa defeated Hanson to retain the ROH World Television Championship.
  • Michael Elgin defeated Raymond Rowe.
  • Jay Briscoe defeated Michael Bennett.
  • reDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly) defeated Adrenaline RUSH (ACH & Tadarius Thomas) to retain the ROH World Tag Team Championship.
  • AJ Styles defeated Jay Lethal.
  • Adam Cole defeated Chris Hero to retain the ROH World Championship.
  • Kevin Steen defeated Cliff Compton in a Philadelphia Street Fight.

1 year ago today, WWE presented Fastlane (WWE Network link) from the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. 14,406 were in attendance, with 43,000 homes watching via traditional PPV.

  • In a preshow match, Kalisto defeated Alberto Del Rio 2-1 in a best of three falls match retain the WWE United States Championship.
  • Becky Lynch & Sasha Banks defeated Team B.A.D. (Naomi & Tamina) by submission.
  • Kevin Owens defeated Dolph Ziggler to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
  • Ryback, Big Show, and Kane defeated The Wyatt Family (Braun Strowman, Luke Harper, and Erick Rowan).
  • Charlotte defeated Brie Bella by submission to retain the WWE Divas Championship.
  • AJ Styles defeated Chris Jericho by submission.
  • Curtis Axel defeated R-Truth.
  • Roman Reigns defeated Dean Ambrose and Brock Lesnar in a triple threat match to win a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestlemania 31.

Today would have been the 56th birthday of famed women's wrestler Rhonda Sing.

Sing was trained by Mildred Burke in 1978 and went to All-Japan Pro Wrestling in 1979. She became the first Stampede Wrestling Womens Champion in 1987, and would win the World Wrestling Council Womens Championship in Puerto Rico five times from 1987 to 1990 as Monster Ripper.

She spent a year in the WWF as Bertha Faye, and though she would win their Womens Championship, she became frustrated with the gimmick, as she was forced to reduce her moveset and be a comic relief wrestler. The same situation would befall her in her brief stint in WCW, even appearing as Nitro Girl Beef. Following retirement, Sing would return to Calgary and work as a caregiver for the handicapped.

On July 27, 2001, Sing died in her birthplace of Calgary, Alberta, Canada due to heart failure brought on by a drug overdose. She was 40 years old. She never married nor had any children at the time of her passing.

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