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This Day in Wrestling History (Feb. 23): Ring of Honor Is Born

this day in wrestling history

27 years ago today, WWF presented The Main Event (WWE Network link) from the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan.

The show's hook was the Wrestlemania V rematch for the WWF Championship featuring champion Hulk Hogan and challenger Randy Savage with world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson as the special referee.

A funny thing happened on the way to Detroit though: Tyson lost the heavyweight title in Tokyo, Japan a month prior. Tyson pulled out of his scheduled appearance and the WWF got new world champion Buster Douglas to take his place. Turned out to be cost-efficient as well, as bringing in Tyson would have cost the company $1 million. WWF reportedly paid just $110,000 to bring in Douglas.

Of note, this was the final live edition of The Main Event, as the following two editions were taped.

  • Hulk Hogan defeated Randy Savage to retain the WWF Championship. Buster Douglas was the special referee.
  • The Ultimate Warrior defeated Dino Bravo to retain the WWF Intercontinental Championship.

20 years ago today, WCW presented Superbrawl VII (WWE Network link) from the Cow Palace in San Francisco, California. 13,224 were in attendance, wtih 275,000 homes watching on PPV.

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.

  • In a dark match, Hugh Morrus defeated Joe Gomez.
  • In a dark match, Último Dragón defeated Pat Tanaka.
  • Syxx defeated Dean Malenko to win the WCW Cruiserweight Championship. (3.25/5)
  • Konnan, La Parka, and Villaño IV defeated Juventud Guerrera, Super Calo and Ciclope. (3.75)
  • Prince Iaukea defeated Rey Mysterio, Jr. to retain the WCW World Television Championship. (3.25)
  • Diamond Dallas Page defeated Buff Bagwell by disqualification. (2.75)
  • Eddie Guerrero defeated Chris Jericho to retain the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship. (3.25)
  • The Public Enemy (Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge) defeated Harlem Heat (Booker T and Stevie Ray) and The Faces of Fear (Meng and The Barbarian) in a triple threat tag team match. (1.5)
  • Jeff Jarrett defeated Steve McMichael. With the win, Jarrett was allowed to join the Four Horsemen. (1.75)
  • Chris Benoit defeated Kevin Sullivan in a San Francisco deathmatch. (3.25)
  • The Giant and Lex Luger defeated The Outsiders (Scott Hall and Kevin Nash) to win the WCW World Tag Team Championship. (3.5)
  • Hollywood Hogan defeated Roddy Piper to retain the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Piper had the match and the title won when Hogan was knocked out via sleeper hold, but referee Mark Curtis said that Hogan's feet were under the ropes, meaning the hold had to be broken. Except Hogan's feet weren't under the ropes; Savage put his feet there too late. (1.25)

18 years ago today, Richard Wilson, best known to wrestling fans as The Renegade, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his home in Atlanta, Georgia. He was 33.

Born October 16, 1965 in Marietta, Georgia, Wilson debuted in 1992 as Rio, Lord of the Jungle under the training of Killer Kowalski. After about a year in Japanese promotion Wrestle and Romance (WAR), he joined WCW in 1995.

Wilson debuted as Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage's "ultimate surprise" to counteract Ric Flair and Vader. Though it was heavily implied that the Ultimate Warrior was debuting in WCW, it would be Wilson as The Renegade, billed as the man that would bring Hulkamania into the 21st century.

Managed by Jimmy Hart, Wilson utilized many of Warrior's mannerisms, moves, and almost identical music. Three months after debuting, Renegade would defeat Arn Anderson for the WCW World Television Championship. After a pair of bouts with Paul Orndorff, Ultimate Warrior himself appeared in several wrestling magazines saying that Wilson and Warrior were not one and the same. The interviews virtually killed Renegade's momentum, and by the end of the summer, he lost the title to Diamond Dallas Page. It also didn't help that around that time, WWF sued WCW, claiming they purposefully ripped off the Ultimate Warrior gimmick.

Renegade would be subsequently buried over the next few weeks; he'd lose to Orndorff on the Halloween Havoc preshow in under two minutes, then in November following a loss to Kevin Sullivan, Jimmy Hart turned on Renegade and removed his facepaint saying over and over again "You're not a Renegade! You're just plain Rick!".

He would team with Joe Gomez through 1996, mostly on Saturday Night and the house show circuit, and mostly in a jobber role. He sporadically appeared on WCW programming throughout 1997 and 1998. In a bit of irony, Wilson would serve as Ultimate Warrior's (the real one) stunt double during his brief stint with the company in the summer and fall of 1998. His final WCW match was a loss to Wrath that December. In January 1999, Wilson was released from the company.

Following his release, Wilson fell in to a severe depression, a depression he would never come out of. On February 23, 1999, Wilson committed suicide via gunshot to the head. He was 33.

15 years ago today, Ring of Honor was born.

The first show from the Murphy Recreation Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has been retroactively named The Era of Honor Begins.

The promotion, born in part from ECW going out of business, was founded by RF Video founder Rob Feinstein. RF Video filmed videos from lesser-known regional promotions to make up for the loss of income for ECW ending. After Feinstein failed to get in the door of Combat Zone Wrestling, he started his own promotion.

Feinstein left ROH in disgrace in March 2004 after he was busted for allegedly soliciting sex on the Internet to a minor. The incident would abruptly end ROH’s working relationship with TNA. Within a year, Cary Silkin would have full ownership of the company. Under Silkin, the promotion got its first TV and PPV deals.

In May 2011, broadcast carrier Sinclair Broadcast Group would not only acquire the TV rights to ROH, but the whole company. ROH is considered the third largest wrestling promotion in the United States, behind WWE and TNA.

  • Da Hit Squad (Mafia & Monsta Mack) defeated the Christopher Street Connection (Buff E & Mace) in just 70 seconds.
  • The Amazing Red defeated Jay Briscoe.
  • Xavier defeated Scoot Andrews.
  • The Boogy Nights (Mike Tobin & Danny Drake) defeated the Natural Born Sinners (Homicide & Boogaloo) by disqualification.
  • Quiet Storm defeated The Amazing Red, Brian XL, Chris Divine, Jose Maximo, & Joel Maximo in an Ultimate Aerial Elimination Match. Mikey Whipwreck was the special referee.
  • Prince Nana defeated Towel Boy.
  • Spanky & Ikaika Loa defeated Michael Shane & Oz.
  • Super Crazy defeated Eddie Guerrero to win the IWA Intercontinental Championship.
  • Low Ki defeated Christopher Daniels and Bryan Danielson.

14 years ago today, WWE presented No Way Out (WWE Network link) from the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. 15,100 were in attendance, with 450,000 homes watching on PPV. That's down from 575,000 homes for the 2002 edition.

  • In a Sunday Night Heat match, Rey Mysterio defeated Jamie Noble.
  • Chris Jericho defeated Jeff Hardy. (3.25/5)
  • William Regal and Lance Storm defeated Kane and Rob Van Dam to retain the World Tag Team Championship. (2.25)
  • Matt Hardy defeated Billy Kidman to win the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. (3)
  • The Undertaker defeated The Big Show. (2)
  • Brock Lesnar and Chris Benoit defeated Team Angle (Kurt Angle, Shelton Benjamin, and Charlie Haas) in a 3-on-2 handicap match. (4)
  • Triple H defeated Scott Steiner to retain the World Heavyweight Championship. (0.75)
  • Steve Austin defeated Eric Bischoff. This was Austin's first appearance since he walked out on WWE the previous summer. (2.25)
  • The Rock defeated Hulk Hogan. Of note, Sylvain Grenier made his WWE debut as the referee who helped in the 2003 edition of the Montreal Screwjob. This was The Rock's first PPV bout since Summerslam the previous August. (0)

13 years ago today on RAW from Omaha, Nebraska (WWE Network link), Victoria defeated Molly Holly, Jazz, and Lita in a fatal four-way elimination match to win the WWE Womens Championship.

In the show’s main event, Vince McMahon and Eric Bischoff went to a no contest when Brock Lesnar attacked special referee Steve Austin.

9 years ago today, ROH presented their Sixth Anniversary Show from the Manhattan Center in New York City.

On the day of the show, ROH announced that the company would return there in May, but this time from the Hammerstein Ballroom.

  • In a dark match, Zach Gowen defeated Pelle Primeau.
  • Delirious and Human Tornado fought to a no contest when Age of the Fall attacked both men.
  • The Age Of The Fall (Jimmy Jacobs & Tyler Black) defeated Delirious & Human Tornado via submission.
  • Brent Albright defeated El Generico.
  • Kevin Steen defeated Joey Matthews via submission.
  • Austin Aries defeated Go Shiozaki.
  • Sara Del Rey defeated Daizee Haze via submission to retain the SHIMMER Championship.
  • No Remorse Corps (Davey Richards & Rocky Romero) defeated The Vulture Squad (Jigsaw & Ruckus) to retain the ROH World Tag Team Championship.
  • Roderick Strong defeated Erick Stevens and Necro Butcher in a no disqualification three way dance to retain the FIP World Heavyweight Championship.
  • Nigel McGuinness defeated Bryan Danielson via submission to retain the ROH World Championship.

7 years ago today, WWE presented the debut episode of NXT from the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The show featured eight "rookies" paired with eight WWE superstars competing in a three-month long competition for a WWE contract and a world championship match on PPV.

  • In a dark match, Jimmy Wang Yang & Slam Master J defeated Tyler Reks & Vance Archer.
  • Christian & Heath Slater defeated Carlito & Michael Tarver.
  • David Otunga defeated Darren Young in just 37 seconds.
  • Chris Jericho defeated Daniel Bryan.

4 years ago today in Waco, Texas, The Undertaker and Sheamus defeated Wade Barrett and Damien Sandow. This was Undertaker's first in-ring appearance since RAW 1000 the previous July.

3 years ago today, WWE presented Elimination Chamber (aka No Escape from German audiences—they couldn't use No Way Out because they actually revived the No Way Out name for a PPV later in the summer) from the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 14,101 were in attendance, with 183,000 homes watching on PPV.

Of note, Dish Network did not carry the PPV due to the imminent rollout of WWE Network (which would happen the next morning). They would double back on this and carry Wrestlemania XXX, but would once again discontinue PPVs following the event.

  • In a preshow match, The Rhodes Brothers (Cody Rhodes & Goldust) defeated RybAxel (Ryback & Curtis Axel). (2.75/5)
  • Big E defeated Jack Swagger to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship. (3)
  • The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg & Billy Gunn) defeated The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship. (2.25)
  • Titus O'Neil defeated Darren Young. (1)
  • The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan, and Luke Harper) defeated The Shield (Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and Dean Ambrose). (4.25)
  • Cameron defeated AJ Lee by disqualification in a WWE Divas Championship match. (-1)
  • Batista defeated Alberto Del Rio. (0.5)
  • Randy Orton defeated John Cena, Sheamus, Daniel Bryan, Antonio Cesaro, and Christian in a Elimination Chamber match to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. (3.75)

The best of cSs on this day:

2016: Report: WWE considering another brand split (PWInsider report and ticket listings for post-Wrestlemania 32 shows suggest brand split may be imminent)

2015: WWE Live Crowds: Wake Up (Josh Gagnon goes in on the live crowd at Fastlane)

2014: CM Punk appears at UFC 170; latest update on his WWE status (CM Punk hiding in plain sight at UFC 170 (next to UFC president Dana White, no less) does little to clarify his status with WWE)

2013: Undertaker Returns to WWE at House Show Tonight (Feb. 23) in Waco (The Undertaker makes a surprise appearance at a house show in Waco, Texas; here’s a video)

2012: Cageside Quote: Anonymous WWE wrestler buries The Rock (Someone on the roster shot on The Rock to PWInsider, probably misses the point)

2011: TUF 13: 'Team Lesnar vs. Team Dos Santos' Trailer (Trailer for The Ultimate Fighter’s thirteenth season drops; video’s no longer on the page, but you can see it here)

2010: WWE Hall Of Fame update - Warrior declines invitation, Wendi Richter accepts (PWInsider reports Ultimate Warrior turned down a WWE Hall of Fame induction)

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