31 years ago today in Tokyo, Japan, Shiro Koshinaka defeated The Cobra in a tournament final to become the first IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion.
In its 30-year history, 35 different men have held the championship, with 76 total reigns. The championship was briefly part of the J-Crown, a collection of eight junior heavyweight championships in 1996 and 1997. All but two of the title changes have occurred in Japan; the only two that did not came within an eight-day span on WCW Monday Nitro in late 1999. Due to the booking involved, the title changes were not initially recognized by NJPW.
Jushin Thunder Liger holds the record for most title reigns with 11, the longest single title reign at 628 days, the most days as champion with 2,245, and the most successful title defenses with 31. Minoru Tanaka as Heat has the most successful defenses in a single championship reign with 11. Hiromu Takahashi is the current champion, holding the championship since Wrestle Kingdom 11 in Tokyo Dome in January.
29 years ago today in Boston, Massachusetts, Bam Bam Bigelow and Hulk Hogan defeated Andre the Giant and Ted DiBiase.
Of note, DiBiase wore the WWF Championship belt and was recognized as its champion. The same was true when the WWF did an evening show in Philadelphia, with these two teams meeting again and Bigelow and Hogan winning again. DiBiase would be WWF Champion for about a week, but his title reign would soon be stricken from the record by Jack Tunney.
27 years ago today, WCW presented Clash of the Champions X: Texas Shootout (WWE Network link) from the Memorial Coliseum in Corpus Christi, Texas.
- Steve Williams defeated Samoan Savage.
- Flyin 'Brian & The Z-Man defeated The MOD Squad (Basher & Spike).
- Mil Mascaras defeated Cactus Jack.
- Norman the Lunatic defeated Kevin Sullivan in a Falls Count Anywhere match.
- The Skyscrapers (Dan Spivey & Mean Mark) defeated The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Animal & Road Warrior Hawk) by disqualification.
- The Steiner Brothers (Rick Steiner & Scott Steiner defeated Doom (Butch Reed & Ron Simmons) to retain the NWA World Tag Team Championship.
- The Four Horsemen (Arn Anderson, Ole Anderson, and Ric Flair) defeated Gary Hart International (Buzz Sawyer, The Dragon Master, and The Great Muta) in a steel cage match. Earlier in the evening, Sting, who was originally supposed to be part of the match, was kicked out of the Horsemen and replaced with Ole Anderson. Post-match, Sting climbed the cage and ran in to exact some revenge, but during the brawl, Sting injured his knee.
22 years ago today in Memphis, Tennessee, Jerry Lawler defeated Sid Vicious to win the USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship for the 20th time.
16 years ago today at a Smackdown taping in Charleston, South Carolina (WWE Network link), Hardcore Holly defeated Raven to win the WWF Hardcore Championship...only to lose it back to Raven less than two minutes later.
9 years ago today, British newspaper The Scarborough Evening News reported a man was arrested on fraud charges for accepting gifts from a football club after he had impersonated wrestler/actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. From the New York Daily News:
Cops are investigating whether a con artist who pretended to be a pro wrestler to scam children in England is the man who impersonated Heath Ledger's father, sources told the Daily News.
Wayne Scott, 35, of Scarborough, England, will be in Scarborough Magistrates' Court Wednesday to face charges of fraud by false representation and conveying an indecent message, police sources said yesterday. Two of the charges stem from Scott pretending to be a pro wrestler and calling sick kids, some of whom were terminally ill, in their hospital beds, sources said.
The con man is accused of promising to visit the sick kids and give them World Wrestling Entertainment tickets and paraphernalia. He also reached out to U.S. and British organizations that grant the wishes of dying children by pretending to be a pro wrestler, sources said.
NYPD detectives believe Scott may be the con man who impersonated Ledger's father, Kim, after the 28-year-old was found dead in his SoHo loft Jan. 22.
Investigators traced the calls made by the impostor to the seaside town of Scarborough in northeastern England where Scott lives, the sources said.
After Ledger's body was found by his masseuse and housekeeper in Heath's Broome St. apartment, the imposter called the city medical examiner and pressed the doctor who performed the autopsy for toxicology results. He also asked for grisly descriptions of the Oscar-nominated star's corpse, the sources said.
The con man somehow managed to get Tom Cruise's private phone number, calling the "Mission Impossible" star to commiserate after Ledger's death.
The fake dad apparently asked John Travolta to send him money so he could buy a ticket to fly from New York to Australia, where Ledger's family lives and his body will be laid to rest.
The con man also contacted actors Mel Gibson, Halle Berry and Christian Bale, the sources said. The impostor's lies were so convincing that he even got the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home to book him a suite at the posh Carlyle Hotel New York.
The Madison Ave. funeral home received Ledger's body from the medical examiner and sent it to L.A. for a memorial service. Sources said the medical examiner's office will brief Ledger's family today on the cause of his death and then release the results to the public.
Six anti-anxiety and sleeping prescription drugs were found near the "Brokeback Mountain" star's body. Police said no illegal drugs were discovered in the $24,000-a-month rental.
An initial postmortem examination failed to determine the cause of death.
Though New York City police, who were also investigating Scott for impersonating Ledger's father, couldn't bring about charges because he did not profit from his scams, he wasn't so lucky on the other side of the pond.
He was charged with three counts of fraud, two counts of malicious communication, and one count of failing to surrender to police. A year later, Scott was sentenced to six months in prison, a court-ordered curfew for three months, 200 hours community service, and fined about $500 American.
8 years ago today, Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville, host to many Ohio Valley Wrestling events, is shut down by parent company Six Flags.
8 years ago today, WWE signs 2007 Diva Search contestant Taryn Terrell.
Terrell would last over two years before a domestic incident with her then-husband Drew McInytre got her indefinitely suspended, then subsequently released.
Terrell would spend three years in TNA and would become the promotion’s longest-reigning Knockouts Champion before leaving the company and retiring from wrestling altogether in January 2016.
7 years ago today, Craig Williams, most notably wrestling for Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and MTV's lone season of Wrestling Society X as Human Tornado, announced his retirement from wrestling.
He was scheduled to appear on that weekend's tapings for Ring of Honor. He would fill the dates a month later, then call it a career. It didn't stick; two years later, he returned to the ring.
5 years ago today, WWE announces that Ron Simmons, considered the first African-American to win a major world championship in wrestling, would join the WWE Hall of Fame.
1 year ago today, CHIKARA Wrestling presented National Pro Wrestling Day from the Goodwill Beneficial Association in Reading, Pennsylvania.
The show’s focus was the twelfth edition of the CHIKARA Young Lions Cup.
Originally in 2002 created to showcase those who had limited pro experience (50 matches or less), the requirement in recent years changed to age, with only those aged 25 or younger can challenge for the cup, regardless of pro experience. Those that win the tournament cannot enter it again, and those that win the cup as a championship (it can be defended as a championship between tournaments) cannot challenge for the cup nor participate in a Young Lions Cup tournament upon losing it. Basically, no one is allowed to hold the Young Lions Cup more than once.
In recent years, National Pro Wrestling Day has served as the season-opening event for CHIKARA.
First Round (all matches in the first round were contested as a four-way elimination match):
- Wani defeated Ashley Vox, Jeremy Leary, and Prakash Sabar.
- Argus defeated Hermit Crab, Luke Lawson, and Warren Barksdale.
- Nutrious X defeated Delmi Exo, Ken Broadway, and the Proletariat Boar of Moldova.
- The Estonian Thunderfrog defeated Mike Verna, Rock Lobster, and Willow Nightingale.
- The Estonian Thunderfrog defeated Nutrious X.
- Wani defeated Argus.
- The Estonian Thunderfrog defeated Wani to win the CHIKARA Young Lions Cup.
Non-tournament matches in order of occurrence:
- Hallowicked defeated Ophidian.
- Magna, Suntan, and Whiplash defeated House of Payne (Big Daddy Dre, Hakim Ali, and Nick Payne).
- Heidi Lovelace defeated Solo Darling.
- Danger Jameson and Havoc defeated Marq Queen and Sasha Jenkins.
- Missile Assault Ant defeated Dasher Hatfield.
- Scoot Tatum defeated Wally Scott.
- Princess KimberLee defated Mickie James.
It’s a happy 63rd birthday for umpire and one-time WWF referee Larry Eugene Young.
Young umpired Major League Baseball games from 1985 until his retirement in 2007. He was an umpire for two World Series, two All-Star Games, three American League Championship Series, and six Division Series. Following his retirement, he joined MLB’s front office as an umpire supervisor.
Wrestling connection: Young refereed one match: The Undertaker versus King Kong Bundy at Wrestlemania XI, taking place on the day the 1994 MLB players’ strike ended.