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This Day in Wrestling History (Apr. 22): Tommy Dreamer Wins—And Loses—ECW Title

this day in wrestling history

29 years ago today, WWF tapes the 16th episode of Saturday Night's Main Event (WWE Network link) from the Springfiled Civic Center in Springfield, Massachusetts. The episode would air just over a week later on NBC.

Three episodes of Wrestling Challenge were also taped, which featured the debut of ring announcer Mike McGuirk.

  • Hacksaw Jim Duggan defeated Hercules by disqualification.
  • Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake defeated Danny Davis.
  • Macho Man Randy Savage defeated One Man Gang to retain the WWF Championship.
  • Demolition (Ax & Smash) defeated The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith & The Dynamite Kid) by disqualification to retain the WWF Tag Team Championship.
  • Ted DiBiase defeated Don Muraco.
  • Ravisihing Rick Rude defeated Koko B. Ware.

19 years ago today during a live episode of Thunder from Columbia, South Carolina, Marcus "Buff" Bagwell was severely injured while taking a second-rope bulldog during a tag team match. The incident as explained in the May 2, 1998 edition of Pro Wrestling Torch:

Marcus "Buff" Bagwell suffered a serious neck injury ("spinal shock") on the Apr. 22 edition of Thunder. He had neck surgery on Apr. 27 and is expected to need 8-12 months to recover. Chances are he will be able to wrestle again, but it is not a given.

During the tag match broadcast live on TBS, Rick Steiner bulldogged Marcus "Buff" Bagwell off the top rope. When Rick landed ahead of Bagwell, Bagwell's head jammed into Rick's side and then turned sharply. Rick turned Bagwell over for the pin. Scott Steiner then nailed Rick on the back with a chair and dragged a knocked out Bagwell onto Rick for the pin. As Scott moved Bagwell, Bagwell was talking to him, likely telling him he was seriously hurt. Scott moved too quickly in and out of the ring to pick up what Bagwell was saying, but shortly after the pinfall it became apparent something was wrong.

Buff didn't move after the match. Scott Norton, Bagwell's partner in the tag match, and Vincent began to drag Buff out of the ring. When he didn't move, they asked him if he was okay. He shook his head no. Luger conferenced with Rick and Bagwell on the mat. They cut to a commercial. Upon returning, four minutes after the bulldog that injured him, Bagwell hadn't been moved. Vincent and Norton were joined by a WCW trainer in checking out Bagwell, who was lying flat on his back. He could move his left arm, but not his legs. They replayed the move from a reverse angle which looked pretty scary upon impact. Schiavone during the match had talked about how NWO members "have no souls," but the storyline announcing changed over to Schiavone paying tribute to the physical risks all wrestlers take during matches week after week. They announced an ambulance was on its way. The crowd could tell it was no angle and were silent and concerned. Eleven minutes after the injury, the cameras cut away from the ring and to the announcing desk where they moved on to talk about ongoing storylines.

Bagwell lost the ability to move his legs and arms. Within ten minutes of arriving at the hospital, he began to get movement back in his extremities. After 30 minutes he was unstrapped and allowed to try to walk. He was able to move around, much to the relief of his friends who were there, including Scott Steiner, Lex Luger, and Sting.

Bagwell suffered several damaged vertebrae and spinal shock and would require the use of a wheelchair for some time. After Hogan verbally castrated him for his condition on his return to WCW programming on the July 13 Nitro, Bagwell essentially swears off the nWo and forgives Rick Steiner a week later.

It turns out to be an elaborate ruse: Scott Steiner would assault his brother Rick, then in one the more controversial moments in wrestling history, Bagwell jumped off the wheelchair, ripped off his neckbrace, and joined in the assault, essentially reaffirming his allegiance to the New World Order.

17 years ago today, ECW held the final Cyberslam from the ECW Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Highlights of the event aired on the April 28 episode of ECW on TNN (WWE Network link).

  • Masato Tanaka defeated Too Cold Scorpio.
  • Dawn Marie & Lance Storm defeated Jazz & Nova.
  • Little Guido defeated Kid Kash and Super Crazy in a three-way dance.
  • The New Dangerous Alliance (Bill Wiles & CW Anderson) defeated Danny Doring & Roadkill.
  • Balls Mahoney & New Jack defeated Da Baldies (Angel & DeVito).
  • Steve Corino defeated Dusty Rhodes.
  • Rhino defeated Yoshihiro Tajiri to win the ECW World Television Championship.
  • Tommy Dreamer defeated Tazz to win the ECW World Heavyweight Championship. This would be Tazz's final match in the original ECW.
  • Justin Credible defeated Tommy Dreamer to win the ECW World Heavyweight Championship. As Dreamer was making his victory speech about how he might not ever make it to Wrestlemania or to Starrcade, but making it as ECW world champion, Credible interrupts his speech, then Francine turns on him, then Credible quickly defeats Dreamer to win the world title. Dreamer never even got the chance to wear the championship belt. As for Credible, he threw down his half of the tag team championship, essentially vacating it (Lance Storm left for WCW three weeks later and vacated his half of the tag titles too). All this went down in a span of about ten minutes, making Dreamer by far the shortest reigning ECW Champion ever. Dreamer did make it to Wrestlemania in 2007 and would have a seven-week run as ECW champion in 2009, making him the only man to hold both versions of the ECW Championship.

11 years ago today, Ring of Honor presented The 100th Show from the Murphy Recreation Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As the name implies, it's the one hundredth event the company put on. It also went back to the Murphy Recreation Center, the promotion's original home.

  • Christopher Daniels defeated Claudio Castignoli.
  • Delirious defeated Jimmy Jacobs, Jimmy Rave, and Jimmy Yang in a Four Corners Survival match.
  • Generation Next (Austin Aries & Roderick Strong) defeated The Rottweilers (Homicide & Ricky Reyes) to retain the ROH World Tag Team Championship.
  • Bryan Danielson defeated Colt Cabana to retain the ROH World Championship.
  • Derek Dempsey defeated Pelle Primeau to retain the ROH Top of the Class Trophy.
  • Bryan Danielson defeated Delirious to retain the ROH World Championship.
  • The Briscoes (Mark & Jay) defeated Matt Sydal & AJ Styles.
  • Team CZW (Chris Hero, Necro Butcher, and Super Dragon) defeated Team ROH (Adam Pearce, BJ Whitmer, and Samoa Joe).

9 years ago today, WWE suspends Michael Hayes for 60 days following an incident that occurred during Wrestlemania week.

Hayes allegedly made a racist remark towards Mark Henry. The suspension was meant to be kept quiet, but word spread amongst employees during the weekend.

7 years ago today, WWE releases Shelton Benjamin, Mickie James, Sho Funaki, James Yun (aka Jimmy Wang Yang), Terry Gordy (aka Jesse and Slam Master J), Katarina Waters (aka Katie Lea Burchill), and Mike Hettinga (aka Mike Knox).

  • Benjamin went to Ring of Honor, where he was a two-time tag team champion with his World’s Greatest Tag Team partner, Charlie Haas. He also wrestled for New Japan Pro Wrestling from 2012 to 2015, as well as a year and a half for Pro Wrestling Noah. Benjamin was set to return to WWE last summer, but his return interrupted by a torn rotator cuff injury. As he had not signed his WWE deal prior to his injury, Shelton is considered a free agent.
  • Yun returned to the independent circuit and wrestled briefly for All Japan Pro Wrestling. In 2011, he made a one-night return to TNA wrestling a three-way match for a TNA contract. Yun, who owns a professional wrestling school and a pest control business, is considered retired.
  • Katarina briefly returned to the independent circuit before joining TNA in October 2010. She would win the Knockouts Championship twice and the Knockouts tag titles once. After not appearing on TNA programming for about six months in 2012, Waters left TNA and returned to the independent circuit.
  • After a one-off appearance for Juggalo Championship Wrestling in August 2010, Mike largely was out of the spotlight until returning to the independent circuit in 2012. Most notably, he wrestled in the main event of the inaugural House of Hardcore show. He joined TNA in 2013 as a member of Aces and 8s. After the group dissolved, Mike as Knux formed the Menagerie. Mike left TNA in May 2015, about a month after joining the Inoki Genome Federation.
  • Shoichi Funaki sporadically appeared for WWE when they had house shows in Japan. In 2011, Funaki opened his own wrestling school, The Funaki Dojo. Funaki appeared in 2014 as a translator for the then-debuting Hideo Itami. He returned to WWE in 2016 providing Japanese commentary for PPV events.

4 years ago today, E! announces via press release that they have greenlit the WWE reality series Total Divas.

E! Announces New Series Revealing the Real Women Behind the WWE Divas that Proves the Drama is Even Bigger When they Step Outside the Ring

Los Angeles, CA - April 22, 2013 - Adored by millions of fans, the gorgeous women called WWE Divas have earned their places as sports entertainment icons through more than just their pretty faces and red hot figures. It takes a lot of work and guts to enter the competitive WWE family, where youth is golden. This summer, E! will take viewers into a whole new world of drama when "Total Divas" explores life beyond the ring for seven WWE Divas who must wrestle with the challenges of life in the spotlight, a grueling work and travel schedule, and the intense competition for prominence in a career that leaves little time for a personal life.

"I'm thrilled for E! and WWE to join forces and pull back the curtain on one of pop culture's most fascinating arenas," said Suzanne Kolb, President E! "With tens of millions of weekly fans at their disposal, these glamorous, entertaining and powerful women prove that behind the glitz of the spotlight, the locker room drama and the jockeying for position within the organization, they are all drawn to one thing: stardom."

"We are excited to work with E! on the launch of 'Total Divas,' a series that will showcase the professional and personal lives of WWE's multi-talented female performers," said Kevin Dunn, Executive Vice President, Television Production, WWE. "There is no series on the air that can rival the charm, beauty, larger than life personalities, drama and glamour that this show will deliver."

The series will focus on a select group of seven women from the ranks of the WWE Diva corps. Five are established Divas who are no strangers to the life, and two are newbies, girls who have entered into the Diva training program, but have yet to prove themselves worthy of the title. Throughout the series, we will see these women attempting to establish their own pecking order, as the new girls attempt to handle the jealousy and pressure that comes with working your way up the ladder for the most airtime, ring time and top celebrity status. With no two days alike and juggling their constant demands, the Divas definitely find time to celebrate their star status by traveling the world for their various charities, appearing in feature films, attending star-studded red carpets and glamorous photo shoots. Through it all, the everyday challenges of maintaining relationships with their boyfriends, as well as their families, in their over the top lifestyles start to take their toll on the girls.

Appearing in the series are the Bella Twins, Brie and Nikki, a pair of seasoned veterans who have reached superstar status in the WWE ring and earned their places in the spotlight. The duo will work harder than ever to maintain this level of excellence, whether the newbies like it or not. Naomi and Cameron are two knockouts whose dance routines have made them stars on the tour. When conflict and success collide head on between these two, will both be left standing? They don't call them Divas for nothing! Natalya is a third-generation sports entertainment star who knows the ropes and knows them well. She's seen lots of doors open for other Divas, but often finds herself left behind when it comes to achieving superstar status. Can she continue to soldier on as a perennial "bridesmaid"? And tagging into the ring as the newest member of the Divas is Eva Marie, a passionate, sexy, extremely competitive force that wants stardom more than anyone else. Also joining in on the action is Jo--Jo Offerman, an entertainer at heart, young and energetic who will no doubt be a charismatic force in the ring.

The show kicks off with an unprecedented look inside the most-anticipated WWE event of the year, WrestleMania®, marking the first time that any television series was granted exclusive behind-the-scenes access to WWE. Following the drama, the series heads to WWE's flagship television program, Monday Night Raw®, with a match between the Bellas in one corner, and Naomi/Cameron (aka "The Funkadactyls") in the other. They bring on the drama from the very start, and alliances are quickly formed on the road as the new girls choose sides. And with some WWE Superstars vying for the romantic attention of the girls, the drama comes to a boil quickly, and shows no sign of slowing down.

Total Divas is produced by WWE and Bunim-Murray Productions. Jon Murray, Gil Goldshein, Jeff Jenkins and Russell Jay are Executive Producers for Bunim-Murray Productions.

85 total episodes of the series have aired over six seasons (including the current one), and the series has been spun off featuring two members of the original cast, Total Bellas.

4 years ago today, Milena Roucka, best known as WWE diva Rosa Mendes, was sent home from their European tour for "personal reasons".

Those personal reasons turn out to be Roucka going through an alcoholic relapse. Mendes did not return to WWE television until August, and did not appear in a match until October. Later in the year, Michael Hayes is suspended for allegedly causing said relapse.

In February 2016, Milena gave birth to her first child, Jordan Elizabeth. On Jordan’s first birthday, Milena announced her retirement.

3 years ago today, Extreme Rising cancels all upcoming events, including four events scheduled for the next two weekends. The company informs the roster via text message that all events were cancelled, and shuts down its social media accounts, essentially folding operations.

The promotion founded in 2012 as Extreme Reunion by 5 Guys Wrestling, Inc. (wrestlers Shane Douglas and Cody Michaels, Steve and Mike O'Neil, and producer Kevin Klienrock) was essentially a reboot of Extreme Championship Wrestling featuring ex-ECW alumni, including Douglas, Raven, The Sandman, Stevie Richards, and Jerry Lynn.

An awful first outing (one that Douglas apologized for) forced a rebranding of the company as Extreme Rising, bringing in newer talent not associated with the original ECW. The company would put on four more shows in 2012, but just one more event after that, in December 2013 at the ECW Arena (a series of events scheduled on the weekend of Wrestlemania 29 were cancelled due to lack of ticket sales, a regular occurrence with the promotion).

Stevie Richards goes down as the promotion's only champion, winning it at Card Subject to Change in December 2012, Extreme Rising's next-to-last show.

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