clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

This Day in Wrestling History (Apr. 3): The Dawn of a New Era

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

this day in wrestling history

35 years ago today in Tokyo, Japan, Riki Choshu defeated Tatsumi Fujinami to win the WWF International Heavyweight Championship.

24 years ago today in Radnor, Pennsylvania, Don Muraco defeated The Sandman to win the Eastern Championship Wrestling Heavyweight Championship.

22 years ago today at a Monday Night RAW taping in Poughkeepsie, New York (WWE Network link), Alundra Blayze defeated Bull Nakano to win the WWF Womens Championship.

Post-match, a woman jumped the rail and broke Alundra's nose. That woman: Rhonda Singh, making her WWF debut as Bertha Faye. The attack was done as a write-off, as Alundra, real name Debrah Miceli, was taking time off for cosmetic surgery.

18 years ago today, ECW presented Cyberslam '99 from the ECW Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

  • Jerry Lynn defeated Yoshihiro Tajiri.
  • Chris Chetti & Super Nova defeated Rod Price & Skull von Krush.
  • Super Crazy defeated Mosco de la Merced.
  • Taka Michinoku defeated Papi Chulo .
  • Rob Van Dam defeated Too Cold Scorpio to retain the ECW World Television Championship.
  • Taz defeated Chris Candido to retain the ECW World Heavyweight Championship.
  • Shane Douglas defeated Justin Credible.
  • Mr. Mustafa & The Dudley Boyz (Buh Buh Ray Dudley & D-Von Dudley) defeated Axl Rotten, Balls Mahoney, and New Jack in an Ultimate Jeopardy steel cage match.

17 years ago today on RAW is WAR from Los Angeles, California (WWE Network link), Eddie Guerrero defeated Chris Jericho to win the WWF European Championship.

On the same show, Crash Holly defeated Hardcore Holly to regain the WWF Hardcore Championship.

In an interesting tidbit, RAW is WAR ran virtually unopposed as that week's Nitro (WWE Network link) was a best-of show in preparation of a company-wide storyline reboot the next week.

As a result, Nitro does a record-low 1.8. RAW is WAR easily beats it with a 6.4, consistent with what the show's ratings at the time.

16 years ago today at a Smackdown taping in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (WWE Network link), Triple H defeated Chris Jericho to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship.

13 years ago today in Wilmington, Delaware, Christopher Daniels defeated Austin Aries to win the East Coast Wrestling Association's annual Super 8 tournament. The win made Daniels the first two-time tournament winner.

In the semifinal round, Daniels defeated John Walters to win the ECWA Heavyweight Championship. Other participants in the tournament were Shawn Davari, Ricky Reyes, Rocky Romero, John Walters, and Nicho el Milionario (aka Psicosis from his ECW and WCW days).

12 years ago today, WWE presented Wrestlemania 21: Wrestlemania Goes Hollywood (WWE Network link) from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. 20,193 were in attendance, with 980,000 homes watching on PPV. That's up from 885,000 for Wrestlemania XX.

Tickets were sold out literally the same minute they went on sale, making it the fastest sellout not just in the history of Staples Center, but in WWE history.

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, Booker T won a 30-man Interpromotional Battle Royal, last eliminating Chris Masters. Other participants were Paul London, Heidenreich, Spike Dudley, Nunzio, Funaki, Doug Basham, Danny Basham, Orlando Jordan, Mark Jindrak, Luther Reigns, Scotty 2 Hotty, Hardcore Holly, Charlie Haas, Billy Kidman, Akio, Simon Dean, William Regal, Tajiri, Rob Conway, Sylvain Grenier, Snitsky, The Hurricane, Rosey, Viscera, Rhyno, Val Venis, Tyson Tomko, and Maven.
  • Rey Mysterio defeated Eddie Guerrero. (3.25/5)
  • Edge defeated Chris Jericho, Shelton Benjamin, Christian, Chris Benoit and Kane in a Money In The Bank ladder match. The win granted him a world championship match at any time within the next year. (4.5)
  • The Undertaker defeated Randy Orton. (3.5)
  • Trish Stratus defeated Christy Hemme to retain the WWE Women's Championship. (0)
  • Kurt Angle defeated Shawn Michaels by submission. (4.75)
  • Akebono defeated the Big Show in just 62 seconds in a Sumo match. (0)
  • John Cena defeated John Bradshaw Layfield to win the WWE Championship. (1.25)
  • Batista defeated Triple H to win the World Heavyweight Championship. (2.75)

11 years ago today on RAW from Chicago, Illinois (WWE Network link), The Spirit Squad (Kenny & Mikey) defeated The Big Show and Kane to win the World Tag Team Championship.

All five members of the group, including Johnny, Mitch, and Nicky, would be recognized as champions and defend the titles under the Freebird rule for the next seven months... which actually made the group the longest reigning tag champions in 20 years (The British Bulldog and Owen Hart held this version of the tag titles for 246 days spanning parts of 1996 and 1997).

6 years ago today, WWE presented Wrestlemania XXVII (WWE Network link) from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia. 71,617 were in attendance, with 1,059,000 homes watching on PPV. That's up from 885,000 forWrestlemania XXVI.

With a $6.6 million gate, it's at the time the second highest grossing event in company history. It's the final event promoted under the name World Wrestling Entertainment, as the company would shorten it to WWE officially less than a week later.

  • In a preshow dark match, Sheamus and Daniel Bryan fought to a no contest in a lumberjack match for the WWE United States Championship when all the lumberjacks rushed the ring.
  • In a preshow dark match, The Great Khali won a 23-man battle royal. Other participants were Chavo Guerrero, Chris Masters, Curt Hawkins, Daniel Bryan, David Hart Smith, Drew McIntyre, Evan Bourne, Jey Uso, Jimmy Uso, Johnny Curtis, JTG, Mark Henry, Primo, R-Truth, Sheamus, Ted DiBiase, The Great Khali, Trent Barreta, Tyler Reks, William Regal, Yoshi Tatsu, and Zack Ryder.
  • Edge defeated Alberto Del Rio to retain the World Heavyweight Championship. It turned out to be Edge's final match, as post-match diagnoses revealed he had spinal stenosis and would be forced to retire. (3.5/5)
  • Cody Rhodes defeated Rey Mysterio. (2.5)
  • Santino Marella, Kofi Kingston, Big Show and Kane defeated The Corre (Wade Barrett, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater and Ezekiel Jackson) in just 95 seconds.(0.5)
  • Randy Orton defeated CM Punk. (3)
  • Michael Cole defeated Jerry Lawler by disqualification. Stone Cold Steve Austin was the special referee. Lawler had initially defeated Cole by submission, but the Anonymous RAW general manager reversed the decision. The bout finished second for Worst Match of 2011 by Wrestling Observer Newsletter readers, behind only Sting versus Jeff Hardy from TNA’s Victory Road. (1)
  • The Undertaker defeated Triple H in a No Holds Barred match. Of note, The Undertaker and Triple H violated company policy in regards to chairshots to the head. Both men were fined an undisclosed amount. (4.5)
  • Trish Stratus, John Morrison & Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi defeated Dolph Ziggler & Team Lay-Cool (Michelle McCool & Layla). (1)
  • The Miz defeated John Cena to retain the WWE Championship. The two fought to a double countout, but the match was restarted by The Rock. (1.25)

5 years ago today, WWE announces that Randy Orton would not be in the third installment of The Marine film series.

The movie, The Marine: Homefront, was set to film in a couple of months in Vancouver, but after complaints from fellow Marines (some from his former unit) about Orton's military history (he was dishonorably discharged after going AWOL), Orton was dropped from the movie. The Miz replaced Orton in the movie and has been in the starring role since. From a WWE representative talking to about the decision:

"WWE demonstrated poor judgment in signing Randy Orton for the 3rd installment of the film. Despite Randy's popularity, the fact that he was dishonorably discharged from the USMC made it inappropriate for him to be cast in this film."

2 year ago today at SHINE 26 in Ybor City, Florida, Santana Garrett defeated Mia Yim to retain the NWA Women’s World Championship and win the SHINE Championship.

2 years ago today, WWE announces that April Mendez, best known to wrestling fans as AJ Lee, has retired from in-ring competition. The very brief statement from

AJ Lee (April Mendez) has decided to retire from in-ring competition with WWE. We wish AJ the very best.

Mendez joined WWE in 2009 and was in their developmental program for two years; the latter part of her time, she was a member of the all ladies-NXT Volume 3 cast (she finished third; the season’s winner Celeste Bonin, aka Kaitlyn, retired one year prior. First runner-up Trinity Fatu, aka Naomi, is the only member of the cast still on the active WWE roster.).

She joined the main roster in 2011 and became the first three-time WWE Divas Champion in company history; her third reign at 295 days was at the time of her retirement the longest in the title's history.

In June 2014, Mendez married fellow ex-wrestler Phil Brooks, aka CM Punk. She also gave a brief statement about her retirement on her Twitter two days later:

Break the rules. Be a fighter. Any dream is possible if you are brave enough to do it YOUR way. Thank you all.

— A.J. (@AJBrooks) April 5, 2015

Brooks has written an autobiography, Crazy is My Superpower: How I Triumphed by Breaking Bones, Breaking Hearts, and Breaking the Rules. It is scheduled to be released tomorrow.

1 year ago today, WWE presented Wrestlemania 32 (WWE Network link) from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. A company-record 101,763 were in attendance.

The attendance number is disputed, as even WWE themselves admitted that the count included everyone in the building, including ticket-takers, ushers, and other stadium personnel. The actual attendance figure ranges from around 84,000 to 94,000 according to wrestling insiders. Whatever the actual number, it’s the largest attendance for any WWE event ever.

The event grossed $17.3 million in ticket revenue, a record not just for WWE, but all of pro wrestling. While it was a financial success, Wrestlemania 32 was a critical bomb, as the event was voted Worst Major Wrestling Show by Wrestling Observer Newsletter readers and given the Wrestlecrap Gooker Award for worst wrestling-related happening in 2016.

Not helping its case was the show’s length: the main show lasted four hours, 53 minutes, the longest in WWE history. (To put that in proper perspective, you can take two full episodes of RAW, cut out the commercials, and fit them both into the length of time for Wrestlemania.)

Two other notes: (1) the WWE introduced a new version of the Women’s Championship to replace the Divas Championship during the preshow, and (2) the show marked Brie Bella’s final match as she was set to follow her husband Bryan Danielson into retirement.

  • In a preshow match, Kalisto defeated Ryback to retain the WWE United States Championship.
  • In a preshow match, Total Divas (Natalya, Paige, Alicia Fox, Eva Marie, and Brie Bella) defeated BAD and Blonde (Lana, Tamina, Naomi, Emma, and Summer Rae) by submission.
  • In a preshow match, The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) defeated The Dudley Boyz (D-Von Dudley & Bubba Ray Dudley).
  • Zack Ryder defeated Kevin Owens, The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Sami Zayn, Stardust, and Sin Cara in a ladder match to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
  • Chris Jericho defeated AJ Styles.
  • The League of Nations (Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, and Rusev) defeated The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods).
  • Brock Lesnar defeated Dean Ambrose in a no holds barred street fight.
  • Charlotte defeated Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks in a triple threat match to win the WWE Women’s Championship.
  • The Undertaker defeated Shane McMahon in a Hell in a Cell match. Had Shane McMahon won, he would have gained control of RAW and banished Undertaker from competing at Wrestlemania ever again.
  • Baron Corbin last eliminated Kane to win the Andre the Giant Memorial battle royal. This was Baron Corbin’s WWE main roster debut. Other participants in order of elimination were Fandango, Damien Sandow, Shaquille O'Neal, Big Show, Viktor, Diamond Dallas Page, Konnor, Tatanka, Jack Swagger, R-Truth, Goldust, Curtis Axel, Adam Rose, Heath Slater, Tyler Breeze, Mark Henry, Bo Dallas, and Darren Young.
  • The Rock defeated Erick Rowan in just six seconds. This broke Kane’s mark of 11 seconds with his ECW title win over Chavo Guerrero at Wrestlemania XXIV.
  • Roman Reigns defeated Triple H to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats