36 years ago today in Gainesville, Georgia, Harley Race defeated Tommy Rich to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. This comes just four days after Rich defeated Race for the title.
36 years ago today in Richmond, Virginia, Gene & Ole Anderson defeated Paul Jones and The Masked Superstar to win the NWA World Tag Team Championship for the eighth and final time.
31 years ago today, WWF taped the sixth Saturday Night's Main Event (WWE Network link) from the Providence Civic Center in Providence, Rhode Island.
The show got a quick turnaround, airing just two days later on NBC. It would be the final Saturday Night's Main Event of its first full season.
- Hulk Hogan & The Junkyard Dog defeated Terry Funk & Hoss Funk.
- King Kong Bundy defeated Uncle Elmer.
- Adrian Adonis defeated Paul Orndorff by disqualification.
- Jake Roberts and Ricky Steamboat fought to a no contest.
- The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith & The Dynamite Kid) defeated Nikolai Volkoff & The Iron Sheik 2-1 in a best of three falls match to retain the WWF Tag Team Championship.
26 years ago today at a NWA taping in Rainesville, Alabama, Paul Heyman begins his second and more successful run with the company.
Heyman as Paul E. Dangerously would form the Dangerous Alliance and would double as a broadcaster for NWA/WCW telecasts until his firing in 1992.
23 years ago today at NJPW's Wrestling Dontaku in Fukuoka, Japan, Shinya Hashimoto defeated Tatsumi Fujinami to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
Hashimoto would hold the title until the next year's Wrestling Dontaku, when he was defeated by Keiji Mutoh. When it ended (367 days after it began), it was the third longest IWGP Heavyweight Championship reign in New Japan history. Hashimoto himself holds the record, with a 489-day reign that spans most of 1996 and 1997.
19 years ago today, All Japan Pro Wrestling presented Showdown at the Egg from the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan. 58,300 were in attendance for the event, the biggest show in company history.
In a side nugget, this was the first time All Japan ran an event at the Tokyo Dome on their own (all of their previous events at the Tokyo Dome were done with other promotions).
- Satoru Asako defeated Yoshinobu Kanemura.
- Manukea Mossman defeated Daisuke Ikeda.
- Jumbo Tsuruta, Rusher Kimura, and Mitsuo Momota defeated Masa Fuchi, Haruka Eigan, and Tsuyoshi Kikichi.
- The Headhunters defeated Tamon Honda & Shigeo Okumura.
- Johnny Smith & Wolf Hawkfield defeated Gedo & Jado.
- Akira Taue, Takao Omori, and Masao Inoue defeated Mike Awesome, Tetsuhiro Kuroda, and Hideki Hosaka.
- Steve Williams & Gary Albright defeated Masahito Kakihara & Yoshihiro Takayama.
- Giant Baba, Kentaro Shiga, and Hayabusa defeated Hakushi, Jun Izumida, and Giant Kamala II.
- Jun Akiyama defeated Hiroshi Hase.
- Kenta Kobashi & Johnny Ace defeated Vader & Stan Hansen.
- Toshiaki Kawada defeated Mitsuharu Misawa to win the All Japan Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship.
14 years ago today, Elizabeth Hulette, best known to wrestling fans as Miss Elizabeth, died of acute toxicity in Marietta, Georgia. She was 42.
Born November 19, 1960 in Frankfort, Kentucky, Hulette, a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a degree of communications, was best remembered as the manager of her real-life husband, "Macho Man" Randy Savage. The two met while working International Championship Wrestling shows. The couple married in December 1984, but Elizabeth wouldn't make her WWF debut until the following summer.
With several managers competing for the services of Savage, it would be the then unknown attractive woman that won him over (in fact, even former WWF Champion Bruno Sammartino was blown away by her beauty on air, referring to her as "some sort of movie star"). That unknown attractive woman would soon be known as Miss Elizabeth. Over the next few years, Elizabeth would play a central role in storylines involving Randy Savage.
In 1986 and early 1987, George "The Animal" Steel had a crush on her. In late 1987, Elizabeth was pushed down by the Honky Tonk Man and hit Savage with a guitar. Elizabeth escaped further harm and got Hulk Hogan. That rescue effort was the formation of the Mega-Powers. At Wrestlemania IV, it would be Elizabeth that got Hogan again, this time helping Savage win the WWF Championship. That summer at the first Summerslam, Andre the Giant and Ted Dibiase, on their way to victory over the Megapowers, was "distracted by the sexy", as Elizabeth ripped off her skirt to reveal red panties. The distraction would be enough for Hogan to recover and win the match for the team.
It would be Elizabeth that ultimately came between the Megapowers, as Savage grew jealous of Hogan's affections toward her. Elizabeth was in a netural corner for Savage's WWF Championship bout against Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania V, a match won by Hogan. Following the event, Savage replaced Elizabeth with Sensational Sherri. As for Elizabeth, her appearances would be sporadic over the next two years, most notably atSummerslam 1989 and Wrestlemania VI, both in managerial roles. Miss Elizabeth briefly co-hosted WWF Wrestling Spotlight with Vince McMahon.
Elizabeth and Savage would have an emotional reunion at Wrestlemania VII when she came to the rescue of an irate Sensational Sherri after Savage lost a retirement match to the Ultimate Warrior. The reunion would be punctuated by Savage holding the ropes for Elizabeth after she did the same for many years for Savage. The couple would finally storyline marry at Summerslam.
At the wedding reception, Elizabeth opened a package containing a live snake, frightening her. This would bring Savage and Roberts together in a memorable feud, which would include Savage being bitten by a cobra and Elizabeth being struck down by Roberts. Roberts was about to hit Elizabeth with a steel chair following a match at Saturday Night's Main Event in February 1992, but the Undertaker stopped him, setting up a rivalry between them.
Elizabeth's final major WWF angle involved Ric Flair, who made accusations toward Savage that Elizabeth was with him first, even producing doctored photos to prove it. With Mr. Perfect, Flair promised that they were going to show a nude photo of Elizabeth at Wrestlemania VIII after Flair retained the WWF Championship. The picture would never be shown, of course, as Savage defeated Flair for the title. Post-match, Flair kissed Elizabeth, but Elizabeth slapped him away, and Savage beat on Flair until the two had to be separated. That was Elizabeth's final WWF television appearance; she would leave the company following their European tour in April 1992.
Elizabeth would be used in storylines (though would not appear) until the early summer when the real photos of Savage and Elizabeth were printed in WWF Magazine. Shortly after, the couple divorced, and in a rare moment for the WWF at the time, the company acknowledged it in a statement in their magazine. The divorce was never referenced on WWF television. Savage would remain with the WWF until late 1994; as for Elizabeth, she covered speedboat racing events for ESPN.
In January 1996, Miss Elizabeth returned to wrestling as a manger for Savage, but she would turn on him to join Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen; she would later turn on them and join Hulk Hogan and the New World Order (nWo); her ex-husband soon followed. She would turn on Savage in June 1998 and join nWo Hollywood. She would accompany Eric Bischoff for the next few months and would deride Savage. Savage coldly reminded her that he "got over her a long time ago" and didn't need her.
Hulette would briefly marry attorney Cary Lubetsky, a South Florida attorney, in December 1997. The couple divorced just 15 months later.
Elizabeth's most memorable storyline in WCW came on January 4, 1999 (the night of the infamous Fingerpoke of Doom), she was the alleged victim of aggravated stalking by Goldberg, who was challenging for the WCW title that night. Goldberg was arrested, but was later released when it was revealed that she made it all up. A returning Hulk Hogan took Kevin Nash's place and would win the WCW world title.
Elizabeth would accompany Lex Luger (and occasionally Kevin Nash) to ringside following the incident, and be involved in a hair versus mask match at Superbrawl IX (i.e. Elizabeth's hair vs. Rey's mask). But days before the match was to take place, Luger was injured by Rey Mysterio when he slammed a limo door into Luger's biceps. Luger would be replaced by Scott Hall, and the reunited Outsiders would win the match. Elizabeth took time off with Luger as he rehabbed his biceps.
Elizabeth's next high profile storyline would not come until the following year, when she was one-third of Team Package with Ric Flair and Luger to take down Hulk Hogan. In a somewhat infamous moment, Hogan gave Elizabeth the atomic drop and Elizabeth no-sold it, rolling out of the ring. On the Bubba the Love Sponge show later that week, Hogan claimed that because Elizabeth wasn't wearing panties under her skirt, she would not take a bigger bump. The group would split up during the New Blood-Millionaires Club storyline, with Elizabeth wrestling for the first time in her career that spring. Her first official match came on May 8, 2000 against Daffney. She would have just two more: one against Rhonda Sing (aka Bertha Faye of WWF fame) and Madusa. Later that summer, Elizabeth would be released from her WCW contract.
Elizabeth and Luger would be a couple until her passing; following the end of her WCW run, she worked the front desk at Main Event Fitness, a gym Luger and Sting opened together. Elizabeth accompanied Luger on the World Wrestling All-Stars European tour in November and December 2002, but never made a television appearance.
Just weeks before her death, Elizabeth was involved in a domestic dispute with Luger, alleging that he struck her in their townhouse garage in Marietta, Georgia. Huelette was badly bruised: both eyes bruised, a head bump, and a cut lip. Luger was charged with a misdemeanor battery and released on $2,500 bond. Just two days later, Luger was arrested for DUI after rear-ending another car. Luger, who according to the arrest report had slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and trouble finding his license, had a 9mm handgun in the car. Elizabeth was also in the car at the time.
On May 1, 2003, Luger called 911 and reported Huelette was not breathing. She did not respond to mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and paramedics rushed her to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead. She was 42.
The Marietta Daily Journal reported that at the time of her death, she had a 0.29 alcohol level, more than triple the legal limit to drive in Georgia. Her death was ruled an accidental overdose. During the investigation of her death, Luger, real name Larry Pfohl, was arrested and charged with 13 felony counts of possession of a controlled substance, and one misdemeanor count of distribution of dangerous drugs. Luger, released the next day on $27,500 bail, would plead guilty to the charges in February 2005. He was sentenced to five years probation, random drug screening, and fined $1,000.
In a 2015 WWE.com countdown, Miss Elizabeth was selected as the most beautiful person in sports entertainment history.
12 years ago today, WWE presented Backlash (WWE Network link) from the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire. About 14,000 were in attendance, with 320,000 homes watching on PPV. That's the same number of homes as the 2004 edition.
- In a Sunday Night Heat preshow match, Tyson Tomko defeated Val Venis.
- Shelton Benjamin defeated Chris Jericho to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
- Rosey & The Hurricane defeated Tajiri & William Regal, The Heart Throbs (Antonio & Romeo), Simon Dean & Maven, and La Resistance (Rob Conway & Sylvain Grenier) in a Tag Team Turmoil match to win the World Tag Team Championship.
- Edge defeated Chris Benoit in a Last Man Standing match.
- Kane defeated Viscera.
- Hulk Hogan & Shawn Michaels defeated Muhammad Hassan & Daivari.
- Batista defeated Triple H to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.
11 years ago today on RAW from Columbus, Ohio, Joey Styles quits WWE. Sort of. His exit promo, which followed Jerry Lawler piefacing Styles after Joey had pushed, then slapped Lawler:
"You want to apologize? Like nothing happened. Like you didn't knock me on my ass in front of millions of people worldwide, and I'm going to come down there and work with you. I'm not coming back, and now thanks to the magic of live television I'm going to show the whole world, why for seven years in ECW I was the unscripted, uncensored, loose cannon of commentary.
Six months ago, WWE called me, I didn't call this company because I was looking for a job. I didn't need a job. WWE called me because they had humiliated and fired...again, Jim Ross. So I get JR's spot, and from week one, week after week I've got an ongoing lecture about the differences in professional wrestling and sports entertainment. I'm not allowed to say 'pro wrestling', I'm not allowed to say 'wrestler'. I have to say 'sports entertainment' and refer to the wrestlers as 'superstars'. I'm told to deliberately ignore the moves and the holds during the matches so I can tell stories. Well ignoring the moves and the holds is damn insulting to the athletes, the 'wrestlers', not the entertainers who leave their families three hundred days a year to ply their craft in that ring.
Here's the best part, because I'm not a sports entertainment storyteller I get pulled from Wrestlemania, and the reason I'm given is, is because I don't sound like Jim Ross, who's the guy they fired in the first place. That makes sense, right?
So I swallow the bitter pill, I'm a company guy. I get bumped from Wrestlemania. Then I get bumped from Backlash? I'm not good enough to call Backlash!? In ECW, I called live pay-per-views on my own, solo, no color commentators dragging me down. Wasn't done before me, hasn't been done since. But I'm not good enough to call Backlash because I'm not a sports entertainment storyteller.
Well you know what? I am sick of sports entertainment. I am sick of male cheerleaders. I am sick of boogers and bathroom humor and semen and I am sick of our chairman. Who likes to talk about his own semen, he mocks God... he mocks God! And makes out with the Divas, all to feed his own insatiable ego. I am sick of sports entertainment, and most of all I am sick of you fans who actually buy into that crap! This sports entertainment circus! I never needed this job, and I don't want this job anymore."
[Joey pulls the WWE collar off the microphone and tosses it away.]
Joey, real name Joseph Bonsignore, actually didn’t quit the company. Far from it, actually. His leaving the commentary table would be the first seed planted in the reboot of ECW, of which he would be its lead commentator.
Joey left the booth in April 2008 to become director of, then vice-president of digital media content. He worked for Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees during the 2012 season, hosting a webshow highlighting the Yankees’ best plays. Joey was released from WWE in August 2016.
11 years ago today, WWE announces that Tough Enough III winner Matt Cappotelli underwent surgery in Boston, Massachusetts to remove a malignant brain tumor.
Though the surgery was a success, the former OVW Champion would never wrestle again. Today, Cappotelli is a trainer for OVW.
6 years ago today, WWE presented Extreme Rules (WWE Network link) from the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida. About 10,000 were in attendance, with 209,000 homes watching on PPV. That's up from 182,000 homes for the 2010 edition.
- In a preshow dark match, Sin Cara defeated Tyson Kidd.
- Randy Orton defeated CM Punk in a last man standing match.
- Kofi Kingston defeated Sheamus in a tables match to win the WWE United States Championship.
- Michael Cole and Jack Swagger defeated Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler in a Country Whipping match.
- Rey Mysterio defeated Cody Rhodes in a falls count anywhere match.
- Layla defeated Michelle McCool in a no disqualification, loser leaves WWE match. Post-match, Michelle McCool is beaten down by the debuting Kia Stevens under the name Kharma. She previously was in TNA as Awesome Kong, and as Amazing Kong on the Japanese and independent circuits. The bout and post-match beatdown served as a write-off for McCool, who retired from wrestling following the match.
- Christian defeated Alberto Del Rio in a ladder match to win the vacant World Heavyweight Championship.
- Big Show and Kane defeated Wade Barrett and Ezekiel Jackson in a lumberjack match to win the WWE Tag Team Championship.
- John Cena defeated The Miz and John Morrison in a triple threat steel cage match to win the WWE Championship. After the show went off the air, Cena announced that terrorist Osama Bin Laden was killed by US Navy SEAL Team Six in Pakistan.
1 year ago today, WWE presented Payback (WWE Network link) from the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois.
- In a preshow match, Dolph Ziggler defeated Baron Corbin.
- In a preshow match, Kalisto defeated Ryback to retain the WWE United States Championship.
- The Vaudevillains (Aiden English & Simon Gotch) and Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady fought to a no contest in a #1 contender’s match for the WWE Tag Team Championship. The match was stopped when Enzo Amore suffered a concussion. The decision was later changed to a TKO win for the Vaudevillains.
- Kevin Owens defeated Sami Zayn.
- The Miz defeated Cesaro to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
- Dean Ambrose defeated Chris Jericho.
- Charlotte defeated Natalya via “submission” to retain the WWE Women's Championship.
- Roman Reigns defeated AJ Styles in a no disqualification, no countout match to retain the WWE Championship.