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This Day in Wrestling History (May 15): AAA is Born


25 years ago today, Asistencia Asesoria y Administracion (Assistance, Consulting, and Administration) is born.

Under the guidance of former CMLL (Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre) booker Antonio Peña and a hungry roster made up of mostly ex-CMLL talent (specifically, their younger roster members), AAA quickly overtook CMLL as the top company in Mexico. In fact, their rapid rise in popularity (in combination with the devaluing of the Mexican peso) directly led to another lucha libre organization, the Universal Wrestling Association, shutting down.

The golden years of AAA came early in its existence, highlighted by the first Triplemania in April 1993 (it still holds the attendance record for any wrestling show in Mexico) and the co-promoted When Worlds Collide with WCW in 1994.

Soon after When Worlds Collide, problems began to plague AAA. Just three months after the show, Art Barr, one of the company’s top heels, was found dead in his home. Eddie Guerrero and Madonna’s Boyfriend (aka Louie Spicolli) left for the United States. Stars such as El Hijo del Santo, Fuerza Guerrera and Blue Panther soon followed. Luchadors Rey Misterio Jr., Juventud Guerrera, La Parka, and Psicosis left for WCW and Konnan’s own indy promotion, Promo Azteca.

Antonio Peña ran the promotion until his fatal heart attack in 2006; sister Marisela and in-laws Joaquín and Dorian Roldán handled operations following his passing. Expected to collapse following Antonio’s death, Joaquín oversaw AAA’s reemergence especially with an expansion into the United States via Lucha Underground. Joaquín died in April 2017. Just before his passing, Dorian took over the day-to-day operations of AAA.

AAA’s debut show, emanating from Auditorio Benito Juarez in Veracruz, Mexico, aired just two days later on Galavision.

  • Dr. Maldad & Mr. Maldad defeated Quarterback & Super Bowl.
  • Justicierito, Mascarita Sagrada, and Octagoncito defeated Espectrito, Jerrito Estrada, and Picudito.
  • Los Destructores (Rocco Valente, Tony Arce, and Vulcano) defeated El Colorado, El Giro, and Winners.
  • Fuerza Guerrera, Ice Killer, and La Parka defeated Angel Azteca, Justiciero, and Octagon.
  • El Fantasma, Mascara Sagrada, and Perro Aguayo defeated Los Hermanos Dinamita (Cien Caras, Mascara Ano 2000, and Universo 2000).

22 years ago today in Niigata, Japan, Reggie Bennett defeated Manami Toyota to win the IWA Womens World Championship.

22 years ago today at a Monday Night RAW taping in Binghamton, New York (WWE Network link), Hunter Hearst Helmsley made his RAW debut, defeating John Crystal with a standing cutter.

Called the Pedigree Pandemonium (no, seriously), the move didn’t last long. Diamond Dallas Page tells the story of how he got the future Triple H to stop using the standing cutter to Sports Illustrated in March 2017:

“I’ll tell you a great story about Triple H. He was there that day that Johnny Laurinaitis and I were working on it. He was still there (in WCW) for another three or four months (before going to WWE). Now I’m getting that move over. One night on Raw - because I watched everything they had - (Triple H) hit a Diamond Cutter out of nowhere and beat somebody. And I thought, Oh no. If he does it, it’s gonna sort of dilute what I’m doing. So I call him. One of the very few times he answered his phone. He’s like, “Hey D, what’s up, man?” I’m like, “I got a favor, bro.” He goes, “Sure, what do you need?” I go, “No, don’t say that. I got no right to ask you this favor” Because Bret Hart had the Sharpshooter and Sting had the Scorpion Deathlock, same move. I said, “You know, I saw you did a Diamond Cutter the other night. I think your Pedigree’s amazing, it’s a great finish. But I’m just starting to get that Diamond Cutter over, bro. I would really appreciate it if you wouldn’t do it anymore.” “Sure, D.” He never did it again. And he didn’t have to do that.

Soon after, Triple H went with a double underhook facebuster known as the Pedigree. It’s been his primary finisher ever since.

18 years ago today, Shane Douglas leaves ECW.

Douglas, real name Troy Martin, had been with ECW since 1993, but is best remembered as the man that threw down the NWA World Heavyweight Championship shortly after he had won it in August 1994. The four-time ECW Champion had not wrestled since defeating Justin Credible on April 15, and threatened to not appear at Hardcore Heaven the next night unless he was paid what he was owed.

After a brief run on the independent circuit, Martin returned to WCW in July (he was with the company in 1992 and 1993) and would remain there until the company’s shutdown in 2001.

Bankruptcy filings following ECW’s shutdown that same year revealed that Martin was owed $48,000.

17 years ago today, three championships change hands on a wild Nitro (WWE Network link) from Biloxi, Mississippi.

Kronik (Brian Adams & Bryan Clark) defeated Shane Douglas and The Wall (substituting for Buff Bagwell) to win the WCW World Tag Team Championship.

Crowbar won the WCW Cruiserweight Championship when his partner Daffney defeated Tammy Lynn Sytch and then champion Chris Candido. Per pre-match stipulations, the male member of the winning team won the title. This would become a point of contention with Daffney and Crowbar over the next few weeks.

In the show's main event, Ric Flair defeated Jeff Jarrett to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.

Including the vacancy on April 10, this is the sixth time the WCW world title has changed hands in five weeks, and the third consecutive week a new world champion was crowned.

17 years ago today on RAW is WAR from Cleveland, Ohio (WWE Network link), Cynthia Lynch, one of the Godfather's "hos", defeated Crash Holly to win the WWF Hardcore Championship...only to lose it moments later back to Crash Holly.

Lynch, who would go on to have a brief run in TNA as Bobcat in 2002, made herself a little history: she became the first woman to hold the Hardcore Championship, and joined Chyna as the only women to hold a men’s title in WWF.

It was a fleeting moment; Crash won the title back seconds later.

In 2002, Mighty Molly, Terri Runnells, and Trish Stratus, would all briefly hold the hardcore title.

13 years ago today in Lexington, Massachusetts, The Second City Saints (CM Punk & Colt Cabana) defeated The Briscoes (Jay & Mark) to win the ROH Tag Team Championship.

12 years ago today, TNA presented Hard Justice from the Impact Zone at Universal Orlando.

The show was dedicated to Chris Candido, who died from complications from surgery on April 28, just four days after suffering a leg injury at Lockdown.

  • In a preshow match, Shark Boy defeated David Young to earn an entry into the Gauntlet for the Gold battle royal match.
  • Team Canada (Eric Young & Petey Williams) defeated Apolo & Sonny Siaki.
  • Michael Shane & Trinity defeated Chris Sabin & Traci in a mixed tag team match.
  • Raven defeated Sean Waltman in a Clockwork Orange House of Fun match.
  • Monty Brown & “The Outlaw” Kip James defeated Diamond Dallas Page & Ron Killings.
  • The Naturals (Andy Douglas & Chase Stevens) defeated America's Most Wanted (Chris Harris & James Storm) to retain the NWA World Tag Team Championship.
  • Christopher Daniels defeated Shocker to retain the TNA X-Division Championship.
  • Abyss last eliminated Ron Killings in a Gauntlet for the Gold battle royal to become #1 contender for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Other participants were A1, Apolo, BG James, Bobby Roode, Cassidy Riley, Chris Sabin, Elix Skipper, Eric Young, Jerrelle Clark, Lance Hoyt, Mikey Batts, Petey Williams, Shark Boy, Sonny Siaki, The Outlaw, Trytan, and Zach Gowen.
  • AJ Styles defeated Jeff Jarrett to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Tito Ortiz was the special referee.

11 years ago today on RAW from Lubbock, Texas (WWE Network link), Shelton Benjamin, Chris Masters, and Triple H defeated John Cena and Rob Van Dam in a handicap Texas tornado rules match.

Per pre-match stipulations, as Shelton got the winning fall on Rob Van Dam, he won the WWE Intercontinental Championship. John Cena’s WWE Championship was also at stake in the match.

10 years ago today, Sabu is released from ECW.

One of four men to win ECW's triple crown, Sabu was a primary focus of the relaunch of ECW, but was deemphasized after last year's Summerslam. Brunk's release would be made official the next day.

6 years ago today, TNA presented Sacrifice from the Impact Zone at Universal Orlando.

  • Mexican America (Hernandez and Anarquia) defeated Ink Inc. (Jesse Neal and Shannon Moore).
  • Brian Kendrick defeated Robbie E.
  • Mickie James defeated Madison Rayne to retain the TNA Knockouts Championship. With the win, Tara's contract with Madison is deemed null and void.
  • Kazarian defeated Max Buck to retain the TNA X Division Championship.
  • Crimson defeated Abyss.
  • Beer Money, Inc. (Robert Roode and James Storm) defeated Immortal (Matt Hardy and Chris Harris).
  • Tommy Dreamer defeated A.J. Styles in a no disqualification match.
  • Kurt Angle and Chyna defeated Jeff Jarrett and Karen Jarrett by submission.
  • Sting defeated Rob Van Dam to retain the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.

3 years ago today, WWE announces it has reached an agreement to keep its TV programming with NBCUniversal, specifically USA, SyFy, and E!. The press release in part:

NEW YORK AND STAMFORD - NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment and WWE (NYSE: WWE) today announced a multi-year strategic partnership for WWE's flagship programming and ratings juggernauts Monday Night Raw for a three-hour block on USA Network and the top-rated Friday Night SmackDown on Syfy. The two programs are the longest-running weekly episodic entertainment programs on cable TV with a combined reach of 10.8 million viewers each week. The announcement was made today by Paul "Triple H" Levesque, WWE Executive Vice President Talent, Live Events & Creative, from the stage at the NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment upfront presentation at the Javitz Center in New York.

"USA Network President Chris McCumber, Syfy President Dave Howe and I are incredibly pleased to renew this strategic partnership with WWE," said NBCUniversal Cable Chairman Bonnie Hammer. "In today's TV landscape, live event programming is an extraordinarily valuable asset, and WWE remains the only entertainment franchise that consistently delivers this on a 52-week a year basis. We look forward to bringing WWE's action-packed and unique brand of drama to the wide audiences across our cable networks for many years to come."

"We are proud to continue our long-standing partnership with NBCUniversal given their premiere position in the marketplace and vast promotional platforms," said WWE Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Vince McMahon. "We are excited about our future as we further the reach and popularity of our live, family-friendly entertainment programming 52 weeks a year."

WWE weekly programming averages more viewers than the NBA, NASCAR, MLB, NHL and UFC. Both Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown feature a star-studded cast of WWE Superstars and Divas, and deliver a shot of adrenaline to viewers with over-the-top action, feats of athleticism and high octane drama.

Monday Night Raw on USA is the most-watched, regularly scheduled, year-round program on cable, airing a live three-hour block every Monday night, 52 weeks a year. Raw has been a cable mainstay for more than 20 years and is consistently a top ten show on television. The three-hour block on USA averages 2.2 million viewers 18-49, 2.3 million viewers 25-54 and 5 million total viewers age two or over. The two-hour Friday Night SmackDown on Syfy averages 1.2 million viewers 18-49, 1.3 million viewers 25-54 and 3.2 million total viewers age two and up. The two programs have reached 37.5 million people in 2014 to date.

In addition, E! - in partnership with WWE and Bunim-Murray Productions - will continue to broadcast the reality series Total Divas, an unprecedented look inside the professional and personal lives of the WWE's leading ladies.

The TV deal runs through September 2019.

Investors were not impressed; expecting a bigger increase for their TV rights (the deal is for a reported $150 million annually, well short of the $200 million expected), combined with a morbid outlook on WWE Network’s future (an expected $50 million loss for 2014), WWE stock plummeted in the days that followed, causing WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon to lose about $350 million in one day.

It's a happy 58th birthday for WWE Hall of Famer Ron Simmons.

Simmons is actually one of the most celebrated performers in wrestling history. Before wrestling, he was an All-American defensive tackle for Florida State University. In his four years there, FSU went 39-8 with two Orange Bowl berths (both losing efforts to Oklahoma). In 1979, Simmons finished ninth in the Heisman voting (USC running back Charles White won the award). Simmons, whose #50 was retired by the school in 1988, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008. He had a brief career in the NFL, playing two seasons for the Cleveland Browns before signing with the USFL's Tampa Bay Bandits from 1983-1985.

Simmons joined the NWA in 1988 as a babyface, but quickly turned heel. Under the management of Woman, he and Butch Reed formed Doom, but it wasn't until they were managed by former referee Teddy Long they experienced sustained success, when they won the NWA World Tag Team Championship at Capital Combat in May 1990 and held them long enough to be recognized as the first WCW world tag champs.

Simmons' most famous moment came on August 2, 1992 when he was selected at random to face Vader for the WCW world title when Jake Roberts injured Sting. The win made Simmons the first African-American to hold a recognized world championship in professional wrestling history. He held the title for the remainder of the year, losing it on December 30 back to Vader.

After a brief run in ECW, Simmons joined the WWF in the summer of 1996. Debuting initially as gladiator Faarooq Assad and managed by Sunny, Simmons made a name for himself as Faarooq, leader of the (mostly) black militant group the Nation of Domination. He led the faction until a falling out at Wrestlemania XIV when Faarooq left The Rock to his own devices when he was caught in Ken Shamrock's anklelock submission.

Post-Nation, Faarooq had a brief singles run before teaming with Bradshaw as "Hell's Henchmen" under the guidance of The Jackyl. When Jackyl left the WWF, they were repackaged as the Acolytes to the Undertaker's Ministry of Darkness. Even after the group's disbanding in the summer of 1999, the duo remained together as beer drinking, cigar smoking brawlers... who also happened to be mercenaries and bodyguards for hire.

They would be known as the Acolyte Protection Agency. The duo had moderate success, winning the WWF Tag Team Championship three times, but never having a lengthy run. The duo split when they were drafted to separate brands in 2002, but would reunite in June 2003. Simmons, under his real name so as to not associate his gimmick name with that of a terrorist training camp, was kayfabe fired by Paul Heyman in 2004 after losing a tag team match. In reality, it was a write-off; Simmons retired from in-ring competition.

Simmons had made sporadic appearances since, usually to utter his catchphrase, "Damn!" at the sight of odd happenings in WWE. In 2012, Simmons was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by his old tag team partner John "Bradshaw" Layfield.

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