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This Day in Wrestling History (May 2): Guerrilla Warfare

Today’s TDIPWH is presented in two parts. The second part will focus on the career and life of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who turns 45 today.

this day in wrestling history

30 years ago today, AWA presented Superclash II from the Cow Palace in Daly City, California. Just 2,800 were in attendance for the event.

Presented just eight months after the original, Superclash II featured mostly AWA talent (unlike the original and the third edition the next year) and featured bouts that were mostly taped for future AWA broadcasts.

  • Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissy defeated Buck Zumhofe.
  • DJ Peterson and Super Ninja fought to a 15-minute time limit draw.
  • Sherri Martel defeated Madusa Miceli to retain the AWA World Women's Championship.
  • Curt Hennig defeated Nick Bockwinkel to win the AWA World Heavyweight Championship.
  • The Midnight Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty) and Ray Stevens defeated Buddy Wolfe, Doug Somers, and Kevin Kelly.
  • Jerry Blackwell defeated Boris Zhukov.
  • Jimmy Snuka and Russ Francis defeated The Terrorist and The Mercenary.

23 years ago today at a WCW Saturday Night taping in Atlanta, Georgia, Larry Zbyszko defeated Lord Steven Regal to win the WCW World Television Championship. The title change did not air until 26 days later.

23 years ago today at a Smoky Mountain Wrestling TV taping in Harriman, Tennessee, Jake "The Snake" Roberts defeated "The Dirty White Boy" Tony Anthony to win the SMW Heavyweight Championship.

The title change, airing twelve days later, would be the last television appearance for Roberts for the promotion. He basically disappeared from the company, no-showing events following the win. On July 5, The Dirty White Boy was given the title back.

21 years ago today at a WCW Worldwide taping in Orlando, Florida, Dean Malenko defeated Shinjiro Otani to win the WCW Cruiserweight Championship.

Airing on May 16, this is the only time the cruiserweight title changed hands on Worldwide. It is also the last time any WCW title changed hands on the syndicated series.

18 years ago today, All Japan Pro Wrestling presented the Giant Baba Memorial Show from the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan. About 50,000 were in attendance for the event. The show was to honor the promotion's founder, who died of cancer in January.

  • Tsuyoshi Kikuchi & Marufuji defeated Gran Naniwa & Makoto Hashi.
  • Satoru Asako & Takashi Morshima defeated Burning (Kentaro Shiga & Yoshinobu Kanemura).
  • Kimala II, Haruka Eigan, and Jun Izumida defeated Rusher Kimura, Mitsuo Momota, and Masao Inoue.
  • Johnny Smith, Tamon Honda, and Masa Fuchi defeated Fuyuki-gun (Gedo, Yoshihiro Kanemura, and Koji Nakagawa).
  • Untouchables (Masahito Kakihara, Maneukea Mossman, and Yoshinori Ogawa) versus Great Sasuke, Tiger Mask IV, and Hayabusa went to a 30-minute time limit draw.
  • Steve Williams, Stan Hansen, and Akira Taue defeated Gary Albright and NO FEAR (Takao Omori & Yoshihiro Takayama).
  • Toshiaki Kawada pinned Hiro Hase.
  • The Road Warriors (Hawk & Animal) & Johnny Ace defeated Burning (Kenta Kobashi and Jun Akiyama) and Hakushi.
  • Mitsuhara Misawa defeated Vader to win the All Japan Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship.

17 years ago today at a Smackdown taping in Richmond, Virginia (WWE Network link), Chris Jericho defeated Chris Benoit to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship.

17 years ago today at a WCW Thunder taping in Memphis, Tennessee, Ric Flair last eliminated Shane Douglas in what would be a 41-man "guerrilla warfare" battle royal to earn a WCW World Heavyweight Championship match at The Great American Bash.

Other participants were Hulk Hogan, Sting, Lex Luger, Jeff Jarrett, Diamond Dallas Page, Brian Adams, Bryan Clark, Buff Bagwell, Ernest Miller, Chris Candido, Scott Steiner, Mike Awesome, The Wall, Billy Kidman, Shawn Stasiak, Hugh Morrus, Vampiro, Chris Kanyon, Horace Hogan, and Curt Hennig.

As the ring cleared of participants, more entrants would take their place, including Konnan, Disco Inferno, Bam Bam Bigelow, Johnny the Bull, Big Vito, Ron Harris, Don Harris, Stevie Ray, Big T, Cash, Norman Smiley, Tank Abbott, Lash LeRoux, Van Hammer, Chavo Guerrero, Jr., Mona, Asya, Madusa, Jim Duggan, Randy Savage, and Bret Hart.

For Randy Savage, this would be his first appearance on WCW programming since the October 25, 1999 Nitro—and his last. Savage would never again appear for WCW before it folded ten months later.

His final wrestling appearances came for TNA in late 2004 and early 2005.

15 years ago today, Bill Goldberg announces in an interview on ESPN Radio in Los Angeles that his contract had been bought out by AOL Time Warner, effectively making a free agent and available to any wrestling organization that wanted him.

After a brief stint in All Japan Pro Wrestling, Goldberg would have a one-year run in WWE, spanning parts of 2003 and 2004. He would have a briefer second run in late 2016 and early 2017.

15 years ago today in Tokyo, Japan, NJPW’s Masahiro Chono and Pro Wrestling NOAH’s Mitsuhara Misawa fought to a 30-minute time limit draw in an interpromotional match.

On the undercard, Jushin Thunder Liger and Minoru Tanaka defeated The World Class Tag Team (Gedo & Jado) to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.

14 years ago today in Tokyo, Japan, Yoshihiro Takyama defeated Yuji Nagata to retain the NWF Heavyweight Championship and win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.

The win ends Nagata’s 392-day run as champion, at the time the third longest in New Japan Pro Wrestling history. Nagata also had the most successful title defenses, with ten. Both these marks have since been surpassed by Hiroshi Tanahashi; he had a 404-day run as champion spanning virtually of 2011 and the early part of 2012 (good for second longest ever) and 11 title defenses, a company record.

9 years ago today, Country Music Television announces that Hulk Hogan's Celebrity Championship Wrestling has been greenlit for the network.

The series, produced by Bischoff-Hervey Productions (as in THAT Eric Bischoff and Jason Hervey of The Wonder Years fame), would be won by ex-basketball player Dennis Rodman. It would be the show’s one and only season.

9 years ago today, reported more stringent rules have been placed in regards to the WWE Wellness Policy. In short: male performers had to submit a sample in full view of the administrator, and all performers had to show that they were not using a device to circumvent the test. The report in full:

WWE performers who underwent drug testing as part of the Wellness Policy this week found themselves under more stringent testing conditions. In the past, performers were able to urinate into a vial at a urinal, but as of this past week, male performers were required to provide a sample in full view of those representing Aegis Science, the firm that tests WWE's urine samples.

Performers, male and female, were also required to drop their pants at least down to their knees and pull their shirts up above their nipples, according to numerous sources. The new testing procedures were believed to have been adapted to prevent talents from circumventing testing procedures using cheating devices.

The word making the way around the wrestlers was that an incident had sparked the more stringent procedures, but no one was quite sure what that exactly had been or if the story was correct or some baseless theory that was created among the discussion of the changes. There was talk that a developmental talent had been caught trying to use a device in an attempt to circumvent the testing process.

Today would have been the 54th birthday of Ray Washington Traylor, Jr. Known under such names as Big Bubba Rogers, The Boss, and the Guardian Angel, he's best known for his time in the WWF as the Big Boss Man.

Born in Dallas, Texas, Traylor got into the business in 1985 after working as a prison guard in Marietta, Georgia. He began working under Jim Crockett Promotions as enhancement talent, but after head booker Dusty Rhodes saw potential in Traylor, he was pulled from television and repackaged as Big Bubba Rogers, a silent but violent bodyguard for Jim Cornette. He engaged in a heated feud with Dusty Rhodes in a series of Bunkhouse Stampede battle royals. In 1987, Traylor as Rogers won the Universal Wrestling Federation heavyweight championship from One Man Gang, who was leaving for the WWF.

About a year later, Traylor would join One Man Gang in the WWF under his most famous gimmick, prison guard Big Boss Man (based on his real-life past as a prison guard). Post-match, as a heel, he would handcuff his opponents to a ring rope and beat them with a nightstick. Bossman would soon engage in a heated feud with Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage as one-half of the Twin Towers (with Akeem-aka One Man Gang). The feud led to the breakup of the Mega-Powers and their clash at Wrestlemania V. The Towers would challenge unsuccessfully challenge Demolition for the tag titles for most of the latter half of 1989, but in singles, Bossman feuded with Hulk Hogan, leading to a steel cage match at Saturday Night's Main Event where Hogan suplexed Traylor from the top of the cage.

Bossman turned face after refusing to return the Million Dollar Belt to Ted Dibiase. He would feud with former Twin Tower partner Akeem and squash him in under two minutes at Wrestlemania VI. Bossman feuded with the Heenan Family for the early part of 1991, then with The Mountie in the summer, defeating him at Summerslam where the loser would have to spend a night in jail. Bossman's last major feud in his first WWF run came against Nailz in 1992, where Bossman was victorious in a Nightstick on a Pole match. Bossman left the WWF just before Wrestlemania IX (though, in an interesting bit of trivia, is in the music video promoting the event).

Traylor had a brief stint in All Japan Pro Wrestling before returning to WCW in 1993. Debuting as The Boss, he defeated Rick Rude in a non-title match, but failed to take the International Championship from Rude at Starrcade. WCW was forced to change Traylor's ring name, with the WWF legal department deeming it too close to the WWF character. Traylor spent most of 1994 as The Guardian Angel feuding with Big Van Vader, then turned heel and became Big Bubba Rogers in 1995. He feuded with Sting as a part of the Dungeon of Doom, then joined the nWo. A loophole got him kicked out of the group, and he turned face again in 1997, wrestling under his real name and was managed briefly by old rival Ted Dibiase.

Traylor returned to the WWF in 1998 under the Big Bossman gimmick, but slightly tweaked; this time as a personal security officer/mercenary. He would be a key piece of the Corporation stable and feuded with Stone Cold Steve Austin, D-Generation X, and The Undertaker (most notably, the two collided at Wrestlemania XV, where after he was defeated by Undertaker, he was hung from inside the Hell in a Cell cage). Bossman spent the latter half of 1999 feuding with Al Snow over the Hardcore Championship and the Big Show over the WWF Championship. Bossman was one of just three men to last 20 minutes in the 2000 Royal Rumble match before being eliminated by the eventual winner The Rock.

He would briefly team with Bull Buchanan, even scoring wins on consecutive PPVs, before splitting in early June following a loss to the Hardy Boyz. Bossman spent about a year on the sidelines following knee surgery before returning in late 2001 as an enforcer for Booker T. His last WWF bout came in 2002, losing to Tommy Dreamer.

Traylor became a trainer for WWF farm promotion Ohio Valley Wrestling, but was released in 2003. Traylor had one last stint in Japan, competing for the IWA Japan heavyweight championship, losing to Hacksaw Jim Duggan in the final. Traylor, who owned a storage company, ran for Commision Chairman in Paulding County, Georgia, but lost in July 2004.

On September 22, 2004, Traylor died of a heart attack while his sister was visiting him. He was just 41. At the time of his death, he was survived by his wife Angela and two daughters, Lacy and Megan. Last year, Traylor was posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.

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