30 years ago today, The Rock ‘n Roll Express are awarded the NWA World Tag Team Championship.
Manny Fernandez and Rick Rude were the champions at the time, but both men left Jim Crockett Promotions, with Rude leaving for the WWF and Fernandez leaving for Mid-South Wrestling.
How do they cover this up? In two ways: (1) by airing a previous bout between the two teams (that’s the video above), and (2) claiming that the titles changed hands in Spokane, Washington when the Express defeated Fernandez and Ivan Koloff (substituting for an “injured” Rude).
Simply put: it was a phantom title switch.
30 years ago today, former WWF Champion The Iron Sheik (real name Khosrow Vaziri) and “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan were arrested in New Jersey were arrested on drug possession charges after they were pulled over on the New Jersey Turnpike.
The two men who were feuding at the time were pulled over after police suspected Duggan driving under the influence. After a vehicle and person search, Duggan was charged with possession of marijuana and drinking alcohol while driving. Vaziri was charged with possession of cocaine and marijuana. Duggan ultimately got a conditional discharge, while Sheik received a year's probation.
The two men do make it to the house show they were scheduled for that night and worked the event without telling WWF management about it. Of course, the arrest is soon national news; after all, they were pretty famous wrestlers, and they were feuding. And they were riding together. That sound you might heard is the kayfabe glass wall crashing down.
WWF had no choice but to abandon the angle, as both men were fired for the incident. Both Sheik and Duggan would eventually return to the company; Duggan would return by the end of the year. Sheik returned in early 1988, but wrestled primarily on the house show circuit before being released again later in the year. Sheik would return to the WWF again in 1991. Neither Sheik nor Duggan would reach the heights they were pre-arrest.
21 years ago today, WWF presented In Your House 8: Beware of Dog from the Florence Civic Center in Florence, South Carolina. About 6,000 were in attendance, with 147,000 homes watching on PPV.
The event is noted for a severe thunderstorm knocking out power to the area and to WWF satellite trucks, prohibiting home viewers from seeing most of the card. Power was restored just before the main event, but those in the arena did get to see the full scheduled card with emergency lights being used.
Also noteworthy, WWF Champion Shawn Michaels was “gotten to” as the kids would say. Shawn yelled at a section of fans after one of them heckled a little too hard. As the story went, Michaels became so unraveled he flipped off a sound technician after his music wasn’t properly queued up. The tantrum aired in its entirety on the original broadcast, but was edited out from all subsequent releases of the event.
As for the home audience, a second version of the event was done two nights later. Known affectionately as Beware of Dog 2 (WWE Network link), this event re-aired the opening match and main event along with three new matches from the North Charleston Coliseum in North Charleston, South Carolina. About 4,000 were in attendance for the sequel.
In an interesting note, a WWE PPV has not taken place in South Carolina since that night.
Matches airing Sunday:
- In a Free for All match, The Smoking Gunns (Bart & Billy Gunn) defeated The Godwinns (Henry O. Godwinn & Phineas I. Godwinn) to win the WWF Tag Team Championship.
- In a dark match, Bob Holly defeated Isaac Yankem.
- Marc Mero defeated Hunter Hearst Helmsley.
- Savio Vega defeated Steve Austin in a Caribbean strap match.
- Yokozuna defeated Vader.
- Goldust defeated The Undertaker in a casket match to retain the WWF Intercontinental Championship.
- Jake Roberts defeated Justin Bradshaw in just 30 seconds.
- Shawn Michaels fought The British Bulldog to a double pin for the WWF Championship.
- In a post-show dark match, Ahmed Johnson defeated Jerry Lawler.
- In a post-show dark match, The Ultimate Warrior defeated Owen Hart.
Matches airing Tuesday, May 28 (the opener and main event from the Sunday show was replayed first):
- Savio Vega defeated Steve Austin in a Caribbean strap match. With the loss, Austin's manager Ted DiBiase was fired from the WWF. In reality, it was a write-off. DiBiase had given notice that he, like so many ex-WWFers before him, was heading for WCW.
- Vader defeated Yokozuna.
- Goldust defeated The Undertaker in a casket match to retain the WWF Intercontinental Championship.
20 years ago today on RAW is WAR from Evansville, Indiana (WWE Network link), Shawn Michaels and Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated Owen Hart & The British Bulldog to win the WWF Tag Team Championship.
12 years ago today, TNA announces that all planned Impact tapings were cancelled until further notice.
The company’s one-year deal with Fox Sports Net was set to expire the next day and would not be renewed. The series would run online for several months before landing on Spike TV in the fall of 2005.
9 years ago today, Vince McMahon announces on RAW that he would give away a million dollars a week beginning on the next episode.
The ratings-desperate ploy, known as "McMahon's Million Dollar Mania", actually began on the June 9 episode. That episode would be the lowest-rated RAW in about two months. The experiment is abandoned less than a month later.
4 years ago today, WWE signs Emanuel Alejandro Rodriguez.
Known on the independent circuit as Samuray del Sol, he is renamed Kalisto. Rodriguez made his NXT debut in September 2014 as one half of the Lucha Dragons.
He was promoted to the WWE main roster following Wrestlemania 31 and has had two brief runs as WWE United States Champion.
4 years ago today, Hector Solano Segura, best known to wrestling fans as Hector Garza, dies of lung cancer. He was 43.
Born June 12, 1969, Garza broke into the wrestling business after he was trained by his two uncles. After spending the first couple years for Federacion Internacional de Lucha Libre (FILL), he was brought into Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) in 1995, and quickly rocketed up the card, even winning their world trios championship with Dos Caras and La Fiera. After being a part of a controversial El Hijo de Santo heel turn (a move that turned CMLL's fortunes following a mass talent defection early in the decade), Garza left for AAA.
His stay in AAA was a short one, but just long enough to appear in the 1997 Royal Rumble when the WWF had a working relationship in AAA. Later in the year, he landed in WCW and competed mostly against fellow luchadors. Though he was best known for his corkscrew plancha to the floor, Garza never got a sustained push, though he did defeat Scott Hall once.
In 1999, he returned to AAA as part of a four-man feud with Heavy Metal, Latin Lover, and Perro Aguayo, Jr. The four feuded off and on for the next two years, with Garza winning Heavy Metal's hair in 2001. The next year, the feud's focus shifted to Garza and Latin Lover. In 2003, Garza lost a hair versus hair match to Latin Lover.
Garza joined TNA in 2004 as a part of their working relationship with AAA. Garza was a part of Team Mexico, the winners of the America's X Cup. Later that year, claiming he was owed money by AAA, Garza left for CMLL. As TNA and AAA were still working together, Garza wrestled exclusively in Mexico, turned heel, and joined forces with Perro Aguayo, Jr. against El Hijo de Santo. Later in the year, with the AAA-TNA relationship over, Garza was brought back to TNA. He won a 20-man X Division Gauntlet at Victory Road 2004 and had a world title match against Jeff Jarrett in early 2005. Set to face Scott Hall at Final Resolution, Garza was arrested for possession of steroids that were illegal in the United States, but legal in Mexico. Garza was eventually deported, essentially ending his career in the States.
Garza would spend the next six years with CMLL before joining Perros del Mal Producciones as a part of the stable the company was named for. Garza at the time was the CMLL world heavyweight champion (he won it in August 2011), but CMLL did not allow him to drop the title in a match before exiting the company. Just two days after announcing he left CMLL, he was back in AAA as part of an invasion angle. In February 2012, Garza was the last man standing out of six to win the Mexican National Heavyweight Championship. Six months later, Los Perros Del Mal turned on Garza after Perro Aguayo Jr. lost the AAA Mega Championship following an errant chair shot by Garza.
In October 2012, Garza was diagnosed with lung cancer and retired from active competition. He would succumb to the illness on May 26, 2013 while still holding the Mexican National Heavyweight Championship. The Mexico City Boxing & Wrestling Commission would deem the championship vacant following his passing, which it still remains today.
2 years ago today, Ring of Honor announces that Samoa Joe would make an appearance for the promotion at a TV taping in June. The press release:
THE ADDICTION (CHRISTOPHER DANIELS & FRANKIE KAZARIAN) vs. AJ STYLES & SAMOA JOE
This is the definition of a DREAM MATCH! That distinction gets thrown around perhaps too often, but in this situation there is simply no other way to describe it. The four men battling against each other on June 20th represent so much history and competition, not just in Ring of Honor but in all of professional wrestling. And, of course, The Addiction are the current ROH World Tag Team Champions. We have confirmed that as of now no titles will be on the line for this contest...meaning the stakes are even higher with respect and honor hanging in the balance!
The long, competitive history between AJ Styles and Samoa Joe could fill an entire volume of professional wrestling history. These two giants of the sport have spent over a decade trying to outdo each other and there is no doubt that rivalry remains heated even as they are set to team up on June 20th. Currently, AJ Styles is at the absolute top of his game, the current IWGP Heavyweight Champion who many unequivocally name the absolute best in the world. But Samoa Joe's return to his roots has made him the hottest, most in demand athlete in the sport. These are two men who just keep getting better. Is there any way to stop the team of AJ Styles and Samoa Joe?
As the self-styled "World Tag Team Champions of the World," The Addiction are THE team to beat in Ring of Honor. While this may be a non-title contest, The Addiction are more than happy to point out that their long tenure as partners puts them at an advantage over virtually any other team, and now they've memorialized their superiority in gold. On top of that, these competitors have a long history with each other, particularly Daniels and Styles - no matter the time or the place, The Fallen Angel and The Phenomenal AJ Styles have always been linked. They have been partners and rivals... and on June 20th they compete against each other one more time!
Styles & Joe are not being considered for a championship match due to the questionable stability of the team. But The Addiction, although claiming to be defending ROH Tag Team Champions, have not offered to put the titles on the line. Will The Addiction speak up? Will The Addiction even be the champions once June 20th rolls around?
This DREAM MATCH is just one bout signed for this huge event in New York City. Plus, our television cameras will be rolling as the entire night is filmed for future episodes of ROH TV! Don't miss your chance to feel the AFTERSHOCK on June 20th!
This was part of a unique deal the "Samoan Submission Machine" got when he first joined WWE, allowing him to appear for other promotions.
The match would still take place on June 20, but unless you were there, you'll probably never see it. Samoa Joe was soon signed to an exclusive WWE deal, but he was allowed to work the dates he already committed to.
2 years ago today in Birnimgham, Alabama, Sami Zayn undergoes shoulder surgery.
The shoulder appeared to have bothered him for some time, and it was aggravated during his first RAW appearance earlier in the month. The surgery would keep Zayn sidelined for the remainder of the year.
It's a happy 38th birthday for Ashley Marie Massaro.
Born in New York City, and growing up in Babylon, New York, Massaro has wrestling in her blood; both her father and brother were amateur wrestlers. She graduated from State University of New York with a Bachelor's degree in communication and a minor in business.
Before getting into wrestling, Massaro modeled and participated in pageants, winning Miss Hawaiian Tropic USA in 2002 and Miss Hawaiian Tropic Canada in 2004. Ashley appeared in a few men's magazines in 2003 and 2004, including FHM, Stuff, Maxim, and Playboy, where she tried out to be that magazine's 50th anniversary Playmate.
Ashley tried out for the RAW Diva Search in 2005 after meeting a WWE casting agent during a swimsuit pageant. The oldest contestant in the field (she was 26 at the time of entry) bested seven other finalists that summer, winning a one-year, $250,000 contract with WWE.
Her official debut came a week after she collected the grand prize, when she was attacked by Torrie Wilson and ex-Diva Search contestant Candice Michelle. The duo, along with Victoria, later named Ladies in Pink (later still Vince's Devils) made life difficult for Massaro. She picked up her first win in a tag match in mid-September when Ashley and the returning Trish Stratus defeated the Devils in a handicap match. Massaro would go on a bit of a winning streak against the trio, ending at Taboo Tuesday when she was eliminated by Victoria in a Fulfill Your Fantasy battle royal. At New Year's Revolution in early 2006, Ashley won the first ever bra and panties gauntlet match.
Ashley would soon be the target of newcomer Mickie James, who had become obsessed with Trish Stratus. Mickie and Ashley would split a pair of bouts (Mickie won in a women's title match at the Royal Rumble with Trish as the referee; Ashley would defeat Mickie in a non-title match a week later). The feud was cut short when Massaro suffered a fractured left fibula during a battle royal in February. Following surgery (which got her a five inch metal plate and eight screws in her leg), she occasionally appeared on RAW, albeit in a non-wrestling role, most notably as bait for Trish Stratus by Mickie just before Wrestlemania 22.
Ashley returned to television in June as part of the Smackdown brand; in September, she would become the valet for WWE tag team champions Paul London and Brian Kendrick. Ashley continued to wrestle occasionally, usually in divas and mixed tag team bouts. In February 2007, Massaro unveiled her Playboy cover; that drew the ire of Jillian Hall and then-women's champion Melina. Ashley and Melina would get into a catfight on the first ever MizTV segment in March. The feud ended at Wrestlemania 23 when Melina defeated Ashley in a lumberjill match.
Ashley continued to valet for London and Kendrick until April when she was attacked by Jillian Hall. The attack served as a write-off as she went to repair a loosened screw in her ankle. Her return didn't last long; just one week after returning, Massaro was "suspended indefinitely" by Mr. McMahon after accidentally spilling coffee on him. That too was a write-off; she was heading to China.
Ashley was one of sixteen contestants for fifteenth season of Survivor. Prior to the show, Ashley had never been camping, so she had to train herself to get used to the outdoors. The training didn't pay off, as just two episodes into the series, Ashley was voted out of the Zhan Hu tribe in a unanimous vote.
Ashley returned to television in January 2008, winning a five-woman lingerie pillow fight. She soon engaged in a storyline with Maria Kanellis and Santino Marella, particularly over Maria's desire to pose for Playboy, and Marella being against it. Massaro would replace a recently returning Candice Michelle in a Playboy Bunnymania lumberjack match at Wrestlemania XXIV in a losing effort when she and Maria were defeated by Beth Phoenix and Melina.
Her last bout with the company came in April 2008 when she was part of a winning team in a twelve-diva tag team match. Massaro was released in July; just a week prior to her release, she announced she requested her release to care for her ailing eight-year old daughter Lexi.
Massaro has several tattoos, including a black and pink nautical star on the back of both her elbows (hence the name of her finishing maneuver, Starstruck), a pink and red dragon surrounding kanji which translates to "Trust No One", and a butterfly on her right hip.