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This Day in Wrestling History (May 6): WWE Gets The F Out

this day in wrestling history

33 years ago today, World Class Championship Wrestling presented the David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions.

The show, a tribute to the late David Von Erich who died while on tour in Japan about three months earlier, took place at Texas Stadium in the Dallas suburb of Irving, with 32,123 fans in attendance.

  • Johnny Mantell fought Kelly Kiniski to a 15-minute time limit draw.
  • Chris Adams & Sunshine defeated Jimmy Garvin & Precious.
  • Butch Reed defeated Chic Donovan.
  • Kamala and The Great Kabuki fought to a double disqualification.
  • The Junkyard Dog defeated The Missing Link by disqualification.
  • Rock 'n Soul (Buck Zumhofe & King Parsons) defeated The Super Destroyers (Super Destroyer 1 & Super Destroyer 2) to win the WCCW American Tag Team Championship.
  • Fritz von Erich, Kevin von Erich, and Mike von Erich defeated The Fabulous Freebirds (Buddy Roberts, Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy) to win the WCCW World Six Man Tag Team Championship. Kerry would replace Fritz on the team when the elder Von Erich retired.
  • Kerry von Erich defeated Ric Flair to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.

28 years ago today, famed joshi Chigusa Nagoyo retires on her 26th birthday.

It wasn't her call; Japanese regulations at the time stated that all female wrestlers had to retire by their 26th birthday. Nagoyo was one half of the legendary Crush Gals with Lioness Asuka and were the WWWA Tag Team Champions together, as well as the IWA Womens World and All Pacific Champion.

Her retirement bouts came at AJW's Wrestlemaripad in Yokohama. In their final tag title defense together, The Crush Gals defeated Akira Hokuto and Mitsuko Nishikawa. In her final match, Lioness Asuka defeated Nagoyo.

The mandatory retirement age stipulation would eventually be lifted, and Nagoyo returned to the ring in 1995 and would find GAEA Japan. In a bit of irony, both of the Crush Gals retired for good in 2005 just a week apart.

17 years ago today, WWF presented Insurrextion (WWE Network link) from Earl's Court in London, England. About 17,000 fans were in attendance. The UK-exclusive event was released on WWF Home Video July 18.

  • Too Cool (Grand Master Sexay & Scotty 2 Hotty) defeated Dean Malenko & Perry Saturn.
  • Kane defeated Bull Buchanan.
  • The Road Dogg defeated Bradshaw.
  • The Kat defeated Terri Runnels in an arm wrestling match.
  • The Big Show & Rikishi defeated The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von).
  • Kurt Angle defeated Chris Benoit.
  • The British Bulldog defeated Crash Holly to win the WWF Hardcore Championship.
  • The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff) defeated Edge and Christian by disqualification in a WWF Tag Team Championship match.
  • Eddie Guerrero defeated Chris Jericho to retain the WWF European Championship.
  • The Rock defeated Shane McMahon and Triple H in a triple threat match to retain the WWF Championship.

15 years ago today, the organization formerly known as the World Wrestling Federation announces in a press release that they are now doing business as World Wrestling Entertainment. The press release:

World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Drops The "F" To Emphasize the "E" for Entertainment

New Name And Logo Reflects International Growth Plans and Increasing Diversity of Entertainment Properties

STAMFORD, CONN., May 6, 2002 - To further capture a greater share of the global marketplace and to represent the growing diversity of its entertainment properties, World Wrestling Federation Entertainment today announced it is changing its name to World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE). The company's website, one of the most popular in the world, will now be found at

A new logo reflecting the name change will be introduced tonight on WWE's top-rated television show RAW on TNN at 9 p.m. (ET).

"As World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, we have entertained millions of fans around the United States and around the globe," said Linda McMahon, CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment. "Our new name puts the emphasis on the "E" for entertainment, what our company does best. WWE provides us with a global identity that is distinct and unencumbered, which is critical to our U.S. and international growth plans."

Mrs. McMahon said the company began considering dropping the word "Federation" from its name when World Wildlife Fund (a/k/a World Wide Fund for Nature) prevailed in a recent court action in the United Kingdom. The court ruling prevents the World Wrestling Federation from the use of the logo it adopted in 1998 and the letters WWF in specified circumstances. The "Fund" has indicated that although the two organizations are very different, there is the likelihood of confusion in the market place by virtue of the fact that both organizations use the letters WWF. The Fund has indicated that it does not want to have any association with the World Wrestling Federation. "Therefore," said, Mrs.McMahon, "we will utilize this opportunity to position ourselves emphasizing the entertainment aspect of our company, and, at the same time, allay the concerns of the Fund."

Mrs. McMahon said the name change provides a distinct and unencumbered global identity that will further cast World Wrestling Entertainment as an integrated entertainment and media company. "World Wrestling Entertainment and WWE will now be the identity that we use from the television base we have established in 130 countries," she said. "As WWE, we will launch our further expanded U.S. and international touring, our international expansion of branded merchandise and licensed products, and our further integration into the film, publishing and music businesses."

The successful development of the "Tough Enough" television series on MTV, a new book deal with Simon and Schuster, and the hit motion picture, "The Scorpion King," executive produced by WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and WWE, are examples of the types of activities the company plans to undertake as it expand its horizons in the global entertainment industry.

New logo art has been provided to business partners, licensees and vendors. The company expects that, for the most part, the changeover to the new name and logo will be completed within five months.

WWE will continue to trade as WWF on the New York Stock Exchange until a suitable replacement symbol is found. The company will be providing the appropriate documentation and filings with regulators to solicit shareholder approval of the name change.

In conjunction with the name change, WWE announced it has changed the name of its entertainment complex in New York City's Times Square from WWF New York to The World, currently the name of its popular night club.

The change comes after the Court of Appeal of England and Wales held up a previous ruling where the former WWF violated a 1994 agreement between them and the World Wildlife Fund (known today as the World Wild Fund for Nature) regarding the use of the initials.

Because of the change, any and all references to the WWF were edited out of archived footage re-released. This would remain the case for the next decade until WWE and the WWF reached a settlement over use of the initials and the scratch logo in the summer of 2012.

That evening on RAW from Hartford, Connecticut (WWE Network link), William Regal defeated Spike Dudley via submission in just 36 seconds to win the WWE European Championship.

On the same show, Bubba Ray Dudley wins the WWE Hardcore Championship from Steven Richards... only to lose it to Raven, who loses it to Justin Credible, who loses it to Crash Holly, who loses it to Trish Stratus (who joined Molly Holly and Bobcat as the only women to hold the title), who loses it to Steven Richards, who began the evening as the champion.

13 years ago today on show Byte This, Tommy Dreamer announced his retirement from in-ring competition and would transition to an office role with the company.

It wouldn't last long: Dreamer, real name Thomas Laughlin, worked the occasional independent show and returned full-time when ECW was reborn in 2006. He left again in 2010 following the shutdown of ECW.

In 2012, Dreamer opened his own promotion, House of Hardcore, named after the ECW wrestling school. Dreamer also had multiple stints in TNA and had an office position within the company before he was fired in October 2015.

He most recently had a brief stint in WWE in late 2015, and was a regular guest on WWE Network series The Edge and Christian Show That Totally Reeks of Awesomeness. Dreamer still wrestles occasionally to this day.

11 years ago today, WWE hires Dylan Posti.

Posti, who wrestled on the independent circuit as "The World's Sexiest Midget" Shortstack, made his debut a few weeks later as unnamed the leprechaun partner of Finlay. Nicknamed "Little Bastard" at first on commentary, Posti would be officially named Hornswoggle in February 2007.

8 years ago today at NJPW Dissidence in Tokyo, Japan, Manabu Nakanishi defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.

5 years ago today, WWE releases Dustin Runnels. At the time of his release, he was a producer for the company. After a few months on the independent circuit, Runnels returned—again—for the fifth time—at the 2013 Royal Rumble.

Originally a one-shot deal, Runnels has been on the roster full time since his return in the fall of 2013.

2 years ago today in Las Vegas, Nevada, Global Force Wrestling announces the first members of their roster: PJ Black, David Hart Smith, Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows, Chris Mordetsky, Lance Hoyt, Lei'D Tapa, Thea Trinidad, Quinn "Moose" Ojinnaka, and Seiya Sanada.

The Jeff Jarrett-founded promotion also announced Chael Sonnen would serve as the promotion's "expert analyst". Despite taping some matches for television, the promotion remains without a TV deal more than three years after its founding.

1 year ago today, WWE lets go eight of its roster members: Hornswoggle, Alex Riley, Zeb Colter, El Torito, Cameron, Santino Marella, Wade Barrett, and Damien Sandow.

  • Hornswoggle, real name Dylan Postl, signed with WWE in May 2006, and was actually released on the tenth anniversary of his signing. Postl, initially introduced as Finlay’s leprechaun “Little Bastard”, was briefly Vince McMahon’s storyline illegitimate son before being retconned to being Finlay’s son. Hornswoggle would be the last WWE Cruiserweight Champion before the title was discontinued in September 2007. In his late days, Hornswoggle was the “mascot” for D-Generation X, 3MB, and Slater Gator before taking time off to heal from shoulder surgery in March 2015. He would never again appear on WWE programming. Six months before his release, Postl was suspended 30 days for violating the WWE Wellness Policy. Today, Postl, wrestling as Swoggle, appears for TNA and the independent circuit.
  • Alex Riley, real name Kevin Kiley, Jr., signed with WWE in May 2007. After three years in developmental, Riley joined WWE’s main roster as a member of the second season NXT cast. He was mentored by The Miz, and would finish in third place, behind Michael McGillicutty and Kaval. Riley would be The Miz’s manager until mid-2011. Following his feud with The Miz, Riley would have limited in-ring success before becoming a commentator for WWE programming, most notably NXT. Riley briefly returned to the ring in the spring of 2015, but would be sidelined for six months following knee surgery. He returned sporting a beard and longer hair, but his luck hardly changed. In Riley’s final match, he was defeated by Shinsuke Nakamura.
  • Zeb Colter, real name Wayne Keown, had spent the prior three years managing Jack Swagger, Cesaro, and Alberto Del Rio when he returned in October 2015. Colter was a caricature of the Tea Party, who strongly advocated against illegal immigrants. In its early stages, the story caught wind of various political commentators, most notably Glenn Beck. His association with Cesaro ended the night after Wrestlemania XXX, with Swagger in December 2014 after he had his leg broken (in storyline), and with Del Rio in December 2015. The former Dutch Mantel had not appeared on WWE programming in six months prior to his release. Today, Keown heads Creative for Impact Wrestling.
  • El Torito served as the mascot for Los Matadores and occasionally got involved in their bouts. His most famous bouts were in 2014 when he defeated fellow small wrestler Hornswoggle at Extreme Rules in a WeeLC match, then again at Payback in a mask versus hair match. Following the disillusion of Los Matadores, El Torito sporadically appeared through the end of the year. He had not appeared on television in 2016 prior to his release. El Torito has since returned to the independent circuit as Mascarita Dorada.
  • Cameron, real name Ariane Andrew, gained a bit of infamy in 2011 as a contestant on the reboot of Tough Enough, proclaiming Melina versus Alicia Fox as her favorite match. She was the first person eliminated from the show. Despite this, she was picked up immediately by WWE. She made her main roster debut in January 2012 as one of the Funkadactyls, the backup dancers for Brodus Clay. After teaming for about two years, the duo broke up in July 2014. She would have limited success on the main roster and in NXT as a singles competitor. Andrew, who released two singles, had not been on WWE programming for two months prior to her release. She was a member of the original Total Divas cast for the show’s first three seasons, and a recurring member during the fourth season. Andrew retired from wrestling shortly after her release.
  • Santino Marella, real name Anthony Carelli, signed with WWE in 2005. In his first year, he was involved in an incident that led to the firing of Jim Cornette from Ohio Valley Wrestling. Carelli was repackaged as a shoot fighter by Cornette’s replacement Paul Heyman (based on Anthony’s real-life judo background). Carelli debuted for WWE in April 2007 as Italian fan Santino Marella, and would win the WWE Intercontinental Championship in his debut from Umaga. Marella was mostly a comedic character during his time, and holds an infamous place in WWE history: he has the shortest Royal Rumble match appearance, eliminated in 1.9 seconds at the 2009 event. During his time in WWE, he had storyline relationships with Beth Phoenix, Maria, and Emma, and even played Santino’s “sister” Santina. In July 2014, the two-time Intercontinental Champion announced his retirement following a third neck injury. He continued to appear on WWE programming through the end of 2015. Carelli had not appeared on WWE programming in 2016 at the time of his release. Today, Anthony is part-owner of a wrestling/MMA training facility in Mississauga, Ontario, and is a wrestling analyst for Sportsnet 360.
  • Damien Sandow, real name Aaron Haddad, rejoined WWE in July 2010 and made his main roster return as the condescending intellect in 2012 (he had a previous run on the main roster in 2006 as Idol Stevens, one of Michelle McCool’s “teacher’s pets”. He teamed with Cody Rhodes as Team Rhodes Scholars, but the duo broke up following Sandow’s Money in the Bank win in July 2013. Sandow would go on a slump, winning just one of thirteen matches on television before becoming the first man to outright lose his Money in the Bank cash-in match, losing to John Cena in October 2013. It would not be until Sandow became a comedic impersonator that his career recovered. He would eventually become Damien Mizdow, the Miz’s hired stunt double. The double proved much more popular than the original, leading to a feud between the two. Following the feud, he would team with Curtis Axel as the Meta-Powers, with Axel acting as Hulk Hogan and Sandow acting as Randy “Macho Man” Savage. The duo dissolved following WWE firing Hulk Hogan for racist remarks made on tape in July 2015. Sandow’s last win on WWE programming came in November 2015, though he continued to appear somewhat sporadically until his release. Aaron’s release was a trending topic on Twitter worldwide in the hours following his release. Haddad joined TNA in August and would be the promotion’s inaugural Grand Champion. Haddad left the company in April 2017.
  • Wade Barrett, real name Stu Bennett, first appeared on WWE programming in November 2006 as a security guard. Bennett would be in developmental for Ohio Valley Wrestling and Florida Championship Wrestling before joining the main roster in early 2010 as a member of the inaugural cast of NXT as Wade Barrett. Barrett would go on to win the competition, and with it, a WWE contract and world title match. Just a week after his victory, Barrett and the rest of the NXT cast formed the Nexus. Barrett had a long-running feud with John Cena through the remainder of the year. After Barrett was excommunicated from the group, he formed the Corre with ex-Nexus members Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel, as well as Ezekiel Jackson. After the group dissolved, Barrett went on a singles career, winning the WWE Intercontinental Championship five times total, as well as the 2015 King of the Ring tournament. In his final act, Barrett was kicked from the League of Nations as the “weak link” on the night after Wrestlemania 32. It would be his final appearance. Bennett, who had intended to leave the company when his contract expired in June, worked out a mutual early release from WWE. Bennett made his first post-WWE wrestling appearance for WhatCulture Pro Wrestling last month.

Quite a few birthdays today, so profiles will be briefer than usual.

It's a happy 29th birthday for Cheree Crowley, best known to wrestling fans as Evie.

Debuting in December 2007, the New Zealand-born wrestler made her debut for Impact Pro Wrestling in 2007, where she still competes today. Her greatest singles success has come there, as she's won their women's championship three times. She is a former women's champion for Sydney, Australia-based Pro Wrestling Alliance, and is a former Artist of Stardom Champion as 1/3 of Team Hyper Destroyers with Kellie Skater and Hiroyo Matsumoto.

Evie has also competed in the United States, most notably for Shimmer Women Athletes and Shine Wrestling. She's also made one appearance for NXT last year, losing to the debuting Nia Jax. Her first trip to the United States was profiled for the New Zealand version of 20/20 back in 2013.

In June 2016, Evie teamed with Heidi Lovelace as Team Slap Happy to defeat the Kimber Bombs (Cherry Bomb and Kimber Lee) to win the SHIMMER Tag Team Championship. The duo lost the titles to Mount Tessa (Tessa Blanchard and Vanessa Kraven) in November.

In December 2016, Crowley signed a WWE developmental deal. In the most recent PWI Female 50, Evie is ranked as the #21 female wrestler in the world.

It's a happy 33rd birthday today for Kevin Yanick Steen, though these days you may know him as Kevin Owens.

First competing at age 16, the Quebcois-born Steen wrestled under his birth name for many independent organizations, most notably Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (where he was their world champion and tag team champion three times each), All American Wrestling (where he was their heavyweight champion), and Combat Zone Wrestling (where he held their Iron Man championship for 364 days, longer than anyone in the promotion's history).

Steen is most famous for his seven-year run in Ring of Honor, attached for much of that run with fellow Canadian El Generico. The duo, known loosely as Steenerico, won the ROH World Tag Team Championship in September 2008 and held them until April 2009. After failing to regain the titles following Final Battle that December, the duo had a violent falling out, with Steen turning on Generico. The two engaged in a year-long feud, one voted the Best Feud of 2010 by Wrestling Observer Newsletter. The feud ended the following December at Final Battle with El Generico defeating Steen in a mask versus career match. The feud, booked largely by Steen himself, was indeed a write-off for Steen as his contract was set to expire.

Though Steen would return to the company in time for Best in the World in June 2011, it wouldn't be until Final Battle that December where Steen won back his job when he defeated Steve Corino. In May 2012, Steen defeated Davey Richards to win the ROH World Championship. He would soon form S.C.U.M. (Suffering, Chaos, Ugliness, and Mayhem) with Steve Corino and Jimmy Jacobs. He wrapped up his feud with longtime rival El Generico at Final Battle 2012: Doomsday in December when he defeated him in a ladder match. Steen would hold the title until Supercard of Honor VII the following April when he was defeated by Jay Briscoe. SCUM would soon turn on Steen, but it would be Steen that disbanded the stable he founded that summer. He wrestled as a face until leaving the promotion in July 2014.

The next month he signed a deal with WWE and was assigned to their developmental property, NXT. He soon debuted as Kevin Owens, a longtime wrestler who had seen some of his friends and rivals get signed to WWE first, but now he would fight anyone and everyone to provide for his family.

Owens debuted for NXT at Takeover: R Evolution, where despite suffering a broken nose, he defeated CJ Parker. He turned heel in the show's final moments when he attacked Sami Zayn shortly after he had defeated Adrian Neville for the NXT Championship. Two months after his debut, at Takeover: Rival, Owens defeated Zayn via referee stoppage to win the NXT Championship. The rematch at Takeover: Unstoppable went to a no contest after he continued to assault Zayn until Samoa Joe arrived. In their only NXT bout between the two, Joe and Owens went to a no contest. Owens would lose the NXT title at Beast in the East to Finn Balor in July, then lose the return bout in a ladder match at Takeover: Brooklyn.

Owens while NXT Champion made his WWE main roster debut in May 2015 as a challenger for John Cena's United States Championship "open challenge". A match never took place, as Owens attacked Cena and stomped on the United States title belt in a show of disrespect. The two eventually met in a trio of bouts over the next two months, with Kevin winning a non-title bout at Elimination Chamber, then Cena winning the rematches at Money in the Bank and at Battleground for the US title.

In September 2015, Owens would defeat Ryback to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship, making him the first French-Canadian wrestler to hold any WWE championship since Maryse in 2010. He would hold it until TLC in December when he was defeated by Dean Ambrose. Owens eliminated the debuting AJ Styles in the 2016 Royal Rumble match before being eliminated by his former friend and NXT rival Sami Zayn. The next month, Owens won the Intercontinental title for a second time, pinning Dean Ambrose in a five-way bout. He would lose it at Wrestlemania 32 in a ladder match to Zack Ryder. The next month at Extreme Rules, Owens made history by becoming just the second performer in WWE history to appear on every PPV in their first year on the roster (the only other person to do it: The Undertaker).

In August 2016, Owens outlasted Big Cass, Roman Reigns, and Seth Rollins to win the vacated WWE Universal Championship. He would hold the title until he was decimated in 22 seconds for the title at Fastlane in March 2017. He would bounce back with a win at Wrestlemania 33 over Chris Jericho for the WWE United States Championship. He would lose it at Payback to Jericho, only to win it back two nights later.

Kevin is married to his wife Karina, and the couple have two children, son Owen (named after fellow Canadian wrestler Owen Hart), and daughter Elodie Leila. The three-time Wrestling Observer Newsletter winner for Best Brawler (2010-2012) was ranked among the top ten singles wrestlers in the world for three of the last four years (#10 in 2013 and 2015, #6 in 2016).

It's a happy 37th birthday for Scott Colton. Wrestling under such names as Scotty Goldman and Matt Classic, he's best known to wrestling fans as Colt Cabana.

A graduate of Western Michigan University with a degree in business marketing, Colton decided on a wrestling career shortly after graduating in 2002. In his early years, he teamed with—and fought against—fellow Chicagoan CM Punk. Along with trainer Ace Steel, the trio became known as the Second City Saints, but it was Punk and Colton, aka Colt Cabana, that garnered the gold, winning the Ring of Honor tag team titles twice. Punk would leave ROH in 2005, but Cabana remained until 2007. In his early years, Colton competed for promotions in Scotland, Germany, France, England, Ireland, Canada, and Japan. In 2006, Colton briefly wrestled for the MTV series Wrestling Society X as Matt Classic, a throwback to wrestlers of yesteryear.

Having previously worked preliminary and dark matches for the company, Colton would sign with WWE in April 2007 and would be assigned to their developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling, then later Florida Championship Wrestling. He would make his main roster debut as Scotty Goldman in August 2008. He never won a match on WWE television, losing his debut to The Brian Kendrick and The Great Khali notably, and eliminated in two qualifying match battle royals. His final match was a loss to Umaga in February 2009; he was released the day the show aired.

Colton returned to the independent circuit following his release, competing for Pro Wrestling Guerilla just a day after his release, then for Ring of Honor a month later. He chased both of those promotion's world titles during the year, but came away empty each time. His first heavyweight title came for Revolution Championship Wrestling when he won their title from Hank Calhoun in October 2010.

In March 2011, Colton as Colt Cabana won the NWA World Heavyweight Championship from Adam Pearce. He would lose it just over a month later to The Sheik II (no relation to the original Sheik). Cabana would defeat Pearce for the title in April 2012, leading to an international rivalry that spanned six months and seven matches. The Seven Levels of Hate series ended in October in Melbourne, Australia with Cabana winning the match, but not the title, as their deciding match was not sanctioned. Both Cabana and Pearce left the NWA following the bout.

Since 2012, Colton has hosted a weekly Art of Wrestling podcast. The podcast, which gained international fame when CM Punk spoke of his release in November 2014, led to Colton being named as a co-defendant in a lawsuit by WWE physician Christopher Amann. The suit is still in litigation. The series is scheduled to present its 350th episode next week.

Colton returned to Ring of Honor last year, confronting Ring of Honor World Champion Jay Lethal at Supercard of Honor X. In the new year, he joined the Ring of Honor commentary team as its color analyst, replacing Nigel McGuinness.

Colton, who has won championships for over 30 different organizations in his career, was listed as one of the top 50 singles wrestlers in the world by Pro Wrestling Illustrated in 2012.

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