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This Day in Wrestling History (June 17): WWE Buries Stone Cold


33 years ago today at a WWF TV taping in Bloomington, Minnesota, AWA legend Maurice “Mad Dog” Vachon makes his WWF debut.

The five-time AWA world champion was 54 at the time he joined the company. That worked against him in the changing landscape of the WWF. He was rarely featured on television, but did appear for WWF house shows in the Midwestern United States and Quebec, where he was most well-known.

Vachon, one of the most feared and hated men in wrestling, was a beloved hero by this time as his career was winding down. Vachon retired in September 1986.

Two other ex-AWA stalwarts were in the featured in the main event, as WWF Champion Hulk Hogan defeated D. David Schultz.

Working as ring announcer for the show: another ex-AWA talent in “Mean” Gene Okerlund.

32 years ago today at a WWF TV taping in Poughkeepsie, New York former NWA World Heavyweight Champion Terry Funk makes his WWF debut.

He defeated Aldo Marino by submission. Prior to the match, Funk attacked ring attendant Mel Phillips when he put Funk's hat on his head because his hands were full of Funk's ring gear.

Also making his debut in the same taping with a win over Aldo Marino is Randy "Macho Man" Savage.

Most recently from the Memphis-based Continental Wrestling Association, Savage came in to the WWF billed as "wrestling's hottest free agent". Managers Bobby Heenan, Mr. Fuji, Freddie Blassie, Jimmy Hart, and Johnny V all were at ringside scouting Savage.

The taping also featured a title change: the US Express (Mike Rotundo & Barry Windham) defeated The Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff to win the WWF Tag Team Championship.

22 years ago today in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, The Sandman defeated Cactus Jack via knockout in a "Barbed Wire Massacre" to retain the ECW World Heavyweight Championship. Highlights of the match aired on the June 27 edition of ECW Hardcore TV (WWE Network link). NOTE: The match does contain graphic content and may not be suitable for all viewers.

Referee Bill Alfonso refused to award the decision to Cactus Jack after Sandman did not answer the 10 count, saying a barbed wire match could not be won on a standing ten count KO. Sandman then grabbed Cactus Jack from behind and choked him with barbed wire, knocking him out and winning the match.

When fans finally realized that Cactus did not win the title, they were PISSED. Alfonso was being chased around the ring by Paul Heyman and 911 (who wanted to chokeslam Alfonso).

The audience surged and shoved the railing against the ring apron in an attempt to trap Alfonso. He barely jumped into the ring and eventually made it backstage. Alfonso had to be smuggled out of the building in the trunk of a car because fans were waiting for Alfonso by his car with baseball bats.

On the same show, The Gangstas (New Jack & Mustafa Saed) made their ECW debuts, attacking ECW tag team champions Public Enemy.

21 years ago today, New Japan Pro Wrestling presented Skydiving J from Budokan Hall in Tokyo, Japan.

The show’s hook was an entire card of junior heavyweight championship matches.

  • Lance Storm and Yuki Yasuraoka defeated El Samurai and Norio Honaga to retain the WAR International Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.
  • Masayoshi Motegi defeated Shiryu to retain the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship.
  • Gran Hamada defeated Tatsuhito Takaiwa to retain the WWA World Light Heavyweight Championship.
  • Shinjiro Otani defeated Kazushi Sakuraba to win the vacated UWA World Light Heavyweight Championship.
  • Super Delfin defeated TAKA Michinoku to retain the CMLL Welterweight Championship.
  • Ultimo Dragon defeats Gran Naniwa to retain the WAR International Junior Heavyweight Championship.
  • Jushin Thunder Liger defeated Dick Togo to win the British Commonwealth Junior Heavyweight Championship.
  • Great Sasuke defeated Black Tiger to retain the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. Post-match, Jushin Thunder Liger challenged all the other champions (including El Samurai, who was at the time the WWF Light Heavyweight Champion) to a tournament with everyone’s belts on the line. All the champions obliged, tossing their belts in the middle of the ring. This would be the basis for the J-Crown tournament.

15 years ago today on RAW from Oakland, California (WWE Network link), Vince McMahon addressed the walkout (and subsequent firing) of Stone Cold Steve Austin publicly for the first time since his walkout a week earlier.

In a surprise appearance, so did The Rock.

10 years ago today, TNA presented Slammiversary V from the Nashville Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.

The show featured the first television interview of Jeff Jarrett following the passing of his wife Jill of breast cancer the previous month. Jarrett said he did not know when or if he would wrestle again. Jarrett returned to the ring in September 2008.

  • Rhino & Senshi defeated Latin American Xchange (Homicide & Hernandez).
  • Jay Lethal defeated Chris Sabin to win the TNA X-Division Championship.
  • Jerry Lynn & Frank Wycheck defeated James Storm & Ron Killings.
  • Bob Backlund defeated Alex Shelley.
  • The Voodoo Kin Mafia (Kip James & B.G. James) defeated Basham & Damaja.
  • Eric Young defeated Robert Roode.
  • Team 3D (Brother Ray & Brother Devon) defeated Rick Steiner and Road Warrior Animal to retain the TNA World Tag Team Championship. Scott Steiner was scheduled to compete with his brother Rick, but he suffered a life-threatening injury while competing in Puerto Rico a few weeks before the show.
  • Sting defeated Christopher Daniels.
  • Abyss defeated Tomko in a no disqualification match.
  • Kurt Angle defeated Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Chris Harris, and Christian Cage in a King of the Mountain match to win the vacant TNA World Heavyweight Championship.

6 years ago today in an interview with The Los Angeles Times, Shane McMahon openly addressed for the first time his decision to leave WWE, a decision he called "brutal".

In the interview, Shane said that while he was considered one of the successors, he saw that his father Vince "wasn't going anywhere". He goes on to say that "it was the hardest decision I've ever had to make... I didn't want to wake up when I was 70 and say, ‘I should have done that'". Shane also said that tension between he and his father exists to this day over his exit.

Whether or not the tension remains today is a question that can only be answered by the McMahons; Shane returned to the company in February 2016.

6 years ago today, TNA releases former Ring of Honor world champion Steven Haworth, aka Nigel McGuiness.

He spent a largely disappointing 18 months there as Desmond Wolfe. He had been largely off television in his final few months, though near the end of his run, he was the commissioner of TNA Xplosion. He revealed in a podcast late last year that he had tested positive for Hepatitis B. He returned to ROH two months later at the first ROH on Sinclair tapings.

6 years ago today, a jury in Georgia awards the Benoit family, represented by Nancy's mother Maureen Toffoloni, $125,000 in compensatory damages and $19.6 million in punitive damages after Hustler magazine published nude photographs of the late Nancy Benoit in March 2008, nine months after her murder at the hands of Chris Benoit in June 2007.

Right after the verdict was announced, the judge presiding over the case, US District Court Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr., ruled the magazine was only liable for $250,000 in punitive damages, citing the state of Georgia's law in regards to a cap on punitive damages. This meant LFP Publishing Group (the company behind Hustler) was only liable for a total of $375,000 in damages. The lawyers representing Benoit's family filed an appeal, citing the defendant acted with intent to harm.

In May 2012, the 11th Circuit US Court of Appeals in Atlanta throws out the judgment in its entirety, citing lack of evidence.

The TL;DR: the nearly $20 million awarded to the Benoit family was reduced to $375,000 on a technicality, then reduced to $0 on appeal.

5 years ago today, WWE presented No Way Out (WWE Network link) from the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. About 10,000 were in attendance, with 194,000 homes watching on PPV. That's up from 170,000 for the June 2011 event, Capital Punishment.

  • In a preshow match, Brodus Clay defeated David Otunga by countout.
  • Sheamus defeated Dolph Ziggler to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.
  • Santino Marella defeated Ricardo Rodriguez in a tuxedo match.
  • Christian defeated Cody Rhodes to retain the Intercontinental Championship.
  • The Prime Time Players (Darren Young & Titus O'Neil) defeated Epico & Primo, International Airstrike (Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd) and The Usos (Jey Uso & Jimmy Uso) to become the #1 contender for the WWE Tag Team Championship.
  • Layla defeated Beth Phoenix to retain the WWE Divas Championship.
  • Sin Cara defeated Hunico.
  • CM Punk defeated Daniel Bryan and Kane in a triple threat match to retain the WWE Championship.
  • Ryback defeated Dan Delaney & Rob Grymes in a 2-on-1 handicap match in just 98 seconds.
  • John Cena defeated The Big Show in a steel cage match. As Big Show lost, general manager John Laurinaitis was fired. If John Cena lost, he would have been fired.

1 year ago today, SHINE Wrestling presented SHINE 35 from the Orpheum in Ybor City, Florida.

  • Ivelisse defeated Kellie Skater, Mia Yim, Nicole Matthews, and Santana Garrett in a five-way elimination match to win the Money in the Bank briefcase for a future SHINE Championship.

- Mia Yim was counted out.

- Santana Garrett eliminated Kellie Skater.

- Nicole Matthews eliminated Santana Garrett.

- Ivelisse eliminated Nicole Matthews.

  • Luscious Latasha & Maria Maria defeated Rhia O'Reilly & Viper.
  • Kellyanne Fiend defeated Chelsea Green.
  • BTY (Jayme Jameson & Marti Belle) defeated Evie & Shazza McKenzie to retain the SHINE Tag Team Championship.
  • Rachael Ellering defeated Tessa Blanchard.
  • Su Yung defeated Kay Lee Ray.
  • Ivelisse defeated Taylor Made, Madison Eagles, and Allysin Kay via submission to win the SHINE Championship. Madison’s SHIMMER Championship and Allysin’s TNA Knockouts Championships were also at stake. Ivellise cashed in her Money in the Bank prior to the match.

It's a happy (hopefully, it's happy) 49th birthday today to puroresu legend Minoru Suzuki.

Suzuki is a two-time All Japan Pro Wrestling Triple Crown champion, a former IWGP tag team champion, and former GHC Heavyweight Champion in Pro Wrestling NOAH. After spending the last two years with NOAH as part of an invasion angle with his stable Suzuki-gun, Minoru and his stable returned to New Japan Pro Wrestling in January 2017. He is currently the NEVER Openweight Champion, defeating Hirooki Goto in April. It’s Suzuki’s first ever singles title with New Japan.

Suzuki is also an accomplished mixed martial artist and amateur wrestler. He's the founder of Pancrease, one of the world's first MMA organizations, and was their second ever world champion.

He was an alternate for the Japanese Olympic wrestling team and a former national champion in freestyle wrestling. He also was a motion capture actor for the Tekken series of video games.

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