69 years ago today, the National Wrestling Alliance was formed.
Midwest promoter Paul "Pinkie" George joined five other regional performers (Al Haft, Tony Stretcher, Harry Light, Sam Muchnick, and the man that would be the first ever NWA world champion, Orville Brown) in an effort to consolidate the many regional championships into one absolute, undisputed world champion of professional wrestling.
The idea was also to act as an official governing body for professional wrestling through talent and brand name franchising and a territorial system.
Though its influence isn't nearly what it once was, the National Wrestling Alliance is still the largest operating league of independent wrestling companies in the world.
38 years ago today at a Championship Wrestling taping in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Pat Patterson defeated Ted DiBiase to win the WWF North American Championship.
On September 1, Patterson’s North American Championship would become the WWF Intercontinental Championship. To explain the upgrade, WWF said that Patterson defeated Johnny Rodz in a tournament final in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to unify the North American and South American titles. Pat would hold the title until he was defeated by Ken Patera in April 1980.
As for the North American title belt, he would lose it in Japan to Seiji Sakaguchi in November 1979. The title was abandoned a little over a year later.
30 years ago today in Tokyo, Japan, Antonio Inoki defeated Dick Murdoch to win the International Wrestling Grand Prix.
Dating back to the World League in 1974, it's the eighth time Inoki won New Japan's annual league tournament.
25 years ago today, Super World of Sports presented its final show from Nagasaki International Gymnasium in Nagasaki, Japan. 3,860 were in attendance.
It was a quick and precipitous fall for SWS. Founded in April 1990 by ex-All Japan Pro Wrestling star Genichiro Tenryu, SWS was formed with the backing of eyeglass maker Megane Super. With Genichiro a spokesmodel for the brand, that was Megane Super’s way into the wrestling business.
Over the next few months, SWS threw big money offers at All Japan and New Japan talent, including The Great Kabuki, Hiromichi Fuyuki, George Takano and Naoki Sano. In addition, they brought in yokozuna Koji Kitao and Stampede Wrestling’s Dino Ventura.
In October, SWS signed a working agreement with the WWF; this agreement allowed the two companies to co-promote supershows in March and December 1991 (the March event is most infamous for Kitao shooting on WWF star and ex-sumo Earthquake). That agreement allowed Tenryu and Kitao to appear at Wrestlemania VII (you may remember them as the duo that beat Demolition).
They would also line up agreements with Japanese indies Universal Lucha Libre and Fujiwara Gumi.
But SWS’ peak came at the time of the Japanese asset price bubble burst (similar to the housing market collapse in the United States around 2008). Megane Super withdrew its support, and wrestlers left as they promoted fewer and fewer events. Many of its roster members would join other organizations following SWS’ shutdown, and Tenryu would find another promotion: Wrestle and Romance, later Wrestling Association R (WAR).
- Nobukazu Hirai defeated Tetsuya Yamanaka.
- Don Arakawa defeated Hikaru Kawabata.
- Apollo Sugawara & Goro Tsurumi defeated Fumihiro Niikura & Hiroshi Hatanaka.
- Hacksaw Jim Duggan defeats Jim Powers.
- Naoki Sano defeats Kenichi Oya.
- George Takano and Kendo Nagasaki fought to a no contest.
- Samson Fuyuki & Takashi Ishikawa defeat Arkangel de la Muerte & Kamala.
- Ashura Hara, Genichiro Tenryu, and Ultimo Dragon defeat Jerry Estrada, King Haku, and The Great Kabuki.
24 years ago today, NWA Eastern Championship Wrestling presented Super Summer Sizzler from the ECW Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The show was noted for being the last major ECW event booked by Eddie Gilbert (he would be replaced by Paul Heyman by the fall). The show was also the first event to be released on ECW Home Video. To drive sales, the show had a bit of unintentional (intentional?) nudity when valet Angel lost her top following a catfight between Peaches and Tigra.
- Herve Rinesto and Don E. Allen fought to a no contest in just 90 seconds.
- Jimmy Snuka defeated J.T. Smith to retain the ECW Television Championship.
- Tony Stetson defeated Larry Winters by referee stoppage.
- Miss Peaches defeated Terrible Tigra in a “catfight humiliation” match.
- Jimmy Snuka defeated Tommy Cairo to retain the ECW Television Championship.
- Rockin' Rebel defeated The Sandman in a Philadelphia street fight.
- Dick Murdoch defeated Dark Patriot II.
- Sal Bellomo, Stevie Wonderful, and Super Destroyer #1 defeated The Suicide Blondes (Johnny Hotbody and Sir Richard Michaels) and Hunter Q. Robbins III.
- Eddie Gilbert defeated Terry Funk in a Texas Chain Match Massacre for the title of “King of Philadelphia”.
23 years ago today, WWF presented King of the Ring (WWE Network link) from the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Maryland. About 12,000 were in attendance, with 185,000 homes watching on PPV.
Of note, on guest commentary was Pro Football Hall of Famer Art Donovan, who spent most of his career and life in Baltimore. The show is often criticized for Donovan's commentary, especially when he often asked of the wrestlers, "How much does this guy weigh?" In fact, Donovan had annoyed fellow commentator Gorilla Monsoon so much, he was actively ignored by the future WWE Hall of Famer towards the end of the show.
Also in attendance was then-Governor of Maryland William Donald Schaffer. Notably not in attendance was Vince McMahon, who was recovering from neck surgery.
One more note: despite this being the first PPV of the “New Generation” era, this show holds a more dubious first: the first WWF PPV to feature two forty-year olds in the main event (in a singles match; Piper was 40, Lawler was 44).
- In a dark match, Thurman "Sparky" Plugg defeated Kwang.
King of the Ring Quarterfinals:
- Razor Ramon defeated Bam Bam Bigelow.
- Irwin R. Schyster defeated Mabel.
- Owen Hart defeated Tatanka.
- 1-2-3 Kid defeated Jeff Jarrett.
King of the Ring Semfiinals:
- Razor Ramon defeated Irwin R. Schyster.
- Owen Hart defeated 1-2-3 Kid.
King of the Ring Final:
- Owen Hart defeated Razor Ramon to win the King of the Ring tournament. The win made Owen and Bret the first (and to this day, only) set of brothers to win the tournament.
Non-tournament matches in order of occurrence on the PPV:
- Diesel defeated Bret Hart by disqualification in a WWF Championship match.
- The Headshrinkers defeated Crush & Yokozuna to retain the WWF Tag Team Championship.
- Roddy Piper defeated Jerry Lawler.
17 years ago today on RAW is WAR from Nashville, Tennessee (WWE Network link), Gerald Brisco defeated Crash Holly to win the WWF Hardcore Championship... only to lose it to Pat Patterson moments later.
17 years ago today on Nitro from Billings, Montana, Big Vito defeated Johnny the Bull to gain sole possession of the WCW Hardcore Championship.
The two held the championship together for two weeks after Eric Bischoff defeated Terry Funk for the title, then awarded it to the Mamalukes as a reward for their help.
16 years ago today at a Smackdown taping in Orlando, Florida (WWE Network link), The Dudley Boyz defeated Chris Benoit & Chris Jericho to win the WWF Tag Team Championship.
15 years ago today, NWA presented the first ever Total Nonstop Action show from the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
Conceptualized by Jerry Jarrett, his son Jeff, and Bob Ryder on a fishing trip, the three laid the foundation for their new promotion with an interesting concept: with only the WWF on broadcast television, they would air their shows on PPV.
Thanks to the financial backing of HealthSouth, the promotion that would become TNA was go for launch... except it almost wasn’t. During the company’s first ever match, the 450-pound Cheex hit the ropes with so much force, one of the ring ropes broke. The ropes had to be repaired, but it would take as long as an hour to do so.
To cover for this, many of the show’s non-wrestling segments went on first, including a live performance by Toby Keith, went on first. Keith was interrupted by Jeff Jarrett. This would come back to haunt Jarrett as he was eliminated by Keith in the Gauntlet for the Gold battle royal.
- In a dark match, Cheex defeated Frank Parker.
- In a dark match, Apolo defeated David Young.
- The Flying Elvises (Jorge Estrada, Sonny Siaki, and Jimmy Yang) defeated A.J. Styles, Jerry Lynn, and Low Ki.
- Teo defeated Hollywood.
- The Johnsons (Richard and Rod) defeated Psicosis and James Storm.
- The Dupps (Bo and Stan) defeated Christian York and Joey Matthews.
- Ken Shamrock & Malice were the last two men in a Gauntlet for the Gold battle royal. Other participants were Brian Christopher, Bruce, Buff Bagwell, Chris Harris, Del Rios, Devon Storm, Gran Apolo, Jeff Jarrett, Justice, K-Krush, Konnan, Lash LeRoux, Norman Smiley, Rick Steiner, Scott Hall, Slash, Steve Corino, and The Vampire Warrior.
- Ken Shamrock defeated Malice to win the vacant NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Ricky Steamboat was the special referee. The championship was vacated when champion Dan Severn had a “scheduling conflict” preventing him from appearing on the show. In reality, NWA-TNA had no plans on using Severn for their promotion.
The second ever TNA weekly PPV was also taped on this night. The show, airing a week later, is noted for the introduction of the X Division Championship.
- Scott Hall defeated Jeff Jarrett.
- Cheex defeated Frank Parker.
- Brian Christopher defeated K-Krush.
- Taylor Vaughn last eliminated Elektra to win the Miss TNA lingerie battle royal. Other participants were Alexis Laree, Erin, Francine, Joanie, Miss Sasha, Shannon, and Tyler.
- Gran Apolo defeated David Young.
- America's Most Wanted (Chris Harris & James Storm) defeated The Rainbow Express (Bruce & Lenny).
- AJ Styles defeated Jerry Lynn, Low-Ki, and Psicosis in a fatal four-way double elimination match to win the TNA X Division Championship. Ricky Steamboat was the special referee.
12 years ago today, TNA presented Slammiversary from the Impact Zone at Universal Orlando.
- In a preshow match, Simon Diamond & Trytan defated Sonny Siaki & Apolo
- Shark Boy defeated Delirious, Elix Skipper, Jerrelle Clark, The Amazing Red, and Zach Gowen in a six-pack challenge.
- Shocker defeated Alex Shelley.
- Ron Killings defeated The Outlaw.
- The Naturals (Andy Douglas & Chase Stevens) defeated Team Canada (Eric Young & Petey Williams) to retain the NWA World Tag Team Championship.
- Samoa Joe defeated Sonjay Dutt. This was Samoa Joe's TNA debut.
- Bobby Roode defeated Lance Hoyt.
- America's Most Wanted (Chris Harris & James Storm) defeated 3 Live Kru (BG James & Konnan).
- Christopher Daniels defeated Chris Sabin and Michael Shane in a three-way elimination match to retain the TNA X-Division Championship.
- Raven defeated AJ Styles, Abyss, Monty Brown, and Sean Waltman in a King of the Mountain match to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
11 years ago today at a TNA Impact taping in Orlando, Florida, Senshi defeated Samoa Joe and Sonjay Dutt in a three-way elimination match to win the TNA X Division Championship.
10 years ago today at a TNA Impact taping in Orlando, Florida, Samoa Joe defeated Jay Lethal to win the TNA X Division Championship.
8 years ago today, Candice Michelle and Sim Snuka are both released from WWE.
Candice, the first Diva Search contestant to win a championship in WWE (she was among the semifinalists, but did not make the final ten), cracked her clavicle in a match in October 2007, then shattered it completely in her first match back in March 2008. Her career essentially never recovered.
Her final appearance came at Wrestlemania 25 when she was ringside for the Miss Wrestlemania battle royal. She was drafted to Smackdown in April 2009, but never appeared on the show. Michelle retired from wrestling following her release.
Outside the ring, Michelle was most famous for being the "Go Daddy Girl" for four years.
Sim Snuka, the son of Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, was a former WWE tag team champion as Deuce (one half of Deuce ‘n Domino), but was infamous for being on the business end of a scary bump the Undertaker took during his match with Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 25. Snuka’s failing to catch the Undertaker on the dive may have led to his Snuka’s release.
Just five months after his release, Sim retired from wrestling. He teamed with his dad in his final match.
7 years ago today, New Japan Pro Wrestling presented Dominion 6.19 from Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium in Osaka, Japan.
- Akira, El Samurai and Koji Kanemoto defeated Ryusuke Taguchi, Super Strong Machine and Tama Tonga.
- Chaos (Gedo, Takashi Iizuka and Tomohiro Ishii) defeated Kushida, Manabu Nakanishi and Mitsuhide Hirasawa.
- Muhammad Yone defeated Tomoaki Honma.
- Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Daniel Puder.
- Hirooki Goto defeated Masato Tanaka.
- Bad Intentions (Giant Bernard and Karl Anderson) defeated Seigigun (Wataru Inoue and Yuji Nagata) and No Limit (Tetsuya Naito and Yujiro Takahashi) in a three-team elimination match to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship.
- Prince Devitt defeated Naomichi Marufuji to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.
- Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Toru Yano in a hair versus hair match.
- Togi Makabe defeated Go Shiozaki to retain the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
6 years ago today, WWE presented Capitol Punishment (WWE Network link) from the Verizon Center in Washington, DC. 9,850 were in attendance, with 170,000 homes watching on PPV. That's up from 143,000 homes for the June 2010 event, Fatal 4-Way.
- In a dark match, Santino Marrella and Vladimir Kozlov defeated Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel.
- Dolph Ziggler defeated Kofi Kingston by knockout to win the WWE United States Championship.
- Alex Riley defeated The Miz.
- Alberto Del Rio defeated The Big Show by referee stoppage.
- Ezekiel Jackson defeated Wade Barrett to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
- CM Punk defeated Rey Mysterio.
- Randy Orton defeated Christian to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.
- Evan Bourne defeated Jack Swagger.
- John Cena defeated R-Truth to retain the WWE Championship.
4 years ago today at an NXT taping in Orlando, Florida (WWE Network link), Adrian Neville and Corey Graves defeated Erick Rowan and Luke Harper to win the NXT Tag Team Championship.
3 years ago today at a TNA Impact taping in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Bobby Lashley defeated Eric Young to win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
2 years ago today, Ring of Honor presented Best in the World 2015 from Terminal 5 in New York City.
- Mark Briscoe defeated Donovan Dijak.
- The Decade (Adam Page & BJ Whitmer) defeated Matt Sydal & ACH.
- Dalton Castle defeated Silas Young.
- War Machine (Hanson & Raymond Rowe) defeated C & C Wrestle Factory (Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander).
- Roderick Strong defeated Moose and Michael Elgin in a three-way match to become the #1 contender for the ROH World Television and World Championships.
- Bullet Club (A.J. Styles & The Young Bucks) defeated The Kingdom (Adam Cole & Michael Bennett & Matt Taven).
- The Addiction (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian) defeated reDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly) in no disqualification match to retain the ROH World Tag Team Championship.
- Jay Lethal defeated Jay Briscoe in a title-for-title match to retain the ROH World Television Championship and win the ROH World Championship.
1 year ago today, WWE presented Money in the Bank (WWE Network link) from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
- In a preshow match, Golden Truth (Goldust & R-Truth) defeated Breezango (Tyler Breeze & Fandango).
- In a preshow match, The Lucha Dragons (Kalisto & Sin Cara) defeated The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von Dudley).
- The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) defeated The Club (Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows), Enzo Amore & Big Cass, and The Vaudevillains (Aiden English & Simon Gotch) in a fatal four-way match to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship.
- Baron Corbin defeated Dolph Ziggler.
- Charlotte & Dana Brooke defeated Natalya & Becky Lynch.
- Apollo Crews defeated Sheamus.
- AJ Styles defeated John Cena.
- Dean Ambrose defeated Sami Zayn, Cesaro, Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens, and Alberto Del Rio in a Money in the Bank ladder match for a future WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at any time up to one year.
- Rusev defeated Titus O’Neil by submission to retain the WWE United States Championship.
- Seth Rollins defeated Roman Reigns to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Post-match, Dean Ambrose cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase.
- Dean Ambrose defeated Seth Rollins in just eight seconds to win the WWE Championship. The win ties him with Randy Orton and Diesel for the fastest WWE Championship match in company history. As for Rollins, he held the title for all of two minutes, the second shortest WWE title reign ever (Andre the Giant still holds the record at just 108 seconds).
It’s a happy 62nd birthday to the founder of the original ECW, Tod Gordon.
Gordon founded Eastern Championship Wrestling in 1992, then renamed to Extreme Championship Wrestling in 1994 following their very public breakup from the National Wrestling Alliance.
Gordon sold ECW to Paul Heyman in May 1995, but remained as their on-screen authority figure for a few years until leaving the company in late 1997 amid controversy that he was a go-between for his promotion and WCW.
Post-ECW, Gordon was involved with Pro-Pain Pro Wrestling (3PW) and Pro Wrestling Unplugged. Today, he owns a pawn shop in Philadelphia.
It’s a happy 65th birthday to Felipe Estrada, but lucha libre fans know him better as El Canek (or simply Canek).
Estrada began wrestling in 1972 as El Universitario, but changed his gimmick name to Canek just a year later. In 1978, he gained international fame by defeating the legendary Lou Thesz for the UWA World Heavyweight Championship. He would go on to hold that championship 15 times (three of them coming after the UWA shut its doors in 1995).
At the height of his popularity, he often traveled to Japan to face the best of New Japan Pro Wrestling's talents. The talent exchange proved so popular, the UWA used it for other talents as well for more than a decade. In 2002, Canek won AAA's Rey de Reyes tournament.
The freelancer still wrestles to this day, competing most recently for events in Alianza Universal de Lucha Libre and Leyendas Immortales de la Lucha Libre in June 2017.
A charger member of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame, Canek is currently the International Wrestling League Independent Heavyweight Champion.