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This Day in Wrestling History (June 20): CM Punk Gives His Notice


31 years ago today in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Wayne Ferris defeated Bad News Allen to win the Stampede Wrestling North American Heavyweight Championship.

Farris holds the title until he leaves for the WWF about two and a half months later. He would go on to have somewhat moderate success there as the Honky Tonk Man (moderate as in he’s the longest reigning Intercontinental Champion in company history).

25 years ago today, WCW presented Beach Blast (WWE Network link) from the Mobile Civic Center in Mobile, Alabama. About 5,000 were in attendance, with 70,000 homes watching on PPV. That's down from 105,000 homes for Wrestlewar '92 a month earlier.

It was around this time WCW began enforcing the no moves from the top rope rule, a rule instituted by WCW senior vice-president Bill Watts. It infuriated fans and wrestlers alike, and it was for all intents and purposes the killing blow for the light heavyweight division.

  • In a preshow dark match, The Junkyard Dog, Tom Zenk and Big Josh defeated Tracy Smothers, Richard Morton and Diamond Dallas Page.
  • Scotty Flamingo defeated Brian Pillman to win the WCW Light Heavyweight Championship.
  • Ron Simmons defeated Terry Taylor.
  • Greg Valentine defeated Marcus Bagwell by submission.
  • Sting defeated Cactus Jack in a non-title falls count anywhere match.
  • Ricky Steamboat defeated Rick Rude 4-3 in a 30-minute Iron Man Challenge.

Rude pinned Steamboat. (7:42)

Rude pinned Steamboat. (8:39)

Rude was disqualified for using a jumping kneedrop from the top rope. (9:40)

Rude pinned Steamboat. (10:11)

Steamboat pinned Rude. (17:39)

Steamboat pinned Rude. (20:22)

Steamboat pinned Rude. (29:25)

  • Dustin Rhodes, Barry Windham, and Nikita Koloff defeated The Dangerous Alliance (Arn Anderson, Steve Austin, and Bobby Eaton) by disqualification.
  • Missy Hyatt defeated Madusa in a bikini contest. Missy, who was without a bikini at the time of the contest, used Jesse Ventura's scarves and improvised a new suit.
  • The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott) fought The Miracle Violence Connection (Terry Gordy and Steve Williams) to a 30-minute time-limit draw to retain the WCW World Tag Team Championship.

20 years ago today in Waltham, Massachusetts, The Dudley Boyz (Buh-Buh Ray and D-Von) defeated The Eliminators (Perry Saturn and John Kronus) to win the ECW World Tag Team Championship.

17 years ago today, WWF taped the 100th episode of Sunday Night Heat from The Pyramid in Memphis, Tennessee.

  • In a dark match, The Mean Street Posse (Joey Abs, Pete Gas, and Rodney) defeated The Dupps (Bo and Jack) and Joe E. Legend.
  • In a dark match, Scott Vick defeated Tracy Smothers.
  • Hardcore Holly defeated Gangrel.
  • Mideon defeated Mosh.
  • Essa Rios defeated Stevie Richards.
  • The Acolytes (Faarooq & Bradshaw) defeated D-Lo Brown and Perry Saturn.

Later that evening at a Smackdown taping in Memphis, Tennessee (WWE Network link), Rikishi defeated Chris Benoit to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship.

Also on Smackdown, T&A (Test and Albert) and Trish Stratus defeated Team Xtreme (The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff) and Lita) in an intergender tag team match.

15 years ago today, Vince Russo returns to WWE as their head television writer.

One of the head writers for the WWF during the first half of the Attitude Era, Russo left for WCW in September 1999. He left the company about a year later after suffering a concussion and other injuries in a cage match with Bill Goldberg.

Russo’s contract was bought out by Time Warner shortly after the WCW sale in 2001. Time Warner were also paying for Russo’s legal fees as part of a lawsuit brought on by Hulk Hogan for his worked shoot promo at Bash at the Beach in July 2000; because of this, Russo was forbidden to work anywhere in the wrestling business. Vince got Time Warner to waive the restriction (essentially freeing him from his contract with them) to return to the WWE.

It lasted all of three weeks.

Just two days after he was brought on as head of creative, he was demoted to consultant, allegedly over suggesting rebooting the WCW invasion angle. In a 2015 interview with Ring Rust Radio, Russo suggested that Triple H was to blame for his quick demise:

“I was very disappointed when I almost went back to WWE back in 2002 and found out more or less Triple H was not in my corner after all I did for him. Fast forward twelve years later and you see the position he is in and Stephanie is in and now it makes all the sense in the world. If you eventually want the power, then you want to keep a guy away like a Vince Russo away who from a creative stand point is going to produce better content and better TV than you can. A Vince Russo is a better writer and went to school for writing to be a writer and knows the art of writing. When that happened in 2002 and I learned he was working behind the scenes to keep me out of the WWE, I would be lying to you if I told you my opinion of him did not change.”

Another theory suggests that Russo engineered his own exit from WWE just so he could work with TNA, where he would land shortly after his release. He would have multiple stints with the company; the first ending following Victory Road in November 2004, the second from September 2006 to February 2012, and a third from October 2013 to July 2014 (the third one as a secret consultant; Spike TV was not too happy with this, and the outing of Russo as a consultant played a role in TNA being cancelled from the network).

13 years ago today, AAA presented TripleMania XII from El Toreo in Naucalpan, Mexico.

  • Oscar Sevilla, Pimpinela Escarlata, Cinthia Moreno and Mascarita Sagrada defeated Gran Apache, Polvo de Estrellas, Faby Apache and Mini Abismo Negro.
  • Octagón, Heavy Metal and El Intocable defeated Pirata Morgan, MS-1 and Espectro, disqualification.
  • Mr. Águila pinned El Zorro to win the UWA World Light Heavyweight Championship.
  • Latin Lover, Héctor Garza and Gronda defeated Abyss, Chessman and Abismo Negro.
  • Charly Manson pinned Electroshock in a retirement match. After Electroshock lost the match his wife, Lady Apache, convinced Charly Manson not to make Electroshock retire; in return she would shave off her hair. Afterwards Electroshock also shaved his own hair in sympathy with his wife's sacrifice.
  • La Parka defeated Cibernético in a mask versus mask match.

12 years ago today on RAW from Phoenix, Arizona (WWE Network link), Carlito defeated Shelton Benjamin to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship.

The episode is best remembered for another WWE wedding gone wrong; this time around, it's Edge and Lita with creeper Kane being super creepy. And tombstone piledriving a priest.

10 years ago today, both Ron Killings and Konnan quit TNA.

Konnan, real name Charles Ashenoff, intentionally missed an appearance at an Impact taping, then flew himself home from Orlando. He had been vocal about being unhappy with management for quite some time, with tensions escalating when TNA refused to help pay for Ashenoff's kidney transplant after initially giving him their word. Homicide and Hernandez, the other members of the Latin American Exchange, were not aware of Konnan quitting until after arriving at the taping.

Ashenoff had successful kidney transplant surgery in July. He would sue TNA citing racial discrimination in March 2008 (he alleged that TNA helped pay for Scott Steiner’s surgery, but not his, nor Ron Killings’. The lawsuit was settled in May 2009.)

Killings requested his release from TNA following Slammiversary to go to AAA, but TNA denied his release. Killings would remain with TNA for most of the remainder of the year (most notably teaming with embattled football star Adam “Pacman” Jones before working out a deal for his release in December.

7 years ago today, WWE presented Fatal 4-Way (WWE Network link) from the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. About 10,000 were in attendance, with 143,000 homes watching on PPV. That's down from 178,000 for the June 2009 event The Bash.

The show's hook, as the name implies, is a card consisting mostly of fatal four-way matches. The event drew criticism from its early conclusion, finishing about a half-hour before its runtime expired.

  • In a dark match, Zack Ryder defeated Montel Vontavious Porter.
  • Kofi Kingston defeated Drew McIntyre to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
  • Alicia Fox defeated Eve, Gail Kim, and Maryse in a fatal four way match to win the WWE Divas Championship.
  • Evan Bourne defeated Chris Jericho.
  • Rey Mysterio defeated Jack Swagger, Big Show, and CM Punk in a fatal four-way match to win the World Heavyweight Championship.
  • The Miz defeated R-Truth to retain the WWE United States Championship.
  • The Hart Dynasty (Tyson Kidd, David Hart Smith and Natalya) defeated The Uso Brothers (Jimmy and Jey Uso) and Tamina.
  • Sheamus defeated John Cena, Edge, and Randy Orton in a fatal four-way match to win the WWE Championship.

6 years ago today on RAW from Baltimore, Maryland (WWE Network link), Kelly Kelly defeated Brie Bella to win the WWE Divas Championship.

On the same show, CM Punk, who had just won a #1 contender's match moments before, announces that his contract with WWE ends at the Money in the Bank PPV next month and he intends to leave as WWE Champion.

5 years ago today, TNA sues Scott Steiner for breach of contract after Steiner allegedly made disparaging remarks on his Twitter.

The breach comes from a contract Steiner signed in December 2010 that forbade Scott from making public statements about TNA without prior approval. TNA formally demanded Scott stop with the remarks on Twitter in May, but he responded back a few days later. Steiner eventually countersued the company, but rescinded the suit.

TNA's portion of the suit was dismissed with prejudice in February 2016, meaning TNA can not reopen or refile a lawsuit against Steiner on this matter.

5 years ago today, WWE announces via press release that Matt Striker's contract would not be renewed and he was released from the company.

Striker, real name Matthew Kaye, got his big break when national media picked up his story in 2005 when while working as a teacher in New York City, he used some of his personal days to wrestle in Japan. Vince McMahon himself made the call to sign him to "help one of their own".

Kaye was a jack-of-all-trades in his eight years there, working as a wrestler, commentator, announcer, DVD host, backstage interviewer, house show host, NXT host, and working the Gorilla position at TV tapings.

Since his release, Kaye has occasional wrestles, but has mostly been a commentator, most notably for Lucha Underground, New Japan Pro Wrestling, and TripleMania XXIII.

4 years ago today at an Impact taping in Peoria, Illinois, Suicide defeated Chris Sabin and Kenny King in a three-way match to win the TNA X Division Championship.

Later in the taping, but airing the next week, Suicide revealed himself to be Austin Aries, who then announced his intention to trade in his X Division Championship for a TNA World Heavyweight Championship match at Destination X.

3 year ago today at an Impact taping in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Gail Kim defeated Angelina Love to win the TNA Knockouts Championship.

It's a happy 31st birthday for Jessica Cricks, but wrestling fans know her as Jessica Havok.

A former TNA Knockouts Champion, Havok is perhaps best known for her five-year run with Women Superstars Uncensored, where she was a triple crown champion (holding the WSU Championship, WSU Spirit Championship, and WSU Tag Team Championship). Havok has been a mainstay on the independent circuit, competing also for Combat Zone Wrestling, Shine Wrestling, SHIMMER, and Full Impact Pro.

Cricks had a brief stint in TNA in late 2014 and early 2015 as Havok, holding their Knockouts Championship for just three days in September 2014. Following a feud with Awesome Kong that culminated in February 2015, Jessica was inactive before she confirmed her release in July.

Cricks made headlines in June 2015 when some homophobic and racist tweets from her Twitter account from years past surfaced around the time of her WWE tryout. Though Cricks apologized for her behavior, she ultimately was not picked up by the company.

Most recently, Cricks has appeared for Ring of Honor and Japanese joshi promotion World Wonder Ring Stardom.

It's a happy 39th birthday for Quinton Ramone Jackson, though he's often known as Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.

Surviving a rough childhood in Memphis, Tennessee (he dealt drugs and his father left the family when Jackson was 10), he turned to wrestling as a 17-year old freshman in high school. He garnered All-State honors in his senior year in high school at 189 pounds.

Jackson turned to mixed martial arts after he was kicked out of a community college for fighting with a teammate. After winning ten of his first eleven fights, he was picked up by Japanese MMA promotion Pride Fighting Championships. He lost his debut at Pride 15 to Kazushi Sakuraba, but his effort got him over with fans. In November 2003, Jackson made it to the finals of the Middleweight Grand Prix by defeating Chuck Liddell, but lost to Wanderlei Silva on the same night in the final. He bounced back with a pair of wins, including at Pride Critical Countdown in June 2004 when he powerbombed his way out of Ricardo Arona's triangle choke, knocking him out. The win earned him another shot at Silva and his middleweight title, but Silva knocked Jackson out again.

In December 2006, Jackson joined the Ultimate Fighting Championship when its parent company Zuffa bought the World Fighting Alliance (Jackson's contract was part of the sale). At UFC 71 in May 2007, he defeated Chuck Liddell via referee stoppage in under two minutes to win the UFC light heavyweight championship. He unified that title with Dan Henderson's Pride Middleweight Championship later in the year. Jackson was defeated for the title via unanimous decision to Forest Griffin at UFC 86 in July 2008. He bounced back at UFC 92 when he defeated his longtime rival Wanderlei Silva in the first round.

Jackson called it quits in September 2009, but returned three months later as he wanted to fight Rashad Evans and finish out his contract. The fight didn't come to fruition until UFC 114 in May 2010. Jackson was defeated by Evans; two months prior to the match, Jackson signed a new contract with UFC. Though he would win his first two fights under the deal (decision wins over Lyoto Machida and Matt Hamill), he would finish his UFC run with three straight defeats, losing to Jon Jones via submission at UFC 135 for the light heavyweight title (the first time Jackson was finished in UFC), then losing via decision to Ryan Bader and Glover Texiera.

In June 2013 (and here's that wrestling connection you're looking for, kids), Jackson signed a deal with Bellator MMA and TNA Wrestling. As part of a cross promotion to promote an upcoming Bellator fight, Jackson joined the Main Event Mafia. His scheduled opponent for a forthcoming Bellator fight, Tito Ortiz would join the Aces and Eights.

After making his in-ring debut in August 2013, Bellator pulled both Ortiz and Jackson from TNA programming in preparation for the Bellator fight... a fight that ultimately never took place. Just a week before the fight, Ortiz suffered a neck injury and had to pull out of the fight. Jackson would go on to win all three of his Bellator fights, most notably a win over Muhammaed "King Mo" Lawal at Bellator 120 in May 2014. In July, Jackson in an interview indicated he's probably done with pro wrestling, most certainly with TNA, saying he was done with them after he saw "how they ran things".

Jackson returned to UFC in December 2014; however Scott Coker, Bellator president, alleged that he had breached his contract with his former promotion. After being initially removed from the UFC 186 card via court injunction, Jackson faced Fabio Maldonado in a catchweight bout, with Jackson winning via unanimous decision.

Quinton returned to Bellator in February 2016 after settling his contract dispute with the promotion. In his most recent fight in March 2017, he lost via unanimous decision to another ex-TNA star, Muhammed Lawal.

Jackson made was a guest host for the June 7, 2010 RAW (the one most remembered for the beginning of the Nexus angle) to promote his role as B.A. Baracus in the movie adaptation of the 1980s hit show, The A-Team.

The former UFC light heavyweight champion won Wrestling Observer Newsletter Fight of the Year honors in 2004 and 2008, and was voted the publication's most outstanding fighter of 2007. His current record stands at 37-12, with 16 wins coming by knockout and seven by submission.

It's a happy 60th birthday for James Ware, best known to wrestling fans as Koko B. Ware.

Though he competed for Mid-South Wrestling, the Continental Wrestling Association, and World Class Championship Wrestling as Koko Ware, Sweet Brown Sugar, and Stagger Lee, he's best known for his WWF run in the late 1980s and early 1990s as the fun-loving "Birdman" Koko B. Ware. He would enter flapping his arms like a bird while carrying his macaw Frankie. His bright outfits, colorful sunglasses, and his personality made him a fan favorite, especially with younger audiences.

Koko famously sang the title track for the 1987 WWF theme album, "Piledriver", which would eventually be his theme song. The music video features some of WWF's biggest stars of the time, including Hulk Hogan, the Honky Tonk Man, and commentator Vince McMahon.

Koko was mostly a jobber to the stars, but he has a few notable moments on his resume: he was the first man to be defeated by the Perfectplex by Mr. Perfect in late 1988, he was the first man to take the tombstone piledriver by the Undertaker at the 1990 Survivor Series, and was in the very first Monday Night RAW match, losing to Yokozuna in January 1993.

Koko briefly teamed with Owen Hart as High Energy in 1992 and 1993; the duo wore brightly colored pants and checkered suspenders. The duo was largely a jobber-to-the-stars team, losing to the likes of the Nasty Boys, Headshrinkers, and Money Inc.

The early 1990s saw Koko involved in a talent exchange with the United States Wrestling Association; in terms of championships, he had his biggest success in Memphis, winning the USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship twice and their tag team titles once.

After retiring from full-time competition in 1995, Koko made sporadic appearances for WWE, appearing as the Blue Blazer in 1999, competing for Memphis Wrestling in 2003, and appeared at RAW Homecoming in October 2005. In 2008, Koko appeared as a groomsman for the wedding of "Black Machismo" Jay Lethal and SoCal Val with other wrestling legends at TNA Slammiversary.

In April 2009, Koko was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by The Honky Tonk Man.

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