37 years ago today in Greensboro, North Carolina, Ray Stevens & Jimmy Snuka defeated Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood to win the NWA World Tag Team Championship.
25 years ago today, WCW aired Clash of the Champions XIX from the McAllister Fieldhouse in Charleston, South Carolina.
The show was taped six days earlier, the first time and only time a Clash did not air live. The show revolved around the beginning of the NWA World Tag Team Championship tournament. For results and show link, click here.
21 years ago today, ECW presented Hardcore Heaven ‘96 from the ECW Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The show is noted for the ring collapse during the show’s semi-main event between Tommy Dreamer and Brian Lee. Moments after the ring collapse came two of ECW’s most famous moments: first, Lee chokeslammed Dreamer through multiple tables from the “Eagle’s Nest” (the highest portion of the arena, where Joey Styles usually sat while calling matches). The moment would be replayed in ECW’s intros and highlight videos for years to come.
The second came while the ring was being repaired. Kimona Wanalaya performed a striptease for the crowd. This would later be a selling point for the home video of the event.
But wait, there’s more: even with the hour-long delay to fix the ring, one of the ring ropes still manages to snap during the main event.
- Shane Douglas defeated Mikey Whipwreck.
- The FBI (JT Smith & Little Guido) defeated The Dudleys (Big Dick Dudley & Buh Buh Ray Dudley) by disqualification.
- Taz defeated Paul Varelans in a shootfight rules match.
- Raven defeated Terry Gordy to retain the ECW World Heavyweight Championship.
- The Eliminators (John Kronus & Perry Saturn) and The Gangstas (Mustafa & New Jack) fought to a no contest for the ECW World Tag Team Championship.
- The Eliminators (John Kronus & Perry Saturn) and The Bruise Brothers (Don & Ron Harris) fought to a no contest for the ECW World Tag Team Championship.
- Axl Rotten & Hack Myers and The Samoan Gangsta Party (Mack Daddy Kane & Samu) fought to a no contest.
- Chris Jericho defeated Pitbull #2 to win the ECW World Television Championship.
- Tommy Dreamer defeated Brian Lee in a weapons match.
- Sabu defeated Rob Van Dam.
13 years ago today, Combat Zone Wrestling announces via press release that the promotion is pulling their Fake You TV program from its home station, WGTW-TV in Philadelphia, after three years effective immediately. The statement, as delivered to PWInsider.com:
To Our Loyal Fans:
In July of 2001, Combat Zone Wrestling embarked on the campaign to deliver its unique brand of entertainment to you, the fans, on a whole new platform, television. This campaign is rarely taken by independent wrestling promotions, which is evident in the many promotions that have been unsuccessful in acquiring airtime and maintaining it. However recognizing its growing popularity, CZW, a small South Jersey promotion at the time, sought to capitalize and successfully negotiated a weekly programming agreement with WGTW-48. Strategically positioned at 9:00PM on Saturday evenings, CZW entered into a tremendous period of growth, as attendance for live events grew and enrollment at the CZW Wrestling School was at its highest level. While the odds were against us, CZW Fake You TV was a success, much like its predecessor.
Unfortunately, recent changes at WGTW-48 have had a detrimental effect on CZW Fake You TV. The executives at WGTW-48 have taken a more conservative approach when it comes to wrestling programming. In what was believed to be an ingenious idea of five-nights of midnight wrestling, WGTW-48 opened the doors to any and all promotions to air their programming, at least those that could afford it. As a result, CZW Fake You TV was moved from its 9:00PM Saturday time slot to a week night at midnight, to compete with other promotions. In the end, the idea was a failure, and CZW Fake You TV continues to thrive.
To date, CZW has produced one-hundred and fifty-four (154) episodes of programming, which has been enjoyed by fans across the Tri-State Area. During this time, CZW has endured every business decision that WGTW-48 has formulated and executed. Unfortunately, this past week was the final WGTW-48 decision that CZW plans to tolerate. For those of you who are not already aware, WGTW-48 executives refused to air the June 18, 2004 episode (ED: a portion of the episode is in the above video) due to its content. WGTW-48 argued that the rising conservative climate in media and FCC regulations and enforcement have forced WGTW-48 to place restrictions on content and deny the airing of programming that the channel decides is inappropriate and in some way violates or is contrary to FCC regulations.
In response and after thoughtful consideration, CZW is sad to announce they withdrawal of CZW Fake You TV on WGTW-48 indefinitely. CZW has experienced many highs and lows and has remained a loyal business associate of WTGW-48 since July of 2001. CZW can no longer exist in a business relationship that is characterized by inconsistency and haphazard decisions that have had only negative effects on you, the fans, and the CZW product as a whole. CZW is confident that it will continue to move forward and is currently in the process of reviewing new avenues for delivering CZW Fake You TV to our loyal fans with the hope of acquiring new fans as well. CZW asks that you, the fans, continue to remain loyal as you have since the beginning and support us in this decision.
In closing, CZW wishes to thank WGTW-48 for providing us with the opportunity to make CZW Fake You TV a reality and provide CZW with a platform to deliver its product beyond its live events. Unfortunately, CZW must terminate is working relationship with WGTW-48 and will continue to remain steadfast in its the belief that our entertainment is not to be censored and that viewers have a choice.
Thank you for your time and patience with respect to this matter. CZW 4 LIFE!
Combat Zone Wrestling Entertainment
CZW continued to air internationally via the UK's Fight Network until its closure in late 2007. Despite gaining an international following, the promotion has not returned to television stateside since its cancellation, though it has been featured on G4, the Discovery Channel, the VICE website, and in the 2008 movie The Wrestler.
Like most major independent promotions, CZW does offer a streaming service featuring a selection of past events for $9.99 a month. For those not into the streaming, all of their events are available through RF Video.
7 years ago today, Donald Trump "sells back" Monday Night RAW to Vince McMahon just one week after buying it.
In reality, in the week of his "ownership", WWE got into a bit of hot water with the Securities and Exchange Commission when officials there thought that Donald "buying" RAW was legit, causing stock to plummet a bit. But Trump did go out with a bang, as announced in this press release issued prior to the show:
Trump Gives Money Back
STAMFORD, Conn.---In the fact or fiction world of WWE®, it is a fact that Donald Trump held a press conference today in Green Bay at Austin Straubel Airport. As the new "owner" of Monday Night RAW®, Trump announced that all ticketholders to tonight's RAW event at the Resch Center will receive a ticket refund. The total value of all ticket refunds is approximately $235,000. RAW will be presented commercial free live tonight at 9 pm/8pm CT on USA Network.
Tonight's main event will be WWE Champion Randy Orton® versus Triple H® in a Last Man Standing match.
The commercial-free show (WWE Network link) did feature some in-show product placement, but it did not feature a winner in the last man standing match. The two were booked to meet again that weekend in a three stages of hell match at The Bash.
6 years ago today, Martha Hart, the widow of Owen Hart, announces she is suing WWE for the company using his likeness and name for marketing purposes. The statement sent out on her behalf:
Widow of Deceased Professional Wrestler Owen Hart Files Lawsuit Against World Wrestling Entertainment, Vince McMahon & Linda McMahon
WWE continues to use Owen Hart's Name and Image for Marketing more than 11 Years After he Was Killed in a WWE-sponsored Stunt; In Violation of Contract and Contrary to Family's Wishes
HARTFORD, Conn., June 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Martha Hart, the widow of the late Owen Hart, a professional wrestler who was killed in a May 1999 stunt orchestrated by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) today filed suit in the U.S. District Court here against WWE, Vince McMahon (current chairman and CEO) and Linda McMahon (CEO until 2009). The lawsuit alleges the WWE and the McMahons used Owen Hart's name and likeness without right in dozens of commercial videos and other materials, violated a contract restricting the use of Owen Hart's name, likeness and wrestling footage, and disregarded Martha Hart's wishes against further association of her late husband's name with WWE following his death. (Mrs. Hart and WWE settled a wrongful death lawsuit in 2000. Mrs. Hart established the Owen Hart Foundation later that year.)
"In the eleven years since Owen's tragic and avoidable death, I have worked tirelessly to disassociate Owen's name and likeness from anything related to WWE in order to protect our children from any reminder of the circumstances surrounding their father's death, and to avoid any misplaced perception that I endorse WWE," said Martha Hart in a statement.
"Unfortunately, even though WWE, Vince McMahon and Linda McMahon were and are well aware of my wishes and desire to shield my children from WWE and its activities, I was shocked to learn earlier this year that they have been using Owen's name and likeness in videos, websites, television programs and print materials. Given this callous, insensitive and irresponsible behavior, one must question the moral character of Vince and Linda McMahon and the manner in which they conduct their business."
According to the lawsuit filed today before the U.S. District Court in Hartford,
"Since Owen's death, the WWE and McMahons have sought every available opportunity to further exploit Owen's personality for their own commercial benefit. Their use of Owen's name and likeness draws attention to the WWE's ongoing violent and highly questionable theatrical activities that caused Owen's death. Defendants' use of Owen's name and likeness is also in direct disregard of Martha's and her children's objections...The WWE's wrongful use of Owen's name and likeness, over Martha's continuing objection to any association with defendants and in the absence of any legal right of use, creates the wrongful impression that Martha and the Estate now support, approve or condone the video (which they do not)."
The lawsuit seeks to enjoin the WWE from further use of Owen Hart's name and likeness, and seeks unpaid royalties as well as damages for breach of contract, copyright infringement, unjust enrichment, accounting and unfair and deceptive trade practices.
Mrs. Hart is represented by the law firm Nixon Peabody LLP.
The lawsuit was settled in April 2013. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed, though it is believed Martha received the royalties owed, believed to be around $80,000, plus interest.
4 years ago today, Ring of Honor presented Best in the World from the Du Burns Arena in Baltimore, Maryland.
- B.J. Whitmer defeated Mike Bennett.
- The American Wolves (Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards) defeated Adrenaline Rush (ACH and Tadarius Thomas).
- Adam Cole defeated Roderick Strong via countout.
- Michael Elgin defeated Tommaso Ciampa.
- Matt Taven defeated Jimmy Jacobs and Jay Lethal in a three-way dance to retain the ROH World Television Championship.
- reDRagon (Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly) defeated C&C Wrestle Factory (Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander) and S.C.U.M. (Cliff Compton and Rhett Titus) in a three-way dance to retain the ROH World Tag Team Championship.
- Matt Hardy defeated Kevin Steen in a no disqualification match to become #1 contender to the ROH World Championship.
- Jay Briscoe defeated Mark Briscoe to retain the ROH World Championship.
4 years ago today, New Japan Pro Wrestling presented Dominion 6.22 from Bodymaker Coliseum in Osaka, Japan.
- In a preshow dark match, Suzuki-gun (Taichi & TAKA Michinoku) defeat Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask IV.
- Forever Hooligans (Alex Koslov & Rocky Romero) defeat Time Splitters (Alex Shelley & KUSHIDA) to retain the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.
- BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale, Karl Anderson & Tama Tonga) defeat Captain New Japan, Tomoaki Honma & Yuji Nagata.
- TenKoji (Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima) defeat Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer) and CHAOS (Takashi Iizuka & Toru Yano) to retain the IWGP Tag Team Championship.
- Rob Conway defeats Manabu Nakanishi to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
- Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki & Shelton Benjamin) defeat CHAOS (Shinsuke Nakamura & Tomohiro Ishii).
- Tetsuya Naito defeats Yujiro Takahashi.
- Katsuyori Shibata defeats Hirooki Goto.
- Prince Devitt defeats Hiroshi Tanahashi.
- Kazuchika Okada defeats Togi Makabe to retain the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
3 years ago today, Ring of Honor presented Best in the World from the Tennessee State Fairgrounds in Nashville, Tennessee.
This was ROH's first live PPV telecast to cable and satellite providers.
- ACH defeated BJ Whitmer, Caprice Coleman, Tadarius Thomas, Takaaki Watanabe, and Tommaso Ciampa in Six-Man Mayhem to become the #1 contender for the ROH World Television Championship.
- Jay Lethal defeated Matt Taven to retain the ROH World Television Championship.
- Cedric Alexander defeated Roderick Strong in a submission match.
- The Briscoes (Jay Briscoe & Mark Briscoe) defeated Matt Hardy & Michael Bennett in a no disqualification match.
- Kevin Steen defeated Silas Young.
- reDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly) defeated Bad Influence (Christopher Daniels & Kazarian) to retain the ROH World Tag Team Championship.
- Michael Elgin defeated Adam Cole to win the ROH World Championship.
2 years ago today, TJ Wilson, aka Tyson Kidd, undergoes neck and spinal surgery.
The last graduate of the Hart Dungeon and two-time WWE tag team champion suffered the injury following a Muscle Buster from Samoa Joe during a RAW dark match on June 1.
A few weeks later, Wilson revealed on Twitter it could have been a whole lot worse, all things considered:
5% of people survive this injury. 16 staples, 4 screws and a rod later and luckily I survived to tell my story.
Basically, the injury could have fatal. Wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer followed up, saying the injury is similar to the one that left actor Christopher Reeve a quadriplegic. Wilson's future remains in doubt, as he has not returned to the ring since.
2 years ago today, William Fritz Ensor, best known to wrestling fans as "Nature Boy" Buddy Landel, was found dead in his home in Chihowie, Virginia. He was 53.
Born August 14, 1961 in Knoxville, Tennessee, Ensor took interest in professional wrestling when his sister was dating Barry Orton. Landel wrestled in high school, but dropped out his junior year. He trained professionally under Boris Malenko and shared an apartment with Olympic wrestler Bob Roop.
Landel broke in the business in 1979 for Bill Watts' Mid-South Wrestling. Also competing for "outlaw" promotion International Championship Wrestling, Landel's big break came in 1985 for Jim Crockett Promotions. He feuded with another "Nature Boy", Ric Flair for most of the year. His signature moment came at Starrcade that year when he defeated Terry Taylor for the NWA National Heavyweight Championship.
He was set to feud with Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship before he had a falling out with management and left the company. Or as Landel tells it in a 2011 interview, his drug abuse issues got the best of him:
"I fell asleep at a hotel and took a bunch of good cocaine that whole night and did a bunch of valiums. Black Bart [Rick Harris] was with me and told me that we had to go TV. I had just bought a brand new Lincoln and threw him the car keys and told him that I would catch a cab and be there later.
They started [the tapings] at 9 o'clock that morning, and by 11 o'clock I had hung up on Dusty [Rhodes] and [Jim] Crockett and told them to not call me again. I was National champion at the time. When I got there, Dusty told me to give him the belt, and that I didn't work there anymore. I said OK."
Landel returned to Tennessee in 1986, headlining the last sold-out show at the Mid-South Coliseum. He worked the Alabama territories for the remainder of the 1980s before returning to the NWA in 1990. The "Battle of the Nature Boys" finally came to fruition, and the two met in a gauntlet match in November 1990.
But just as it did five years earlier, his substance abuse issues got the better of him, and the storyline was dropped after just three months. He returned to the independent circuit and was set to face another "Nature Boy", Buddy Rogers in early 1992 for the Tri-State Wrestling Alliance Heavyweight Championship, but the promotion folded before the match took place.
Landel landed in Smoky Mountain Wrestling in 1994 and enjoyed a career resurgence, holding the SMW's television and heavyweight championships. In August 1995, Landel took on then-WWF Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels at Super Bowl of Wrestling, the biggest show in the promotion's history.
Though it was a losing effort, the strength of his SMW run got him in the door of the WWF after Jim Cornette's promotion folded later in the year. Landel, taking on a spitting image of Ric Flair (even using Flair's WWF theme music), began with the company on the same day as The Ringmaster (who would go on to somewhat moderate success as Stone Cold Steve Austin). His only notable match was in a losing effort against Bret Hart for the WWF Championship at the taping.
Following the taping, Landel slipped on a sheet of ice, tearing his right quadriceps. He would miss six months of action. Upon healing, he largely returned to the independent circuit, wrestling only a few matches with the WWF in 1999.
On June 21, 2015, Landel was involved in an auto accident. He checked himself out of the hospital and returned home. The next day, he was found unresponsive in his home by his wife Donna. He was 53.
Landel, also an active reserve police officer for 17 years at the time of his death, left behind his wife of 34 years Donna, three children, Celeste, Kolby, and Andrea (from his first marriage), and one grandson.
Today would have been the 54th birthday of John Anthony Tenta, Jr. Wrestling under such names as Kototenzan, Shark, Avalanche, and Golga, Tenta is perhaps best remembered as Earthquake.
Born 11 pounds, 3 ounces in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, Tenta decided very young he wanted to be a pro wrestler growing up. Learning freestyle wrestling while at North Surrey Secondary, Tenta became a Canadian junior champion in 1981, and would finish sixth in the super heavyweight division at the World Junior Wrestling Championships in Vancouver, British Columbia.
He would go to Louisiana State University on an athletic scholarship, and would compete in wrestling. In 1985, LSU dropped wrestling to comply with Title IX, forcing Tenta to choose a new sport. He would play football and played on the junior varsity team as a defensive lineman. He also played rugby union for the school’s rugby club and was employed as a bouncer for a nearby college bar.
Following college, Tenta moved to Japan to pursue a career in sumo. Named Kototenta (Tenta the Harp), John’s late start in sumo (age 22 for Tenta; some start as early as age 15) didn’t prevent him from being a success, thanks to his training in wrestling and his size (6’ 5¾”, 423 pounds). He would win all 24 of his bouts and would later be named Kototenzan, or Heavenly Mountain Harp. He would also be nicknamed the Canadian Comet by the Japanese press.
But the difficult sumo lifestyle, the aches and pains of the sport, and a tattoo of a tiger on his left arm prevented him from advancing further in his career (tattoos are often associated with gangsters in Japan, and public display is largely prohibited). Tenta walked away from sumo after just eight months.
He would quickly join Shohei “Giant” Baba’s All Japan Pro Wrestling, debuting on May 1, 1987. He teamed with Baba to defeat Rusher Kimura and Goro Tsurumi. He would work for the company for about a year and a half; while with All Japan, he would tour for Vancouver-based NWA All Star Wrestling. His size obviously made him very attractive to American promoters, and one would snatch him up.
After a pair of tryout matches with the company, John Tenta joined the WWF in September 1989. Initally introduced as Earthquake Evans under management of Slick, Tenta made his WWF television debut for Superstars of Wrestling as a spectator. He was picked as a volunteer for a strength demonstration. Dino Bravo and Jimmy Hart picked Tenta, then Bravo did situps with Tenta (identified as John from West Virginia) sitting on his back. During Ultimate Warrior’s set, Tenta leapt downwards onto Warrior, then Bravo and Tenta assaulted him with repeated big splashes. Tenta would become the Canadian Earthquake (later simply Earthquake), a monster heel that sat on his opponents with his sitdown splash, then have them stretchered out.
Earthquake’s highest profile feud started in May 1990 when attacked Hulk Hogan from behind during a segment on WWF Superstars of Wrestling. He would crush Hogan’s ribs with his sitdown “Earthquake splash”. The injury sidelined Hogan until Summerslam, where Hogan would defeat Earthquake by countout. The feud ended in the 1991 Royal Rumble, with Hogan last eliminating Earthquake to win.
Following Wrestlemania VII, Earthquake would feud with Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Earthquake squashed Damien, Jake’s snake (in reality, it wasn’t a snake—it was pantyhose stuffed with hamburger and a small motor to simulate a snake’s movement). To get over the gravity of the situation, the actual squashing did not air on Superstars of Wrestling, but aired without interruption on WWF’s cable show, Prime Time Wrestling. In a separate skit on Prime Time Wrestling, Earthquake served “Quakeburgers”, basically hamburgers with meat ground from Damien’s carcass. Once the secret behind the burgers were revealed, Lord Alfred Hayes threw up and Vince knocked the tray of burgers out of Earthquake’s hands. The feud between Roberts and Earthquake lasted through the summer and fall.
Late in the year, Earthquake would team with the Typhoon (Fred Ottman, who wrestled previously Tugboat) as The Natural Disasters. Initially a heel team managed by Jimmy Hart, the duo turned face when Hart betrayed them and joined forces with Ted DiBiase and Irwin R. Schyster, aka Money Inc. Hart led his new team to the tag team titles. Money Inc. would be challenged by Hart’s old team, the Natural Disasters at Wrestlemania VIII. The Disasters would win the match but not the titles. The Disasters would win the titles in July 1992, but would lose them back to Money Inc. in October.
In January 1993, Tenta left the WWF for stints in Japanese promotion WAR (Wrestle and Romance) and Mexican promotion CMLL.
He briefly returned to WWF in 1994 when he served as a bodyguard for Bret Hart to counter Shawn Michaels’ bodyguard Diesel. His television return came at Wrestlemania X when he quickly defeated Adam Bomb. He briefly feuded with Yokozuna on the house show circuit and had a sumo match with him on RAW, with Earthquake winning (of note, Tenta’s real-life sumo background was mentioned on WWF programming for the first time).
Earthquake was set to face Owen Hart in the 1994 King of the Ring tournament, but he was taken out by Yokozuna and Crush at a house show prior to the bout. In reality, Tenta had left the WWF for a second time and returned to WAR in Japan and teamed with Super Vader in UWF International.
With Tenta having financial problems, he turned to World Championship Wrestling for a job. Thanks to Tenta’s friend Hulk Hogan, John was welcomed in.
Initially introduced as Avalanche, a member of Kevin Sullivan’s Three Faces of Fear, he would align with Big Bubba Rogers and feuded with Sting and Randy Savage. The feud extended into early 1995, with Avalanche losing to both Sting and Savage via disqualification (Sting at Starrcade, Savage at Uncensored). The Avalanche name was dropped with the WWF threatening legal action due to similarities to the Earthquake character.
Tenta would reemerge as The Shark as part of the Dungeon of Doom. Believing it would be a long-term gimmick, Tenta redid his tiger tattoo to that of a shark. Though it was believed WCW management told him to do it, it was John’s idea. The Dungeon would be defeated by the Hulkamaniacs (Hulk Hogan, Sting, Lex Luger, and Randy Savage) in the WarGames match at Fall Brawl. Shark also had a high profile bout with Sting for the WCW United States Championship in early October, but was defeated. His last notable bout as Shark came as part of the 60-man three-ring battle royal at World War 3, a bout won by Randy Savage.
After leaving the Dungeon of Doom, he would wrestle under his real name and cut a promo on his past, stating that he’s “not a shark, I'm not a fish. I'm not an Avalanche. I'm a man". He feuded with Big Bubba Rogers, defeating him at The Great American Bash in June 1996. Post-match, he cut Rogers’ goatee. The next month, Tenta would defeat him again in a Carson City Silver Dollar match at Bash at the Beach. The shavings continued when Rogers retaliated by shaving half of Tenta’s head, then Tenta’s beard. In the spring of 1997, Tenta would join Roddy Piper’s family, but he would leave WCW after the angle was dropped.
In May 1998, Tenta returned to the WWF as the masked South Park enthusiast Golga. Golga had a fascination with one of the show’s main characters, Eric Cartman. Tenta by this time had lost so much weight, WWF officials thought it wouldn’t be believable that he returned as Earthquake, thus the new gimmick.
Golga competed usually in tag team bouts as part of the Oddities; his most notable bout came at Summerslam when the Oddities defeated Kaientai in a three-on-four handicap match. Golga’s last notable bout came in the 1999 Royal Rumble match when he was quickly eliminated by the match’s runner-up, Stone Cold Steve Austin. In February 1999, the entire group, including Golga, was released. Tenta re-emerged in the Gimmick Battle Royal as Earthquake at Wrestlemania X-Seven, but he was eliminated by Kamala.
In May 2004, John retired after it was revealed he had bladder cancer. He later revealed he had just a 20% chance to live. In a November 2005 interview with WrestleCrap Radio, Tenta revealed that radiation did not work and not only had no effect on the tumor, the cancer had spread to his lungs. The cancer would claim his life on June 7, 2006, just two weeks shy of his 43rd birthday.
At the time of his passing, he was survived by his wife Josie and three children, Jeff, Johnny, and Joanna.