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This Day in Wrestling History (June 8): All Hail the King


29 years ago today in Saitama, Japan, the Glamour Girls (Lelani Kai & Judy Martin) defeated the Jumping Bomb Angels (Noriyo Tateno & Itzuni Yamazaki) to win the WWF Women’s Tag Team Championship.

Two things: (1) as this match took place on an All Japan Women’s Wrestling card, the title could change hands on a countout (standard procedure in Japan, as a loss by any means by the champion means a title change). (2) Neither team was actually contracted to the WWF at the time.

Kai and Martin would be the first team to hold the titles more than once—and the last. The Glamour Girls would hold the titles until they are officially retired on February 14, 1989.

29 years ago today, NWA presented Clash of the Champions II: Miami Mayhem (WWE Network link) from the James L. Knight Center in Miami, Florida.

  • Barry Windham defeated Brad Armstrong to retain the NWA United States Heavyweight Championship.
  • The Fantastics (Bobby Fulton & Tommy Rogers) defeated The Sheep Herders (Luke & Butch) to retain the NWA United States Tag Team Championship.
  • Jimmy Garvin & Ronnie Garvin defeated The Varsity Club (Mike Rotunda & Rick Steiner).
  • Nikita Koloff defeated Al Perez by disqualification.
  • Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard versus Dusty Rhodes & Sting for the NWA World Tag Team Championship ended in a double disqualification.

27 years ago today at an All Japan Pro Wrestling TV taping in Tokyo, Japan, Mitsuharu Misawa defeated Jumbo Tsuruta.

The stunning upset victory is often regarded as a launching point for the Four Pillars Era, All Japan’s most successful period. Originally, the bout was booked for Tsuruta to win, but with Misawa merchandise selling like gangbusters (and a crowd at Nippon Budokan chanting for Misawa before the show even began), Shohei “Giant” Baba made the call for Misawa to win. Tsuruta initially objected, asking if the win could be by countout, and Baba relayed back a simple reply: no (Tsuruta probably should have known his idea would have been rejected; All Japan underwent a booking philosophy change earlier in the year, stating all matches would have a clean finish).

The bout firmly planted Misawa as an immediate player in All Japan’s Triple Crown title picture. The bout would be Misawa’s second five-star rated match by Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Mitsuharu would go on to have 22 more, all but one for All Japan (the other was for Pro Wrestling Noah in 2003).

20 years ago today, WWF presented King of the Ring (WWE Network link) from the Providence Civic Center in Providence, Rhode Island. 9,312 were in attendance, with 177,000 homes watching on PPV. That's down from 197,000 homes for the 1996 event.

  • In a preshow Free for All match, The Headbangers (Mosh and Thrasher) defeated Bart Gunn and Jesse James.
  • Hunter Hearst Helmsley defeated Ahmed Johnson in a King of the Ring semifinal match.
  • Mankind defeated Jerry Lawler in a King of the Ring semifinal match.
  • Goldust defeated Crush.
  • The Hart Foundation (Owen Hart, Jim Neidhart, and The British Bulldog) defeated The Legion of Doom and Sycho Sid.
  • Hunter Hearst Helmsley defeated Mankind to win the 1997 King of the Ring tournament.
  • Steve Austin fought Shawn Michaels to a double disqualification.
  • The Undertaker defeated Faarooq to retain the WWF Championship.

18 years ago today at a RAW is WAR taping in Worcester, Massachusetts (WWE Network link), Ivory defeated Debra to win the WWF Womens Championship.

The show, airing six days later, is probably best remembered for Stone Cold Steve Austin playing CEO for a day. All too appropriate when you find out that this was RAW episode #316.

18 years ago today at a WCW Thunder from Syracuse, New York, Perry Saturn and Chris Benoit defeated Diamond Dallas Page and Kanyon to win the WCW World Tag Team Championship.

13 years ago today, John "Bradshaw" Layfield is fired from CNBC following an incident in Munich, Germany.

The reason why as reported in the San Jose Mercury-News:

Making gestures associated with Nazism during a World Wrestling Entertainment match in Germany last weekend has cost a prominent performer his moonlighting job as a financial analyst on CNBC.

The network announced Tuesday that John "Bradshaw" Layfield was fired from his job as a CNBC contributor. Layfield was hired last month after serving as a guest analyst for Fox News Channel, which began featuring him regularly last year following the release of his book "Have More Money Now."

In an apparent attempt to draw a crowd response during his match against WWE champion Eddie Guerrero in Munich, eyewitness reports said Layfield goose-stepped around the ring and raised his arm numerous times in an Adolf Hitler salute. Such actions are illegal in Germany, although no criminal charges were brought against the 14-year wrestling veteran after the show.

While WWE issued an apology (an apology that is oddly taken down from the website just a day after it’s posted) once pictures of the incident went viral...

"WWE and John Layfield deeply regret Mr. Layfield's actions in the ring at our event in Munich, and apologize if it has offended or upset our fans. Mr. Layfield has been reprimanded for his actions."

...CNBC was not so apologetic.

"CNBC has terminated its relationship with John "Bradshaw" Layfield following his conduct this past weekend in a wrestling match. We find his behavior to be offensive, inappropriate and not befitting anyone associated with our network."

Despite the public relations nightmare JBL caused, he still wins the WWE Championship three weeks later.

9 years ago today, TNA presented Slammiversary from the Desoto Civic Center in Southaven, Mississippi, near Memphis.

The event is noted for a construction worker, Kevin Sinex, falling to his death when a scaffold he was on broke and collapsed, sending him 20 feet to the concrete floor. Another man was injured in the incident. The incident occurred after the show.

  • In a preshow dark match, The Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin) defeated The Rock 'n Rave Infection (Jimmy Rave & Lance Hoyt).
  • Petey Williams defeated Kaz to retain the TNA X-Division Championship.
  • Gail Kim, ODB, and Roxxi defeated The Beautiful People (Angelina Love and Velvet Sky) and Moose.
  • The Latin American Xchange (Homicide and Hernandez) defeated Team 3D (Brother Ray and Brother Devon) to retain the TNA World Tag Team Championship.
  • Awesome Kong defeated Serena Deeb in a $25,000 Challenge match.
  • Awesome Kong defeated Josie Robinson in a $25,000 Challenge match.
  • A.J. Styles defeated Kurt Angle.
  • Samoa Joe defeated Booker T, Christian Cage, Rhino, and Robert Roode in a King of the Mountain match to retain the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Kevin Nash was the special enforcer.

7 years ago today, WWE presented the first episode of NXT's second season.

  • Eli Cottonwood & John Morrison defeated Titus O'Neil & Zack Ryder.
  • Montel Vontavious Porter & Percy Watson defeated Cody Rhodes & Husky Harris.

3 years ago today in Tokyo, Japan, Ricochet defeated KUSHIDA to win the 2014 New Japan Pro Wrestling Best of the Super Juniors XXI tournament and an IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship match at Dominion.

At age 25, Ricochet was the youngest winner in the tournament's history, dating back to 1988. He joins Eddie Guerrero (he did it in 1996) as the only Americans to win the annual (since 1991) junior heavyweight tournament.

In 2016, Will Ospreay breaks Ricochet’s mark when he wins the tournament at age 23. Last week, Ospreay was defeated in the final of this year’s tournament by Kushida.

2 years ago today on RAW from New Orleans, Louisiana (WWE Network link), Kevin Owens defeated Neville in an open challenge match to retain the NXT Championship.

To date, this is the last time NXT’s top prize was defended on RAW.

1 year ago today, NXT presented Takeover: The End... of the Beginning from Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida.

The show is noted for NXT’s first ever steel cage match.

  • In a dark match, Ember Moon defeated Peyton Royce.
  • Andrade “Cien” Almas defeated Tye Dillinger. (2.75/5)
  • The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) defeated American Alpha (Jason Jordan & Chad Gable) to win the NXT Tag Team Championship. (4)
  • Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Austin Aries. (3.75)
  • Asuka defeated Nia Jax. (2.75)
  • Samoa Joe defeated Finn Balor in a steel cage match to retain the NXT Championship. (3.5)

It’s a happy 59th birthday to Daniel Dewayne Severn, or Dan "The Beast" Severn if you prefer.

Severn is one of the most decorated grapplers of all time. He was an alternate for the 1980, 1984, and 1988 Summer Olympic teams in wrestling, and won 13 AAU national championships from 1982 to 1994. He is also a member of the Arizona State University Hall of Fame.

Severn's greatest successes have been in mixed martial arts in the early days of the UFC. He is the company's only Triple Crown champion, winning the UFC 5, Superfight, and Ultimate Ultimate championships. He's a member of the UFC Hall of Fame and has 101 overall wins in his MMA career in 127 fights spanning 18 years.

Oh, and he also just happened to be pretty good at professional wrestling too, holding the NWA World Heavyweight Championship twice, his first run lasting four years from February 1995 to March 1999. His second run in 2002 was the last before TNA used the championship for the promotion for a few years. In a bit of irony, the man who won the vacated championship was his biggest MMA rival, Ken Shamrock.

Severn occasionally wrestles to this day, competing most for Game Changer Wrestling at Joey Janela’s Spring Break in March 2017.

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