57 years ago today in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Verne Gagne and Leo Nomellini defeated Murder Inc. (Tiny Mills and Stan Kowalski) to win the AWA World Tag Team Championship.
20 years ago today, ECW presented Heatwave '97 from the ECW Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- Mikey Whipwreck & Spike Dudley defeated Jason & PG-13 (JC Ice & Wolfie D) in a 2-on-3 handicap match.
- Axl Rotten defeated Tracy Smothers.
- John Kronus defeated Pablo Marquez.
- Bam Bam Bigelow & Chris Candido defeat Balls Mahoney & Chris Chetti.
- Taz defeated Lance Storm via submission to retain the ECW Television Championship.
- Terry Funk defeated Shane Douglas by disqualification to retain the ECW Heavyweight Championship.
- The Gangstas (Mustafa & New Jack) defeat The Dudley Boyz (Buh Buh Ray Dudley & D-Von Dudley) in a steel cage weapons match to win the ECW Tag Team Championship.
- Jerry Lawler, Rob Van Dam, and Sabu versus Rick Rude, The Sandman, and Tommy Dreamer was ruled a no contest. Rick Rude turned on Sandman and Dreamer, leading to a long brawl. The brawl also served as the final original ECW appearance for Jerry Lawler. Lawler's final appearance came eight years later at the reunion show ECW One Night Stand.
14 years ago today, Ring of Honor presented Death Before Dishonor from the Rex Plex in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
- Low Ki defeated Deranged.
- Matt Stryker defeated Jimmy Rave.
- The Texas Wrestling Academy (Don Juan, Fast Eddie, Hotstuff Hernandez, and Rudy Boy Gonzales) defeated The Carnage Crew (DeVito, Justin Credible, Loc, and Masada) in a tag team weapons match.
- The Purists (John Walters & Tony Mamaluke) defeated The Outcast Killaz (Diablo Santiago & Oman Tortuga).
- Tom Carter defeated Doug Williams.
- BJ Whitmer defeated Colt Cabana, Dan Maff, and Homicide in a Four Corners Survival match for the #1 Contender's Trophy.
- Special K (Angel Dust, Dixie, Hydro, and Mikey Whipwreck) defeated The Backseat Boyz (Johnny Kashmere & Trent Acid) and The SAT (Joel Maximo & Jose Maximo) in an tag team scramble match.
- Jeff Hardy defeated Joey Matthews and Krazy K in a three-way dance.
- CM Punk defeated Raven in a dog collar match.
- AJ Styles & The Amazing Red defeated The Briscoes (Jay Briscoe & Mark Briscoe) to retain the ROH World Tag Team Championship.
- Samoa Joe defeated Paul London to retain the ROH World Championship.
8 years ago today, TNA presented Victory Road from the Impact Zone at Universal Orlando.
The show was a runaway winner for Worst Major Show by Wrestling Observer Newsletter, with 82% of the first place votes.
- Angelina Love defeated Tara to win the TNA Knockouts Championship.
- Matt Morgan defeated Daniels.
- Abyss defeated Dr. Stevie in a no disqualification match.
- Team 3D (Brother Devon & Brother Ray) defeated The British Invasion (Brutus Magnus & Doug Williams) to retain the IWGP Tag Team Championship.
- Jenna Morasca defeated Sharmell. This match won Wrestling Observer Newsletter's Worst Worked Match of 2009. Bryan Alvarez famously savaged this match in an infamous MINUS FIVE STARS review for Wrestling Observer Radio.
- Kevin Nash defeated AJ Styles to win the TNA Legends Championship.
- Booker T & Scott Steiner defeated Beer Money Inc. (James Storm & Robert Roode) to win the TNA World Tag Team Championship.
- Samoa Joe defeated Sting. The match featured the TNA debut of Taz, who left WWE just before Wrestlemania 25.
- Kurt Angle defeated Mick Foley to retain the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
2 years ago today, WWE presented Battleground (WWE Network link) from the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri. About 11,000 were in attendance, with 76,000 homes watching on PPV.
- In a preshow match, King Barrett defeated R-Truth to retain the King of the Ring crown.
- Randy Orton defeated Sheamus.
- The Prime Time Players (Darren Young and Titus O'Neil) defeated The New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston) to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship.
- Bray Wyatt defeated Roman Reigns.
- Charlotte defeated Brie Bella and Sasha Banks by submission in a triple threat match.
- John Cena defeated Kevin Owens by submission to retain the WWE United States Championship.
- Brock Lesnar defeated Seth Rollins by disqualification in a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match. The match, initially ruled a no contest, saw the return of The Undertaker to WWE programming. He was last seen at Wrestlemania defeating Bray Wyatt.
It’s a happy 31st birthday to Yuvraj Singh Dhesi, best known to wrestling fans as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion Jinder Mahal.
The Calgary-born Punjabi Jat Sikh is the nephew of Gama Singh, who was a top villain at Stampede Wrestling in the 1970s and 1980s.
After training under Rick Bognar, he debuted for Premier Martial Arts Wrestling before joining a revived Stampede Wrestling (Natalya Neidhart, Tyson Kidd, and Victor of the Ascension were also part of the Stampede reboot). He also performed in the Prairie Wrestling Alliance and Great North Wrestling through early 2010. Later in the year, he traveled to Tampa and tried out for Florida Championship Wrestling and would eventually be signed to a developmental deal.
In April 2011, Dhesi joined the WWE main roster as Jinder Mahal, the brother-in-law of The Great Khali. Mahal was disapproving of Khali and manager Ranjin Singh’s playful demeanor, establishing him as a villain. Mahal and Khali briefly chased the WWE Tag Team Championship late that summer. After failing to capture the titles, Mahal walked away from the alliance. He would briefly feud with Khali, Ted DiBiase Jr., and Sheamus for the remainder of the year.
At RAW 1000 in July 2012, Mahal led a group of wrestlers who believed they were being overshadowed by WWE, and would get themselves noticed by taking out Kane. Mahal and company were confronted by The Undertaker, and the Brothers of Destruction cleaned house. He would then feud with Ryback. Over a span of about a month, Mahal would lose to Ryback on four separate occasions, taking three intentional losses (two by countout, one by disqualification) before finally falling to him via pinfall in August.
Soon after, Mahal rejoined WWE’s developmental roster, now named NXT. He would make it to the finals of a tournament to crown the first NXT Champion, but would fall to Seth Rollins.
In the fall, Mahal and Drew McIntyre interfered in Heath Slater’s match with Brodus Clay. Slater, Mahal, and McIntyre would form 3MB (3-Man Band). They were quite successful over the next few months, but they would fall at TLC in December to the makeshift unit of The Miz, Alberto Del Rio, and The Brooklyn Brawler. The trio would struggle to get in the win column over the next year and a half before Jinder’s release in June 2014.
After two years on the independent circuit, Dhesi returned to WWE in July 2016 under his old name Jinder Mahal. He defeated Heath Slater to earn a place on the RAW roster in early August. But losing returned to Mahal’s resume, losing to Sami Zayn, Neville, and Darren Young through the remainder of the month before defeating Jack Swagger in September. He would wrestle primarily on Superstars and Main Event for most of the remainder of the year.
In December, a noticeably muscular and leaner Mahal returned to RAW and would soon align himself with Rusev. After losing to The New Day in February, Mahal informed Mick Foley that he wanted to return to singles.
At Wrestlemania 33, Mahal was the last man eliminated from the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal after interference from New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski led to Mojo Rawley winning the bout. He’d hope to get revenge on the April 11 Smackdown, but Rawley won again with interference from Gronkowski. On the same night, he was drafted to Smackdown in the Superstar Shakeup (essentially, the 2017 WWE Draft).
The next week, he won a six-pack challenge with interference from the Singh Brothers (the former Bollywood Boyz) and became the #1 contender for the WWE Championship. At Payback, Mahal interfered in Randy Orton’s House of Horrors match with Bray Wyatt and cost Orton the match. Later in the month at Backlash, Mahal defeated Orton for the WWE Championship. The win made him the 50th man overall and the first of Indian descent to do so.
At Money in the Bank, Mahal defeated Orton to retain the championship. Orton demanded one more opportunity, and it was granted to him, but Mahal was allowed to choose the stipulation; the two are scheduled to meet in a Punjabi Prison match at Battleground later this month.
Dhesi is fluent in three languages, speaking Punjabi, Hindi, and English. He also has a business degree in communications and culture from the University of Calgary.
The best of cSs on this day:
2016: WWE Draft 2016 Grades: Raw Owns SmackDown (RAW reigns supreme in the first WWE Draft in five years)
2015: Undertaker returns at Battleground (The Deadman makes his first appearance since Wrestlemania... in the main event of Battleground)
2014: Undertaker doesn't expect to ever wrestle again, but doesn't completely rule it out (Undertaker considering retirement says Dave Meltzer on Wrestling Observer Radio)
2013: Video: Total Divas clip featuring Nikki Bella asking John Cena about marriage (Nikki Bella asks boyfriend John Cena about possible marriage; clip’s no longer on the site, but you can see it here)
2012: Will John Cena be the first Money in the Bank failure? (PWInsider reports John Cena will be the first to lose his Money in the Bank cash-in; they were only half right)
2011: PETA likens Shawn Michaels to serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer (PETA not a fan of Shawn Michaels’ outdoor show, MacMillan River Adventures)
2010: The New York Times manages to shed some light on WWE's shady, vindictive nature despite avoiding their pink elephant Chris Benoit (The New York Times goes in on WWE’s business practices with Linda McMahon running for Senate)