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This Day in Wrestling History (July 5): Vince McMahon Faces the Feds


102 years ago today in Omaha, Nebraska, Joe Stetcher defeated Charlie Cutler to win the World Heavyweight Championship.

31 years ago today, Wrestlemania 2 aired in its entirety on cable network Showtime. It's believed to be the last time a Wrestlemania aired in full on a pay cable network.

25 years ago today in Atlanta, Georgia, The Miracle Violence Connection (Terry Gordy & Steve Williams) defeated The Steiner Brothers to win the WCW World Tag Team Championship.

At the same event, Brad Armstrong defeated Scotty Flamingo to win the WCW Light Heavyweight Championship.

Armstrong would be the last man to hold the title; a knee injury sidelined Armstrong following a match with the Great Muta in Sapparo, Japan a few weeks later, and Armstrong was stripped of the title in September. Though a tournament was in the works to crown a new champion, the tournament never took place and the title was abandoned just eleven months after it was commissioned.

23 years ago today in Uniondale, New York, jury selection began in the Vince McMahon federal steroid trial.

McMahon was indicted in November 1993 on two counts of steroid distribution and one count of conspiracy to distribute steroids. This came after George Zahorian, then a ringside physician working for the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission, was convicted on 12 counts of distributing and selling steroids in 1991 (Zahorian was the first man convicted on such charges after stricter regulations took effect in 1988) to some 40 wrestlers and bodybuilders.

If McMahon was convicted, he could face up to eleven years in federal prison and $1.5 million fines. A recap of the first day as presented in The New York Times the next day:

In his opening statement, the prosecutor, Sean O'Shea, said that steroids were distributed "like candy" to World Wrestling Federation performers by Dr. George T. Zahorian, a Harrisburg, Pa., doctor. Dr. Zahorian obtained the drugs from the Rugby-Darby Pharmaceutical Company of Westbury, L.I., Mr. O'Shea said, adding that Mr. McMahon and Titan Sports employees then engaged in an elaborate money-laundering scheme to hide the purchases they had made from Dr. Zahorian.

Dr. Zahorian was convicted in 1991 of illegally distributing steroids to professional wrestlers. He is expected to testify for the prosecution on Thursday. Some 'Axes to Grind'

But lawyers for Titan Sports and Mr. McMahon contended that the company had nothing to do with the purchase of steroids by Dr. Zahorian, his distribution of them or the wrestlers' decision to use them.

Laura A. Brevetti, a lawyer for Mr. McMahon, said in her opening remarks to the jury, "You will not hear of shady figures on street corners or that there were children or teen-agers involved."

Jerry S. McDevitt, the lawyer for Titan Sports, said that besides Dr. Zahorian's legitimate purchase of steroids from the Long Island drug wholesaler, the case was not connected with the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York because the steroid sales to the wrestlers occurred in Pennsylvania and that anyway Titan Sports did not act improperly. He also said that former federation wrestlers scheduled to testify for the prosecution "have axes to grind" against Mr. McMahon.

Mr. O'Shea, the prosecutor, said Mr. McMahon "urged and cajoled wrestlers to take steroids" so they would have the muscular look that would appeal to audiences. But Ms. Brevetti said that Mr. McMahon, simply required that "his wrestlers be in shape, steroids or no steroids."

Besides Dr. Zahorian, the Government will call the wrestling superstar Hulk Hogan (whose real name is Terry Gene Bollea) for whom, prosecutors say, Mr. McMahon specifically obtained steroids. Mr. Hogan now wrestles for a rival organization, Ted Turner's World Championship Wrestling Promotions.

Other witnesses to be called by the prosecution will include Doug Sages, chief financial officer of Titan Sports, and Emily Feinberg, Mr. McMahon's former executive assistant, who will detail machinations, the prosecutors say, at Titan Sports. Testifying of Drug Sales

Mr. McMahon, who underwent surgery last month for a herniated disk, sat in court listening to testimony wearing a heavy neck brace. Also looking on was a mix of reporters, girlfriends of testifying wrestlers, and the curious. One wrestler, Afa the Wild Samoan, came by to lend moral support to Mr. McMahon.

After opening statements, the prosecution called two wrestlers who had had brief careers in the World Wrestling Federation: Randy (Moondog Rex) Colley and Thomas Zenk. Both testified that Dr. Zahorian, who had been hired by the Pennsylvania Athletic Commission to examine wrestlers, regularly sold the wrestlers steroids at shows in Hershey, Pa.

"You took off your shirt, he examined you, and you left with a bag of drugs if you paid for them," Mr. Zenk testified. But he said he never bought steroids from Dr. Zahorian.

Under cross-examination, both wrestlers said that Mr. McMahon had not bought steroids for them or instructed them to take the drugs.

The trial would last two and a half weeks; among those that took the stand during the trial were Hulk Hogan (who had recently signed with WCW) and Kevin Wacholz, who had a brief stint with the company as Nailz. Wacholz infamously admitted under oath that he hated Vince McMahon (he still held a grudge from McMahon only giving him $8,000 for his match at Summerslam 1992; Kevin later assaulted McMahon and fired).

Wacholz was painted as a bitter ex-employee and may have played a part in McMahon ultimately being acquitted on all charges later in the month.

18 years ago today, WCW presented Nitro (WWE Network link) from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia. 25,338 were in attendance, but only about 19,500 actually paid.

In the show's main event, WCW World Heavyweight Champion Kevin Nash defeated Sid Vicious via disqualification. On the same show, Scott Steiner is stripped of the WCW United States Championship and is awarded to David Flair. This would be the last wrestling event at the Georgia Dome until Wrestlemania XXVII.

The show also featured a performance by Megadeth and the return of Bill Goldberg, who had been off television since going to a no contest with Sting at Slamboree. The show's finish inspired the Botchamania meme "Send for the man!".

The unannounced return of Goldberg does little to turn the tide in the Monday Night Wars. That week’s RAW, headlined by The Rock defeating Triple H in a steel cage and The Hardy Boyz’s first WWF tag title win, beats Nitro soundly 6.2 to 3.3.

17 years ago today, AAA presented Triplemania VIII from Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan.

This was the first time AAA’s signature event took place outside of Mexico since Triplemania III-A in Chicago in 1996, and the first to take place outside North America.

  • Octagóncito pinned Mini Abismo Negro.
  • Gran Apache defeated Oscar Sevilla.
  • El Oriental and Esther Moreno went to a double count out with Pentagón and Xóchitl Hamada.
  • Perro Aguayo, Jr., El Alebrije, and Pathfinder defeated Los Vatos Locos (El Picudo, Charly Manson and Espíritu), Team Japan (Naomichi Marufuji, Minoru Tanaka and Genki Horiguchi) and Los Vipers (Histeria, Psicosis II and Maniaco) in a four corners trios elimination match.
  • Heavy Metal and Tiger Mask IV defeated Kick Boxer and Yoshinobu Kanemaru.
  • Octagón, Jushin Liger, Latin Lover, and El Alebrije defeated Cibernético, Shiima Nobunaga, Abismo Negro, and Electroshock.

15 years ago today, AAA presented TripleMania X from Centro de Convenciones de Madero in Madero, Mexico.

  • Dos Caras, Jr., Esther Moreno, Pimpinela Escarlata and Mascarita Sagrada defeated Mini Abismo Negro, Shoot Fighting, Sexy Piscis and Tiffany.
  • Máscara Sagrada defeated Pentagón, Máscara Maligna and Octagón in a tag team mask versus mask match. As Mascara Maligna was pinned, he was forced to unmask.
  • Latin Lover, La Parka, El Alebrije, and Gronda defeated Leatherface, Cibernético, Abismo Negro, and the Monsther.
  • Los Diabólicos (Mr. Cóndor, Ángel Mortal and El Gallego) and Gran Apache defeated Los Vipers (Maniaco, Histeria, Psicosis II, and Mosco de la Merced II) in a luchas de apuestas match. As Maniaco lost, he was forced to have his head shaved.
  • Heavy Metal defeated Sangre Chicana, El Oriental, Electroshock, May Flowers and El Brazo in a referee hair vs. hair match. As Sangre Chicana was defeated, his referee El Tirantes' head was shaved.

8 years ago today in Tokyo, Japan, Apollo 55 (Ryusuke Taguchi & Prince Devitt) defeated The Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin) to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.

5 years ago today, Kenny King headlines a group of wrestlers making their TNA debut in an attempt to rebuild the X Division.

King at the time was one half of the Ring of Honor world tag team champions with Rhett Titus. His appearance on Impact gets him in trouble with, and ultimately fired by, ROH.

2 years ago today, New Japan Pro Wrestling presented Dominion 7.5 from Osaka Castle Hall in Osaka, Japan.

  • Manabu Nakanishi, Mascara Dorada, Ryusuke Taguchi, Sho Tanaka, and Yuji Nagata defeated TenKoji (Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima), Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask, and Yohei Komatsu.
  • Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) defeated Roppongi Vice (Beretta & Rocky Romero) and reDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly) to retain the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.
  • Tetsuya Naito & Tomoaki Honma defeated BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi).
  • Katsuyori Shibata defeated Kazushi Sakuraba.
  • KUSHIDA defeated Kenny Omega to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.
  • Togi Makabe defeated Tomohiro Ishii to retain the NEVER Openweight Championship.
  • BULLET CLUB (Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson) defeated The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Michael Bennett) to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship.
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Toru Yano.
  • Hirooki Goto defeated Shinsuke Nakamura to retain the IWGP Intercontinental Championship.
  • Kazuchika Okada defeated AJ Styles to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.

Happy 28th birthday to Austin Jenkins, best known to wrestling fans as Adam Cole.

Cole is a former two-time ROH world heavyweight and world television champion and holds the record for the longest reigning Pro Wrestling Guerilla world championship reign in company history at 538 days.

He's the winner of Combat Zone Wrestling's Best of the Best X tournament in 2011, Maryland Championship Wrestling's Shane Shamrock Memorial Cup in 2012 and the 2014 Survival of the Fittest and was Wrestling Observer Newsletter's Rookie of the Year in 2010.

Currently, Jenkins is a free agent, having recently wrestled his final bouts for Ring of Honor and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. He is also the Super Indy Champion of International Wrestling Cartel.

BONUS! From 1 year ago today, TNA Impact presented “The Final Deletion”, a falls count anywhere match on the Hardy compound.

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