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This Day in Wrestling History (August 5): Sasuke Eight Belts


26 years ago today at a WCW Worldwide taping in St. Joseph, Missouri, Big Josh, Dustin Rhodes, and Tom Zenk defeated The Fabulous Freebirds (Badstreet, Jimmy Garvin, and Michael Hayes) to win the WCW World Six-Man Tag Team Championship.

21 years ago today in Tokyo, Japan, The Great Sasuke defeated Ultimo Dragon to win the J-Crown Tournament, and with it, a total of eight junior heavyweight championships. The win garnered Sasuke the following titles:

  • IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
  • NWA Junior Heavyweight Championship
  • NWA World Welterweight Championship
  • WAR International Junior Heavyweight Championship
  • UWA World Junior Light Heavyweight Championship
  • WWA World Junior Light Heavyweight Championship
  • British Commonwealth Junior Heavyweight Championship
  • WWF Light Heavyweight Championship

Following the post-match celebrations, Sasuke was rushed to a hospital as he fractured his skull during the bout. He would not wrestle again until October 10 as part of a six-man tag team match (which coincidentally was the last ever for Tom Billington, aka the Dynamite Kid); he would lose the J-Crown the next night to Ultimo Dragon without a single successful defense.

The J-Crown was only around for 15 months; the other four men to have held it were Ultimo Dragon (who was at the time the NWA World Middleweight Champion and added the WCW Cruiserweight Championship, giving him a total of ten championships; this only lasted about a week), Jushin Thunder Liger (he had the longest reign as J-Crown champion at 183 days), El Samurai, and Shinjiro Otani.

Otani was the J-Crown champion on November 5, 1997 when the WWF asked him to return the belt to the company immediately (WWF were set to establish its own light heavyweight division in response to WCW’s cruiserweight division). Not only did the WWF’s belt go home, so did the other belts, as he vacated them and returned them to their respective promotions; he held on to the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship until he was defeated for it by Liger in February 1998.

17 years ago today, Pro Wrestling NOAH presented Departure from Differ Ariake in Tokyo, Japan.

Though the company had presented events prior to Departure, this is considered their inaugural show (the pre-Departure shows were shot for home video releases).

Born from mostly All Japan Pro Wrestling’s parts (including its president and founder Mitsuharu Misawa, nearly all of their formerly contracted performers, their office staff, and their television deal), NOAH was named after the story of Noah’s Ark, which people and two of every animal available survive a catastrophic flood to build a new world.

NOAH also used All Japan’s promotional system, but also opened the door for wrestlers from other promotions to join (something that Giant Baba strictly forbid while he was in power). It also boasted a strong junior heavyweight division, which birthed most notably Naomichi Marifuji and Kenta Kobayashi (who appears in NXT as Hideo Itami).

The promotion was in its prime considered to be the best in the world, winning Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s Best Television Show honors in 2003 and Best Promotion in 2004 and 2005.

The promotion was hit with a massive loss when its founder and most popular star Mitsuharu Misawa died of spinal trauma in June 2009. Soon after, NOAH lost their weekly television deal with Nippon TV, the longtime home of the company they replaced, All Japan Pro Wrestling. Akira Taue was named as Misawa’s successor as president.

They would secure another TV deal, but would lose that one when it was revealed in March 2012 that NOAH management had ties to the Yakuza.

In November 2016, IT development group Estbee bought Pro Wrestling NOAH and named Masayuki Uchida their president. In December, after a two-year working relationship, New Japan Pro Wrestling pulled their wrestlers (including the entire Suzuki-gun stable) from NOAH. They announced new working relationships with Global Force Wrestling and Border City Wrestling earlier this year.

  • Takeshi Morishima defeated Makoto Hashi.
  • Haruka Eigen, Jun Izumida, and Tsuyoshi Kikuchi defeated Mitsuo Momota, Rusher Kimura, and Takeshi Rikio.
  • Kentaro Shiga & Naomichi Marufuji defeated Masao Inoue & Yoshinobu Kanemaru.
  • Daisuke Ikeda, Masahito Kakihara, and Yoshinari Ogawa defeated Satoru Asako, Takao Omori, and Yoshihiro Takayama.
  • Jun Akiyama & Kenta Kobashi defeated Akira Taue & Mitsuharu Misawa 2-0 in a best of three falls match.

11 years ago today at ROH Fight of the Century from Edison, New Jersey, Bryan Danielson and Samoa Joe fought to a one-hour time limit draw for the ROH World Championship.

6 years ago today, WWE cleans house again with 12 talents getting released. Getting their walking papers on the main roster were Chris Masters, David Hart Smith, Melina, and Vladimir Kozlov.

The majority of the released come from their developmental roster, with Bobby Dutch, DeSean Bishop, Jason Mullen, Lucky Cannon, Sonia, Colin Cassady, Leroy Parks, and Cameron Lynn joining the ranks of the unemployed.

So where are they now?

  • Chris Masters, real name Chris Mordetzky, returned to WWE in 2009. He had an initial run on the WWE main roster from 2005 to 2007. His first run ended after he picked up two WWE Wellness Policy violations in three months. Mordetzky went on the independent circuit, most notably for TNA’s Indian subsidary Ring Ka King, Preston City Wrestling, and TNA. In March 2017, Mordetzky rejoined TNA (rebranded Global Force Wrestling) as Chris Adonis.
  • David Hart Smith, real name Harry Francis Smith, the son of Davey Boy Smith (aka the British Bulldog), was best known as one-third of the Hart Dynasty, winning the WWE Unified Tag Team Championship with Tyson Kidd in 2010. Smith returned to the independent circuit and before joining New Japan Pro Wrestling in 2012. In 2015, Smith along with the entire Suzuki-gun stable joined Pro Wrestling NOAH as part of an invasion storyline in 2015. In January, Smith and company returned to New Japan.
  • Melina Perez joined WWE in March 2004, a little over a year after her unsuccessful audition to join the third season of Tough Enough. Perez most notably managed MNM before joining Johnny Nitro when he went on a singles run (the two eventually developed an off-screen relationship). Melina herself would go on a singles run, winning the WWE Women’s Championship three times and the WWE Divas Championship twice. Melina wrestled for about a year on the indies following her release before taking a three-year sabbatical from the business. On the fourth anniversary of her release, Melina returned to the national spotlight assisting the rechristened Johnny Mundo defeat Alberto El Patron at Ultima Lucha. Melina has most recently appeared for Southside Wrestling Entertainment.
  • Vladimir Kozlov, real name Oleg Prudius, was brought into WWE by Jerry Jarrett and signed in early 2006. It would not be until 2008 Prudius, rechristened Vladimir Kozlov, where he would have a sustained presence on the main roster. In 2009, Kozlov was the lone draft pick to ECW. He would be a part of William Regal’s Ruthless Roundtable until the brand’s closure in early 2010. He would soon develop a comedic pairing with Santino Marella, and would actually briefly hold the WWE tag titles together. Following his release, he appeared for the Inoki Genome Federation as Alexander Kozlov. He retired in October 2012. Briefly working as a stuntman an actor, Prudius is now the vice-president of a production company.
  • Following his release, Bobby Dutch, real name Bill Carr, has appeared notably for House of Hardcore, New York Wrestling Connection, and Beyond Wrestling (where he appears as one-half of Team Tremendous with Dan Barry).
  • Following his release, the Irish-born Jason Mullen returned to the European independent circuit, most notably for Celtic Championship Wrestling. He also appeared for Pro Wrestling Ulster and Insane Championship Wrestling, all as Tron.
  • Lucky Cannon, real name Jonathan Emmiger, returned to the independent circuit as Johnny Prime for Florida Underground Wrestling.
  • Sonia, real name Vannarah Riggs, returned to the independent circuit under her old ring name Su Yung. She appeared most notably for SHIMMER Women Athletes, Shine Wrestling, and Queens of Combat, where she is currently that promotion’s champion. Earlier this year, Riggs married fellow wrestler Rich Swann.
  • Leroy Parks would actually briefly return to WWE’s developmental roster, but was released again in February 2012.
  • Cameron Lynn, real name Ariane Andrew, is best known for being the first of fourteen contestants eliminated from the 2011 edition of Tough Enough (and her infamously calling Melina vs. Alicia Fox from Summerslam 2010 her favorite match). She would actually be the longest-tenured of the group. She joined the main roster in January 2012 as one-half of Brodus Clay’s Funkadactyls with Naomi. She was a member of the Total Divas cast for the first four seasons and released two singles. Andrew was released in May 2016.
  • Colin Cassady, real name William Morrissey, was welcomed back into WWE developmental in 2013 and would be paired with longtime friend Eric Arndt, aka Enzo Amore. Despite never winning a title together, the two were one of the more popular acts in WWE, but in June 2017, the team were split up after Colin, going by Big Cass, revealed it was he who attacked his longtime partner. Morrisey is dating fellow wrestler Leah Van Dale, aka Carmella.

On the same day, Gail Kim takes to her Twitter announcing she’s quitting WWE.

Kim’s second WWE run had none of the success of her first, where she won the WWE Women’s Championship in her debut match in 2003. Returning to WWE programming in early 2009 after a three-year stint in TNA, Kim was largely cannon fodder for a changing divas division. She was briefly the on-screen girlfriend of Daniel Bryan in early 2011.

Seeing the writing on the wall after she claimed she was told to be eliminated within the first minute of a #1 contender’s battle royal, Kim had enough. WWE would not let her out of her contract, and basically made her ride the bench for the remainder of her contract, which expired September 30. In an interview with The Sun following her release, Kim vowed never to return to WWE. And she hasn’t, having been in TNA (since rebranded Global Force Wrestling) since October 2010.

5 years ago today, AAA presented Triplemania XX from Arena Ciudad de Mexico in Mexico City.

  • Faby Apache, Fénix, Octagóncito and Pimpinela Escarlata defeated Dark Dragon, Mini Charly Manson, Sexy Star and Yuriko.
  • La Hermandad 187 (Joe Líder and Psicosis) were defeated by Chessman and Juventud Guerrera, La Familia de Tijuana (Extreme Tiger and Halloween), and The Hart Foundation 2.0 (Jack Evans and Teddy Hart) in a Parejas Suicidas steel cage match. As a result of being the last team in the cage, Lider and Psicosis had to compete in a hair versus hair match later in the show.
  • La Parka and Los Psycho Circus (Monster Clown, Murder Clown and Psycho Clown) defeated El Consejo (Semental, El Texano, Jr. and Toscano) and Octagón
  • Psicosis defeated Joe Líder in a hair versus hair match.
  • Team Joaquín Roldán (Electroshock and L.A. Park) defeated Team Dorian Roldán (Jeff Jarrett and Kurt Angle) in a tag team hair versus hair match. As a result of the loss, Dorian's hair was shaved.
  • El Mesías defeated El Hijo del Perro Aguayo to retain the AAA World Heavyweight Championship.
  • Dr. Wagner, Jr. defeated Máscara Año 2000, Jr. in a mask versus mask match.

2 years ago today, 2K announces via press release its full list of features for the upcoming WWE 2K16 video game.

The company said they improved on their 2K15 model based on critical and consumer feedback, touting improved gameplay and dynamic entrances, where players could run in on their opponent’s entrance pre-match. The full list of features:

Largest Roster Ever: Offering more than 120 unique playable characters, including cover Superstar Stone Cold Steve Austin alongside Seth Rollins, Daniel Bryan, Dean Ambrose, Bad News Barrett, Paige and Finn Bálor, WWE 2K16 includes the largest roster in WWE games history

The roster contains an unprecedented combination of current WWE Superstars and Divas, emerging NXT talent, WWE Hall of Famers and WWE alumni from multiple eras

Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator: Fans who pre-order WWE 2K16 at any participating retailer will receive two exclusive playable versions of Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator:

T-800 from The Terminator and T-800 from Terminator 2: Judgment Day

2K Showcase: The franchise's popular story-based mode returns in WWE 2K16, enabling players to relive iconic matches and moments in WWE history. Along the way, they will complete objectives to unlock legendary characters, entrance and ring gear, match types and unlockables.

MyCareer: The franchise's career-driven mode, now in its second year, will see players define their legacies by making critical choices while rising through the ranks from NXT to WWE to earn a spot in the WWE Hall of Fame. In addition, they will train, compete against others, conduct personality-driven interviews, interfere with rivals and/or form the ultimate tag team.

Creation Suite: Building on last year's foundation, WWE 2K16's Creation Suite deepens the player's arsenal with new feature options, including Create a Diva, Create a Championship, Create an Arena, and Create a Show. Key improvements have also been made to existing fan-favorite offerings, including Create a Superstar, Create an Entrance, Superstar Studio and Community Creations.

WWE Universe: WWE 2K16 makes core improvements to stories, rivals and match card selections. In addition, for the first time, Superstars can be assigned to multiple shows, enabling players to have a broader experience.

Online:Completely overhauled based on fan feedback,WWE 2K16 will provide users with multiple ways to play online with the WWE Games community, including an improved matchmaking system

Soundtrack: Players can customize their in-game music through the addition of Superstar entrance music to the WWE 2K16 Jukebox. Additional in-game music will be announced later this year.

Gameplay Improvements: WWE 2K16 will build upon last year's foundation, including key enhancements and innovations based on critical and consumer feedback, to deliver the strongest WWE gameplay experience to date:

Improved Controls: The controls and move library were overhauled to cleanly separate strikes from grapples. This change provides players with more control over the exact type of attacks they want to initiate in every situation.WWE 2K16 also includes new attack positions, such as seated, to increase options for how players attack while experiencing greatly improved attacks outside the ring near barricades. Opponents will now react more accurately to their environment.

New Reversal System: The reversal system has been reworked to improve the overall flow of the match and also create a new level of strategy during the matches. Each Superstar has a limited number of reversals he or she can perform that recharge over time, meaning players might not want to simply try and reverse every attack.In addition, WWE 2K16 introduces Major and Minor reversals for select moves.Minor reversals are easier to perform and only require a single reversal stock. Major reversals are more challenging to perform; however, they yield a much greater reward than damage. Successful Major Reversals weaken the opponent in various ways and provide a new way to swing the momentum of the match in one's favor.

New Pin System: The new pin system starts with an entirely new pin mini-game and offers a variety of new pin variations and reactions.If the opponent kicks out, a Superstar may react to the near pin fall and gesture to the referee in frustration. In addition, WWE 2K16 introduces dirty pins and rope breaks.Dirty pins allow players to use the ropes to their advantage to try and pin their opponents.There is a chance the referee may see this and call off the pin attempt.Rope Breaks are another way to get out of pin attempt but rely on the referee seeing the player grab the ropes.In line with WWE live events and programming, there is no guarantee what the referee is going to see during a match.

Chain Wrestling: New positions and attributes allow players to distinguish Superstars from one other. There can also be ties during a lockup; during the tie, there can be a clean break from the tie-up or a cheap shot from either the player or the opponent.

Working Holds: Working holds are new for WWE 2K16 and provide players with a way to regain stamina while depleting their opponents' stamina. Just like on WWE programming, Working Holds provide a way to collect one's self in the middle or late part of a match and prepare for the next plan of attack.

Improved AI: WWE 2K16 sees big improvements to the AI for Superstars, referees and managers. For example, managers can now engage during matches by either trying to distract the referee or get his attention to help out in the match. In addition, significant changes are included for match-specific AI, including Tag Team matches.

More Match Types: Many match types of been added for WWE 2K16, including Ladder, handicap and tornado tag matches.

Dynamic Entrances: With the improved presentation flow for matches, players are now able to take control of their Superstars during the entrances and have the option to attack their opponents before the match even starts.Why wait for the bell? In WWE 2K16, players can decide when they are ready for action.

Additional Improvements: WWE 2K16 also includes an improved Submission system and a vast number of new moves to create an even more engaging gameplay experience.

Overall Enhancements: WWE 2K16i mproves upon authenticity across the board, including:

New Commentary Team: For the first time, a three-man team is now a part of the franchise, with John "Bradshaw" Layfield, new to WWE 2K16joining returning commentators Michael Cole and Jerry "The King" Lawler. Thousands of new lines were recorded, primarily in side by side studio sessions, ensuring authentic interactions among the trio.

Visual Upgrades: This year's title features several thousand new animations. WWE Superstar and Diva appearance are also been updated, including implementation of a full cloth physics system, enabling attire to appear and respond as realistically as possible. Improved crowd variety, as well as more realistic sweat, better hair and hair physics round out the visual enhancements.

Broadcast Presentation: Gone are loading screens between entrances and the start of matches; instead, the camera pans the arena and over to the commentary team for thoughts on the upcoming match. Significant improvements were also made to overall match presentation and flow, including new crowd members.

In the end, the game, released in late October on Playstations 3 and 4 and Xbox 360 and Xbox One (later on PC in March 2016), received mostly positive reviews and has sold over 2.9 million copies to date, though that is down from 3.19 million for WWE 2K15, released for the same platforms.

It’s a happy 64th birthday to Wallace Stanfield Lane, or simply Stan Lane.

Lane was a part of the Fabulous Ones with Steve Keirn in the early 1980s (and briefly again in the early 1990s) and pioneered the "MTV style" promotional video, where they would use flashy entrances and promo videos interspersed with popular songs of the time.

In the late 1980s, he along with Bobby Eaton formed a rebooted Midnight Express, where they would win the NWA United States Tag Team titles three times and the World Tag Team titles once. He was also part of the original Heavenly Bodies with Tom Pritchard; together they won the Smoky Mountain Wrestling tag titles five times in the promotion’s brief history.

Lane was a part of the WWF broadcasting team for about a year in the mid-1990s, commentating matches for Superstars, Wrestling Challenge, and Coliseum Home Video releases, then again for the short-lived WXO in 2000. After a brief reunion of the Fabulous Ones on the independent circuit, Lane retired from wrestling altogether in 2005.

Lane is a part of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame Class of 2009 with Eaton.

It’s a happy 70th birthday to Rick Derringer.

The name may not mean much to you, but you certainly know his work: he's the man behind Hulk Hogan's WWF theme, "Real American", one of the defining wrestling themes of all time. (Side note: the theme was first used for the US Express, the team of Mike Rotundo and Barry Windham). It’s not the only theme he did, of course: he was the man behind the theme for Demolition, and had a duet with Gene Okerlund, “Rock ‘n Roll Hoochie Koo” on Piledriver: The Wrestling Album 2.

Derringer broke through as a member of The McCoys, who had a number one hit single with “Hang on Sloopy”. As a solo artist, Derringer has appeared on over a dozen albums, most notably All-American Boy in 1973, and was a guest musician on Kiss’ 1983 album Lick It Up.

Today would have been the 102nd birthday of women's wrestling icon Mildred Bliss, aka Mildred Burke.

A member of the Wrestling Observer Newletter and Pro Wrestling Halls of Fame, Burke held the NWA World Women's Championship from 1937 to 1954. Mildred married her trainer Billy Wolfe, but life on the road put an eventual strain on the relationship (Wolfe garnered the reputation as a womanizer), and the couple, who had two children (one of whom died to injuries suffered in a match) divorced in 1952. The fallout led to the couple competing for women wrestlers and Burke virtually frozen out of the NWA altogether.

Burke lost the NWA Women’s Championship to June Byers, Wolfe's daughter-in-law, in 1954. By that time, she had started her own promotion, the World Women’s Wrestling Association, and recognized herself as champion until her retirement in 1956. The belt was revived for All Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling in 1970.

Burke's later days saw her as a trainer for her own wrestling school in Encino, California; her most famous protégé was Rhonda Sing, who went on to fame internationally as Monster Ripper and as Bertha Faye in the WWF.

Burke died from a stroke on February 18, 1989. She was 73. She was posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame’s inaugural legacy class in 2016.

The best of cSs on this day:

2016: John Cena’s house rules are very simple... and kind of treat you like a child (John Cena runs down the rules of his house to his new roomies in a Total Bellas preview; clip’s not on the page, but it’s right here)

2015: Uhaa Nation gets his WWE name, and a debut date at TakeOver: Brooklyn (Uhaa Nation rechristened Apollo Crews, debuts at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn)

2014: Batista thinks WWE is pushing Roman Reigns too fast, wants to come back as a heel (The always opinionated Dave Bautista talks his last WWE run, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Roman Reigns)

2013: Apparently, CM Punk is 'Mr. SummerSlam' (CM Punk wins online vote tournament to be crowned Mr. Summerslam... if there’s such a thing)

2012: Video: Are You Serious? returns with more embarrassing moments in wrestling history (WWE’s Are You Serious? looks back at the infamous Fingerpoke of Doom and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart in a Dating Game spoof)

2011: Gail Kim Claims She Has Quit WWE, Melina Gone Too (Melina fired from WWE, Gail Kim quits on Twitter)

2010: Putting TNA's epic fail in perspective (TNA’s PPVs getting fewer buys with full clearance than UFC when it was basically on satellites)

2009: Ring Psych Interview: The Young Bucks (Bill Hanstock talks with the Young Bucks)

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