On this day in history in ….
1914 – Walter Miller defeats Eugene Tremblay to win the World Lightweight Title in Fort William, Ontario, ending Tremblay’s second reign.
1940 – Pantaleon Manlapig defeats Sandor Szabo in Salinas, California for the San Francisco Pacific Coast Heavyweight Title, ending Szabo’s sixth reign.
1949 – Lee Henning wins his fourth San Francisco NWA Pacific Coast Heavyweight Title, ending the 10th reign for Sandor Szabo in San Francisco, California.
1950 – Yvon RobÃ©rt defeats Whipper Billy Watson to win the Toronto NWA British Empire Heavyweight Title in Montreal, Quebec. This began RobÃ©rt’s third reign and ended Watson’s ninth.
1951 – Tarzan Kowalski defeats Bill Longson in Kansas City, Kansas for the NWA Heart of America (later known as Central States) Heavyweight Title.
1952 – Ivan Kalmikoff and Duke Keomuka defeat Miguel GÃºzman and Rito Romero to win the vacant NWA Texas Tag Team Title in Houston, Texas.
1954 – Wilbur Snyder and Sandor Szabo defeat Lord James Blears and John Tolos to become the first NWA International Television Tag Team Champions in Hollywood, California.
1961 – Sam Steamboat defeats Dick Hutton for the NWA Hawaii Heavyweight Title in Honolulu, Hawaii.
1963 – Buddy Rogers makes his first defense of the WWWF World Heavyweight Title, defeating Buddy Rogers in New Haven, Connecticut.
1964 – Dominic DeNucci defeats Ray Stevens for the San Francisco NWA United States Heavyweight Title in San Francisco, California, ending Stevens’ fourth reign.
1965 – The WWWF held an event at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. The results:
- The Golden Terror defeated Steve Stanlee.
- Don McClarity defeated Smasher Sloan.
- Sweet Daddy Siki defeated Luke Graham.
- Wahoo McDaniel defeated Boris Malenko.
- Dr. Jerry and Eddie Graham defeated Haystacks Calhoun and Miguel PÃ©rez.
- Bobo Brazil and Gorilla Monsoon fought to a 20-minute time-limit draw.
- WWWF World Heavyweight Champion Bruno Sammartino and Bill Watts defeated Gene Kiniski and Waldo Von Erich by disqualification.
1965 – The Mad Russian and El Shareef defeat Luther Lindsay and Pepper Martin to win the NWA Pacific Northwest Tag Team Title, ending Lindsay and Martin’s second reign.
1969 – Stan Pulaski and Chris Tolos defeat Butcher and Mad Dog Vachon in Omaha, Nebraska for the AWA Midwest Tag Team Title.
1969 – Assassin #2 (Tom Renesto) and The Professional (Doug Gilbert) defeat Alberto and Ramon Torres to win the NWA Georgia Tag Team Title, ending the Torres’ fourth reign.
1972 – Dean Ho and Fritz Von Erich defeat Thunderbolt Patterson and Johnny Valentine for the NWA American Tag Team Title in Dallas, Texas.
1972 – El Mongol wins his eighth NWA Georgia Heavyweight Title, defeating Buddy Colt in Macon, Georgia, ending Colt’s third reign. At the same event, Flash and Rocket Monroe defeat Bob Armstrong and Bill Dromo for the NWA Macon Tag Team Title.
1974 – The Wrestling Pro defeats Dick Dunn to win the NWA Alabama Heavyweight Title in Dothan, Alabama, beginning the Pro’s third reign and ended Dunn’s third.
1975 – Bobo Brazil defeats The Sheik in Detroit, Michigan for his seventh Detroit NWA United States Heavyweight Title, ending Sheik’s seventh reign.
1978 – Championship Wrestling from Florida hosted the “Superbowl of Wrestling” at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida, with 12,000 fans attending. The show was given its name because it took place just over a week after Super Bowl XII. It was headlined by a world title unification match between WWWF Champion Superstar Billy Graham and NWA Champion Harley Race. The results were:
- Keith Franks (Adrian Adonis, subbing for Black Angus) pinned John Ruffin after a neckbreaker.
- Bobby Duncum pinned Don Serrano after a shoulderbreaker.
- NWA Americas Tag Team Champion Chavo Guerrero pinned Tank Patton after a neckbreaker.
- Joyce Grable won a ladies’ battle royal. Also in the match were: Suzette Ferriera, Leilani Kai, Pepper LaBianca, Wenona Little Heart, Tandy Rich, Terry Shane, and Vicki Williams.
- Ivan Putski defeated Ox Baker by TKO with a full nelson.
- Rocky Johnson defeated Killer Karl Kox by reverse decision. Kox had won the match by pinning Johnson after hitting him with a foreign object, but Jack and Jerry Brisco came to the ring and informed the referee as to what happened.
- Jack and Jerry Brisco defeated NWA Florida Tag Team Champions Ivan Koloff and Mr. Saito, when Jack pinned Koloff with a cradle, to win the title. This ended Koloff and Saito’s third reign and began the Briscos’ sixth.
- NWA Florida Southern Heavyweight Champion Pedro Morales pinned Lars Anderson with a cradle.
- Mike Graham and Steve Keirn defeated NWA Florida United States Tag Team Champions Jimmy and Johnny Valiant, when Keirn made Johnny submit with a sleeper hold, to win the title.
- NWA Texas Brass Knuckles Champion Dusty Rhodes defeated Ken Patera by countout.
- WWWF World Champion Superstar Billy Graham and NWA World Champion Harley Race fought to a 60-minute time-limit draw in a two-out-of-three falls title unification match. Gorilla Monsoon and Don Curtis were the alternating special referees for the match. Graham defeated Race by submission with a bearhug in the first fall, and Race pinned Graham with suplex from the apron into the ring in the second fall. The time limit expired during the third fall, just as the count was beginning for Race having Graham covered after knocking him out with a sleeper hold.
1978 – The Dynamite Kid wins the British Welterweight Title in Preston, England, defeating Jim Breaks, ending his fourth reign.
1978 – The Black Avenger and Don Wayt defeat Gama Singh and Igor Volkoff in Vancouver, British Columbia to win the Vancouver NWA Canadian Tag Team Title.
1979 – The Angel and The Assassin defeat Dusty Rhodes and The Spoiler, after Spoiler turned on Rhodes, for the Tri-State NWA United States Tag Team Title.
1982 – Roger Kirby and Jerry Valiant (Guy Mitchell) defeat Eddie Gilbert and Ricky Romero for the NWA Central States Tag Team Title in Wichita, Kansas.
1983 – The Fabulous Kangaroos (Johnny Heffernan and Don Kent) defeat Ron Bass and Barry Windham to win the NWA Florida Global Tag Team Title in Miami, Florida.
1983 – Kwick-Kick Lee (Akira Maeda) defeats Wayne Bridges for the European Heavyweight Title in London, England.
1984 – Angelo Mosca, Jr. defeats Iwan Koloff to win the NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title in Shelby, North Carolina.
1986 – Jerry Lawler defeats Lars Anderson in Singapore for the NWA Polynesian Wrestling Polynesian Pacific Heavyweight Title, ending Anderson’s fourth reign.
1988 – The WWF held an event at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. The results were:
- Scott Casey pinned JosÃ© Estrada after a shoulderbreaker. This match aired on the February 11 edition of Prime Time Wrestling.
- Sam Houston pinned Danny Davis with a small package. This match aired on the March 14 edition of Prime Time Wrestling.
- Butch Reed (with Slick) pinned The Junkyard Dog with a roll-up and a handful of tights, after JYD chased Slick into the ring.
- Omar Atlas pinned Dusty Wolfe with a roll-up. This match aired on the February 11 edition of Prime Time Wrestling.
- The One Man Gang (with Slick) pinned Don Muraco (with Billy Graham), after Butch Reed interfered and hit Muraco with Slick’s cane while the refere was distracted.
- Bam Bam Bigelow (with Oliver Humperdink) and WWF Champion Hulk Hogan defeated Ted DiBiase and Virgil (with AndrÃ© the Giant), when Bigelow pinned Virgil with a splash after Hogan hit the legdrop.
- The Young Stallions (Jim Powers and Paul Roma) defeated Barry Horowitz and Steve Lombardi, when Powers pinned Lombardi after a powerslam.
- Jim Duggan pinned King Harley Race (with Bobby Heenan), by reversing a crossbody off the top rope.
- Ron Bass pinned Hillbilly Jim with a double-underhook facebuster. This match aired on the February 19 edition of Prime Time Wrestling.
- The Islanders (Haku and Tama) defeated The British Bulldogs (The Dynamite Kid and Davey Boy Smith) by disqualification, when the Bulldogs used a leash on their opponents that was originally brought to the ring by Bobby Heenan.
1989 – Mighty Inoue defeats Joe Malenko to win the AJPW World Junior Heavyweight Title in Osaka, Japan.
1990 – Al Madril defeats Rex King for the NWA Pacific Northwest Television Title in Salem, Oregon, beginning Madril’s third reign.
1991 – The USWA held a 12-man tournament for the vacant Texas Heavyweight Title in Dallas, Texas at the Sportatorium. This show took place shortly after the USWA took over the World Class territory. The results were:
- Mike Davis defeated Billy Travis.
- Bill Dundee defeated John Tatum.
- Jeff Jarrett defeated Sumo Ricky.
- Gary Young defeated Eric Embry.
- Steve Austin defeated Steven Dane.
- The California Stud defeated Khris Germany.
- Bill Dundee defeated Mike Davis.
- Gary Young defeated Jeff Jarrett.
- Steve Austin and The California Stud fought to a double disqualification.
- Bill Dundee defeated Gary Young to win the vacant USWA Texas Heavyweight Title.
1992 – Brad Rhenigans and Baron Von Raschke defeat The Punishers (Sledge and Hammer) to win the Pro Wrestling America Tag Team Title in Annandale, Minnesota.
1992 – Ole Olsen defeats Moondog Moretti for the West Coast Championship Wrestling Heavyweight Title in Chilliwack, British Columbia.
1993 – Ron and Don Harris win their second USWA Tag Team Title, defeating Jeff Jarrett and Jerry Lawler in a tournament final in Memphis, Tennessee.
1995 – WCW held Clash of the Champions XXX at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. The aired live on TBS, earning a 3.5 rating. The results:
- In a dark match, Brad and Scott Armstrong defeated Bunkhouse Buck and Dick Slater.
- WCW World Television Champion Arn Anderson (with Col. Robert Parker and Meng) pinned Johnny B. Badd after a DDT to retain the title, after Parker and Meng interfered.
- Alex Wright pinned Bobby Eaton with a reverse crossbody off the top rope.
- WCW World Tag Team Champions Harlem Heat (Booker T and Stevie Ray (with Sister Sherri)) defeated Stars-N-Stripes (Marcus Alexander Bagwell and The Patriot) to retain the title, when Stevie Ray pinned Bagwell with a rollup after Booker hit a scissors kick on Bagwell.
- Sting defeated Avalanche by submission with the Scorpion Deathlock.
- WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan (with Jimmy Hart) and Randy Savage defeated The Butcher and Kevin Sullivan, when Hogan pinned Butcher with the legdrop.
1997 – The WWF held two events at two seperate venues in New York City, New York.
In the afternoon, there was a show at Madison Square Garden. The results were:
- Rocky Maivia defeated Salvatore Sincere.
- Crush and Faarooq defeated Ahmed Johnson and Savio Vega when Vega turned on Johnson. The Nation of Domination all attacked Johnson after the match.
- Steve Austin defeated Goldust.
- The Godwinns (Henry and Phineas) defeated Bob Holly and WWF Tag Team Champion Owen Hart.
- WWF Intercontinental Champion Hunter Hearst Helmsley defeated Jake Roberts.
- Bret Hart defeated Vader by disqualification.
- Sycho Sid defeated The Undertaker by countout.
- WWF Champion Shawn Michaels defeated Mankind.
That evening, the focus shifted to just three miles to the southeast of the Garden, Webster Hall, for a live Shotgun Saturday Night. In an interesting note, footage of Webster Hall dancers from this show is still used to this day in the D-Generation X entrance video. The results were:
- Bret Hart defeated Mankind by disqualification, after Owen Hart attacked Bret while he had Mankind in the Sharpshooter.
- Savio Vega defeated Rocky Maivia by countout after Maivia injured his leg after being thrown to the floor. Before the match, Todd Pettingill interviewed Vega about turning on Ahmed Johnson earlier in the day at Madison Square Garden, with Savio apologizing and blaming his Latin temper for the incident and denying that he had joined the Nation of Domination. After the match, Savio, Crush and Faarooq all attacked Rocky Maivia.
- Jake Roberts pinned Salvatore Sincere after the DDT. Sincere received a Pedigree from WWF Intercontinental Champion Hunter Hearst Helmsley after the match.
- Crush defeated Sycho Sid by disqualification, after Sid hit Crush with a chair.
1997 – WCW held the first-annual Souled Out pay-per-view, billed as an nWo pay-per-view not promoted by WCW, with Eric Bischoff and Ted DiBiase on commentary, and featuring all WCW vs. nWo matches. The show was held at the Five Seasons Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. All matches were overseen by nWo referee Nick Patrick. The “nWo promoted” format only mustered a 0.47 buyrate, and the show was rebranded as a WCW show the next year. The results were:
- Masahiro Chono (nWo) pinned Chris Jericho (WCW) after a Yakuza kick.
- Big Bubba Rogers (nWo) defeated Hugh Morrus (with Jimmy Hart) (WCW) in a Mexican Death (last man standing) match, after Morrus was hit by Rogers on a motorcycle.
- Jeff Jarrett (WCW) pinned Mr. Wallstreet (nWo), after interference from Steve McMichael.
- Buff Bagwell (nWo) pinned Scotty Riggs (WCW) after the Blockbuster.
- Scott Norton (nWo) defeated Diamond Dallas Page by countout. Page was surrounded by members of the nWo and they offered for him to join them. DDP gave a Diamond Cutter to Norton and escaped through the crowd.
- The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott Steiner) (WCW) defeated WCW World Tag Team Champions The Outsiders (Scott Hall and Kevin Nash) (nWo), when Rick pinned Hall after a diving Bulldog, to win the title. Nick Patrick had been knocked out, with WCW referee Randy Anderson running in to make the count. As a result, the title was returned to The Outsiders two nights later on Monday Nitro.
- WCW Cruiserweight Champion Eddy Guerrero (WCW) defeated Syxx (nWo) in a Ladder match to retain the title.
- WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hollywood Hulk Hogan (nWo) fought The Giant (WCW) to a no contest to retain the title, after other members of the nWo came out and attacked The Giant.
1998 – Toshiaki Kawada and Akira Taue defeat Johnny Ace and Kenta Kobashi for the AJPW Unified World Tag Team title in Yokohama, Japan. This ended Ace and Kobashi’s second reign and began Kawada and Taue’s fifth.
1999 – The Monday Night War waged on, with WWF RAW is WAR defeating WCW Monday Nitro by a half-point, 5.5 to 5.0 in the ratings.
WCW Monday Nitro came live from Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas. The results:
- Disco Inferno pinned Al Greene.
- Bam Bam Bigelow and Scott Hall fought to a no contest in a ladder match.
- The Faces of Fear (The Barbarian and Meng) defeated Dave Taylor and Fit Finlay.
- Perry Saturn pinned Norman Smiley.
- WCW United States Heavyweight Champion Bret Hart pinned Booker T.
- Bill Goldberg pinned Scott Norton.
- Chris Benoit, Ric Flair and Steve McMichael defeated WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan, WCW World Television Champion Scott Steiner and Kevin Nash by disqualification.
WWF RAW is WAR was live from America West Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. Also taped were matches for the January 30 Shotgun Saturday Night, January 31 Sunday Night Heat (all but the Rock-Mankind Empty Arena match, which was taped the next night in Tucson) and February 7 Super Astros. A total of 15 matches were held. The show’s results were:
- In a pre-show dark match, The Navajo Kid defeated Lee Ickle.
Shotgun Saturday Night:
- The Godfather defeated D’Lo Brown by disqualification.
- The Disciples of Apocalypse (8-Ball and Skull) defeated Bob Holly and Scorpio.
RAW is WAR:
- Billy Gunn (with Triple H) pinned Goldust.
- Droz defeated George Steele.
- Owen Hart and Jeff Jarrett defeated WWF Tag Team Champions The Big Bossman and WWF Intercontinental Champion Ken Shamrock, after the Blue Blazer interfered and hit Shamrock over the head with Jarrett’s guitar, to win the title.
- Test pinned Val Venis, after Ken Shamrock interfered and hit Venis with a chair. Billy Gunn made the save but Venis attacked Gunn, as he thought he was the one that attacked him.
- Al Snow and WWF Hardcore Champion Road Dogg defeated Edge and Gangrel in a hardcore match.
- WWF Champion The Rock defeated Triple H (with Chyna) in an I Quit match to retain the title, after Triple H said agreed to lose the match if The Corporation wouldn’t hurt Chyna. After the match, Chyna turned on Triple H and joined The Corporation.
Sunday Night Heat:
- The Big Bossman pinned WWF Tag Team Champion Jeff Jarrett.
- WWF Intercontinental Champion Ken Shamrock pinned WWF Tag Team Champion Owen Hart, after interference from the Blue Blazer backfired.
- El Hijo del Santo defeated Ãguila.
- Armando Fernandez defeated El Merenguero.
- El Bandito defeated Negro Casas.
In a dark match after all the tapings:
- The Undertaker defeated WWF Champion The Rock by disqualification.
2000 – WCW tapes Thunder at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The show aired the next night on TBS, earning a 2.7 rating. The show featured WCW Commissioner Kevin Nash, who had just been defeated by Sid Vicious the previous night on Nitro in Los Angeles for the vacant WCW World Heavyweight Title, stripping Sid of the title and awarding it to himself, to begin his third reign. The results of the show:
- The Maestro defeated Norman Smiley in a hardcore match.
- The Artist Formerly Known as Prince Iaukea pinned Kid Romeo in a WCW Cruiserweight Title Tournament match.
- Terry Funk pinned The Demon.
- Lex Luger defeated Buff Bagwell by disqualification.
- Disco Inferno and WCW World Tag Team Champions The Mamalukes (Big Vito and Johnny the Bull) defeated 3 Count (Evan Karagias, Shannon Moore and Shane Helms).
- Booker T pinned Jerry Flynn.
- Bam Bam Bigelow pinned Fit Finlay in a hardcore match.
- Sid Vicious defeated Ron Harris and WCW World Heavyweight Champion Kevin Nash in a three-way steel cage match to win the title, beginning his second reign.
2002 – Dennis McHawes defeats Butch Reed for the World League Wrestling Heavyweight Title in Imperial, Missouri.
2003 – Alexis Laree (Mickie James) defeats April Hunter and Serena in a three-way match in Flemington, New Jersey to become the first CyberSpace Wrestling Federation (later NWA Cyberspace and NWA Shockwave) Women’s Champion.
2003 – Tommy Diablo defeats Alex Montalvo in Cayey, Puerto Rico to win the WWC World Junior Heavyweight Title, beginning his second reign.
2003 – The NWA Florida Heavyweight Title switches hands twice in Pinellas Park, Florida. Billy Fives won the title from Danny Doring, ending his second reign. Fives then lost the title to Agent Steele.
2003 – In Ocoee, Florida, two NWA Florida titles are decided. Mr. Wrestling 4 defeats Donnie York to win the vacant NWA Florida Junior Heavyweight Title, and Big Bad John (Jon Heidenreich) defeats Magnum Steele to become the first NWA Mid-Florida Heavyweight Champion.
2003 – The Dirty Rotten Scoundrelz (K.C. Blade and E.C. Negro) defeat Mafia and Johnny D. for the Jersey All-Pro Wrestling Tag Team Title in Bayonne, New Jersey.
2003 – Church defeats Biggie Biggs to win the NWA New Jersey State Heavyweight Title in Manahawkin, New Jersey. At the same show, The Power Company (Dave and Dean Power) are awarded the NWA Over-the-Top Tag Team Title, formerly known as the NWA Jersey Tag Team Title.
2004 – The Royal Rumble was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the Wachovia Center, and featured Chris Benoit setting a new Royal Rumble longevity record (later to be broken by Rey Mysterio) of 61 minutes and 30 seconds, besting Bob Backlund’s 1993 record by 20 seconds, while also winning the main event. Here is Tim Whitehead’s original report on the show:
WWE held their annual Royal Rumble PPV live from Philadelphia. I thought it was a thumbs’ up show, largely thanks to the Rumble itself and the overall effort. It was, in my opinion, an improvement over last month’s bland Armageddon PPV, which I missed reviewing due to work commitments. The two world title matches on the show included one that was basically average and one that was great until the terrible finish, which the crowd hated so badly that Jim Ross had to acknowledge it. The live crowd did seem up for most of the show, which helped, and commentary was solid. The JR & Tazz combo for the Rumble match was interesting.
RIC FLAIR & BATISTA defeated THE DUDLEYS in a tables match in 4:23 to retain the RAW World Tag Titles. Jonathan Coachman joined JR & Jerry Lawler on the mic here, which fortunately was a short-term deal. Batista ran down the Eagles, likely because there was some concern that the Philly fans would cheer any tag team with Flair on it. The Dudleys attacked Flair & Batista on the floor before the bell. In the ring, they set Flair up to be suplexed through a table. Batista moved the table in time, but unfortunately it fell back down on Flair & the Dudleys, which looked dangerous. D-Von hit a neckbreaker on Batista and lariated him out. Flair backed Bubba Ray up against the table and chopped him. Bubba did his Dusty Rhodes fisticuffs deal on Flair. Flair went to the top, but got tossed off as always. At this point, Coach left the desk and got on the apron, presumably to distract the Dudleys. Bubba dragged him in the ring and tore his shirt off, to reveal bandaged ribs from being put through a table on RAW. The Dudleys set Coach up for the wazzup, but Flair made the save by tossing Bubba from the ring. Batista then came out of nowhere and put D-Von through the table for the sudden win. The match was pretty clumsy as they weren’t in synch with one another at all. Not a good opener for the show.
John Cena did a rapping promo predicting victory in the Rumble.
They showed an empty front row seat, which had been set aside by Steve Austin for Mick Foley. Austin had demanded on RAW that Foley show up and kick Randy Orton’s ass.
REY MYSTERIO JR. defeated JAMIE NOBLE in 3:13 to retain the Cruiserweight Title. The blind Nidia accompanied Noble. Mysterio went for the 619 early but Noble caught him and slammed him. Noble chopped and hot-shotted Mysterio, scoring some twos. On commentary, Michael Cole said that Nidia was watching the match from ringside, and Tazz had to remind him that she’s blind. Mysterio hit a great dropkick, huracanrana, and bulldog combo for a near fall. Noble got his knees up when Mysterio went for a splash. Mysterio then blocked a tiger driver. Noble rebounded off the ropes and Nidia tripped him, though it was unclear whether she tripped him on purpose or thought she was tripping Mysterio. Either way, it led to Mysterio connecting with the 619 and scoring the pin. The match was hot, but way too short to be meaningful. Noble yelled at Nidia afterward for causing him to lose, though she insisted it was an accident.
EDDIE GUERRERO defeated CHAVO GUERRERO JR. in 8:04. There were huge “Eddie” chants here, as he was over at a superstar level. Chavo slapped his face. They felt each other out slowly at first, with the story being that they know each other’s moves so well. Eddie began scoring takedowns, leading a frustrated Chavo to take a cheap shot at him. Eddie kept avoiding using brawling tactics, since he wanted to prove he could out-wrestle Chavo. However, Eddie did jab a thumb into Chavo’s eye. Both ended up bumping out, where Chavo Sr. was waiting. Sr. rammed Eddie into the stairs. Back in the ring, Eddie hooked an armbar submission. Chavo made the ropes. Chavo used brawling tactics, which Eddie continued to avoid. Each scored a few twos. Chavo went for the multiple suplexes, but only hit two before Eddie blocked him. Eddie then hit three straight suplexes and won with the frog splash. The match was okay, and Eddie got great heat in spots, but it wasn’t as action-packed as you’d expect. Afterward, Eddie snapped and began beating the hell out of the downed Chavo. Sr. tried to make the save but Eddie tied him to the ropes and put the boots to him. Eddie continued to beat Chavo, who juiced big, right in front of Sr., who was tied up and helpless to save his son. Chavo was left laying in a bloody heap.
Chris Benoit was doing a promo about the Rumble when he was interrupted by Flair, Batista, and Orton. Flair cut a great promo, boasting about Evolution, and saying that Benoit’s status as the greatest technical wrestler on earth wouldn’t be enough to stop Orton in the Rumble.
BROCK LESNAR defeated HARDCORE HOLLY in 6:30 to retain the WWE World Title. Holly attacked Lesnar on the floor and posted him twice before the bell. Lesnar made a comeback when Holly missed an elbow. Lesnar stomped and kicked Holly and threw some suplexes. Lesnar kept tying Holly up in an abdominal hold on the mat, with the storyline being that he feared Holly’s brawling and was trying to keep him on the mat. Lesnar also applied a bearhug. Holly brawled free, but Lesnar suplexed the hell out of him. Lesnar applied another mat hold. Holly escaped and flapjacked Lesnar. He applied the full nelson on Lesnar, with Cole & Tazz screaming that he was trying to break Lesnar’s neck. Lesnar escaped on the ropes, hot-shotted Holly, and hit the F5 for the pin, which drew a big babyface pop. Match was average.
TRIPLE H retained the RAW World Title in a draw with SHAWN MICHAELS in 22:47 of a Last Man Standing match. This was the match that began pulling the show into the thumbs’ up category, though the ending came close to ruining it. They opened with fists and chops and then traded spots on the mat. HHH laid Heartbreak Kid out with a knee. He twice sent HBK’s back crashing into the turnbuckles and then began working on the back. HBK hooked a figure four out of nowhere and kept it on for a while, hoping to put HHH down for the count. But HHH got back up pretty quickly when the ref started to count to ten. HBK went for a flying crossbody. HHH ducked and HBK sailed out for a major bump to the floor. HHH tried to pedigree HBK through the broadcast desk but HBK blocked it and they ended up returning to the ring. HHH went for another pedigree but this time HBK backdropped him out to the floor. HBK went for a springboard crossbody, but HHH ducked once again and HBK crashed through the Spanish desk. HBK juiced a major gusher. Back once again in the ring, HHH kept pounding on HBK’s open wound. Each time HBK would stagger back up at a seven or eight count. HHH had a look on his face like he couldn’t believe HBK kept fighting back. HHH got a chair (legal, by the way, under last man standing rules) and walloped HBK across the back. HBK got back up at the count of nine. HBK blocked a pedigree attempt on the chair and instead catapulted HHH, somewhat weakly, into the turnbuckles. HBK then nailed HHH with a hard chairshot and HHH began juicing heavily, though not at HBK’s level. HBK hit a flying forearm and both went down for a count of eight, with HBK kipping up. The crowd popped big for most of these moves. HBK laid HHH out again and hit an elbow off the top. He went for the sweet chin music, but HHH avoided it and hit a low blow. Both went down for another eight count. HBK put HHH down for nine with a sleeper. HHH hit a DDT which put HBK down for seven. HBK countered a superplex and both went down for eight yet again. HHH finally connected with the pedigree, and HBK made it back up at like nine and three-quarters. Then, out of the blue, HBK hit the sweet chin music to a huge pop. That was awesome, but it came to a big anti-climax when both went down and couldn’t make it back up at ten. The story was that HBK lost so much blood that hitting the sweet chin music drained him of his last ounce of strength and he went down along with HHH. The crowd booed the hell out of the announcement that the match was a draw. JR had to admit the crowd was pissed. Great match, bad ending. Both guys did stretcher jobs, but HBK got off his stretcher on the ramp, insisting on walking out.
Eric Bischoff came out and bragged that the RAW brand has superior “entertainers” and a smarter general manager than Smackdown. He called Paul Heyman a joke who once ran shows in a run-down rinky-dink bingo hall. He laughed about Heyman getting his mouth washed out with soap by Benoit & Cena two weeks ago, claiming that he (Bischoff) has the respect of his wrestlers. Heyman came out and attacked Bischoff. As they were rolling around on the mat, Austin arrived on his ATV. He called Bischoff & Heyman a couple of jackasses who were wasting PPV time in violation of the law. He demanded to know who started the fight. Each, of course, blamed the other. Austin acted like he believed Heyman, and gave Bischoff a stunner. He offered Heyman a beer, but then stunned him as well. Kind of entertaining.
Goldberg was being interviewed when Lesnar walked up. Lesnar recalled that Goldberg had once interrupted one of his interviews. He laughed at Goldberg for no longer having a title. Goldberg acted like he saw Hardcore Holly standing behind Lesnar, and Lesnar freaked out and started looking all over like he was scared. That was funny. Goldberg then said that everyone is calling Mick Foley a coward, but it’s really someone else who’s the coward. Lesnar looked pissed as Goldberg departed.
Foley, by the way, still hadn’t arrived, which led JR to sadly admit to Tazz that Foley indeed appeared to have turned coward.
CHRIS BENOIT won the Royal Rumble at 1:01:34. You already know the rules, so here’s how it went! BENOIT (#1) went in first, having been forced into this position by Paul Heyman. RANDY ORTON (#2) arrived and they went at it. Benoit suplexed Orton and put the boots to him. MARK HENRY (#3) arrived. He headbutted Benoit and stomped both Benoit and Orton. TAJIRI (#4) went in. He caught Orton with a handspring elbow before being flattened by Benoit. BRADSHAW (#5) arrived and lariated everyone but Benoit. Benoit ended up eliminating Bradshaw quickly as they struggled against the ropes. RHYNO (#6) came in and gored Henry. Tajiri sprayed the mist in Henry’s eyes and Benoit tipped Henry over the ropes for an elimination. Rhyno eliminated Tajiri. MATT HARDY (#7) came in, followed by SCOTT STEINER (#8). Steiner went to town with lariats and suplexes before being suplexed himself by Benoit, who was the superstar of the Rumble. MATT MORGAN (#9) came in. He cleaned house but looked a little green. HURRICANE (#10) blew in but blew right back out when Morgan hurled him like a dart from the ring for an elimination. BOOKER T (#11) arrived. He chopped the hell out of Steiner and scissor kicked Orton. Booker eliminated Steiner. KANE (#12) came in. Kane chokeslammed Benoit, Morgan, and Orton. He blocked a gore from Rhyno. SPIKE DUDLEY (#13) started to the ring, but instead of his music, Undertaker’s music played. This frightened Kane, who was distracted and eliminated by Booker. Kane blamed Spike, who apparently was a victim of circumstances here, and assulted him on the ramp with a sick chokeslam. Spike was thus unable to continue and was eliminated before even getting in the ring. Undertaker, by the way, wasn’t there, as his music playing was a tease by him to get at Kane. RIKISHI (#14) came in and used his girth to bounce everyone around. He backed his ass up on Morgan. Benoit, meanwhile, eliminated Rhyno. RENE DUPREE (#15) arrived. He immediately eliminated Hardy. Rikishi then quickly eliminated Dupree. A-TRAIN (#16) came in. Benoit eliminated Morgan. Orton, who made a good showing in the Rumble, eliminated both Rikishi and Booker. SHELTON BENJAMIN (#17) came in and eliminated A-Train, but Orton then eliminated Benjamin. This left only Benoit and Orton (the first two entrants) in the ring, and they went back at it with one another. ERNEST MILLER (#18) arrived, accompanied by Lamont. They danced. Benoit threw Lamont out and Orton eliminated Miller. KURT ANGLE (#19) arrived to a big pop. a good three-way erupted between him and Benoit and Orton. RICO (#20) arrived. Rico got in some good moves, but he was eliminated by Orton following an RKO. TEST (#21) was supposed to be next, but no one arrived when his music played. The cameras cut backstage where Test was shown lying unconscious on the floor, a victim of an assault by someone. It turned out that Foley was the assailant, and Austin allowed Foley to take Test’s place in the Rumble. Foley ran in to a huge pop and went immediately after Orton. They brawled wildly and both ended up bumping over the top together for a double elimination. They continued to brawl on the floor. CHRISTIAN (#22) came in. He went at it with Benoit and Angle, as Orton and Foley continued fighting on the ramp. Orton hit Foley with a sick (and I mean SICK) chairshot. Foley blocked a second chairshot attempt with a low blow. NUNZIO (#23) was in next, but he had the misfortune of meeting Foley on the ramp. The crazed Foley applied the socko claw to him, though that gave Orton the opening to flee and escape. Foley ran after Orton. Nunzio decided to hide out at ringside for a while rather then go in. BIG SHOW (#24) arrived. He was put over big, manhandling Benoit, Angle, and Christian. CHRIS JERICHO (#25) was next. Everyone jumped Show, trying to lift him over but he overpowered them all and sent them scattering. CHARLIE HAAS (#26) came in. Jericho & Christian joined forces to suplex Haas, but Christian then turned on Jericho and tried to eliminate him. But it was Jericho who ended up eliminating Christian, which will no doubt be a story on RAW. The returning BILLY GUNN (#27) came in. He gave famousers to Angle, Benoit, and Show. JOHN CENA (#28) arrived and found Nunzio hiding at ringside. He threw Nunzio in. ROB VAN DAM (#29) went in and they all went at it like in an old-fashioned battle royal. Cena gave Angle an FU. The final entrant was GOLDBERG (#30), who earned the cherished final entry position on RAW last week. Goldberg went wild with spears, sending everyone flying. He eliminated Haas, Gunn, and Nunzio in quick succession. He had Show up, incredibly, for a jackhammer but Lesnar illegally ran in and attacked him. Lesnar gave Goldberg an F5. Goldberg staggered back up but was eliminated from behind by Angle. This may lead to Goldberg jumping to Smackdown. We’ll see. This left Angle, Benoit, Cena, Jericho, RVD, and Show. Show became the target as the other five all went after him. Jericho hit him with a lionsault and RVD hit him with the frog splash. Benoit nailed Show with the diving headbutt. They all five tried to lift him over but he was dead weight. But it was a ruse as he suddenly revived and eliminated Cena and RVD out of nowhere. He nearly eliminated Jericho, but he skinned the cat. Jericho bulldogged Show and hooked the walls. Show tapped, but it was meaningless, of course. Angle went after Jericho, allowing Show to revive. Show chokeslammed Jericho out to the floor, eliminating him. Show chokeslammed Benoit in the ring. Angle hit the Olympic slam on Show and hooked the ankle lock, with Show tapping again. Angle released the hold and tried to leverage Show out over the top, but it was Show who eliminated Angle. Angle, who had earlier vowed to win the Rumble as a tribute to our armed forces, acted pissed and heelish at being eliminated. Benoit caught Show with a legdrop and hooked the crossace. Show suplexed his way out. Benoit then hooked the crossface in a standing position as they struggled against the ropes. Show finally went limp enough for Benoit to tip him over for the elimination. Benoit became the second man (Shawn Michaels was the first) to enter as #1 and win the Rumble. Ironically, no one has ever won with #30. It was a very strong Rumble which puts Benoit in the main event at ‘Mania XX for a big title match push.
2004 – Teppei Ishizaka and Daigoro Kashiwa defeat Mike Lee, Jr. and Super X for the Kaientai Dojo UWA/UWF Intercontinental Tag Team Title in Chiba, Japan.
2004 – El Cobarde, Jr. defeats El Hijo del Santo to win the World Wrestling Association World Welterweight Title in Juarez, Mexico. This ended El Hijo del Santo’s eighth reign.
2004 – Kayoko Haruyama and Kaori Yoneyama defeat Misae Genki and Etsuko Mita in Tokyo, Japan for the vacant JWP Tag Team Title.
2004 – Takako and Shinobu Kandori defeat Amazing Kong and Eagle Sawai to win the Ladies’ Legend Pro Wrestling Tag Team Title in Tokyo, Japan.
2007 – Vito defeats champion Bradley Jay and Ryan O’Reilly in a three-way round-robin match in McDonough, Georgia for the Deep South Wrestling Heavyweight Title.
2007 – The UFC holds the eighth edition of UFC Fight Night Live at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. The results were:
- Welterweights: Rich Clementi defeated Ross Pointon by submission (rear naked choke) at 4:52 of the second round.
- Lightweights: Din Thomas defeated Clay Guida by unanimous decision. All three judges scored the bout 29-28.
- Middleweights: Ed Herman defeated Chris Price by submission (armbar) at 2:58 of the first round.
- Welterweights: Josh Burkman defeated Chad Reiner by unanimous decision. The judges scored the bout 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27.
- Middleweights: Nate Marquardt defeated Dean Lister by unanimous decision. The judges scored the bout 30-27, 30-25 and 30-25. With the win, Marquardt became top contender to Anderson Silva’s UFC Middleweight Title. Silva defeated him in their title fight by first-round TKO at UFC 73 in July to retain.
Main card bouts:
- Lightweights: Hermes Franca defeated Spencer Fisher by TKO (strikes) at 4:03 of the second round.
- Heavyweights: Jake O’Brien defeated Heath Herring by unanimous decision. The judges scored the bout 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27.
- Light heavyweights: Rashad Evans defeated Sean Salmon by knockout (head kick) at 1:06 of the second round. Salmon was unconscious for several minutes after suffering the knockout, was carried out on a stretcher and to a hospital for observation, and released.