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1956 – Lou Thesz defeated ‘Whipper’ Billy Watson in St Louis, Missouri to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
1975 – Terry Funk and Paul Jones battled for the vacant NWA United States Heavyweight Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina. The belt had only come into being and January that year with Harley Race as the first champion. It was vacated by only the second champion, Johnny Valentine, after the infamous plane crash in which Ric Flair broke his back. Funk won the match but held the belt for less than 3 weeks before dropping it to Jones.
1997 – Survivor Series 1997 took place at the Molson Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and is famous for perhaps the most famous moment in wrestling history – The Montreal Screwjob.
In the weeks prior to the event, Vince McMahon and Bret Hart had mutually agreed to terminate Hart’s contract, enabling The Hitman to sign a hugely lucrative WCW contract. Hart was the reigning WWE Champion at the time and used the creative control in his contract to refuse to lose the title to Shawn Michaels in Canada. The two men had become bitter enemies off screen. With McMahon intent to ensure Hart did not leave for WCW without dropping the title, a plan was hatched that would see Michaels lock on Hart’s own move, the Sharpshooter, before referee Earl Hebner calls for the bell and Hart was deemed to have lost via submission, without the champion’s prior knowledge.
The event caused a seismic shock in the wrestling world. Hart punched McMahon in the locker room after the event and several wrestlers threatened to walk out of the company over the incident and the betrayal.
Hart would not appear in a WWE ring again until 2010 and the notoriety from the moment directly led to the ‘Mr McMahon’ character that played a huge part in the WWE taking back the mantle from WCW as the world’s biggest wrestling company the following year. A title it would never lose again.
1999 – Arnold Schwarzenegger was the special guest on an episode of SmackDown to promote his new movie, ‘End Of Days’. On the show he was presented with his own WWE Championship by Vince McMahon. In the main event of the evening, Arnie decked Triple H during an 8-man elimination match.
2002 – Ring of Honor ‘All-Star Extravaganza’ took place at the Murphy Recreation Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The main event saw Masato Tanaka and Shinjiro Otani defeat Low Ki and Steve Corino. Earlier on the card, Xavier defeated Jay Briscoe to retain the ROH Championship.
2008 – TNA ‘Turning Point’ took place at the Impact Zone in Orlando, Florida. No titles changed hands on the night but the match in which Beer Money (Bobby Roode and James Storm) retained the TNA Tag Team Championship against The Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin) is considered one of the greatest tag team matches in TNA history. In the main event, Sting retained the TNA World Heavyweight Championship against AJ Styles.
2009 – The launch of EVOLVE wrestling is announced by Gabe Sapolsky, Davey Richards and Sal Hamoui. During its 10 year run, EVOLVE ran 146 events before being purchased by WWE and mothballed. The promotion played a huge role in the development of a great number of stars including Matt Riddle, Drew Gulak, Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano. In later years it acted as the unofficial feeder league for NXT.
2009 – On an episode of Monday Night Raw from Sheffield, England, guest host and former boxing world champion Ricky Hatton defeated Chavo Guerrero in a boxer vs. wrestler match.
2017 – At an Impact Wrestling TV taping in Ottawa, Canada, LAX (Santana and Ortiz defeated Dave and Jake Crist to win the Impact Wrestling Tag Team Championship.
2019 – AEW ‘Full Gear’ took place in Baltimore, Maryland. It was the first AEW PPV since the brand launched their weekly TV show, Dynamite. In the main event, Jon Moxley defeated Kenny Omega in an ‘unsanctioned’ Lights Out match. The co-main event saw Chris Jericho successfully defend the AEW World Championship against Cody. As per the pre-match stipulation, Cody would never again be able to challenge for that title. After the match, Cody’s ‘friend’ MJF turned on him with a vicious beatdown.
2019 – In the main event of ‘Evolve 139’, in Woodside, New York, Josh Briggs defeated Austin Theory to win the Evolve title.
Notable Wrestling Personalities Born On This Day: