31 years ago today at CWF/NWA Battle of the Belts at the Spartan Sports Center (today known as the Sun Dome) in Tampa, Florida, Ric Flair defeated Wahoo McDaniel 2-1 in a best of three falls match to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
24 years ago today, WCW presented Clash of the Champions XX: 20th Anniversary (WWE Network) from Center Stage Theater in Atlanta, Georgia.
The show commemorated WCW and its predecessors broadcasting on TBS for 20 years. Two former WWF Champions made cameo appearances on the show: Bruno Sammartino, and in his last American television appearance, Andre the Giant. Andre would die just five months later.
Also on the show, Brad Armstrong was stripped of the WCW Light Heavyweight Championship due to a knee injury. Though a tournament was announced to crown a new champion, it never came to pass. The championship would be reborn in 1996 as the WCW Cruiserweight Championship.
Ricky Steamboat defeated Steve Austin in a no disqualification match to win the WCW World Television Championship. A bit of trivia: a top rope crossbody won the match. Not a big deal unless you realized at the time, moves off the top rope was grounds for a disqualification in WCW.
Arn Anderson & Beautiful Bobby defeated Dick Slater & Greg Valentine.
Ron Simmons defeated Cactus Jack to retain the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
Butch Reed & The Barbarian defeated Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes.
Big Van Vader, Jake Roberts, Rick Rude, and The Super Invader defeated Nikita Koloff, Sting, and The Steiner Brothers (Rick Steiner & Scott Steiner) in an 8-man tag team elimination match.
14 years ago today on RAW from Milwaukee, Wisconsin (WWE Network link), the World Heavyweight Championship is reintroduced in the form of the Big Gold Belt (aka the old WCW world heavyweight championship belt) and is awarded to Triple H on the basis that he won a #1 contender's match for the Undisputed WWE Championship the previous week over the Undertaker.
The belt was retired back in April when said Big Gold Belt and the Big Eagle belt used during the Attitude Era were retired in favor of the WWE Undisputed Championship belt. WWE had but one champion only for a few months before Brock Lesnar signed an exclusive contract to Smackdown, taking the title with him. Thus, Big Gold is reborn.
The WWE would operate with two world champions until December 2013 when the belts were once again unified in a TLC match won by Randy Orton. Big Gold was once again retired following Money in the Bank in July 2014; a month later, WWE introduced an updated version of their world title belt commissioned just a year and a half earlier.
The company is again operating with two world titles...sort of. RAW and Smackdown each again have their own heavyweight champions, with Smackdown having the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and RAW having the recently-introduced Universal Championship.
Later in the show, Triple H defeated Ric Flair to retain the reintroduced World Heavyweight Championship.
9 years ago today at a RAW taping from Columbus, Ohio (WWE Network link), Jeff Hardy defeats Umaga to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
The sudden title change was made possible by Umaga, real name Eddie Fatu, being one of nearly a dozen wrestlers found to have bought performance-enhancing drugs from an online pharmacy, a violation of the WWE's Wellness Policy. Fatu would serve a 30-day suspension following the show.
In what can only be described as a cruel irony, six months later, Hardy would violate the WWE’s Wellness Policy and cost himself the Intercontinental title—and a Wrestlemania payday (and if stories are to be believed, the Money in the Bank briefcase he was set to win). Chris Jericho would beat Hardy for the title in March 2008.
9 years ago today, WWE releases Nick Dinsmore after failing a second drug test.
He portrayed controversial special needs wrestler Eugene, the nephew of Eric Bischoff from 2004 to 2007. He was brought back in July 2009, only to be released after just one appearance on RAW.
He's spent most of the last eight years on the independent circuit, mostly for Ohio Valley Wrestling where he is a ten-time heavyweight champion and eleven-time tag team champion. Dinsmore spent about 13 months with WWE in 2013 and 2014 as a trainer for their NXT developmental program. After returning to the ring for IPW:UK in January 2015, Dinsmore turned to promoting, running shows under the Midwest All Pro banner out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
8 years ago today, UFC announces that Randy Couture would be returning to the company.
The announcement ends a 10-month dispute between the promotion and their heavyweight champion. Couture left UFC in October 2007 following a dispute over pay.
During the same conference call, it was announced that Couture's first opponent would be Brock Lesnar for the heavyweight title in November. Lesnar would go on to win said heavyweight championship via second round TKO at UFC 91 in September.
5 years ago today, WWE.com reported Anthony Carrelli, best known to wrestling fans as Santino Marella, suffered a separated left shoulder the previous night in Toronto when his car was hit by another car and his car flipped over. Carelli crawled out of the totaled car through the sunroof. Carelli would be sidelined for about a month.
4 years ago today, Ariane Andrew, best known to WWE fans as Cameron, was suspended for two weeks after TMZ reported her arrest on DUI charges back on August 24.
According to TMZ, Andrew failed to notify WWE officials about her arrest and attempted to bribe the arresting officers at the scene. At the time the news leaked out, Andrew was in Australia for their annual WWE tour of the country. She was off the second show of the tour and was sent home prior to the third. It also didn't help that Andrew was part of the first act featured on the recently debuted WWE children's series, Saturday Morning Slam. The suspension was retroactive to August 29.
1 year ago today, WWE suspends Jimmy Snuka’s WWE legends contract indefinitely. The statement from WWE.com:
"Jimmy Snuka’s non-wrestling ‘legends’ contract has been suspended and we are currently removing his images from our media platforms pending the outcome of this case."
The news comes just a day after Snuka was charged with third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the May 1983 death of his girlfriend at the time, Nancy Argentino. As reported by Concussion Inc., a website run by Irv Muchnick, the author of an e-book on the death of Argentino:
"Lehigh County District Attorney James B. Martin announced on Sept. 1, 2015, that charges of third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter have been filed against former professional wrestler James Snuka in the 1983 death of his 23-year-old girlfriend, Nancy L. Argentino, of Brooklyn, N.Y.
Snuka, 72, of Camden County, N.J., has been arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Robert C. Halal in Lehigh County Central Booking. Bail has been set at $100,000, 10 percent. Martin said that arrangements had been made for Snuka to surrender to Lehigh County authorities and to surrender his passport.
The case was investigated by Lehigh County Detective Gerald Procanyn and Lehigh County’s Seventh Investigating Grand Jury. The Grand Jury heard testimony from witnesses presented by Chief Deputy District Attorney Charles F. Gallagher III and reviewed exhibits before handing up its presentment recommending a general charge of criminal homicide on July 17, 2015."
William E. Moore, the attorney for the WWE Hall of Famer, in a statement said that Snuka was unfit to stand trial due to suffering from partial dementia and recovering from stomach cancer. At the time of Snuka’s arrest, he was in a wheelchair and hooked to a feeding tube.
On June 1, 2016, Lehigh County Judge Kelly Banach ruled that Snuka, now age 73, was deemed unfit to stand trial and that a new hearing will be held in six months time.