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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Today in Wrestling History

1929 - Gus Sonnenberg defeats Ed "Strangler" Lewis to win the World Heavyweight Title in Boston, Massachusetts, ending Lewis' fifth reign. The National Wrestling Association would later withdraw its recognition of Sonnenberg in favor of Dick Shikat, based on Sonnenberg not facing "real contenders".

1986 - Arn Anderson defeats Wahoo McDaniel in a tournament final to win the vacant NWA World Television Title in Greensboro, North Carolina. The title was stripped from Dusty Rhodes on October 19 due to Rhodes having his leg broken by Ric Flair and Ole and Arn Anderson on September 29.

1988 - In Dallas, Texas, The Freebirds (Terry Gordy, King Parsons and Buddy Roberts) defeat Chris Adams, Matt Borne (subbing for Kevin Von Erich) and Steve Simpson to win the World Class Six-Man Tag Team Title.

1992 - At New Japan Pro Wrestling's annual Tokyo Dome show, "Starrcade 1992 in Tokyo Dome", Riki Chōshū defeats Tatsumi Fujinami to retain his Greatest 18 Title and win the IWGP World Heavyweight Title. This ended Fujinami's fourth reign and began Chōshū's third.

1993 - At New Japan's annual Tokyo Dome show, "Fantastic Story in Tokyo Dome", IWGP World Heavyweight Champion The Great Muta defeats Masahiro Chono to win Chono's NWA World Title. Also, Jushin Liger defeats Ultimo Dragon for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title, beginning Liger's sixth reign.

1994 - At New Japan's annual Tokyo Dome show, "Battlefield", The Hell Raisers (Hawk Warrior (Road Warrior Hawk) and Power Warrior (Kensuke Sasaki)) defeat The Jurassic Powers (Hercules Hernandez and Scott Norton) to win the IWGP World Tag Team Title, beginning their second reign.

1995 - At New Japan's annual Tokyo Dome show, "Battle 7", Antonio Inoki defeats Sting in the finals of the Final Countdown BVD Tournament.



1996 - At New Japan's annual Tokyo Dome show, "Wrestling World 1996", Nobuhiko Takada defeats Keiji Muto to win the IWGP World Heavyweight Title, ending Muto's second reign. Also, Jushin Liger defeats Koji Kanemoto for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title. This began Liger's seventh reign and ended Kanemoto's second.

1997 - At New Japan's annual Tokyo Dome show, "Wrestling World 1997", Tatsumi Fujinami and Kengo Kimura defeat Masahiro Chono and Hiroyoshi Tenzan to win the IWGP World Tag Team Title. This began Fujinami and Kimura's fourth reign and ended Chono and Tenzan's second. Also, Jushin Liger defeats Ultimo Dragon for the eight J-Crown titles.

1998 - Riki Chōshū wrestled what was then to be his final five career matches, consecutively, at New Japan's annual Tokyo Dome show, "Final Power Hall in Tokyo Dome". The series of matches was called the "Riki Road Final Message 5". Chōshū pinned Kazuyuki Fujita and Yutaka Yoshie after lariats, made Tatsuhito Takaiwa submit to the Sasori-Gatame (Chōshū's own finishing move), and was defeated by Takashi Iizuka by submission with an ankle lock. In his final match, Chōshū pinned Jushin Liger after a lariat.

1999 - The Monday Night War continued, and featured two very infamous moments, both occurring on WCW Monday Nitro. WWF RAW is WAR's show, taped December 28 in Worcester, Massachusetts at the Centrum, won the night with a 5.7 rating. That rating was contributed to by Tony Schiavone's comment that Mankind would win the WWF World Title on RAW and "put a lot of butts in the seats", during Nitro.
Nitro was live from WCW's homebase, Atlanta, Georgia at the Georgia Dome, and featured "The Fingerpoke of Doom", when Hollywood Hulk Hogan simply poked WCW World Champion Kevin Nash in the chest as the two faced off, causing him to fall to the mat. Hogan pinned Nash, won his fifth WCW World Title, and the nWo was reformed. The crowd at the Georgia Dome was stunned at the "main event" as it had been set up as Hogan and Nash having a grudge match. Nitro came in second with a 5.0 rating.

1999 - At New Japan's annual Tokyo Dome show, "Wrestling World 1999", Keiji Muto defeats Scott Norton to win his third IWGP World Heavyweight Title. Also, Kendo Kashin and Dr. Wagner, Jr. defeat Shinjiro Otani and Tatsuhito Takaiwa for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title.

2000 - At New Japan's annual Tokyo Dome show, "Wrestling World 2000", Kensuke Sasaki pinned Genichiro Tenryu for his second IWGP World Heavyweight Title.

2001 - New Japan's annual Tokyo Dome show, "Wrestling World 2001", featured a six-man tournament for the vacant IWGP World Heavyweight Title, which was vacated on October 9 when then-champion Kensuke Sasaki lost a non-title match to Toshiaki Kawada. Kawada and Masahiro Chono received first-round byes in the tournament. 62,001 fans attended the event. The results:
- In a tournament quarterfinal match, Kensuke Sasaki defeated Satoshi Kojima by submission with a Boston crab.
- In a tournament quarterfinal match, IWGP World Tag Team Champion Hiroyoshi Tenzan pinned Yuji Nagata after a moonsault.
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions Koji Kanemoto and IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Minoru Tanaka defeated Shinya Makabe and Tatsuhito Takaiwa, when Kanemoto made Makabe submit with an ankle lock.
- Takashi Iizuka defeated Kendo Kashin with a sleeper hold.
- In a tournament semifinal match, Kensuke Sasaki defeated Masahiro Chono by submission with the Strangle Hold γ.
- In a tournament semifinal match, Toshiaki Kawada pinned IWGP World Tag Team Champion Hiroyoshi Tenzan after a powerbomb.
- Keiji Muto and Shinjiro Otani defeated Jushin Liger and Manabu Nakanishi, when Otani made Liger submit with a cobra twist.
- Riki Chōshū and Shinya Hashimoto fought to a no contest.
- Kensuke Sasaki pinned Toshiaki Kawada after a Northern Lights bomb to win the tournament and the vacant IWGP World Heavyweight Title, beginning his third reign.

2003 - At New Japan's annual Tokyo Dome show, "Wrestling World 2003", Yoshihiro Takayama defeats Tsuyoshi Kosaka to win the NWF Heavyweight Title, revived after 22 years of inactivity. Also, the Young Generation Cup four-man tournament took place, with Ryushi Yanagisawa defeating Yutaka Yoshie in the finals.

2004 - At New Japan's annual Tokyo Dome show, "Wrestling World 2004", IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Shinsuke Nakamura defeats NWF Heavyweight Champion Yoshihiro Takayama in Tokyo, Japan to unify the titles. The NWF title dates back to 1970 and Pedro Martinez's National Wrestling Federation, which was initially an NWA office, and was mainly defended in the Buffalo, New York, Cleveland, Ohio and Toronto, Ontario areas, until then-champion Johnny Powers took it with him on a tour of Japan. Powers lost the NWF title to Antonio Inoki in 1973, and the title remained a New Japan-promoted title until it was retired in 1981. In 2003, the title was revived by NJPW, but was again retired when Nakamura defeated Takayama. Also at the show, Jushin Liger defeats Takashi Sugiura for the Pro Wrestling NOAH GHC Junior Heavyweight Title.

2005 - At New Japan's annual Tokyo Dome show, "Toukon Festival: Wrestling World 2005", Tiger Mask defeated HEAT (Minoru Tanaka) for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title, beginning Tiger Mask's second reign and ending Tanaka's third. Also, Shinsuke Nakamura defeats Hiroshi Tanahashi to win the IWGP U-30 Title, and Ron Waterman won an eight-man MMA-style (worked) tournament, defeating Yuji Nagata in the final match.

2010 - Bret Hart returned to WWE, more than a decade after the infamous 1997 Montreal Screwjob, during an edition of Raw in Ohio. Hart appeared on Raw and buried the hatchet with Shawn Michaels. This was followed by an angle with Vince McMahon where McMahon kicked Hart in the groin, starting the build towards their Wrestlemania 26 match, which Hart would win.

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