This Day In Wrestling History – June 22nd
2009 – Ultimo Guerrero wins the CMLL Universal Championship Tournament, defeating El Texano Jr in the final
2002 – The WWE Hardcore Title’s 24/7 Rule sees the belt pass from Bradshaw to Raven, to Spike Dudley, to Shawn Stasiak and back to Bradshaw
Happy birthday to indy regulars Amber O’Neal (38) and Lorelei Lee (30) and one-time IWGP Tag and Junior Heavyweight Tag Champion Tetsuya Naito (30)
Also, today would have been the birthday of one-time WWF Tag Team Champion John Tenta (49)
The wrestling world has lost two personalities on this date.
Firstly, in 2007, former WCW and ECW valet Nancy ‘Woman’ Benoit lost her life in a well-publicised incident that I am not going to detail here. She was 43. Nancy began her career in wrestling totally by chance, being spotted by Kevin Sullivan at a wrestling magazine shoot. She made her active debut in July 1984, appearing as one of Sullivan’s ‘Satanist’ valets under the name ‘Fallen Angel’. She and Sullivan married in 1985 and soon began appearing together in WCW, where she adopted the name ‘Woman’. During her initial time in WCW, she managed Sullivan, Butch Reed, Ron Simmons and The Four Horsemen before a spell in ECW saw her add The Sandman, The Tazmaniac and 2 Cold Scorpio to her client list. She also wrestled her first match in ECW, teaming with The Sandman in a loss to Tommy Cairo and Peaches, though her team would exact their revenge after the match. She returned to WCW in 1996 and aligned with the new Four Horsemen of Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Brian Pillman and Chris Benoit, later beginning an on-screen relationship with Benoit. Eventually, the on-screen relationship developed into a real-life affair and she married Benoit in 1997, having divorced Sullivan shortly before. Interestingly, it was Sullivan himself who booked the romance angle, leading some to quip that he booked his own divorce. Nancy’s final WCW appearance (and indeed her final wrestling appearance) came in May 1997, after which she disappeared from WCW programming with no explanation and no further reference made to her
Secondly, in 2009, one-time NWA American and Texas Heavyweight Champion Billy Red Lyons died at the age of 77. Lyons made his wrestling debut in 1956 and quickly established himself in the tag team division, winning the NWA Canadian and International Tag Titles, as well as those in the AWA’s San Francisco territory and in Rikidozan’s JWA in his first decade of competition. He wouldn’t win his first singles title until 1967, defeating Duke Keomua by forfeit to win the Texas Heavyweight Title. Despite this success, he remained most active as a tag team wrestler, adding the American, Tri-State, Mississippi, Toronto and Texas Tag Team Titles to his resumé before retiring in 1984. He remained active in the wrestling business, initially working as an assistant to Toronto promoters Frank and Jack Tunney, before becoming an announcer for the WWF, a position which he would hold into the mid-90’s. Lyons eventually passed after a lengthy battle with cancer