This Day In Wrestling History – January 22nd
In 1994, WWF Royal Rumble was held in Providence, Rhode Island
– The Quebecers (Jacques & Pierre) defeat Bret & Owen Hart to retain the WWF Tag Team Titles
– Razor Ramon defeats Irwin R Schyster to retain the WWF Intercontinental Title
– Yokozuna defeats The Undertaker in a Casket Match to retain the WWF Title
– Bret Hart & Lex Luger co-win the Royal Rumble after eliminating each other simultaneously
In 1995, WWF Royal Rumble was held in Tampa, Florida
– Jeff Jarrett defeats Razor Ramon to win the WWF Intercontinental Title
– Diesel fought Bret Hart to a draw due to excessive outside interference to retain the WWF Title
– Bob Holly & The 123 Kid defeat Tatanka & Bam Bam Bigelow in the final of a tournament to win the vacant WWF Tag Team Titles
– Shawn Michaels wins the Royal Rumble, last eliminating The British Bulldog. Michaels and Bulldog entered at 1 and 2 respectively
1983 – Don Muraco defeats Pedro Morales to win the WWF Intercontinental Title
1996 – on Nitro, Randy Savage defeats Ric Flair to win the WCW World Title. Also, Sting & Lex Luger defeat Harlem Heat to win the WCW Tag Team Titles
1999 – Toshiaki Kawada defeats Mitsuharu Misawa to win the AJPW Triple Crown Title. Kawada legitimately broke his arm in this match and so was forced to vacate the title shortly after
2001 – on Raw, Test defeats William Regal to win the WWF European Title. Also, Al Snow defeats Raven to win the WWF Hardcore Title, but quickly loses it back to Raven
2006 – Jun Akiyama defeats Akira Taue to win the GHC Heavyweight Title
2008 – Chavo Guerrero defeats CM Punk in a No-DQ Match to win the ECW World Title
2012 – Takeshi Morishima defeats Go Shiozaki to win the GHC Heavyweight Title. Also, Jun Akiyama & Akitoshi Saito defeat Bad Intentions (Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson) to win the GHC Tag Team Titles
Happy birthday to WWE Hall of Famer Tully Blanchard (59) and one-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion Manabu Nakanishi (46)
The wrestling world has lost two personalities on this date.
Firstly, in 1995, one-time AWA Tag Team Champion Jerry Blackwell died aged just 45. Blackwell began his professional career in the early 1970’s and soon drew acclaim for his agility despite his large size (for those who never saw him, Blackwell shared a similar style to Bam Bam Bigelow). He competed for the WWWF in the later part of the decade, but never rose out of the midcard ranks. After taking a short time away from wrestling to compete in the 1979 World’s Strongest Man contest, he settled in the AWA where he soon became a main event regular. His tag team success came as one-half of The Sheiks, alongside Ken Patera. In 1983, Blackwell’s career peaked when Hulk Hogan left the AWA and he was chosen to be the new top face of the company. Sadly, it came just too late for him, as years of obesity and punishing ring work were taking their toll. In 1989, he made his final appearance with the company and retired altogether shortly afterwards. Blackwell largely stayed away from wrestling before dying of injuries suffered in a car accident. Interestingly, Blackwell was one of several wrestlers who had been asked to trial with the expanded WWF in 1984. Policy at the time stated that the wrestler had to cut an on-camera promo as part of their evaluation, however, the line to do so was so long that Blackwell simply walked away.
Secondly, in 2000, NWA Tag Team star Al Costello died at the age of 80. Costello was actually born in Italy, but moved with his family to Australia when he was young. He made his professional wrestling debut in 1938, having rebuffed his father’s wish for him to become an opera singer! His early career success was limited to a few Asian and African titles, including wins in South Africa, Malaysia and home in Australia. In 1952, he finally made the move to America, soon forming The Fabulous Kangaroos tag team with Roy Heffernan. The pair found success in both the US and Canada, but Heffernan became homesick, and moved back to Australia in 1965. Costello remained in the States, forming several other tag teams, before reforming the Kangaroos with Ray St Clair and Don Kent, finding success once more. Costello himself was forced to retire from wrestling in the 70’s, having suffered a serious hip injury at the hands of an enraged fan, though he returned in a manager role in 1975. Amazingly, he recovered well enough to return to the ring full-time later that year at the age of 56 and continued to wrestle well into the 1980’s, reforming the Kangaroos in several territories. He finally retired for good in 1983 (aged 64!) becoming first a security guard, then a wrestling trainer. He also made infrequent managerial appearances with ‘The New Fabulous Kangaroos’, who included a young Al Snow. Costello made his last appearance in this role in 1994, leaving the business for good. He died 6 years later of pneumonia and age-related heart problems.