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This Day In Wrestling History – April 16th‏



Trivia

1982 – Giant Baba wins the AJPW Champion’s Carnival. This would be the
last Carnival until 1991

1991 – This year’s AJPW Champion’s Carnival introduced the modern
‘dual-block’ system. Stan Hansen won group A and Jumbo Tsuruta won
group B with Tsuruta winning the final

1994 – Toshiaki Kawada wins the AJPW Champion’s Carnival, defeating
Steve Williams in the final after both men tied on 19 points

1999 – Vader wins the AJPW Champion’s Carnival, defeating Kenta Kobashi
in the final

2009 – WWE Superstars debuts on WGN America

Events

In 2000, the final WCW Spring Stampede was held in Chicago,
Illinois

– Mancow defeats Jimmy Hart
– Terry Funk defeats Norman Smiley to win the vacant WCW Hardcore Title
– Chris Candido defeats The Artist, Juventud Guerrera, Shannon Moore,
Lash LeRoux & Crowbar in a Suicide Six-Way Match to win the vacant WCW
Cruiserweight Title
– Shane Douglas & Buff Bagwell defeat Ric Flair & Lex Luger in the
final of a tournament to win the vacant WCW World Tag Team Titles
– Scott Steiner defeats Sting in the final of a tournament to win the
vacant WCW United States Title
– Jeff Jarrett defeats Diamond Dallas Page in the final of a
tournament to win the vacant WCW World Title

Title Changes

1960 – Jerry & Eddie Graham defeat Red & Lou Bastien to win the NWA
Northeast United States Tag Team Titles

1983 – Roddy Piper defeats Greg Valentine to win the NWA United States
Title

1983 – Junkyard Dog wins a tournament to win the vacant MSW North
American Title

1989 – Shinichi Nakano defeats Masanobu Fuchi to win the AJPW Junior
Heavyweight Title

2001 – on Raw, Triple H defeats Jeff Hardy to win the WWF
Intercontinental Title

2007 – on Raw, Santino Marella defeats Umaga in a No Holds Barred Match
to win the WWE Intercontinental Title

Birthdays

Happy birthday to former ECW wrestler Damien Kane (53), former
WWE Tag and Cruiserweight Champion Paul London (33), WWE Hall of
Famer George ‘The Animal’ Steele (76), 3-time AJPW Unified Tag
Champion Joe Doering (31), 2-time AAA Mixed Tag Team Champion
Gran Apache (54) and current WWE personality Vickie
Guerrero
(45)

In Memoriam

Today, in 2003, the wrestling world lost 6-time NWA World Light
Heavyweight Champion Ray Mendoza at the age of 73. Mendoza began
his sporting career in boxing, turning pro in 1950. His boxing career
came to an end two years later after he was legitimately attacked
during a sparring session with two wrestlers, one of whom injured his
back with a knee drop. He had a brief stint as a health inspector in
Mexico City, but was soon recommended for a career in wrestling by his
local gym owner. Following a year of intense training, Mendoza debuted
in 1954, initially competing as Chato Diaz. In 1955, he took the ring
name ‘Ray Mendoza’, devised from his trainer’s first name and his
wife’s maiden name. He soon became one of EMLL’s top heels and used his
main event position to better the wrestlers’ pay and working
conditions. Despite this status, it took him until 1959 to win his
first championship, defeating Dory Dixon to win the NWA Light
Heavyweight Title. In the 1960′s, he was so popular that certain
sources cite that he sold out every arena he competed in across a
3-year period. During this time, he would also make regular appearances
in America, winning championships in NWA Hollywood. In 1974,
dissatisfied with EMLL’s treatment of his sons, Mendoza joined up with
Francisco Flores to form Lucha Libre Internacional (known
internationally as the UWA). He became the first UWA Light Heavyweight
Champion, but this was an attempt to elevate the careers of those who
went on to defeat him, including El Solitario and Gran Hamada. By the
end of the decade, Mendoza was all-but-retired, only competing on very
sporadic occasions. His final headline match came in 1978, when he
unsuccessfully challenged for Tatsumi Fujinami’s WWWF Junior
Heavyweight Title. He formally announced his retirement in 1982 and,
following a retirement tour, hung up his boots early the next year. He
became the head trainer at the UWA’s school, as well as occasionally
performing refereeing duties and later became the head of the Mexico
City Boxing and Wrestling Committee. By the 2000′s, his health was in
decline and he eventually passed of kidney failure. CMLL paid tribute
to him in 2010 at their Homenaje a Dos Leyendas event. As if Mendoza’s
in-ring legacy wasn’t enough, he also fathered the Villano brothers,
who would find international success in the 1990′s and 2000′s.

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