This Day In Wrestling History – September 10th
2012 – Jerry Lawler suffers a heart attack live on Raw tonight. Fortunately, he would make a full recovery. With an hour remaining of the show, the WWE opted to continue with no commentary, with Michael Cole updating the TV audience whenever possible
1968 – The Spoiler & Gary Hart defeat Fritz von Erich & Grizzly Smith to win the WCCW American Tag Team Titles
1971 – Ramon Torres defeats Roger Kirby to win the NWA Junior Heavyweight Title
1978 – David von Erich defeats Bruiser Brody to win the Texas Heavyweight Title
1995 – Yoshinari Ogawa defeats Dan Kroffat to win the AJPW Junior Heavyweight Title
2001 – on Raw, Kurt Angle defeats Rob Van Dam to win the WWF Hardcore Title, but would quickly lose it back to Van Dam. Also, Tajiri defeats Chris Kanyon to win the WCW United States Title
2010 – Bison Smith & Keith Walker vacate the GHC Tag Team Titles after Walker chose not to immediately return to Japan after the death of his father in the USA
Happy birthday to current NXT President Steve ‘Skinner’ Keirn (62), 3-time World Tag Team Champion Trevor Murdoch (33), 2-time TNA Tag Team Champion Matt Morgan (37), WWE Hall of Famers Don Muraco (64) and Billy Graham (70), indy regular Drake Younger (29) and female indy star Rain (32)
The wrestling world has lost two personalities on this day.
Firstly, in 1996, former WWF valet Sweet Sapphire died aged 61. Sapphire was a wrestling fan from a young age, regularly attending shows in her native St Louis area. She later became the first woman in Missouri to gain a referees license, though soon gave it up to become a wrestler herself, competing as ‘Princess Dark Cloud’. She signed a contract with the WWF in the late 80’s. In 1989, she debuted on Saturday Night’s Main Event as a fan cheering on Dusty Rhodes in his match with Randy Savage. She would soon begin to serve as Rhodes’ manager, joining his feud with Randy Savage and Sherri Martel. At WrestleMania VI, Sapphire pinned Martel in a mixed tag match, though come Summerslam, Martel would defeat Sapphire by forfeit. Soon after the Summerslam event, it was revealed that Ted DiBiase had ‘bought’ the services of Sapphire, though the partnership would not last long before she left the company. It has since been revealed that Sapphire held legitimate adoration for Rhodes and was ‘heartbroken’ that their on-screen partnership was to end. Following her wrestling career, Sapphire worked at a GrandPa Pidgeon’s store, where it is said that she enjoyed telling wrestling stories to younger customers.
Secondly, in 1997, WWE Hall of Famer Fritz von Erich died at the age of 68. Von Erich excelled at football in college and was signed to the Dallas Texans for a season, before moving to the CFL. It was while playing in this league that he had a chance meeting with Stu Hart, who ended up booking him for his Klondike Wrestling promotion. Fritz was teamed with ‘brother’ Waldo in a Nazi-esque gimmick. The pair were regulars across many northern American promotions. By the 1960’s, Fritz’s home territory was Sam Muchnick’s St Louis promotion, before he broke out on his own, taking control of the Dallas, Houston and San Antonio territories at the end of the decade. As you might expect, he and his family became the top stars of the territory, with Fritz holding 30 titles in the promotion. He also served as president of the NWA in 1975-6. By the time he retired from the ring in 1982, the Texas territory (which had recently been renamed WCCW) was one of the most successful in the country, known for its high production values and television programming. Unfortunately, this also proved to be the downfall of the promotion. As Vince McMahon’s WWF came to prominence, he raided the high-profile Texas territory, signing most of its stars, forcing Fritz to merge with Jerry Jarrett to form the USWA. Fritz eventually passed of brain and lung cancer, though tragically, had outlived 5 of his 6 sons.