This Day In Wrestling History – January 17th
1987 – This evening’s episode of Superstars marks the WWF debut of Demolition (Ax & Smash).
1991 – At New Year Dash 1991, Big Van Vader defeats Tatsumi Fujinami, to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
1992 – At a WWF house show in Springfield, Massachusetts, The Mountie defeats Bret Hart, to win the Intercontinental Championship.
1994 – At a WWF house show in New York City, The Quebecers (Pierre & Jacques) defeat Marty Jannetty & The 1-2-3 Kid, to reclaim the WWF Tag Team Championship. Jannetty and The 1-2-3 Kid had defeated The Quebecers for the titles seven days earlier.
1997 – In All Japan Pro Wrestling, The Holy Demon Army (Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue) defeat Johnny Ace & Steve Williams, to win the AJPW World Tag Team Championship.
1999 – On Sunday Night Heat, Chyna defeats Vince McMahon, in an Arm Wrestling Match.
1999 – WCW/nW0 Souled Out is held in Charleston, West Virginia in front of 10,833 fans. In the main event, Goldberg defeats Scott Hall, in a Stun Gun Ladder Match. This is the best video I could find of the match. It’s not titled or dated correctly, but it’s definitely from the pay-per-view.
2000 – One day after becoming the new WCW World Heavyweight Champion at the Souled Out pay-per-view, Chris Benoit quits the company. Benoit had been unhappy working for WCW, and had disagreements with management; Benoit also did not agree with Kevin Sullivan’s promotion to head booker. Benoit is not the only talent to leave WCW on this day; his friends Eddie Guerrero, Perry Saturn, and Dean Malenko also walked out on WCW.
2000 – In the Monday Night Wars, WWF RAW IS WAR (6.0 TV rating) earns double the rating of WCW Monday Nitro (3.0 rating). It’s announced on Nitro (in storyline) that Chris Benoit had been stripped of the World Heavyweight Championship, due to Sid Vicious having his foot under the rope, while Benoit had him in a submission hold at the Souled Out pay-per-view. The title is considered vacant. Jeff Jarrett, who had to vacate the United States Championship one day earlier (lingering headaches), is awarded the title, without having to wrestle for it, by the new WCW Commissioner, Kevin Nash.
Over on RAW, Test becomes the WWF Hardcore Champion for the first time, defeating Big Boss Man.
2001 – Meng retains the WCW Hardcore Championship, after defeating Bam Bam Bigelow on Thunder. This is Meng’s final appearance on WCW television. He would leave the company a few days later.
2004 – At Combat Zone Wrestling’s Streetfight 2K4, Rebel’s Army (Derek Frazier, Greg Matthews, & Rockin’ Rebel) defeat Justin Credible and tag team champions The Backseat Boyz (Johnny Kashmere & Trent Acid), to become the new CZW World Tag Team Champions. This was a six-man tag team match; Kashmere and Acid were the champions going into this match. Matthews and Rockin’ Rebel, from the winning Rebel’s Army, are awarded the titles.
2009 – In Ohio Valley Wrestling, Johnny Punch defeats Outlaw, to win the OVW Television Championship. Also, Vaughn Lilas defeats Aaron “Idol” Stevens, to win the OVW Heavyweight Championship.
2010 – TNA Genesis is held at the Impact! Zone in Orlando with 1,100 fans in attendance. This is the first event at the Impact! Zone to use a standard four-sided ring (as opposed to the usual six-sided ring). Brian Kendrick and Sean Morley (formerly Val Venis in WWF/E) made their TNA debuts; Kendrick lost to Amazing Red in an X Division Title Match, while Morley defeated Daniels in a singles match. This also marks Mr. Anderson’s return to TNA; he had wrestled for the company in its early years before finding success in the WWE as Mr. Kennedy. Anderson’s return is a success as he defeats Abyss. In the main event, AJ Styles retains the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, defeating Kurt Angle, with an assist from Ric Flair.
2010 – Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Kotaro Suzuki are forced to vacate the GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, after Suzuki suffers a knee injury.
2015 – In Ohio Valley Wrestling, TerreMex (Randy Terrez & The Mexicutioner) defeat The Fabulous Free Bodies (The Bodyguy & Big Jon) to win the OVW Southern Tag Team Championship.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO: 2-time OVW Tag Team Champion Samuel Shaw (33 years old); 3-time NWA World Tag Team Champion (with TNA Wrestling) Chase Stevens (38 years old); former WWE wrestler Kevin Thorn (40 years old); and current WWE Performance Center trainee Betsy Ruth aka Andrea (32 years old).
Today would’ve been the 75th birthday for Muhammad Ali, who served as a special guest referee, for the main event of WrestleMania I in 1985 (Hulk Hogan & Mr. T vs Roddy Piper & Paul Orndorff).