This Day In Wrestling History – January 24th
1963 – Lou Thesz defeats Buddy Rogers, to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. The title change is not recognized in the northeast territory Capitol Wrestling Corporation (CWC). Two men behind the CWC, Toots Mondt and Vince McMahon, Sr., protest the decision to have Rogers drop the title, and opt to break away from the National Wrestling Alliance. Mondt and McMahon form a competing promotion known as the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF); the promotion continues today as World Wrestling Entertainment. Rogers would be it’s first Heavyweight Champion three months later.
1984 – Roddy Piper competes in his first televised match in the WWF; Piper and tag team partner David Schultz defeat the team of John Callahan and Frankie Williams.
1988 – The inaugural WWF Royal Rumble is held in Hamilton, Ontario Canada, in front of 18,000 fans. The event airs for free on USA Network, rather than on pay-per-view, and receives an 8.2 TV rating. One championship changes hands; The Jumping Bomb Angels (Noriyo Tateno & Itsuki Yamazaki) win the WWF Women’s Tag Team Championship after defeating The Glamour Girls (Judy Martin & Leilani Kai). The winner of the Royal Rumble Match would be “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. Duggan the 13th entry, wins by last defeating One Man Gang, the 19th entry. The inaugural Royal Rumble Match had 20 participants and would expand to 30 in 1989.
1988 – Competing with WWF’s Royal Rumble, Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP) and NWA hold Bunkhouse Stampede in Uniondale, New York. The event airs on pay-per-view and draws 6,000 fans. Larry Zbyszko defeats Barry Windham, to win the Universal Wrestling Federation (UWF) Western States Championship. Zbyszko is the last to hold the title; it would be abandoned upon his departure for the American Wrestling Association (AWA) in January 1989. In the main event, Dusty Rhodes wins the Steel Cage Bunkhouse Stampede; Rhodes wins by last eliminating The Barbarian. It’s the third straight time Rhodes had won the event.
1998 – WCW/nWo Souled Out is held in Dayton, Ohio, on a Saturday, in front of 5,486 fans. Chris Jericho becomes the new Cruiserweight Champion after defeating Rey Mysterio, Jr. Kevin Nash defeats The Giant, but not without a scare. Nash attempted a Jackknife powerbomb but couldn’t lift The Giant high enough to execute the move properly. As a result, The Giant lands on his head and suffers a neck injury. He’d eventually make a full recovery. The injury is worked into the storyline where Nash intentionally tried to break The Giant’s neck.
1999 – The 12th annnual WWF Royal Rumble is held in Anaheim in front of 14,816 fans. The Rock becomes the new WWF Champion after defeating Mankind, in an “I Quit” Match. The winner of the Royal Rumble Match would be Vince McMahon. Vince, the #2 entry, would win by last eliminating Stone Cold Steve Austin, the #1 entry.
2000 – In the Monday Night Wars, WWF RAW IS WAR (6.7 TV rating) beats WCW Monday Nitro (3.1 rating). On Nitro, Sid Vicious defeats Kevin Nash, to win the vacant WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
2005 – Oklahoma governor Brad Henry declares this day “Jim Ross Day,” in honor of the WWE RAW commentator. RAW was being held at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City that night (now known as Chesapeake Energy Arena).
2008 – On this evening’s Impact!, Johnny Devine defeats Jay Lethal, to win the TNA X Division Championship.
2014 – At SHINE 16, Ivelisse defeats Rain, to become the new SHINE Champion.
2016 – The 29th annual WWE Royal Rumble is held in Orlando in front of 15,170 fans. Kalisto wins the United States Championship for the second time, defeating Alberto Del Rio. For the first time since 1992, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship was on the line in the Royal Rumble Match. Roman Reigns was the champion heading into the event, and due to a rigged lottery system, drew the #1 entry spot. Reigns would be the 28th contestant eliminated and would lose the title. The winner, and new WWE World Heavyweight Champion would be Triple H; Triple H drew the #30 spot and last eliminates Dean Ambrose, entry #19. This also marks the WWE debut of AJ Styles, who was a 5-time World Champion in TNA and a 2-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion in New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW).
2016 – Orlando also hosts EVOLVE 55 on the same day as it hosts the Royal Rumble. In the main event, Drew Galloway & Johnny Gargano defeat Chris Hero & Tommy End, to become the inaugural EVOLVE Tag Team Champions.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO: Eight-time ROH Tag Team Champion & 2-time ROH World Champion Jay Briscoe (33 years old); 2-time IWGP Tag Team Champion Akira Maeda (58 years old); and former WWF/WCW/TNA writer & booker Vince Russo (56 years old).
Today would’ve been the 52nd birthday for 2-time ECW World Heavyweight Champion Mike Awesome. Today would’ve been the 75th birthday for NWA Hall of Fame 2016 Inductee Gary Hart.