This Day In Wrestling History – January 31st
1984 – In a tournament final, The Zambuie Express (Elijah Akeem & Kareem Muhammad) win the vacant AWA Southern Tag Team Championship, defeating The Pretty Young Things (Norvell Austin & Sweet Brown Sugar).
1990 – Jushin Thunder Liger wins the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship for the second time, defeating Naoki Sano.
1999 – WWF Halftime Heat, during halftime of Super Bowl XXXIII, features an Empty Arena Match; Mankind challenges The Rock for the WWF Championship. This was no holds barred, falls count anywhere match; Vince McMahon did commentary for the match. This edition of Sunday Night Heat would earn the show its highest rating ever, with a 6.6 TV rating on USA Network. Mankind wins the match, and becomes WWF Champion for the second time, after using a forklift to pin The Rock with a pallet on the loading dock.
2000 – In the Monday Night Wars, WWF RAW IS WAR (6.6 TV rating) easily beats WCW Monday Nitro (2.8 rating). On RAW, Harvey Wippleman, disguised as “Hervina,” becomes the first male to win the WWF Women’s Championship; “Hervina” wins a Lumberjill Snow bunny Match over The Kat, to win the Women’s Title.
On the same night as Nervina’s title win, four “Radicalz,” who had left WCW a couple weeks earlier, appear on WWF television. Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko, and Perry Saturn were sitting ringside during a Tag Team Championship Match between The New Age Outlaws and the team of Al Snow & Steve Blackman. After Road Dogg cheap shots Benoit, the four Radicalz would jump over the barricade, and attack Road Dogg & Billy Gunn.
2002 – On this evening’s SmackDown, Diamond Dallas Page defeats Christian, to win the WWF European Championship. It’s the only singles title DDP would win in the WWF.
2010 – The 23rd Annual WWE Royal Rumble is held in Atlanta in front of 16,697 fans. Mickie James becomes the new Women’s Champion, after defeating Michelle McCool and Layla. The winner of the Royal Rumble Match, and earning a World Championship Match at WrestleMania, would be Edge. This was Edge’s return to WWE after missing six months due to injury. Entering the Rumble at #29, Edge last eliminates #19 entry John Cena.
2016 – At Pro Wrestling NOAH’s Great Voyage 2016 in Yokohama, Takashi Sugiura defeats Naomichi Marufuji, to win the GHC Heavyweight Championship.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO: Mexico AAA wrestler Hator (41 years old; and former WCW Television Champion / WWE United States Champion Dave “Fit” Finlay (59 years old).