This Day In Wrestling History – February 18th
1985 – MTV airs the main event of WWF’s The War to Settle the Score from Madison Square Garden. The event, which drew 22,000 fans, had ten dark matches prior to the main event of Hulk Hogan vs Roddy Piper for the WWF Championship. Pop star Cyndi Lauper was in Hogan’s corner. During the match, the referee was knocked out during the match and Paul Orndorff joined Piper in beating down Hogan. Lauper got on the ring apron, and Piper and Orndorff were advancing on her when actor Mr. T, sitting in the crowd, came to Lauper’s aid. Hogan & T went at it with Piper & Orndorff until police officers separated them. This is the match that would set up the main event of WrestleMania I. It’s ruled that Hogan wins the match via disqualification, and retains the WWF Championship.
One title change not televised saw Leilani Kai defeat Wendi Richter, to become the new WWF Women’s Champion. Cyndi Lauper was in Richter’s corner; Kai had The Fabulous Moolah in her corner. The title change would air on the March 5th episode of Prime Time Wrestling.
1989 – Longtime NWA World Women’s Champion Mildred Burke dies of a stroke, at the age of 73. Mildred held the NWA Women’s title from 1935 until 1954; she lost the title to June Byers in a controversial Two-out-of-Three Falls Match. Mildred was a longtime WWWA World Heavyweight Champion; she won the title in 1937 and remained champion, until she retired from professional wrestling in 1956. In 2016 she was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as a Legacy Inductee.
1993 – Kerry Von Erich commits suicide at the age of 33. This occurs one day after being indicted for his second drug charge; his first charge was about a year earlier for falsifying two drug prescriptions. He was given probation, but this second drug charge would resulted in extensive jail time for violating his probation. Kerry ends his life with a single gunshot to his heart. Among his accomplishments, Kerry was a 5-time NWA American Heavyweight Champion, 3-time NWA Texas Heavyweight Champion, one-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion, a 16-time Tag Team champion among various NWA territories & other promotions (not including Six-Man Tag Titles), and a 4-time WCWA World Heavyweight Champion. In 2009 he was posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, along with five other members of the Von Erich Family (Fritz, Kevin, Mike, David, & Chris).
1995 – Former wrestler and booker Eddie Gilbert dies of a heart attack at the age of 33. Amongst his accomplishments, Eddie was a 4-time AWA Southern Tag Team Champion, 4-time USWA Unified World Heavyweight Champion, and is a member of the Memphis Wrestling Hall of Fame Class of 1995. The Wrestling Observer Newsletter named Eddie “Best Booker” for 1988, for his work in the Continental Wrestling Federation (CWF).
1996 – At a house show in Norfolk, Virginia, Johnny B Badd defeats Lex Luger, to reclaim the WCW World Television Championship. Luger had won the title one night earlier in Baltimore.
1996 – WWF In Your House 6: Rage In The Cage is held in Louisville, KY in front of 5,500 fans. Shawn Michaels defeats Owen Hart, to keep his #1 contender spot, for the WWF Championship at WrestleMania XII. In the main event, Bret Hart retains the WWF Championship, defeating Diesel in a Steel Cage Match.
2001 – At a house show in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Steve Blackman pins Raven, to win the WWF Hardcore Championship. With the 24/7 rule in effect, Raven later pins Blackman, to reclaim the title.
2001 – WCW’s Superbrawl Revenge 2001 is held in Nashville, TN; only 4,395 tickets were sold. In the main event, Scott Steiner retains the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, defeating Kevin Nash in a Retirement Match. Nash’s loss would turn out to be his final WCW match; the promotion was bought out by the WWF about a month later. Because Nash had a guaranteed contract with AOL Time Warner, he didn’t join the WWF after the merger; he opted to stay home and collect his guaranteed money, until his AOL Time Warner contract expired December 31, 2001.
2007 – WWE No Way Out is held in Los Angeles in front of 14,000 fans. This is the final “branded” pay-per-view (this was a SmackDown-exclusive PPV); future PPV’s were tri-branded until the ECW-brand was dropped in 2010. PPV’s from 2010 until Backlash 2016 featured both RAW & SmackDown stars. At No Way Out, Chavo Guerrero, Jr. wins the Cruiserweight Open, to become the new Cruiserweight Champion (defeating Gregory Helms, Scotty 2 Hotty, Funaki, Daivari, Shannon Moore, Jimmy Wang Yang, and Jamie Noble). The main event is a tag team match; John Cena & Shawn Michaels defeats Batista & The Undertaker.
2008 – It is announced that Ric Flair would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Flair becomes the first active wrestler to be inducted.
2010 – In Pro Wrestling NOAH, Ricky Marvin & Taiji Ishimori defeat Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Genba Hirayanagi, to win the GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.
2011 – On SmackDown’s 600th episode, Edge is stripped of the World Heavyweight Championship by Vickie Guerrero. Vickie cites Edge using the spear in a previous match, despite the move being banned, as reason for stripping him of the title. The title is awarded to Dolph Ziggler. However, SmackDown GM Teddy Long returns to the show, and grants Edge his automatic rematch. Edge wins the rematch, to reclaim the World Title. As it turns out, it would be his final title reign; he would have to vacate the World Championship after announcing his retirement on the April 15th SmackDown.
2014 – Four days after his birthday, former WWF star Nelson Lee Frazier, Jr. (Viscera) dies of a heart attack at the age of 43. During his time in the WWF he was a Tag Team Champion and the 1995 King of the Ring winner (both under the name Mabel). As Viscera he won the WWF Hardcore Championship, during the 13-Man Hardcore Battle Royal, at WrestleMania 16 but dropped the title to Funaki. He later performed for WWE (on their ECW brand) as Big Daddy V. In other promotions he won the AJPW All Asia Tag Team Championship (as Big Daddy Voodoo), and was a USWA Heavyweight Championship (as Mabel).
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO: former WWF French programming announcer Raymond Rougeau (62 years old); former Maryland Championship Wrestling (MCW) tag team champion TJ Mack (31 years old); former AAA Mexican National Heavyweight Champion Charly Manson (42 years old); WrestleMania IV guest timekeeper Vanna White (60 years old); and former OVW Women’s Champions Holly & Hannah Blossom aka The Blossom Twins (29 years old).
Today would’ve been the 36th birthday for former ROH manager Larry Sweeney.