This Day In Wrestling History – March 31st
1973 – At a WWWF event in Boston, Moondog Mayne wins a Battle Royale for a title match. When the bout came down to himself and Freddie Blassie, the two refused to fight each other. A coin toss is held, with Moondog winning. Moondog would go on to challenge, and lose, to WWWF Heavyweight Champion Pedro Morales.
1978 – Killer Tim Brooks & Leroy Brown defeat Jose Lothario & Al Madril, to win the NWA Texas Tag Team Championship.
1985 – The inaugural WrestleMania is held at Madison Square Garden, in New York City, in front of 19,121 fans.
– Tito Santana defeats The Executioner.
– King Kong Bundy (with Jimmy Hart) defeats Special Delivery Jones.
– Ricky Steamboat defeats Matt Borne.
– David Sammartino (with Bruno Sammartino) and Brutus Beefcake (with Johnny Valiant) fight to a double disqualification.
– Junkyard Dogg defeats Greg Valentine (with Jimmy Hart), via count out (but Valentine retains the WWF Intercontinental Championship).
– Nikolai Volkoff & The Iron Sheik (with Freddie Blassie) defeat The US Express (Mike Rotundo & Barry Windham) (with Lou Albano) to win the WWF Tag Team Championship.
– Andre The Giant defeats Big John Studd (with Bobby Heenan) in a $15,000 Body Slam Challenge. Had he lost, Andre would be forced to retire.
– Wendi Richter (with Cyndi Lauper) defeats Leilani Kai (with The Fabulous Moolah), to win the WWF Women’s Championship.
– In a tag team match, Hulk Hogan & Mr. T (with Jimmy Snuka) defeat Roddy Piper & Paul Orndorff (with “Cowboy” Bob Orton). There were two special guest referees for this match, Muhammad Ali and Pat Patterson.
1989 – Sting defeats Mike Rotunda, to win the NWA World Television Championship.
1994 – At a WWF house show in Sheffield, England, The Quebecers (Pierre & Jacques) defeat Men on a Mission (Mabel & Mo), to win the WWF Tag Team Championship. Men on a Mission had just defeated The Quebecers to win the titles two days earlier.
1996 – WrestleMania XII is held at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, California (attendance was 18,853).
On the Free For All Show:
– The Bodydonnas (Skip & Zip) (with Sunny) defeat The Godwinns (Henry & Phineas) (with Hillbilly Jim), in the final of a tournament, to win the vacant WWF Tag Team Championship.
– In a Six-Man Tag Team Match, Camp Cornette (Vader, Owen Hart, & The British Bulldog) (with Jim Cornette) defeat Ahmed Johnson, Yokozuna, & Jake “The Snake” Roberts (with Mr. Fuji).
– Stone Cold Steve Austin (with Ted DiBiase) defeats Savio Vega. Austin had dropped “The Ringmaster” gimmick earlier in the month.
– In his return to the WWF after a 4-year hiatus, The Ultimate Warrior defeats Hunter Hearst Helmsley (with Sable). Marc Mero makes his WWF debut in this match, saving Sable (his real-life wife) from Helmsley after the match ended.
– The Undertaker (with Paul Bearer) defeats Diesel.
– Roddy Piper, in his first match since 1994, defeats Goldust (with Marlena), in a Hollywood Backlot Brawl.
– In a 60-minute Iron Man Match, Shawn Michaels (with Jose Lothario) defeats Bret Hart, to win the WWF Championship. The match went to overtime, with no man scoring a pinfall in the first sixty minutes. Michaels gets the winning pinfall, one minute and 52 seconds into the overtime period.
1997 – In the Monday Night Wars, WCW Monday Nitro (3.4 TV rating) beats WWF RAW IS WAR (2.7 rating).
2000 – At a WCW house show in Pittsburgh, The Artist defeats Billy Kidman, to reclaim the WCW Cruiserweight Championship. Kidman had defeated The Artist for the title the night before in Baltimore. Only 1,684 fans were in attendance for the Pittsburgh house show.
2003 – One night after WrestleMania XIX, Kane & Rob Van Dam defeat The Dudley Boyz and the team of Chief Morley & Lance Storm, to win the World Tag Team Championship (Three-Way Elimination Match). Stone Cold Steve Austin gets fired by RAW General Manager Eric Bischoff for medical reasons. And The Rock, cutting a promo in the ring, gets interrupted by Goldberg (making his WWE debut).
2004 – Kazarian defeats Amazing Red, to win the TNA X Division Championship.
2007 – The annual WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony is held at the Fox Theatre in Detroit. The Class of 2007 is listed below.
– Dusty Rhodes (inducted by his sons Dustin & Cody Rhodes)
– ‘Mr Perfect’ Curt Hennig (inducted by MLB Hall of Famer Wade Boggs)
– Jerry Lawler (inducted by William Shatner)
– Afa & Sika, The Wild Samoans (inducted by Samu & Matt “Rosey” Anoa’i)
– Nick Bockwinkel (inducted by Bobby Heenan)
– Mr Fuji (inducted by Don Muraco)
– The ‘Original’ Sheik (inducted by his nephew Sabu, and Rob Van Dam)
– Jim Ross (inducted by Stone Cold Steve Austin)
2008 – WWE gives Ric Flair a “farewell” on RAW, the night after WrestleMania XXIV, including a reunion with The Four Horsemen (Tully Blanchard, JJ Dillon, Arn Anderson, & Barry Windham). It would be their only televised reunion until 2012, when they go into the WWE Hall of Fame.
2012 – The annual WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony is held at the American Airlines Arena in Miami. The Class of 2012 is listed below.
– Edge (inducted by Christian)
– Mil Mascaras (inducted by his nephew Alberto Del Rio)
– Mike Tyson (inducted by Triple H & Shawn Michaels)
– Ron Simmons (inducted by John Bradshaw Layfield)
– Yokozuna (inducted by Jimmy & Jey Uso)
– The Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Barry Windham, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, and JJ Dillon) (inducted by Dusty Rhodes). Flair is the first to be inducted into the Hall of Fame twice.
2012 – Day 2 of Ring of Honor’s Showdown in the Sun is held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Day 2 had a lunchtime start, to avoid clashing with WWE’s Hall of Fame Ceremony.
– Jimmy Jacobs defeats El Generico.
– TJ Perkins defeats Fire Ant.
– Kyle O’Reilly defeats Adam Cole.
– In a Street Fight, The Young Bucks (Nick & Matt Jackson) defeat The All Night Express (Rhett Titus & Kenny King).
– The Briscoe Brothers (Mark & Jay) defeat Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team (Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin), to retain the ROH Tag Team Championship.
– Kevin Steen defeats Eddie Edwards
– Roderick Strong (with Truth Martini) defeats Jay Lethal, to win the ROH World Television Championship.
– Davey Richards defeats Michael Elgin, to retain the ROH World Championship.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO: Former indy wrestler Allison Danger (40 years old); former IWA Mid-South Light Heavyweight Champion J. Prodigy aka BDL (44 years old); and 2-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion Naoya Ogawa (49 years old).
Follow me on Twitter at @Bill_Fenbers.