This Day In Wrestling History – January 1st
Welcome to the New Year, everybody!! I hope everyone had a fun and safe New Year’s Eve.
1975 – Harley Race defeats Johnny Weaver, in a tournament final, to be named the inaugural NWA (Mid-Atlantic) United States Heavyweight Champion. The title lives on today, as the WWE United States Championship.
1978 – Exactly three years later, Blackjack Mulligan defeats Ricky Steamboat, to win the NWA (Mid-Atlantic) United States Championship.
1980 – Ricky and Robert Gibson defeat The Assassins (Jody Hamilton and Tom Renesto), to win the AWA Southern Tag Team Championship.
1982 – The St. Louis Wrestling Club holds the Sam Muchnick Retirement Show, in St. Louis, in front of 19,821 fans. Dick the Bruiser defeats Ken Patera, to win the NWA Missouri Heavyweight Championship. And Ric Flair defeats Dusty Rhodes, 2-1 in a Best-of-Three Falls Match, to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
1982 – Tiger Mask defeats Dynamite Kid, to win the vacant WWF Junior Heavyweight Championship.
1993 – El Signo defeats Villano III, to win the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship. This begins El Signo’s 563-day reign as champion, concluding July 18, 1994.
1996 – In the Monday Night Wars, WWF Monday Night RAW (2.6 TV rating) edges out WCW Monday Nitro (2.5 rating). This was the night of The RAW Bowl, the first-ever Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Match in the history of the TV program. With their WWF Tag Team Championships on the line, The Smoking Gunns (Bart and Billy) retain the titles after winning The RAW Bowl over the tag teams of Psycho Sid & The 1-2-3 Kid, Owen Hart & Yokozuna, and Razor Ramon & Savio Vega.
2001 – In the Monday Night Wars, WWF RAW Is WAR (4.55 TV rating) runs unopposed as WCW Monday Nitro takes the week off for New Year’s. In the RAW main event, William Regal defeats Stone Cold Steve Austin, thanks to a fast count from special guest referee Stephanie McMahon. Match video is below (including a promo for the XFL cheerleaders).
2004 – On a New Year’s Night edition of SmackDown, Rey Mysterio defeats Tajiri, to become the new WWE Cruiserweight Champion.
2012 – El Terrible defeats defeats Rush, to win the CMLL World Heavyweight Championship. This begins El Terrible’s 1,125-day reign as champion, not ending until January 30, 2015.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO: Former valet for Diamond Dallas Page & leader of The Nitro Girls Kimberly Page (48 years old); former WWF Hardcore Champion Rodney from The Mean Street Posse (46 years old); 2-time CMLL World Heavyweight Champion Rayo de Jalisco Jr. (57 years old); 2-time TNA World Heavyweight Champion & 6-time TNA Tag Team Champion / current NXT wrestler Bobby Roode (40 years old); and WWE Hall of Fame 2005 Inductee Jimmy Hart (73 years old).