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. Buddy Rogers would be the first WWWF 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 – WWF’s inaugural Royal Rumble event 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.
– Ricky Steamboat defeats Rick Rude via disqualification.
– In a Two-out-of-Three Falls Match, The Jumping Bomb Angels (Noriyo Tateno & Itsuki Yamazaki) defeat The Glamour Girls (Judy Martin & Leilani Kai), to win the WWF Women’s Tag Team Championship.
– ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan wins the 20-man Royal Rumble Match. The Royal Rumble Match expands to 30 in 1989.
– In a Two-out-of-Three Falls Match, The Islanders (Haku & Tama) defeat The Young Stallions (Paul Roma & Jim Powers).
1988 – Competing with WWF’s Royal Rumble, Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP) and the NWA hold Bunkhouse Stampede in Uniondale, New York, in front of 6,000 fans. The event aired on pay-per-view.
– Jimmy Garvin & Sting defeat The Sheepherders (Butch Miller & Luke Williams), via disqualification.
Bunkhouse Stampede PPV:
– NWA World Television Champion Nikita Koloff battles Bobby Eaton to a time-limit draw; Koloff retains the title.
– Larry Zbyszko defeats Barry Windham, to win the UWF/NWA Western States Championship.
– Road Warrior Hawk (with Paul Ellering) defeats NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair (with James J. Dillon), via disqualification. Flair retains the title.
– Dusty Rhodes wins the Steel Cage Bunkhouse Stampede for the fourth straight time.
1993 – The sixth annual Royal Rumble is held in Sacramento, CA in front of 16,000 fans.
– Doink the Clown defeats Jim Powers
Royal Rumble PPV:
– The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott) defeat The Beverly Brothers (Blake & Beau).
– Shawn Michaels defeats Marty Jannetty, to retain the WWF Intercontinental Championship.
– Bam Bam Bigelow defeats The Big Boss Man.
– Bret Hart defeats Razor Ramon, via submission, to retain the WWF Championship.
– Yokozuna wins the 30-man Royal Rumble Match, and earns a WWF Championship Match at WrestleMania IX.
1998 – WCW/nWo Souled Out is held in Dayton, Ohio, on a Saturday, in front of 5,486 fans.
– In an Eight-Man Tag Team Match, Lizmark Jr., Chavo Guerrero, Jr., Super Calo, & Juventud Guerrera defeat La Parka, Psychosis, Silver King, & El Dandy.
– Chris Benoit defeats Raven, in a Raven’s Rules Match.
– Chris Jericho defeats Rey Misterio, Jr., to win the WCW Cruiserweight Championship.
– Booker T defeats Rick Martel, to retain the WCW World Television Championship.
– Larry Zbyszko (with Dusty Rhodes) defeats Scott Hall (with Louie Spicolli) via disqualification.
– In a Six-Man Tag Team Match, Ray Traylor, Rick Steiner, & Scott Steiner defeat Konnan, Buff Bagwell, & Scott Norton.
– Kevin Nash (with Hollywood Hogan & Eric Bischoff) 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.
– Bret Hart defeats Ric Flair.
– Lex Luger defeats Randy Savage (with Miss Elizabeth).
1999 – The 12th annual WWF Royal Rumble is held in Anaheim in front of 14,816 fans.
– Christian defeats Jeff Hardy.
Sunday Night Heat Matches:
– The J.O.B. Squad (Bob Holly & Scorpio) defeat Too Much (Brian Christopher & Scott Taylor).
– Mankind defeats Mabel.
Royal Rumble PPV:
– The Big Boss Man defeats Road Dogg.
– Ken Shamrock defeats Billy Gunn, via submission, to retain the WWF Intercontinental Championship.
– X-Pac defeats Gangrel, to retain the European Championship.
– In a Strap match, Sable defeats Luna Vachon (with Shane McMahon), to retain the WWF Women’s Championship.
– In an ‘I Quit’ Match, The Rock defeats Mankind, to win the WWF Championship.
– Mr. McMahon wins the 30-Man Royal Rumble Match, to earn a WWF Championship Match at WrestleMania XV. McMahon forfeits his title shot the following night and the title shot is given to the Royal Rumble runner-up, Stone Cold Steve Austin. Chyna became the first woman to ever enter the Royal Rumble Match.
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. It was the second time in history, and the first time since 1992, that the World Heavyweight Championship was on the line in the 30-man Royal Rumble Match.
– In a Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Match, Mark Henry & Jack Swagger defeat The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor), The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & Devon), and Darren Young & Damien Sandow. Henry and Swagger win spots in the 30-man Royal Rumble Match.
Royal Rumble PPV:
– In a Last Man Standing Match, Dean Ambrose defeats Kevin Owens, to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
– The New Day (Big E. & Kofi Kingston) defeat The Usos (Jimmy & Jey), to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship.
– Kalisto defeats Alberto Del Rio, to win the United States Championship.
– Charlotte (with Ric Flair) defeats Becky Lynch, to retain the WWE Women’s Championship.
– Triple H wins the 30-man Royal Rumble Match, and wins the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, dethroning Roman Reigns. Reigns drew the #1 spot for the match and was the second-to-last to be eliminated. Triple H (entry #30) eliminated Dean Ambrose to win the title. The match also featured the WWE debut of AJ Styles.
2016 – Orlando, Florida 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: Former IWA Mid-South Heavyweight Champion, J.J. Garrett (24 years old); former ROH Six-Man Tag Team Champion, Vinny Marseglia (32 years old); 2-time IWGP Tag Team Champion, Akira Maeda (59 years old); and former WWF/WCW/TNA writer & booker, Vince Russo (57 years old).
Today would’ve been the 53rd birthday for 2-time ECW World Heavyweight Champion Mike Awesome, and the 76th birthday for NWA Hall of Famer, Gary Hart.