This Day In Wrestling History – January 31st
1984 – In a tournament final, The Zambuie Express (Elijah Akeem & Kareem Muhammad) defeat The Pretty Young Things (Norvell Austin & Sweet Brown Sugar, to win the vacant AWA Southern Tag Team Championship.
1990 – Jushin Thunder Liger defeats Naoki Sano, to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship for the second time.
1999 – In an Empty Arena Match on ‘Halftime Heat,’ Mankind defeats The Rock, to win the WWF Championship. The match occurred during halftime of Super Bowl XXXIII (Falcons vs. Broncos). The Empty Arena Match, which was no holds barred, falls count anywhere, draws a 6.6 TV rating for the USA Network. Mankind wins the match, 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,’ defeats The Kat, in a Lumberjill Snow Bunny Match, to win the WWF Women’s Championship. Wippleman becomes the first (and only) male to win the Women’s Title.
On the same night, 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.
– In a 10-Diva Tag Team Match, The Bella Twins, Eve Torres, Gail Kim, & Kelly Kelly defeat Alicia Fox, Jillian Hall, Maryse, Natalya, & Katie Lea Burchill.
Royal Rumble PPV:
– Christian defeats Ezekiel Jackson (with William Regal), to retain the ECW Championship.
– The Miz defeats MVP, to retain the WWE United States Championship.
– Sheamus defeats Randy Orton, via disqualification, to retain the WWE Championship.
– Mickie James defeats Michelle McCool (with Layla), to win the WWE Women’s Championship.
– The Undertaker defeats Rey Mysterio, to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.
– Edge returns after a six-month absence, and wins he 30-man Royal Rumble match, to earn a World Championship match at WrestleMania XXVI. Edge had torn an Achilles tendon during the summer of 2009.
2016 – Takashi Sugiura defeats Naomichi Marufuji, to win the GHC Heavyweight Championship.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO: Former NWA United States Tag Team Champion, ‘Surfer’ Ray Odyssey (50 years old); Mexico AAA wrestler Hator (42 years old; and former WCW Television Champion / WWE United States Champion, Dave ‘Fit’ Finlay (60 years old)
Today would’ve been the 52nd birthday for former WWF/WCW/NJPW star, Jorge ‘Giant’ Gonzalez, and the 30th birthday for former AIW Tag Team Champion, Matt Riot.