This Day In Wrestling History – January 4th
1986 – Arn Anderson defeats Wahoo McDaniel, to win the NWA World Television Championship.
1992 – Riki Chosu defeats Tatsumi Fujinami, to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
1993 – New Japan Pro Wrestling presents Fantastic Story in the Tokyo Dome in front of 63,500 fans. Jushin Thunder Liger defeats Ultimo Dragon, to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship for the 6th time. Also, The Great Muta defeats Masahiro Chono, to retain the IWGP Heavyweight Championship AND win Chono’s NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
1994 – The Hell Raisers (Hawk Warrior & Power Warrior) defeat The Jurassic Powers (Scott Norton & Hercules Hernandez), to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship.
1996 – In front of 54,000 fans at the Tokyo Kome for New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Wrestling World ’96, Nobuhiko Takada defeats Keiji Mutoh, to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. And Jushin Thunder Liger defeats Koji Kanemoto, to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship for the 7th time.
1997 – In front of 62,500 fans at the Tokyo Dome for NJPW’s Wrestling World ’97, Jushin Thunder Liger defeats Ultimo Dragon, to win the J-Crown Championship. Also, Kengo Kimura & Tatsumi Fujinami defeat Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Masahiro Chono, to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship.
1999 – At Wrestling World ’99, Dr. Wagner Jr. & Kendo Kashin defeat Shinjiro Otani & Tatsuhito Takaiwa, to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. Also, Keiji Mutoh defeats Scott Norton, to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
1999 – The WCW World Tag Team Championship is vacated due to an injury sustained by titleholder Rick Steiner. Steiner and Kenny Kaos had been tag team champions since Halloween Havoc on October 25, 1998.
1999 – In the Monday Night Wars, WWF RAW IS WAR (5.7 TV rating) beats WCW Monday Nitro (5.0 rating). Nitro could have won in the ratings, had it not been for Eric Bischoff. In the past, Bischoff would reveal results from an episode RAW, airing on tape delay, during live Nitro broadcasts. January 4th’s RAW had been taped the week before in Worcester, Massachusetts, and WCW commentator Tony Schiavone was ordered to give away the WWF Title change result on Nitro:
“Fans, if you’re even thinking about changing the channel to our competition, do not. We understand that Mick Foley, who wrestled here at one time as Cactus Jack, is gonna win their World title. Ha! That’s gonna put some butts in the seats, heh.”
The plan backfired, as a reported 600,000 viewers changed channels to watch Mick Foley (Mankind) defeat The Rock, to become the new WWF Champion.
On the same night as Foley’s tape-delayed title change, Nitro was airing live from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, with 38,809 fans in attendance. The main event is scheduled to be Goldberg challenging Kevin Nash for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Goldberg, however, is arrested halfway through the show, accused by Miss Elizabeth of “aggravated stalking.” In Goldberg’s place, Nash offers the title shot to Hollywood Hogan, who declared retirement one month earlier. Goldberg is released by police after Elizabeth can’t keep her story straight. However, he can’t make it back to the Georgia Dome in time for his match with Nash. Hogan, in street clothes, executes what would be known as the Fingerpoke of Doom. Hogan pokes Nash in the chest. Nash falls to the mat and allows Hogan to get the pin, to become the new WCW World Heavyweight Champion. After Hogan’s pinfall, nWo Wolfpac & nWo Hollywood members jump in the ring to celebrate not only Hogan’s win, but they had also opted to reunite the two factions. Goldberg would eventually make his way to the ring, only to be attacked and handcuffed to the ring. Fans in attendance were furious, as they threw food and debris towards the ring.
2001 – At Wrestling World ’01, Kensuke Sasaki defeats Toshiaki Kawada, to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
2002 – Kazuyuki Fujita vacates the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, after suffering a torn Achilles Tendon.
2004 – At Wrestling World ’04, Jushin Thunder Liger defeats Takashi Suguira, to win the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship. Also, Shinsuke Nakamura defeats Yoshihiro Takayama, to retain the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, AND win Takayama’s NWF Heavyweight Championship. The titles are unified and the NWF Heavyweight Title is retired.
2005 – At Wrestling World ’05, Tiger Mask IV defeats Heat, to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. Also, Shinsuke Nakamura defeats Hiroshi Tanahashi, to win the IWGP U-30 Openweight Championship.
2008 – Shinsuke Nakamura defeats Hiroshi Tanahashi, to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
2009 – One year later, Hiroshi Tanahashi defeats Keiji Mutoh, to with the IWGP Heavyweight Championship for the 3rd time. On the same night, Tiger Mask IV defeats Low Ki, to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship for the 5th time. Team 3D (Brother Ray & Brother Devon) defeat The Most Violent Players (Toru Yano & Togi Makabe), to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship. And The Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley) defeat No Limit (Tetsuya Naito & Yuijiro), to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.
2010 – Melina vacates the WWE Divas Championship, after suffering a torn ACL.
2010 – Hell freezes over as Bret Hart makes his first appearance on WWE RAW, since the Montreal Screwjob at Survivor Series in 1997. RAW emanates from Dayton, Ohio, where Bret won the King of the Ring, in the first pay-per-view of the same name, in 1993. Hart, serving as RAW “guest host,” buries the hatchet with Shawn Michaels; the two had been enemies in the ring and backstage. Michaels also had a hand in the Montreal Screwjob, that allowed him to defeat Hart for the WWF Championship.
Bret Hart also hashes things out with Vince McMahon in the middle of the ring to close out the show. The two seem to patch things up; Vince even announces that Stu Hart, Bret’s father, would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame a few months later. At the end of the show, after raising arms with Bret, Vince stops, hits Bret with a low-blow, and leaves the ring.
2010 – On the same night Bret Hart returns to WWE, TNA Wrestling airs a special 3-hour live Monday edition of Impact! The show emanates from the Impact! Zone in Orlando. The plan was to go head-to-head with RAW on Mondays, depending on how ratings were for this evening’s episode. Monday Night Impact! featured the much-advertised TNA debut of Hulk Hogan. Also making TNA debuts on this episode were Scott Hall, Sean Waltman, Ric Flair, Eric Bischoff, The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs & Jerry Sags), Orlando Jordan, Shannon Moore, Bubba the Love Sponge (for interviews), and Sean Morley (aka Val Venis). The show also marked the TNA return for Jeff Hardy. Hardy, who left WWE in the summer 0f 2009, had wrestled in TNA from 2004-2006.
There were also two title changes on Monday Night Impact! ODB defeats Tara, to win the TNA Knockouts Championship. And the team of Awesome Kong & Hamada defeat the team of Sarita & Taylor Wilde, to win the TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship.
***In the final ratings, WWE RAW, with Bret Hart’s return, earned a 3.6 TV rating (5.6 million viewers). TNA Impact!, with the Hulk Hogan debut, scores a 1.45 TV rating and sets a new viewership record for the program, with an average of 2.2 million viewers. Impact! would begin airing on Mondays on a weekly basis in March 2010.
2011 – Hiroshi Tanahashi defeats Satoshi Kojima, to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
2012 – Apollo 55 (Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi) defeat The No Remorse Corps (Davey Richards & Rocky Romero), to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. Also, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima defeat Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson, to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship.
2014 – The Bullet Club (Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson) defeat Davey Boy Smith, Jr. & Lance Archer, to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship. Hiroshi Tanahashi defeats Shinsuke Nakamura, to win the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. And Satoshi Kojima defeats Rob Conway, to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
2015 – Togi Makabe defeats Tomohiro Ishii, to win the NEVER Openweight Championship. Kenny Omega defeats Ryusuke Taguchi, to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. And Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata defeat The Bullet Club (Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson), to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship.
2016 – In a Four-Way Match, The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) defeat Matt Sydal & Ricochet, reDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly), and Rocky Romero & Baretta, to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champ
2016 – Vince McMahon announces that Roman Reigns will be defending the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view, in the 30-man Royal Rumble Match. It’ll be the first time since 1992 that the WWF/E Championship is defended in the Royal Rumble Match.
2017 – Rocky Romero & Beretta defeat The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson), to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. Himoru Takahashi defeats Kushida, to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. Hirooki Goto defeats Katsuyori Shibata, to win the NEVER Openweight Championship. And Adam Cole defeats Kyle O’Reilly, to win the ROH World Championship.
2018 – Chaos (Beretta, Toru Yano, & Tomohiro Ishii) win a Gauntlet Match for the NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Championship. Sanada & EVIL defeat Davey Boy Smith, Jr. & Lance Archer, to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship. Hirooki Goto defeats Minoru Suzuki, to win the NEVER Openweight Championship. The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) defeat Roppongi 3K (Sho & Yoh), to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. And Will Ospreay defeats Marty Scurll, Kushida, and Himoru Takahashi, to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. Also on the card was Chris Jericho’s first NJPW match in nearly two decades; Jericho would lose to Kenny Omega in a No Disqualification Match for the IWGP United States Championship.
2019 – Will Ospreay defeats Kota Ibushii, to win the NEVER Openweight Championship. Shingo Takagi & Bushi defeat El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Roppongi 3K (Sho & Yoh), to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. Zack Sabre, Jr. defeats Tomohiro Ishii, to win the British Heavyweight Championship. Sanada & EVIL defeat Tanga Loa & Tama Tonga and The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson), to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. Juice Robinson defeats Cody, to win the IWGP United States Championship. Taiji Ishimori defeats Kushida, to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. Tetsuya Naito defeats Chris Jericho, to win the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. And Hiroshi Tanahashi defeats Kenny Omega, to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO: 2-time Mexican National Tag Team & Cruiserweight Champion, La Parka II (53 years old); former AWA wrestler Derrick Dukes (54 years old); and former WWF wrestler Jim Powers (61 years old).
Today would’ve been the 49th birthday for former WCW & WWF Tag Team Champion, Chris Kanyon.