* 36 years ago in 1979, Pat Patterson won the WWF North American Championship from Ted DiBiase in the first hour (premiering the weekend of June 23rd) of a Championship Wrestling at Agricultural Hall in Allentown, Pennsylvania. DiBiase had entered the promotion in February as champion and was mostly used as a mid-level white meat babyface. This match has become part of the lore of the Intercontinental Championship, with the modern version of WWE's story being that Patterson defeated "South American Champion" Antonino Rocca in a unification match in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. At the time, it was treated as a brand new title with Patterson discarding the North American Championship, though he actually lost that one in Japan to Seiji Sakaguchi.

* 23 years ago in 1992, Super World Sports ran its last show in Nagasaki, Japan. Backed by Megane Super, a huge eyeglass company, SWS started up in October 1990 as an attempt to launch a third major, traditional style promotion in Japan. They spent big to secure any talent of note that was willing to leave AJPW or NJPW, with the big catch being AJPW's Genichiro Tenryu. On top of that, they secured a working relationship with the WWF.

SWS never really caught on. They drew decent crowds, but that was largely thanks to comps given out to customers at Megane Super's stores. While they had some good talent, Tenryu was the only one who really clicked at the level of a top star, and even then not enough to carry the promotion. The final show was pretty uneventful, though there was a token WWF presence with "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan defeating Jim Powers, and Kamala forming an unlikely team with luchador Arkangel de la Muerte in a losing effort against Samson Fuyuki and Takashi Ishikawa.

Tenryu quickly got backing for a new promotion, WAR (Wrestle and Romance, which was changed to Wrestle Association R in 1995), which opened a few months later and maintained some semblance of a WWF affiliation. WAR had close ties to NJPW from the start, as well, and they had a really nice, solid run for the next several years, running some uniquely eclectic cards until Tenryu moved to NJPW and later AJPW (bringing much of the WAR talent with him) full-time.

Historically, SWS's biggest impact was opening up new main event spots in AJPW. With Tenryu, Yoshiaki Yatsu, and The Great Kabuki gone, young talent quickly got big pushes. Mitsuharu Misawa's Super Generation Army vs. Jumbo Tsuruta and his stable ushered the promotion into a new boom period that might not have happened otherwise.


* 22 years ago in 1993, ECW ran Super Summer Sizzler, which holds the distinction of being the first full show that was released by "ECW Home Video." While Paul Heyman had not taken over as booker yet (Eddie Gilbert was still in charge), the show featured a key moment in getting ECW buzz as the "extreme" or "adult" alternative promotion: After a "catfight" match between valets Peaches (Lori Fullington, Sandman's wife) and Tigra, Angel, anothr valet who worked for the promotion on and off for a few years, ran in. She promptly got her top pulled off, giving both the camera and the fans in attendance an eyeful. This was used as a selling point for the videotape, obviously.

The rest of the show was largely uneventful. The one in-ring highlight was the main event, where Eddie Gilbert defeated Terry Funk in a chain match, continuing their bloody feud. By ECW's next major show, UltraClash '93, Gilbert would be gone, replaced by Heyman as booker. He of course had his own ideas for ECW...

* 21 years ago in 1994, the WWF aired King of the Ring '94 live on pay-per-view from the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Maryland. It's best remembered as one of the oddest PPVs in company history.

Vince McMahon had undergone neck surgery six days earlier and was preparing for his criminal trial in New York. While there was some skepticism that he had the surgery so he could get sympathy in court, he did legitimately need the surgery and if he wasn't planning on going to jail, it made perfect sense for his recovery to coincide with the period he had to be off TV anyway. So for this show, the commentary team consisted of Gorilla Monsoon, Randy Savage, and...Art Donovan.

Art Donovan, a 70 year old retired football player best known for his stints with the Baltimore Colts, had gotten some attention for his appearances on David Letterman's late night shows. There, he was a delightful old curmudgeon who told hilarious football stories. Somehow, someone in the WWF thought this would translate to an amusing performance as the third man in the booth as well as adding some local flavor.

In practice, it didn't exactly turn out that way. Every wrestler's entrance was quickly followed by "How much does dis guy weigh, Randy?" Worse, he was fed lines to pick Razor Ramon as the winner, only to not recognize him when he came out. It was a mess, and by the end of the show, Gorilla and Savage were ignoring him.

The main event was just as weird: Jerry Lawler vs. the returning Roddy Piper. The WWF had just ramped up the "New Generation" ad campaign, but they were headlining a PPV with two middle aged men, one of whom was about to get a hip replacement. That got 12:30 bell to bell, while the 1-2-3 Kid's matches with Jeff Jarrett and Owen Hart got about eight minutes combined.

* 15 years ago in 2000, the WWF ran a live Monday Night Raw from the Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville, Tennessee. It featured the bulk of the first round of that year's King of the Ring tournament with Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Jericho, Rikishi, and Crash Holly all advancing to the quarterfinals at the namesake PPV six days later. With the WWF on a hot streak for great PPVs and the talent being assembled for the tournament, hardcore fans saw it as a can't-miss show. As for how it turned out…we'll get to that in a few days.

* 13 years ago in 2002, TNA (then NWA-TNA) ran its first show, starting their Wednesday night weekly pay-per-view series with a show at the Von Braun Civic Center in Huntsville, Alabama that included a live show and the taping of the second week's show. While flawed, it was a well-produced show in front of a healthy crowd of 3,000 fans with a nice mix of established stars and hungry younger talent.

One one hand, they introduced the X Division, crowned Ken Shamrock as NWA World Heavyweight Champion in a smart decision, and got over Malice (formerly The Wall in WCW) as a surprisingly improved and impressive rising star/legitimate contender. On the other hand, they introduced the incestuous Dupp family and the team of Richard and Rod Johnson, who were the Shane Twins in flesh colored body suits that were theoretically supposed to look like...well, male genitalia. There was definitely work to be done...

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