Today In Wrestling History 5/30: Shawn Michaels Fired, Jim Duggan Nearly Dies From Injury, And More

* 31 years ago in 1984, the WWF held its final TV taping at the Fieldhouse in Hamburg, Pennsylvania before production of All-Star Wrestling was moved to Canada for the next two years. Like the Championship Wrestling taping the night before, Lord Alfred Hayes was in n commentary for Vince McMahon, who was mourning his father's death.

The change would be more pronounced in a few weeks, but this seems to be the turning point where All-Star Wrestling became the WWF's B-level syndicated show with Championship Wrestling as the A-show. For years, the shows had more or less the same priority (sometimes even leaning towards All-Star), but on the shows taped at this last Hamburg event, there was an decrease in the number of original interview segments and an increase in the repeats from Championship Wrestling.

* 29 years ago in 1986, the newly-renamed Universal Wrestling Federation (formerly Mid-South Wrestling) crowned its first UWF World Heavyweight Champion at the biweekly show in Houston, Texas. After defeating Koko War, Ted DiBiase, and Steve "Dr. Death" Williams, Terry Gordy defeated "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan (defeated Buddy Roberts, received a bye, and defeated Kamala) in the finals to become the first champion. Unfortunately, the whole match (much less the whole show) has never aired on television, but it looked absolutely fantastic from the clips that aired.

There was a near tragedy with Duggan. He was run head first into the ring post to set up his loss in the finals, bleeding heavily when his head hit the bolt. He wasn't feeling quite right, but he still made his bookings that week until his wife got concerned that his face was swelling in such a way that he couldn't close his eyes. She called his boss, promoter Bill Watts, who realized Duggan was suffering from blood poisoning and told him to go to the hospital, saving his life.

* 28 years ago in 1987, the WWF had three house shows: The A-show with Hulk Hogan vs. Harley Race in Baltimore, the B-show with the Intercontinental and Tag Team titles in Minneapolis, and the C-show with Hercules vs. Billy Jack Haynes In Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The most historically significant development took place in Minneapolis: After the Hart Foundation defeated the British Bulldogs, the Midnight Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty) made their WWF debuts by challenging the Harts to a title match. Being a AWA city, it was the perfect place to debut that promotion's former top babyface tag team.

Days later, Michaels and Jannetty made their in-ring debuts at a Wrestling Challenge taping in Rochester, New York. They got out of control at the post-show party and were promptly fired, eventually returning after a year in various territories.

* 23 years ago in 1992, the episode of WCW World Wide Wrestling that premiered in syndication featured what appears to be the last appearance of Scott Hall as The Diamond Studd. This show was taped on May 1st, his first WWF match as Razor Ramon was a dark match on May 18th, and the Razor vignettes started airing the weekend of June 14th, which was part of the cycle of shows taped on May 18th.

* 19 years ago in 1996, Valiente, one of CMLL's top high-flyers, made his pro debut. The master of the Valiente Special, a crazy no hands double springboard moonsault, he's often assumed to be a lot younger and less experienced than he actually is because he took a long stretch of time off and is such a spectacular flyer. That long break was because he couldn't get booked by larger promoters and grew frustrated. Eventually, he decided to make a run at going through CMLL's school, and that paid off.

* 18 years ago in 1997, Tony "Ludvig Borga" Halme had likely the only mixed martial arts fight of his career (other matches listed on his record were most likely worked pro wrestling matches) at UFC 13 in the first round of a heavyweight tournament. He was stopped in just over three minutes by another debuting fighter: Eventual tournament winner, two division UFC champion, and hall of famer Randy Couture. While Halme purportedly had some kind of boxing experience coming into pro wrestling, that was generally believed to be a work, as well.

* 17 years ago in 1998, WCW Saturday Night aired what was a huge match by the standards of the show in the Nitro/Thunder era: The third match of the famous best of seven series between Booker T and Chris Benoit. Benoit took the win to put him up 2-1 so far. The rest of the series was on Nitro, Thunder, and pay-per-view, with Booker winning the deciding match to earn a shot at WCW World Television Champion Fit Finlay. They'd re-do the series in 2005 to determine the WWE United States Champion, and Booker won that on 4-3 as well, though Randy Orton had to sub for him in the last three matches due to an injury.


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