Today In Wrestling History 7/5: Vince McMahon's Steroid Trial Begins, CM Punk Apologizes, & More

* 23 years ago in 1992, WCW held a house show at the Omni in Atlanta Georgia that featured two title changes. Bill Watts had the idea of making the Omni "WCW's Madison Square Garden" to boost house show business, but it didn't really work, as this card drew 2,500 fans on a holiday weekend with a lot of hype. The main event saw Steve "Dr. Death" Williams and Terry "Bamm Bamm" Gordy, known in Japan as the Miracle Violence Combination, defeat the Steiner Brothers to win the WCW Tag Team Championship. While the teams had good to great matches together, Doc and Gordy were not close to the box office attraction Watts wanted them to be and they fell super flat.

The other title change saw Brad Armstrong defeating Scotty Flamingo (Raven) to win the WCW Light Heavyweight Championship, ending his reign at just 15 days. As much of a great, smooth wrestler as Armstrong was, he was not a great fit as champion coming off of what Brian Pillman and Jushin Thunder Liger had set as the tone for the division. Less than two months later, Armstrong would vacate the title due to a knee injury and the promised tournament in "January" never happened, leaving the championship abandoned.

* 22 years ago in 1993, the WWF taped two weeks of Monday Night Raw at the Manhattan Center's Grand Ballroom in New York, New York. While the live show itself was largely uneventful (the big angle was a tape from the previous day's event on the USS Intrepid where Lex Luger became the first wrestler to slam Yokozuna), an open challenge from Mr. Fuji did set up the next week's main event of Yokozuna vs. Crush.

So on the taped show, Yokozuna defeated Crush with the Bonzai Drop after Mr. Fuji interfered. He then proceeded to repeat the move over and over, while also cutting off Tatanka's attempted save. Finally, before the fifth Banzai Drop, Randy Savage left the announcers' table and ran him off. Savage had been hyping Crush up as his friend and protege for a while, but he also had to maintain objectivity as a broadcast journalist. Crush would be out for three months, and, well, he resented Savage's inaction.

* 21 years ago in 1994, Vince McMahon's steroid distribution trial officially began with jury selection. Out of a pool of about 100 prospective jurors, 35 were excluded for biases or conflicts, which included having relatives that worked for the pharmacy that Dr. George Zahorian (the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission doctor who supplied many of the wrestlers with steroids) used, being wrestling fans who were worried about hurting the WWF/Titan Sports, and non-fans who said that pro wrestling being a work could affect their judgment in the case. Yes, really.

After a number of the potential jurors made comments to the effect of the trial possibly being fake because pro wrestling was, the judge addressed them:

Do not question whether wrestling is sports or entertainment...It's not whether wrestling is pure entertainment or sport. The only issue at stake is the case of distribution and to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the substance, not whether wrestling is phony or sports or entertainment.

Opening arguments and testimony from the first group of prosecution witnesses (Randy "Moondog Rex" Colley, Tom Zenk, Terry "Warlord" Szopinski, and Tully Blanchard) would take place the next day. We'll go over the key details tomorrow.

* 4 years ago in 2011, CM Punk apologized on Twitter for comments he made to a heckler at the previous night's house show in Adelaide, Austraiia. When working as a heel (he had cut the "Pipebomb promo but hadn't quite turned yet), Punk had made a habit out of milking interactions with fans at house shows, whether he was getting genuine heat or just shutting down a heckler. On this occasion, he went a bit over the line, with this portion of what he said getting the most attention:

"Sit down before you get hurt. [Heckler says something about Punk picking on women] Yes, you're right, I pick on women, that's why I'm picking on you two jerks right now! YOU HAVE A VAGINA! You have a vagina! Nice fauxhawk, you homo. Grow up."

Yes, he's a heel, but that's the way things work anymore. While Punk's support of gay rights were somewhat well-known (and for whatever reason, he had decided to do his hair and mustache up like Freddie Mercury for this tour), the video went viral, got picked up by TMZ, etc. He quickly tweeted an apology out on his own:

I'm glad TMZ posted that video because everybody needs to be held accountable for their bullsh-t, me included. What I said was bulls–t. I'm embarrassed. I own up to being a total douche in this situation and I offer a sincere apology to anybody I hurt with careless words.

He expanded on his thoughts on the situation a few weeks later in an interview with GQ:

It was just me doing my job, being a bad guy. I'm glad you mentioned something. When I saw that TMZ picked it up, because what a salacious story, I was legit embarrassed. My best friend Chez, ever since I have known her, has tried to curb anyone around her from using any gay slur. It's something that slipped out, more in reference to the guy's faux-hawk. It's not like he said anything that made me mad. It was just a back-and-forth that everybody was enjoying until I slipped and said something that could potentially damage somebody. I wasn't proud of it. I have gay friends, and sitting there in Australia, I was immediately thinking, "What are they going to say? Are they going to be disappointed?" Before I even talked to anybody in the office, I went to Twitter, and I apologized. It wasn't a public relations statement. It was just that I f–ked up.