Ryan Pratt looks back in time at some of the notorious wrestling moments and events that have taken place on this day. In addition, we highlight some of the wrestlers who celebrate their birthdays today.
On this day in 1995 Extreme Championship Wrestling produced ‘Extreme Warfare’, which would later air on the March 21st, 28th and April 4th episodes of ‘ECW Hardcore TV’ on The Nashville Network. A crowd of 1,100 people packed the ECW Arena in Philadelphia on the day England beat Scotland 24-12 at Twickenham to claim the Five Nations Rugby Championship, Grand Slam, Triple Crown and the Calcutta Cup. Opening the show was a bout between Jason and ECW Triple Crown champion Mickey Whipwreck, which was won by the latter, putting an end to their long feud.
Ron Simmons then swiftly defeated Hack Meyers in under three minutes, before Simmons would challenge the 6ft 8in tall 911, also known as Alfred Poling, who would confront the future Faarooq in the ring and subsequently chokeslamed him twice. Up next came a ‘Generation X gauntlet match’, with Tommy Dreamer going up against all members of Raven’s Nest, Tony Stetson, Johnny Hotbody, Stevie Richards and Raven, all of whom were handcuffed at ringside to prevent outside interference when the match was going on. Dreamer knocked off Stetson, Hotbody and Richards with his patented DDT and an enziguri to Richards prior to Terry Funk coming down to the ring and using a bolt cutter to release Raven of his handcuffs. The man from Bowery punched Dreamer with his handcuff and then hit the Evenflow DDT, pinning him to win the gauntlet and then attacking him with a chair after the match. Next up was an ECW Television title match, with Dean Malenko defending the championship against 2 Cold Scorpio, who defeated ‘The Man of a Thousand Holds’ with a roll up after ‘The Human Suplex Machine’ Taz attacked Malenko during the match costing him of his title. Following this was a Strap match between former tag team partners Axl and Ian Rotten, who had broken up after they lost a match to the Pitbulls which forced them to break up as a team, which led to Ian turning on Axl. The rivalry between the Rottens won Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s ‘Feud of the Year’ in 1995. Axl Rotten came out as the victor in this matchup.
The next match was a tag team match with the Pitbulls facing off against the Public Enemy, who ran out winners when Rocco Rock used a victory roll on Pitbull #2 whilst topping the music charts at this time in ’95 was Celine Dion with ‘Think Twice’. The penultimate match on the card saw Sabu face Mikey Whipwreck, who despite competing in the event’s first bout of the night replaced former Rockers member Marty Jannety who missed a flight to Philadelphia. ‘The Homicidal, Suicidal, Genocidal, Death Defying Maniac’ made Whipwreck tap out with the Camel Clutch. In the main event, Cactus Jack and then ECW Heavyweight Champion Shane Douglas took on the Sandman and Terry Funk. This match was a hectic free-for-all between the four men which ended with Funk pinned Cactus Jack’s shoulders to the mat after piledriving the Hardcore Legend onto a flaming branding iron. Yes, OH MY GOD!
George W Bush was president of the United States of America and Tony Blair was prime minister of the United Kingdom while WCW had their last ever PPV after losing the Monday Night Wars to the WWF and Vincent Kennedy McMahon, who would buy WCW on 23rd March 2001, acquiring all of the company’s assets just five days after ‘Greed’. Ten matches took place in Jacksonville, Florida on this day 20 years ago, with Jason Jett, only debuting that week for WCW before their demise, defeating Kwee Wee in the opening match, before Elix Skipper and Kid Romeo overcame Rey Mysterio Jr and Billy Kidman to win the inaugural WCW Cruserweight Tag Team Championship.
The self proclaimed ‘Mecca of Manhood’ Shawn Stasiak would oust Bam Bam Bigelow with Stasiak having his manager Stacy Keibler to thank, who distracted the referee and handed the son of former WWWF champion Stan Stasiak a bottle of hairspray to blind Bigelow and allow him to hit a neckbreaker for the victory. It really was ‘The Shawn and Stacy Show’ during this match. Next up was Team Canada consisting of Lance Storm and Mike Awesome getting the best of Konnan and Hugh Morrus as Awesome hit his trademark powerbomb finisher on Morrus. The following bout was a Cruiserweight Championship match, with Chavo Guerrero defending his title against Shane Helms, who won a number one contender’s match against five other men in an elimination match at WCW Superbrawl: Revenge a month prior. This was a spectacular back and forth between two talented technical wrestlers, as the future ‘Hurricane Helms’ reversed a Gory Special into a Verterbraker to capture the title. Coming up was a match for WCW World Tag Team Championship, which saw The Natural Born Thrillers, Chuck Palumbo and Sean O’Haire, get the better of Tottaly Buffed, Lex Luger and Buff Bagwell, to retain their championship in a match that lasted 54 seconds.
Ernest ‘The Cat’ Miller beat Kanyon preliminary to Booker T defeating Rick Steiner to win the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship after outside interference from Shane Douglas who attacked Steiner with his cast allowing Booker to hit the Bookend and pin one half of the successful Steiner brothers. Following on from this was a ‘Kiss My Ass’ match with ‘Double J’ Jeff Jarrett and ‘The Nature Boy’ Ric Flair going up against the father-son combination of Dusty and Dustin Rhodes. Dustin would roll up Flair for the win, and afterwards Dusty would make Jarrett kiss his backside! Professional wrestling is crazy for sure! In WCW’s final PPV main event, WCW World Heavyweight Champion Scott Steiner retained his title in a Falls Count Anywhere bout against Diamond Dallas Page whilst Shaggy’s hit song with Rikrok ‘It Wasn’t Me’ sat in the top three of the music charts.
Taking place for the first time since October 1992, Saturday Night’s Main Event 2006, taking place the year Italy won the World Cup in an infamous cup final which saw French footballing star Zinedine Zidane headbutt Italian defender Marco Materazzi, had a card which helped build up Wrestlemania 22, which was just two weeks away. The first bout was a handicap match with the dream team of John Cena and Triple H overcoming the trio of Kurt Angle, Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio. WWE Champion Cena and Triple H would face off for the WWE title at ‘Mania whilst Orton, Champion Angle and 2006 Royal Rumble winner Rey Mysterio would go onto to a Triple Threat match at the Allstate Arena in April. Then a beer drinking contest took place with the returning ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin beat JBL by disqualification as rather than drinking the beers JBL threw them over himself to make it look like he actually drank them.
JBL’s Wrestlemania opponent and the United States Champion Chris Benoit came out and threw Layfield into the ring for Austin to drench the self-proclaimed Wrestling God with beer and then deliver a Stone Cold Stunner to shut JBL up. Then, the strange tag team of Trish Stratus and Mickie James beat Victoria and Candice Michelle. Stratus defeated James at New Years’ Resolution in a Women’s title match, but James confessed her love for Stratus and her obsession grew for Trish before Mickie James turned on the Women’s Champion by attacking her after she wouldn’t kiss her back.
The two would go to have a memorable match at Wrestlemania 22 in one of the most intriguing and strangest storylines of 2006, the same year Twitter was launched (actually three days after this event!). The main event was a Street Fight between Shawn Michaels and Shane McMahon. This match was a fun brawl, but the ending was marred as Shane O’Mac put Michaels in a Sharpshooter with Vince McMahon calling for the bell, mirroring the Montreal Screwjob when Michaels put Bret Hart in the Sharpshooter at Survivor Series 1997. Vince and Shaun would go on to face each other at Wrestlemania in a bloody No Holds Barred fight of their own.
Hosted at the Impact Zone in Orlando, Florida, Victory Road featured eight different matches in 2012, the year in which London hosted the Olympic Games, Queen Elizabeth II had her Diamond Jubilee and it was prophesied that the world would end after Ancient Mayans predicted a doomsday on the 21st December 2012. The event started off with James Storm defeating Bully Ray to become the number one contender for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship in a quick match which saw Storm superkick Ray for the win, giving the dastardly heel his comeuppance after Ray threatened to hold the PPV hostage if he didn’t get his chance at becoming number one contender. Next up was a match for the X Division Championship that saw ‘The Greatest Man That Ever Lived’ Austin Aries triumphantly defended his title against Zema Ion who tapped out when Aries delivered a brainbuster and rolled through for the Last Chancery submission while Gotye’s ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ topped the musical charts.
Another title retention followed with Magnus and Samoa Joe keeping hold of their World Tag Team Championships with a win over Crimson and Matt Morgan. This next match however saw a title change, with Devon defeating Robbie E with a big spinebuster to win the Television Championship in an open challenge to win his first major singles title. Gail Kim then faced off Madison Rayne for the Knockouts Championship in a grudge match after Rayne, who used to be affiliated with Kim, walked out on her associate and then turned on her after becoming number one contender for the Knockouts title. Champion Kim won the match after hitting her Eat Defeat from out of nowhere on the challenger. Succeeding this was ‘The Phenomenal’ AJ Styles and Mr Anderson facing ‘The Fallen Angel’ Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian. This rivalry was brewing for months, as Daniels turned on his former partner Styles to align with Kazarian. Styles called up Anderson for backup, and the two would get the win over Bad Influence, with Styles hitting his trademark Styles Clash on Kazarian for the 1 2 3. The penultimate match of the evening was between Olympic Gold medalist Kurt Angle and ‘The Charismatic Enigma’ Jeff Hardy. This match was made after Angle cost Hardy his chance at the World Heavyweight Championship after Angle interfered in the title match Hardy and champion Bobby Roode. This match was a back and forth between two very skilled wrestlers of different styles which ended when Angle rolled up Hardy but held onto the ropes without the referee seeing.
The main event was a non-title No Holds Barred match which pitted the TNA World Heavyweight Champion Bobby Roode and ‘The Icon’ Sting, who was TNA General Manager at the time. Sting and Roode had come to blows over a series of months, with Sting brought out his joker like alter ego for this hardcore match. Roode went on to win the match after Sting delivered a Scorpion Deathdrop but smashed his head against a chair set up in the ring which knocked ‘The Icon’ out as Roode rolled over to pin Sting’s lifeless body. The show ended with Roode, TNA president Dixie Carter and Sting facing off, but Roode came out on top cracking a steel chair over Sting’s body with Dixie Carter helplessly watching on.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, this episode of Dynamite was in an empty arena, that of Daily’s Place, home of the Jacksonville Jaguars in Jacksonville, Florida, with no fans in attendance. Festivals were cancelled, schools, shops and stores were shut, countries went into lockdown, but Dynamite continued. Opening the show was Cody, who stood alone in the middle of the ring in silence. You could have heard a pin drop in the arena. It was deathly silent. ‘The American Nightmare’ called for everyone to stand together, especially the Elite, who were in a war with the Inner Circle as well as within after there had been conflict and divide between the stable mates of the Elite. Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson and Hangman Adam Page all joined Cody and stood together united, which was apt considering the storyline of them needing to cooperate for their Blood and Guts match (the one that never happened) against the Inner Circle, as well as the global pandemic that hit the world which has required everyone to come together and support one another. The first match of the night featured the Best Friends, Chuck Taylor and Trent, against the Lucha Brothers, Rey Fenix and Penta El Zero Miedo. Wrestlers sat in the crowd to help create an atmosphere, with Shawn Spears and MJF betting on the outcome of each match. Orange Cassidy was at the commentary table but didn’t say a word during the match. This back and forth was won by a strong outfit in the Lucha Brothers.
The second match of a fanless AEW Dynamite was an energetic Fatal 4 Way match between Hikaru Shida, Riho, Penelope Ford and Kris Statlander. Shida ran out the winner after hitting a Falcon Arrow and Running Knee on ‘Superbad’ Penelope Ford. Next up was a tag team match, with Jungleboy and Luchasaurus defeating the Butcher and the Blade. Following on from this, the wrestling world finally found out who the Dark Order’s Exalted One was after months of build up. Evil Uno and Stu Grayson came out to the ring to reveal the identity of their Exalted One, but were interrupted by Christopher Daniels who suggested that the Exalted One didn’t exist. Then, on the titantron, a video played of a bearded man cloaked in white with his face covered, surrounded by beams of light. He began to speak and said, “Christopher Daniels, you are not the first old man not to believe in me, but you will be the last. My name is Brodie Lee and I am the Exalted One!” The former Luke Harper appeared in the ring and attacked Daniels and his SCU partners of Scorpio Sky and Frankie Kazarian. Ending the show was a six-man tag team match between Hangman Adam Page, Matt Jackson, Cody and the Inner Circle’s ‘Big Hurt’ Jake Hager, Santana and Ortiz. With ‘Le Champion’ Chris Jericho on commentary, Santana rolled up Matt Jackson for the win meaning the Inner Circle would gain advantage in their Blood and Guts match. Jericho came down to the ring to celebrate the victory and stated that the Elite were outnumbered due to Nick Jackson being taken out by the Inner Circle. Matt Jackson replied, saying he had called a favour from someone.
Then appeared Vanguard 1, landing in the centre of the ring. Piano music played in the background and in the rafters of Daily’s Place stood Broken Matt Hardy, who was the member to make up the numbers for the Elite in their five-on-five Blood and Guts match, which we unfortunately never got to see, but instead we saw a Stadium Stampede match between the Inner Circle and the Elite at Double or Nothing two months later. Sitting at the top of the music chart perch at the time of this show was The Weekend with the still very popular ‘Blinding Lights’.
A very happy birthday to Ethan Carter III! Currently signed to Ring of Honor, the man in ‘The Top One Percent’ started out wrestling in Cleveland, Ohio promotions including Pro Wrestling Ohio and Ohio Valley Wrestling before signing for Florida Championship Wrestling in 2009, where he would change his name to Derrick Bateman after previously using his birth name Michael Hutter. Bateman spent time in WWE’s developmental system with NXT, having the popular Daniel Bryan as his mentor over two seasons. Derrick Bateman was a lovable, relatable character who was involved in numerous love angles with Maxine and Kaitlyn.
Released by the WWE in May 2013, he went to Absolute Intense Wrestling before debuting with TNA in October that year as Ethan Carter III, the nephew of TNA president Dixie Carter. EC3 in TNA was an arrogant persona, and Carter played the role of a heel naturally under this character. He enjoyed multiple high profile matches in TNA with the likes of Sting, Kurt Angle, Bobby Lashley, Bully Ray and The Hardys, and managed to have two TNA World Heavyweight Championship runs with the company in addition to winning the Impact Grand Championship in 2017 before being released in early 2018, when he would depart to return to the WWE as EC3 in NXT. After an enjoyable stint in development, he was promoted to the main roster in December 2018. EC3 managed to beat Dean Ambrose in one of his first matches on Raw, but after that he just managed to win the 24/7 title four times of significance before being part of the mass releases due to budget cutting stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic in April 2020. Since then, EC3 has appeared for Impact Wrestling and Ring of Honor. The Narrative turns 38 today and has big things ahead of him with these companies.
Rick Martel celebrates his 65th birthday today! Best known for his time in AWA, WWF and WCW, The Model won tag team championships in each company he wrestled in ten times. Making his professional wrestling debut aged 17, Martel won the AWA World Heavyweight Championship in 1984 and held the title for nineteen months, the third-longest reign and the longest reign in the 1980s. During his time as ‘The Model’, he played a narcissistic, vain character and used to spray cologne in his opponents’ eyes to blind them. His most notable feud in the WWF was with Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, as he blinded Roberts with the cologne. The two had a Survivor Series elimination match in 1990, with ‘The Visionaries’ consisting of Martel, The Warlord and Power and Glory defeating ‘The Vipers’ Roberts, Jimmy Snuka and The Rockers in a clean sweep win. Martel had great matches with the likes of Koko B.Ware, Tatanka and ‘The Heartbreak Kid’ Shawn Michaels prior to leaving WWF in 1995.
He joined WCW three years later after time on the independents, starting off feuding with Booker T over the WCW Television Championship and actually winning it in February 1998 a month after his debut before having to relinquish the title due to a serious leg injury which effectively ended his in ring career, with Martel hanging up the boots in 1999. He has since worked as a trainer, had the occasional appearance in WWE and manages commercial properties he has invested in over the years.