One of the best things about tapping into wrestling history is that there’s so much of it. For better or for worse, the legacy of today is shaped in the past; whether it be a long time ago or much more recent. Every day we’re finding and sharing new stories across our Facebook and Twitter account, so to keep fully up to date make sure you’re checking those out. But some stories require a little more, so each week we’re going to bring to you a few either important or our favourite moments in time and delve a little deeper.
February 2nd 2008 – Christian: World Champion At Last
There are almost as many people out there as there are reasons to think that nothing good ever happened in TNA wrestling over the years. Similarly, there are just as many factors into why Christian never got the run at the top his talent so clearly deserved. Prior to his release in 2005 in WWE, Captain Charisma had been putting together one hell of a run that it looked like would see him break through to the main event. While that wasn’t meant to be, his impact (pun definitely intended) in winning the NWA World Title certainly was a moment to behold within not just his time in the company but also Christian’s career as a whole. Put over like a huge deal on commentary as the culmination of all his years in the business and hard work; the joy among the fans both from the initial title change pop to the post match celebrations make this go down as one of the moments in TNA history that goes down as one for the the good books.
February 11th 2002 – A Marriage Booked In Hell
On screen relationships are difficult to manage – and that’s purely from a booking standpoint. There have been some successes over the years no doubt but ultimately having to portray a couple within the squared circle leads to a variety of tropes and cliches. Even Stephanie McMahon and Triple H, who could not avoid their off screen partnership, had to go through a fake wedding (or two technically) and this particular angle way back when HHH was making his face comeback before Wrestlemania 18. To say that this was a lowlight would be to ignore a fake pregnancy angle designed to keep HHH by Stephanie’s side as it were and then to follow it up with Jericho being her lapdog going into Triple H’s title match at Mania. Their relationship would not be mentioned for another seven years, until Randy Orton got involved. If only they’d vowed not to get involved in terrible storylines.
February 11th 2015 – Sasha Slays The Competition
Four women that will undoubtedly go down in wrestling history. A generation of talent all in one ring. NXT may not be the definitive part of the story of women’s wrestling as it has grown and changed over the years but you cannot tell it properly without it. Already some five years on it looks as though we were spoiled with the sheer amount of superstars and the skill with which they had and there is almost no doubt we will get a repeat of this encounter on the main stage. Which is not at all to take away from what was – in the moment – maybe not the culmination of a feud but certainly the underlining of a point in time and what was to come. All four of these women have gone through so much ever since and it is when we trace everything back to this one encounter whereby all four could showcase their skills and it was Sasha who managed to come out on top, it serves as a reminder that even though we have seen these women perform for so long we’re only just scratching the surface and the excitement for what else there is still to come.
February 11th 1996 – The Worked Shoot From The Loose Cannon
This one could take us right through to February 2021 to explain – and even then we’d only be up to describing what happened. The short of it is that Brian Pillman and “The Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan were feuding. Only Sullivan was also booking. The two were to have a strap match, with the only way to end being to say “I respect you” to your opponent. Pillman said it within a minute of the bell ringing. He added the now infamous epithet “..booker man”, leaving in no uncertain terms what was going on here. Which is to say that we know now what he meant. In 1996 this was unheard of. It would start a change of events that would change the wrestling business forever.
With the help of Eric Bischoff, a Pandora’s box had been opened. He and Pillman put together a storyline in which the latter would shatter “kayfabe” and keep the audience guessing as to what was real and what wasn’t. To ensure the legitimacy of this angle, Pillman would have to go fully off script as it were and be fired. His next destination was ECW, where all sorts of things went down; which was what Bischoff sent him out to do, hammering home the “loose cannon” type character he was developing. Everything was going so perfectly to plan that what happened next will probably come as no surprise. With no contract, Pillman was free to sign with the WWF. Even Bischoff got swerved with that one.
February 13th 1997 – Shawn Loses His Smile
Time heals all wounds as the old saying goes. There was certainly some healing going on here in any case. For Shawn Michaels, time has allowed him to to distance himself from certain events – certain characteristics – that don’t look too favourably on him to say the least. It’s water under the bridge now but to look back on this now is quite remarkable, even factoring in what was going on at the time. There’s so much disputed in regard to Shawn’s account of the extent of his injuries and he didn’t exactly have the greatest of reputations when it came to telling the truth at the time. What isn’t up for interpretation however is that this avoided him having to drop the belt to Bret Hart at Wrestlemania. Coincidence of course. Though it is a momentous footnote in wrestling history, it’s not something that weighs down Michaels’ legacy as much as it might have done in years past. Whatever you think of him and this moment, it ultimately led to Bret VS Austin. That did make us smile.