2007: A special "Draft Lottery" edition of RAW was broadcast from the Wachovia Center in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. While the Draft Lottery had its surprising moments, including the draft of ECW Champion Bobby Lashely to RAW, the big story was the surreal, shocking end to the show...
The show that night was also "Mr. McMahon Appreciation Night." In an effort to pick up his spirits following his ECW Championship loss, Vince invited guests and stars from WWE's past and present to give their "fondest" memories of the Chairman. Safe to say it didn't go so well. After being harangued and roasted by WWE's finest, a depressed, despondent McMahon trudged to his limo and closed the door, only for the limo and himself to be engulfed in a fiery explosion, seemingly "killing" Vince McMahon.
In reality, it was a shock-factor wrestling angle that would've led into a "Whodunit?" storyline, which in turn would've led to a meteoric push for then-WWE Superstar Mr. Kennedy. The angle itself seemed to play out perfectly; fans were reporting the incident to local police, news outlets were covering the story, and WWE.com even acknowledged the explosion and McMahon's subsequent demise as "legitimate."
However, details concerning the angle had been kept far too close to the vest by those within the company; business partners were confused by the "incident", WWE's stock took a surprisingly large drop, and wrestling pundits drove up a public outcry against the angle, particularly following a WWE press release, in which WWE essentially used its owner's "death" as a vehicle to push the next, "exciting" episode of RAW.
While those were criticial factors in sweeping the angle under the rug, it was ultimately nixed two weeks later following the tragedy of Chris Benoit, his wife Nancy and their son Daniel.
2005: The first man drafted in WWE's newly-formatted Draft Lottery (5 picks for RAW, 5 for SmackDown) was none other than then-WWE Champion John Cena coming over to RAW, fresh off his feud with JBL. It would also be the first time since the initial brand split that both the WWE (Cena) and World Heavyweight (Batista) champions were on the same show, before Batista was moved over to SmackDown. Cena's remained a staple of RAW to this day, going on 11 years!
1998: Wrestlepalooza '97, presented by ECW, was headlined by the ECW Heavyweight champion Terry Funk retaining his title against Chris Candido, a surprise appearance by Jerry "The King" Lawler, and Tommy Dreamer picking up his first (televised) victory over longtime nemesis Raven in a "Loser Leaves ECW" match.
1993: At a WWF live event in Albany, New York, Shawn Michaels defeated Marty Jannetty to win the Intercontinental Championship in what would be the 2nd in a series of three matches for the IC Title between the former Rockers. This would also be the match where Kevin Nash made his official WWF debut as HBK's bodyguard, Diesel.
Credit to cagesideseat.com for the history lesson!
2014: The very first NXT: Takeover special was broadcasted from Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida. It featured the Ascension (Viktor & Konnor) in the midst of their record-setting reign as NXT Tag Team Champions. Also, there was Charlotte (w/Ric Flair) overcoming Natalya (w/Bret Hart) in the finals to determine a new NXT Women's Champion, after then-champion Paige had relinquished it to focus on her recently-won Divas Championship. Finally, in the main event, Adrian Neville successfully retained his NXT Championship in a grueling match-up against Tyson Kidd.
2008: The late Chris Benoit's personal physician, Dr. Phil Astin, wound up with a 175-count indictment, having allegedly written thousands of illegal subscriptions to seventeen different patients (many of them on the then-current WWE roster, like William Regal, Rey Mysterio, and Edge). Coupled with an earlier seven-count indictment on over-prescribing painkillers/drugs, Astin faced a cumulative 300 years in prison and up to $175 million in fines. He would plead guilty to all charges in January 2009, and was sentenced four months later to 10 years in prison.
2000: On a episode of WCW Nitro emanating from Salt Lake City, Utah, Kevin Nash relinquished his recently-won WCW Championship and awarded it to Ric Flair, who'd been stripped of the title a week prior. Nash stated on-air that Flair shouldn't have been stripped of it to begin with and was the rightful champion. This notion would ring hollow later in the night, though, when Flair defended his newly-won title against Jeff Jarrett and lost, marking it not only as the shortest of Flair's record 16 championship reigns, but also his last.
Thanks goes out to cagesideseats.com for today's history lesson!
Colby "Seth Rollins" Lopez turns 30 years old. Happy birthday to Mr. "Freaking" Rollins!
2002: Paul Heyman and Brian Gewirtz were announced as the official heads of creative for Smackdown! and RAW respectively. While Gewirtz would head RAW creative until 2012, Heyman would leave Smackdown! in 2005 to become chief booker for WWE's then-developmental promotion, Ohio Valley Wrestling. Heyman would briefly return in 2006 to oversee WWE's ECW "revival", but was relieved of his position following the poorly-planned "December to Dismember" PPV.
2009: Time Warner and AOL officially end their merger, AOL being spun off as an independent company. The 2001 merger, which was considered the proverbial corporate dagger in the demise of World Championship Wrestling (WCW), ended up becoming one of the worst corporate mergers in history, leading to a 77% and 99% drop in Time Warner and AOL's stock, respectively, within the first two years.
Credit to www.casgesideseats.com for the history lesson!