Today In Wrestling History
Happy Birthday, Rock!
It’s a happy 44th birthday to Dwayne Douglas Johnson. He also is best known to millions as The Rock.
Born in Hayward, California to wrestler Rocky Johnson and Ata Johnson (nee Maivia), Johnson is a member of the Anoa’I wrestling family. His maternal grandfather and grandmother, “High Chief” Peter Maivia and Lia Maivia, were both involved in the wrestling business (Peter as a wrestler, Lia as a promoter).
In his junior and senior years, Johnson was a three-sport athlete at Freedom High School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. But it was his football playing that got him noticed by many top college football programs. Ultimately, he landed at the University of Miami, where he was a defensive tackle for the 1991 national championship Hurricanes. Injuries would force Johnson to the sidelines; he would be replaced by Warren Sapp, who would go on to have massive success both at the collegiate and NFL levels (Sapp was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013). While at “The U”, he met future wife Dany Garcia, who would graduate from the school in 1992 and would later become a member of its Board of Trustees.Johnson graduated in 1995 with a Bachelor’s degree in criminology and physiology.
Later that year, he joined the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders. He was a practice squad player but was released about halfway through the season.With his football career a bust, Johnson decided to join the family business: wrestling. Dwayne’s father Rocky wasn’t sold on the idea, but once he decided to train him, he warned Dwayne he would not take it easy on him. Johnson Would go on to become a multi-time WWF/WWE champion and a successful actor.
29 years ago today in San Francisco, California, Curt Hennig defeated Nick Bockwinkel to win the AWA World Heavyweight Championship. Larry Zbyszko had a hand in the outcome—literally. He gave Hennig a roll of quarters and knocked out Bockwinkel with the roll.
22 years ago today at a WCW Saturday Night taping, Larry Zbyszko defeated Lord Steven Regal to win the WCW World Television Championship.
22 years ago today at a Smoky Mountain Wrestling TV taping in Harriman, Tennessee, Jake “The Snake” Roberts defeated “Dirty White Boy” Tony Anthony to win the SMW Heavyweight Championship.
The title change, airing twelve days later, would be the last television appearance for Roberts for the promotion. He basically disappeared from the company, no-showing events following the win, until SMW gave the title back to Anthony on July 5.
20 years ago today at a WCW Worldwide taping in Orlando, Florida, Dean Malenko defeated Shinjiro Otani to win the WCW Cruiserweight Championship.
8 years ago today, Country Music Television announces that Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling has been greenlit for the network. The series, airing in the fall, was produced by Bischoff-Hervey Productions. Famed basketball player Dennis Rodman would win the show’s only season.
8 years ago today, PWInsider.com reports more stringent rules have been placed in regards to the WWE Wellness Policy. In short: male performers had to submit a sample in full view of the administrator, and all performers had to show that they were not using a device to circumvent the test. The report in full:
“WWE performers who underwent drug testing as part of the Wellness Policy this week found themselves under more stringent testing conditions. In the past, performers were able to urinate into a vial at a urinal, but as of this past week, male performers were required to provide a sample in full view of those representing Aegis Science, the firm that tests WWE’s urine samples. Performers, male and female, were also required to drop their pants at least down to their knees and pull their shirts up above their nipples, according to numerous sources. The new testing procedures were believed to have been adapted to prevent talents from circumventing testing procedures using cheating devices.The word making the way around the wrestlers was that an incident had sparked the more stringent procedures, but no one was quite sure what that exactly had been or if the story was correct or some baseless theory that was created among the discussion of the changes. There was talk that a developmental talent had been caught trying to use a device in an attempt to circumvent the testing process.”
Today would have been the 55th birthday of Ray Washington Traylor, Jr. Known under such names as Big Bubba Rogers, The Boss, and the Guardian Angel, he’s best known for his time in the WWF as the Big Boss Man.