On This Day in Wrestling History…19th May

On 19th May in wrestling history, a group hug at the end of a Madison Square Garden arguably changed the course of WWE history.

Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Kevin Nash & Scott Hall - Curtain Call

Credit: WWE

1991 – WCW Superbrawl I took place in St. Petersburg, Florida. In the main event the WCW World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair defeated the NWA World Heavyweight titleholder Tatsumi Fujinami to win both world championships.  Also on the card Bobby Eaton defeated Arn Anderson for the WCW World Television Championship, The Fabulous Freebirds won the vacant United States Tag Team titles by defeating Steve Armstrong & Tracy Smothers and Ron Simmons defeated Butch Reed in a Steel Cage match. The Steiner Brothers retained the WCW World Tag Team titles against Lex Luger & Sting and El Gigante defeated Sid Vicious in a Stretcher Match.

1996 – A very memorable WWF house show took place at Madison Square Garden in New York City in front of 18,000 fans which was a record breaking crowd at the time for a non-televised WWF event. The Godwinns defeated The Bodydonnas to win the WWF Tag Team Titles and Vader defeated Yokozuna. Hunter Hearst Helmsley pinned Razor Ramon, and Shawn Michaels retained the WWF Championship against Diesel in a Steel Cage match in the main event.  This event marked the last appearance in the WWF for eight years for Scott Hall & Kevin Nash who played the gimmick characters of Razor Ramon & Diesel in the early and mid-nineties, and were leaving to join rivals WCW. 

This house show is most notable for the event that took place at the conclusion of the main event steel cage match.  Both Michaels and Diesel embraced each other at the end of the contest, and were then were joined by both Ramon and Helmsley in the cage who embraced each other in front of the live crowd in turn breaking the kayfabe illusion of heels versus babyfaces.  This event has become known as the “Curtain Call”, and in turn exposed the scripted and predetermined nature of the wrestling business. 

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The Curtain Call directly or indirectly triggered the wrestling business to change direction with their creative on television, and helped usher in the boom period in the wrestling business of the late nineties and early noughties where characters and feuds became more reality based and reflected the change in attitude with society’s viewpoint towards the wrestling industry.

1996 – Diamond Dallas Page defeated Dick Slater, Earl Robert Eaton, Ice-Train, Johnny Grunge, Rocco Rock, Scott Norton and The Barbarian in a Lord Of The Ring Final Battle Royal to become the number one contender for the WCW World Heavyweight Title at Slamboree in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  In the main event. The Giant retained his World Title against Sting, Konnan defeated Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger to hold on to the United States Championship.

2002 – The Undertaker defeated ‘Hollywood’ Hulk Hogan for the WWE Undisputed Championship in the main event of WWE Judgment Day from Nashville, Tennessee.  Triple H defeated Chris Jericho in a Hell in A Cell match, Rikishi & Rico beat Chuck & Billy for the WWE Tag Team Titles and Edge pinned Kurt Angle in a Hair vs Hair match.  Also Eddie Guerrero retained the Intercontinental Title against Rob Van Dam and Trish Stratus retained the WWE Women’s Championship against Stacey Keibler who was joined at ringside by Reverend Devon and Deacon Batista. Of note, this was the first PPV under the WWE banner after the company changed from WWF earlier that month.

2003 – Triple H retained the World Heavyweight Championship against Ric Flair in the main event of WWE Raw from Greenville, South Carolina.  Following the conclusion of this match (off-air) Shawn Michaels led a number of wrestlers to the ring to applaud Flair for his efforts in the match, and his career in general.  He was then joined by Kevin Nash, Steve Austin, Stephanie, Shane, and Vince McMahon and lastly Triple H himself came to the ring to embrace Flair who was unaware this was going to happen, and was visibly moved by the respect his peers, and the audience in attendance showered on him.

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2010 – AJ Styles, Desmond Wolfe, James Storm & Robert Roode defeated Abyss, Jay Lethal, Jeff Hardy & Mr Anderson in the eight-person tag match main event at the TNA Impact tapings in Orlando.

2012 – In Richmond, Virginia Charlie Haas defeated Jay Briscoe in an Unsanctioned match in the main event of ROH ‘The Battle of Richmond’.  Also The All-Night Express Kenny King & Rhett Titus defeated Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin by disqualification in a ROH World Tag Team Championship match, Tommaso Ciampa defeated Adam Cole, and Davey Richards pinned Jimmy Jacobs.

2013 – Mark Haskins, Nathan Cruz & Rampage Brown defeated Dave Mastiff, Marty Scrull & Paul Robinson in the 6-Person Tag match main event at PROGRESS Chapter Seven: Every Saint Has a Past, Every Sinner Has a Future from The Garage in London, England.  In the opening match El Ligero retained the PROGRESS Title against Noam Dar, and Eddie Dennis was victorious in a Four-Way Elimination match over Darrell Allen, Joey Lakeside & Xander Cooper.  Also Zack Sabre Jr defeated Jimmy Havoc in a singles match refereed by Nigel McGuinness, and Mark Andrews defeated Will Ospreay.

2013 – At WWE Extreme Rules in St. Louis, Missouri Brock Lesnar defeated Triple H in a Steel Cage match, John Cena and Ryback’s Last Man Standing Match for the WWE Championship ended in a no-contest, Sheamus defeated Mark Henry in a Strap match. Also Randy Orton defeated The Big Show in an Extreme Rules match and Alberto Del Rio defeated Jack Swagger in an I Quit match for the World Heavyweight Championship number one contendership.  The event also saw all three members of The Shield win their first gold in WWE. Dean Ambrose defeated Kofi Kingston for the United States Championship, and Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns defeated Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan & Kane) for the WWE Tag Team Championship in a Tag Team Tornado match.

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2014 – Three Beat The Clock matches took place at WWE Raw from the O2 Arena in London, England to determine a number one contender for Wade Barrett’s Intercontinental Championship.  Big E pinned Ryback in 5 minutes and 2 seconds, Rob Van Dam was able to score a quicker win in the second match pinning Alberto Del Rio in 4 minutes and 15 seconds. Finally, Dolph Ziggler and Mark Henry fought to a draw and either were able to beat the time in the previous match, making RVD the number one contender for the Intercontinental Title.

2019 – WWE Money In The Bank took place in Hartford, Connecticut.  Bayley won the Women’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match in the opening contest, whilst the Raw and Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynn had two titles defences at the event. Lynch successfully defended the Raw Women’s Title against Lacey Evans, and then dropped the Smackdown Women’s title to Charlotte Flair immediately afterwards.  Bayley then cashed in her contract and defeated Flair for the Smackdown Women’s Title. Rey Mysterio defeated Samoa Joe to win the WWE United States Championship, Seth Rollins retained the Universal Championship against AJ Styles, Kofi Kingston pinned Kevin Owens to hold on to the WWE Championship, and an unadvertised Brock Lesnar won the Men’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match.

Notable Wrestling Birthdays:

  • Kip Sabian (1992)
  • Danny Havoc (1986)
  • Aleister Black (1985)
  • Andre The Giant (1946)

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