In a historically quiet week for pay per views in the WWF, it is quite a different story in terms of major titles changes.
Starting at the very top, the date of October 12, 1992, might ring a bell with some, and if you throw in the town of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan alarm bells may be ringing out that this is the day Bret Hart defeated Ric Flair to win his first-ever WWF championship.
In what could have drawn big money on pay per view in a heavily hyped match, Bret instead won his first of five WWF titles in a dark match at a WWF Superstars taping in front of a stunned, yet exhilarated Canadian crowd. Since Hogan first won the belt in 1984, the WWF title rarely changed hands on anything other than a major PPV so an out-the-blue win here was really something special for the crowd in attendance. On a night featuring no less than 22 matches (that I can find), Bret’s win marked a real swing in the WWF’s direction away from the 80s stars like Hogan, Savage and Flair, and more towards the “New Generation” stars such as Hart, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker and Yokozuna.
The WWF title wasn’t the only belt to change hands historically during this week. Kofi Kingston defeated The Miz on an episode of Main Event to win his fourth and last WWE Intercontinental title in 2012.
Another new IC champion was crowned in 1998 when Ken Shamrock defeated X-Pac in the finals of an Intercontinental title tournament on Monday Night Raw. This was the same Raw where at the height of the Austin vs McMahon feud we had the famous moment of Stone Cold destroying Vince’s Corvette by filling it with cement. It was also the go-home Raw for Judgement Day where Austin refereed a WWF title match between Kane and the Undertaker, but instead of declaring a winner and new champion, Austin knocked The Undertaker out with a steel chair and counted he and an already downed Kane out and declared the match a draw. This action caused Mr McMahon to “fire” Stone Cold for not declaring a winner and all helped lead to Survivor Series 1998 where we saw the famous emergence of a “Corporate Champion”.
Fast forward a year to 1999 and we had only the second WWF pay per view to appear this week with No Mercy taking place on October 17. Vince Russo had only just left the WWF to join WCW’s creative team and he would take Jeff Jarrett with him after he lost his Intercontinental title to Chyna in a Good Housekeeping match. But this night would be best remembered for the thrilling tag team ladder match between Edge & Christian and the Hardy Boyz. This took a lot of fans by surprise as it was the first tag ladder match of its kind, and it set the bar for this style of the match for the years ahead with death-defying stunts and unbelievably brave and unique ways to harm themselves and their opponents.
On the No Mercy go-home SmackDown! episode on Oct 12, the WWF tag team titles changed hands as The Rock and Mankind defeated the New Age Outlaws to win the straps, only for them to lose the belts six nights later on Raw to Hardcore and Crash Holly. Combine the Rock ‘n’ Sock and Holly Cousin’s wins with Money Inc. winning the same straps this week in 1992, the Koloffs winning the NWA (1985), The Steiners winning the WCW (1997), The Legion of Doom winning the WWF titles(97) all on the same day: Oct 13, as well as Chris Jericho and Christian, and the Viking Raiders both winning the World/RAW tag titles on the 14th (in 2002 and 2019 respectively), and Cesaro & Sheamus winning the SmackDown! Titles on the 16th in 2018, it seems like this really was the week to be challenging for the tag team titles.
But the less we mention the RAW and SmackDown! tag title “changes” from this week in 2020, the better.
In 2000, a week after we heard that Rikishi was the driver behind the wheel that ran over Stone Cold Steve Austin at Survivor Series, we returned to the scene of the crime at the Joe Louis Arena for Monday Night Raw. On October 16 2000, before their upcoming No Holds Barred match Rikishi was unsuccessful in trying to run Austin over again, leaving the Rattlesnake ready to exact revenge on Rikishi on pay per view.
With the WWF only running two pay per views this week, for TNA and Impact Wrestling it is quite the opposite. October has traditionally been the group’s month to host their “WrestleMania” equivalent big show of the year: Bound For Glory, and this week hosted seven of them throughout the years. Sting kept his great early Bound For Glory main event run going as he continued on from his NWA title win the year prior with a TNA title win over Kurt Angle back in 2007. He repeated the same feat the next year by pinning Samoa Joe to win the title for the second time in 2008, but his winning main event run came to an end in 2009 when he fell to AJ Styles.
In 2011 The Hulk Hogan TNA era was in full swing as our BFG MVP Sting got into the ring with the man himself and got back to winning ways as he tapped Hogan out clean with the Scorpion Death Lock just like he should have at Starrcade 1997. However Hogan being Hogan, he couldn’t let Sting hog the spotlight for long. After several run-ins and a multi-person beat down on the Stinger, Hogan turned and helped Sting fight off their foes and ended up shaking hands and embracing as only two sweaty late 50-year-old men with bloody blade-job foreheads could.
Bound For Glory‘s from 2012, and 2018 also took place this week with Jeff Hardy and Johnny Impact (Nitro, Morrison etc) beating Austin Aries both years to win the world title. 2014‘s BFG was a joint show with Zero1 and boasted a line-up filled with inter-promotional matches featuring Samoa Joe, James Storm and the Great Muta amongst a host of initials and abbreviations: TJP, MVP, EC3, and NJPW’s (2020’s G1 Climax finalist) Sanada.
Ring of Honor was also in action, historically, this week. On October 13, 2012, they held their annual Glory By Honor show in Ontario, Canada where the likes of Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin, Jay Lethal, Adam Cole, Michael Elgin and Kevin Steen (Owens) were in action. 2016 and 2018‘s GBH also took place this week with the cards looking more like a current day AEW line-up with Cody, Britt Baker, Colt Cabana, Hangman Page, SCU, and the Young Bucks all in action. Kenny Omega successfully defended the IWGP US title against Yoshi-Hashi at ROH Global Wars a few years ago on October 15 2017.
Talking of ROH, I would be doing their history an injustice if I did not mention that Joe vs Punk II took place 16 years ago this week where Samoa Joe and CM Punk battled to a 60-minute draw in a five-star classic match. This one is lengthy, but it is one you should go out of your way to watch.
On next week’s “The Week That Was” we will continue to look at the big news and angles from October throughout the years, and also the beginning of the coverage of WCW Halloween Havocs from years gone by.