In these rankings, there are so many factors to consider about what makes something outstanding (or outlandish) in wrestling history. Outlandish is easier: just look whatever TNA, WCW (“Chamber of Horrors” match stands out), and WWE booked in October serving as Halloween “entertainment.” Outstanding is more difficult to define with historical industry impact setting a high, if appropriate, standard. With a hundred plus years of history of in the big three markets of US, Mexico and Japan, it is no easy task. The most important moments (often) must go beyond one match or one man, October shows us why even if the month is loaded with those magnificent matches and important debuts.
For one man, it seems that three of the biggest stars of all time in their retrospective markets all debuted in October. In Japan, 1951, Rikidozan wrestled his first match, while eight years later in October 1959 Bruno Sammartino stepped into the ring for the first time in White Plains. New York. Without a doubt, the wrestling industry in Japan would be totally different, perhaps not even exist without the influence of Rikidozan. While wrestling in the US would have carried on without Bruno, his impact on New York / the McMahon family can’t be underestimated. When the first wrestling war started in 1983, the WWE’s coffers were stuffed with money made on the back of the charismatic Italian strongman. To a lesser extent, the official debut of El Hijo del Santo in October 1982 helped carry on the tradition of Mexico’s larger than life cultural figure. The Son of the Saint headlined Luca Libra main events for decades, including the groundbreaking 1994 When World Collide pay per view.
For matches, simply search any database of five star matches, then control F ‘October.’ That’s a dream card filled with Angle, Beniot, Bryan, Flair, Steamboats, and other elite modern North American workers. Add in Japan and Mexico, and it’s head spinning the amount of matches which were scary great. Yet, even with those awesome entrances of performers and five star classics, these are the October moment which rise to the top each fall that wrestling fans should / will never forget.
15 15. Katie Vick Angle
14 14. WWE No Mercy 1999
13 13. Riki Choshu turns on partners Antonio Inoki and Tatsumi Fujinami
12 12. Shane McMahon leaves WWE
11 11. Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara leave WWE
10 10. Magnum T.A. crashes his Porsche
9 9. Plane crash with Ric Flair, David Crockett, Tim Woods, and Johnny Valentine
8 8. WWE debuts WWE 24/7
7 7. NWA Bloodfests
6 6. WWE Badd Blood 1997
5 5. All Japan Pro Wrestling debut show
4 4. Rikidozan sixty-minute draw with Lou Thesz draw 87.0 rating
3 3. Paul Levesque marries Stephanie McMahon
2 2. 1995 Tokyo Dome show filled with New Japan vs UWFI matches
1 1. WWE goes public on NASDAQ / one year later on NYSE
The single most important business moment in the history of the industry giving the McMahon family not only a monopoly on the business in the short term, but almost guaranteeing one in the very near future pending some natural disaster (no, not the return of Typhoon / Shockmaster). While the McMahon’s gained an oversight board of directors and a million partners / stockholders, the bottom line is going public in October 1999 made Vince a billionaire. While this decision lead to colossal business missteps, most notably the XFL, it provided McMahon unparalleled resources in the history of the industry. Any new wrestling war will see the WW side funded by hedge mangers and pension plans. Despite some downsides, it could be argued that the WWE on the big board is the biggest story ever, not in October, but any month of any year.
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