Top 20 moments in Baltimore wrestling history: Nos. 11-20

With WWE’s Extreme Rules pay-per-view taking place at Baltimore’s 1st Mariner Arena Sunday, I figured it would be the perfect time to compile a list of the most noteworthy moments in Baltimore’s rich wrestling history.

At first, I wondered if anyone outside of Baltimore would really be interested in such a list, but I think a number of readers may find it surprising that so many significant wrestling events have occurred in Charm City.

The list is composed of matches, angles and special events that took place at 1st Mariner Arena (formerly known as The Baltimore Civic Center and Baltimore Arena) going back to the mid-1970s when I first started attending shows there. Most of the matches on the list are well-known, but a few were included because of their historical significance.

I will post 11 through 20 today and the top 10 on Saturday.

11. CHRIS BENOIT VS. KEVIN SULLIVAN FALLS COUNT ANYWHERE MATCH (1996): For the first time in Baltimore wrestling history, a match spilled into the men’s bathroom. It became a wild scene at the Great American Bash pay-per-view when fans (including at least one woman) entered the bathroom to get an up-close look at the brawl, while police and WCW head of security Doug Dillinger tried to maintain order. Once the match got back in the ring, Benoit hit a superplex off a table that he had positioned on the ropes and scored the win.

To watch the first part of the match, click here.

To watch the second part of the match, click here.

12. THE SLAMMY AWARDS (1986): The Rock and Wrestling Connection was in full force when the first-ever Slammy Awards ceremony aired live on MTV. Gene Okerlund “Tutti Frutti”), Jimmy Hart (“Eat Your Heart Out, Rick Springfield”), Hillbilly Jim (“Don’t Go Messin’ with a Country Boy”) and Junkyard Dog (“Grab Them Cakes”) performed their songs from “The Wrestling Album.” Original MTV VJ Martha Quinn served as an interviewer, and pop star Cyndi Lauper was on hand in disguise as producer Mona Flambe.

To watch Hart’s performance, click here.

13. SCOTT HALL AND KEVIN NASH ATTACK ERIC BISCHOFF (1996): After Hall and Nash had invaded WCW and challenged the company to find three guys to face them and a partner in a six-man tag team match, WCW executive Bischoff brought The Outsiders to The Great American Bash to announce that WCW would accept. When Bischoff refused to tell Hall and Nash who WCW’s three wrestlers were, Hall punched him in the stomach, and Nash powerbombed him off the stage. This was shocking at the time because neither Bischoff nor WWE chairman Vince McMahon had taken a big bump before.

To watch the angle, click here.

14. RODDY PIPER-ADRIAN ADONIS TALK SEGMENT FEUD (1986): When Piper returned to WWE after a several-month hiatus, “Piper’s Pit” had been replaced as a talk segment on WWE programming by the flamboyant Adonis’ “Flower Shop.” That led to Piper’s babyface turn after a hugely successful run as wrestling’s top heel. Things built to a head when Adonis and Piper had a competition to see who had the better show, with their respective sets side by side on a stage. Adonis, Cowboy Bob Orton and Magnificent Muraco ended up brutally attacking Piper, smearing lipstick on his face and destroying his set. The “following week” on TV (it was actually the same night in Baltimore, as three weeks’ worth of shows were taped at a time), Piper hobbled onto the stage armed with a crutch and a baseball bat and busted up Adonis’ set. This angle led to the hair vs. hair match between Piper and Adonis at WrestleMania III.

To watch the angle, click here.

15. STING-HULK HOGAN WCW WORLD TITLE DISPUTE (1997): The night after Sting defeated Hogan for the WCW world title in controversial fashion, a rematch was ordered on WCW Nitro. The show went off the air while the match was still going on, with announcer Tony Schiavone screaming, “Fans, we gotta go! We’re out of time!” Viewers had to wait until Thursday’s WCW Thunder show to see what they missed. It was another disputed finish, which prompted WCW authority figure J.J. Dillon to come out and declare the title vacant. That touched off a brawl between the nWo and members of WCW.

To watch the first part of the match, click here.

To watch the second part of the match, click here.

16. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER LAYS THE SMACK DOWN ON TRIPLE H (1999): Schwarzenegger, who was at Smackdown to promote his latest movie, sat in on commentary during the eight-man tag team main event that pitted The Rock, Test, Kane and Shane McMahon against DX (Triple H, The Road Dogg, Billy Gunn and X-Pac), with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin as the special enforcer referee. Schwarzenegger got involved in the finish. He handed a chair to Austin, who blasted Triple H over the head with it, allowing Test to score the winning pinfall. After the match, Triple H took a swing at Schwarzenegger, who ducked and then proceeded to beat down “The Game.”

To watch the end of the match and the post-match angle, click here.

17. GOLDBERG TURNS HEEL (2000): During a WCW world title defense by Jeff Jarrett against Kevin Nash at the Great American Bash pay-per-view, the New Blood heel faction attacked Nash after a ref bump. Goldberg’s music then hit and he drove down the aisle in a monster truck. After entering the ring, Goldberg teased spearing Jarrett, but he speared Nash instead, allowing Jarrett to gain the victory. The crowd immediately began a loud “Goldberg sucks!” chant. There was even more heat when New Blood leaders Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo hit the ring and embraced Goldberg. Fans pelted the ring with cups of beer. I was working for WCW at the time and was sitting in the front row, so I got it pretty good. Despite the heated angle, Goldberg’s heel turn was short-lived, and WCW was out of business nine months later.

To watch the end of the match and the post-match angle, click here.

18. ANDRE THE GIANT SUFFERS A “HEART ATTACK” IN THE RING (1988): After the Jake Roberts-Rick Rude match on Saturday Night’s Main Event, Andre came down to the ring to assist Rude. Roberts, however, brought his snake Damien out of the bag and put it on Andre, who apparently was deathly afraid of snakes. He fell down to the mat and suffered a "heart attack." I recall some people in the arena actually believing Andre’s heart attack was real.

19. STING IS SET ON FIRE (2000): In one of the more infamous angles of the Vince Russo Era in WCW, Sting faced Vampiro at The Great American Bash pay-per-view in a Human Torch match. The object of the match was to set your opponent on fire (seriously). Sting and Vampiro were battling on top of the video screen when Vampiro set “Sting” ablaze with a torch (it was pretty obvious that Sting had switched places with a stunt man), and he fell from about 40 feet. What’s even more absurd is that Sting eventually returned to TV without a scratch on him. On a side note, as the editor of WCW Magazine at the time, I was backstage after the show and found out that the stunt man was legitimately shaken up and Maryland State Athletic Commission officials were livid about WCW doing such a dangerous stunt.

To watch the match, click here.

20. CHRIS JERICHO-DEAN MALENKO MATCH SPILLS ONTO THE STREET (1998): This match at The Great American Bash pay-per-view was for the vacant WCW cruiserweight title. Jericho ended up winning by disqualification and being awarded the championship. After the match was over, an enraged Malenko went after Jericho. As Jericho tried to escape, Malenko continued on the attack and followed Jericho outside the arena and onto the streets of Baltimore. Jericho ran across the street – in traffic – to finally get away.

To watch the end of the match and the post-match angle, click here.

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