The Year In Wrestling: Bruno passes away, WWE TV deals announced

Photo: Associated Press

As you well know, a lot happens in a year especially in sports and entertainment. When I do my year-end MMA review shows, I am always amazed looking at all the little things that happened in a given month that ended up being bigger things later on.

But, we had never really done a comprehensive month-by-month look at the year that was in pro wrestling, so here we are. I tasked website contributor Josh Molina to help me out and that’s exactly what he did. 

There was so much that happened that I had to split this up into four separate posts, the first of which covered January-March. We now move into April, May, and June which featured WrestleMania, the passing of a wrestling icon, great matches, and the usual amount of weird stuff.

The grea Bruno Sammartino dies at 82
HBO debuts the Andre The Giant documentary to great criticial acclaim
WWE holds the Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia to kick off their decade-long deal. Daniel Bryan lasts 76:06 in the GRR, a Rumble record
Mike Bennett and wife Maria Kanellis-Bennett have their first child
“Blockers” starring John Cena and “Rampage” starring Dwayne Johnson debut at movie theatres
Charlotte Flair returns after missing two weeks due to dental surgery
At WrestleMania, Ronda Rousey impressed everyone in her pro wrestling debut while Universal Champion Brock Lesnar shocked everyone by defeating Roman Reigns to retain her title
After getting engaged in the ring, John Cena and Nikki Bella announced their separation
Johnny Gargano defeated Tommaso Ciampa in a five-star match at NXT TakeOver
WWE Network announced they had reached 1.8 million subscribers
Cody defeated Kenny Omega in their first meeting
“Luscious” Johnny Valiant passed away at 71
Wrestler/manager Paul Jones passed away at 75
Motoko Baba, wife of Shohei “Giant” Baba dies at 78
Danny Davis sold Ohio Valley Wrestling, the WWE’s first developmental territory, to Al Snow
Impact held its first PPV under its new creative leadership of Don Callis and Scott D’Amore called Redemption
Bob Backlund, 68, returned in a tag team match with Riki Choshu and Tatsumi Fujinami to defeat Tajiri, Jinsei Shinzaki, and Kasma Sakamoto
Jake “The Snake” Roberts pressed charges against Davey Boy Smith Jr, alleging that Smith threw hot coffee on him at an event
Dwayne Johnson welcomed his third daughter into the world
WWE women’s wrestler Paige abruptly retired due to a neck injury
WWE announced Smackdown was moving to Fox while Raw would stay on USA through two separate five year deals worh a combined $2.4 billion
First day ticket sales for New Japan Pro Wrestling’s San Francisco Cow Palace show were slow at just 3300
Kane won the Republican nomination to run for mayor of Knoxville
Universo 2000, who held the CMLL title for a combined seven years over three reigns, passed away at 55
Tony Schiavone signed contract to announce Major League Wrestling events
“Bipolar Rock & Roller”, a documentary about Mauro Ranallo’s battles with bipolar disorder, debuts on Showtime
Batista starred as Drax the Destroyer in “Avengers: Infinity War”, one of the biggest movies of the year and of all-time
Believed to be the patriarch of the Samoan dynasty, Prince Neff Maiava passed away at 93
All In sold out (10,000+ tickets) in roughly half an hour
Raw Women’s Champion Nia Jax challenged Ronda Rousey for a title match
The Phoenix (AZ) Police Department dropped their sexual assault investigation into Enzo Amore
Amore also releaseed a widely panned rap single
John Hennigan (Johnny Morrison/Nitro/Impact) was announced as part of the Survivor cast
Dr. Chris Amann’s slander suit against CM Punk and Colt Cabana went to trial
WWE aired their first NXT UK shows on WWE Network
AXS TV announced the launch of Women of Wrestling show for early-2019
Jose Luis Hernandez, who wrestled as El Egipcio in EMLL, passed away at 61
John Greene, who wrestled as Johnny Attitude in WCW in the 1990s, passed away at 53
Eli Drake signed a multi-year deal with Impact Wrestling
Anthem (parent company of Impact Wrestling) hired former MTV executive Peter Einstein as COO
A police dog attacked and bit Shinsuke Nakamura at the Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield, CA, forcing the cancelation of a planned title match against Jeff Hardy
Sami Zayn underwent shoulder surgery
WWE released Big Cass due to multiple backstage problems
Pop singer Shania Twain invited Kevin Owens on stage during her concert at the Bell Centre in Montreal
Leon White, aka Vader, passed away due heart failure
Madison Square Garden temporarily dropped a planned ROH show due to their relationship with WWE
Braun Strowman and Alexa Bliss won briefcases at WWE Money in the Bank
In her first title shot, Ronda Rousey shone brightly in her debut singles match against Raw women’s champion Nia Jax, but lost via DQ
AJ Styles got the cover of the WWE 2K19 game
John Cena settled out of court with Ford after he sold a rare $450,000 Ford GT Supercar that was supposed to be just for him
Kenny Omega defeated IWGP Champion Kazuchika Okada in an all-time classic match, becoming the first Canadian to win NJPW’s top prize
CM Punk lost his second MMA fight at UFC 225 in Chicago
Tough Enough winner Matt Cappotelli lost his longtime battle with cancer at just 38
WWE returned to Sumo Hall in Japan
Juan Jose Avila, known as Chicano Power, passed away
An Illinois jury ruled in favor of CM Punk and Colt Cabana in a defamation lawsuit filed by WWE doctor Chris Amann

Next: July-September