This is a historical match going back to 1925. Wrestling became a legitimate sport in 1905 evolving out of strongman carnival shows. This particular match, in 1925, was the first WWE-style, planned-outcome and double-cross story. Popular European wrestler, Stanislaus Zbysko, agreed to lose to World Heavyweight Champion Wayne Munn prior to the match, however, competing wrestling promoter, Tony Stecher, secretly paid Zbyszko off to win.
According to Stecher’s plan, Zbyszko was to make Munn, a 6’6” former Nebraska football player, look like a tough competitor. Zbysko had his own plan and pinned Munn again and again, going off script, until finally the referee, in on the original plan, had to call the fight for Zbyszko, giving him the championship. Interestingly, Joe Stecher, Tony’s brother, won the title from Zbyszko months later, presumably the culmination of Tony Stecher’s plan.
Vince McMahon vs. Kofi Kingston
This unscripted scuttle went down inside a private jet. Vince McMahon instigated the outside-the-ring match when he insulted Kofi Kingston with a snide jab. It came after a four-hour flight of passing the time by playing cards and drinking Jack Daniels, straight, naturally. According to Chris Jericho who witnessed the insult while disembarking the jet, Kofi Kingston was set to let the comment slide. It was his boss who hurled it, after all. But then Chris Jericho egged Kofi Kingston on, telling him he needs to defend his integrity.
“You have to go back on the plane and challenge him to a fight right now,” he said, adding, “If you go challenge him, he’ll love it and respect you for it.” Kofi Kingston was convinced. Approaching Vince McMahon, Kofi Kingston asked if he had a problem with him. “You got a problem with me?!” It escalated to challenging each other to do something about it until Vince McMahon did something about it – he double-leg grabbed Kofi Kingston. The two rolled around like a couple of puppies for a few seconds before the boss stood up chuckling. Chris Jericho said Kofi Kingston gained his respect that day, this according to Chris Jericho’s memoir, The Best in the World: At What I Have No Idea. Tragically, there is no video footage of the clash.
The Great Khali vs. Big Show
This unregulated backstage clash of the titans exploded over Khali stealing Big Show’s move. Over the years the enormous Big Show had developed this move where he would corner the opponent in the ropes, hush the crowd with his finger over his lips, and once all was silent, he’d pound the crushing blow, an overhand chop into the opponent’s chest, BOOM, the crowd loved it. On this evening, Big Show was watching the giant Khali fight. Khali stole the move, the crowd cheered. Big Show grumbled, “Khali just stole my move,” to Chris Jericho, who wrote in his memoir that he knew, at this point, there would be trouble. In the locker room backstage, Big Show confronted Khali about stealing his move.
Chris Jericho said it was like having a front row seat for King Kong versus Godzilla. The two WWE wrestlers were as big as a truck, 7-feet tall and massive. None of the other wrestlers could pull them apart. Finally, Big Show tripped over a chair and lumbered to the ground, allowing the others in the room to separate the giants. Big Show was further humbled when Vince McMahon forced him to make an apology to Khali for throwing the first blow.
The Great Antonio vs. Antonio Inoki
The Great Antonio was a Croatian-Canadian strongman who made his name by dragging buses and airplanes across the tarmac, and Antonio Inoki was a proud and iconic Japanese wrestler. This match took place in Japan and it was agreed that the popular Inoki would beat the giant Westerner. During the match, The Great Antonio refused to “sell” Inoki’s fake double-legged kick into his oversized belly by falling and acting hit. This dinged Inoki’s pride, but the giant didn’t stop there, taunting the Japanese fighter until he lost it.
To his credit, he didn’t lose it until The Great Antonio began hitting him in the back, with real force. In response, he started hitting the Great Antonio, tackled him to the ground, and kicked him in the face. Walking away from the bloody-faced opponent, Inoki left the ring and declared himself the winner.
Paul Orndorff vs. Vader
Leon “Vader” White showed up to a WCW TV taping an hour and a half late prompting Paul Orndorff to make a few off the cuff remarks deriding Vader’s work ethic. The two had been cordial in the past, but Paul Orndorff’s comment sent Vader off his rocker. What his accuser did not know was that Vader had been scheduled for a photo shoot and the delay had been pre-approved by his boss. No matter. Vader flipped, threw the first punch in defense of his professional integrity, and, ironically, the scuffle cost him his contract with WCW.
The brawl was extensive; shouting, pushing, punching, kicking, slapping, and stomping each other. Eventually, in order to avoid facing charges, but not soon enough to save his job, the 400-pound Vader restrained himself against Paul Orndorff, a man almost half his size with a bum arm from a nerve injury. Vader felt remorseful about the altercation and tried to patch things up later by sending Paul Orndorff a red labrador puppy.