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On this day in pro wrestling history (May 31): Killer Kowalski beats Bruno Sammartino in Texas death match

By Brian Hoops,

1937 - Red Berry defeated Hugh Nichols to win the World Light Heavyweight Title in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

1940 - Jules Larance defeated Gil Knutsen for the Midwest Wrestling Association World Junior Heavyweight Title in Columbus, Ohio; In Kansas City, Kansas; World Heavyweight Champion Bobby Bruns beat Steve Brody (Brody was the World Junior Heavyweight Champion), Orville Brown beat Karol Zbyszko. (Zbyszko was billed as a nephew of Stanislaus and Wladek), Ray Schwartz defeated Fritz Schnabel and Ronnie Etchison and Angelo Martini went to a time limit draw.

1944 - El Santo won the Mexican National Middleweight Title in Mexico City, Mexico from Tuffy Truesdale in a tournament final.

1951 - In Kansas City, KS; Jerry Meeker defeated Hal Keen, Ray Eckert beat Bob Orton Sr., Dennis Clary beat Emil Dusek, The Dusek Brothers (Ernie and Joe Dusek) defeated Ronnie Etchison and Ralph Garibaldi in 2 out of 3 falls.

1965 - Pepper Martin defeated The Mad Russian for the NWA Pacific Northwest Heavyweight Title

1967 - In Denver, Colorado; Verne Gagne (sub Danny Hodge) & Ernie Ladd beat Johnny Powers & Johnny Valentine on a 3rd fall dq, also Lou Thesz beat Larry Hennig and Alberto Torres beat Bobby Duncum.

1968 - Alberto and Enrique Torres defeated El Mongol and Hans Schmidt in Atlanta, Georgia to win the Georgia NWA Southern Tag Team Title.

1969 - The AWA ran a double shot with a show in Milwaukee, headlined by Wilbur Snyder defeating Dr. X on a 3rd fall dq also, in a Handicap Match, Mad Dog Vachon & Butcher Vachon beat The Crusher, Luis Martinez beat Kenny Jay, Rene Goulet beat Johnny Kace and Pampero Firpo beat Angelo Poffo. att: 5,812 In St. Paul, MN; AWA Champion Verne Gagne beat Lars Anderson. Flying Redheads Red Bastien & Billy Red Lyons beat Larry Hennig & Harley Race on a 3rd fall dq, Bill Watts beat Bob Geigel, Joe Scarpello drew Big K and Bob Kappel beat Kenny Yates. att: 5,405

1969 - In Boston, Massachussetts, Killer Kowalski defeated WWWF World Heavyweight Champion Bruno Sammartino in a Texas death match.

1971 - Tom Jones and Billy Red Lyons defeated The Spoilers for the Tri-State NWA United States Tag Team Title in Shreveport, Louisiana.

1972 - Karl and Kurt Von Brauner defeated Robert Fuller and Kevin Sullivan for the Mid-America NWA World Tag Team Title in Nashville, Tennessee

1972 - The Professional (Doug Gilbert) and Mike Webster won the NWA Florida Tag Team Title from Boris Malenko and Bob Roop in Miami, Florida.

1974 - Gene and Ole Anderson defeated Bob Armstrong and Robert Fuller to win the NWA Georgia Tag Team Title in Atlanta, Georgia

1975 - Ed Wiskoski (Col. DeBeers) defeated Jerry Oates for the NWA Central States Heavyweight Title in Kansas City, Kansas' In Minneapolis, Minnesota; AWA Tag Team Champions Nick Bockwinkel & Ray Stevens beat Dusty Rhodes & Larry Hennig, Billy Robinson no contest Baron Von Raschke, Greg Gagne & Jim Brunzell beat Rock Riddle & Frankie Hill and Khosrow Vaziri (Iron Shiek) drew Buddy Wolff. att: 3,183

1979 - Great Kojika and Motoshi Okuma won the AJPW All Asia Tag Team Title, defeating The Kiwis (Butch Miller and Sweet William) in Noshiro, Japan.

1980 - Dick the Bruiser defeated King Kong (Bruiser) Brody in Indianapolis, Indiana for the World Wrestling Association World Heavyweight Title

1981 - Jake Roberts defeated The Grappler to win the Mid-South North American Heavyweight Title in Shrevport, Louisiana.

1982 - In Memphis, Tennessee King Cobra defeated NWA Mid-America Heavyweight Champion Bobby Eaton to win the title

1986 - Ron Bass defeated Tyree Pride in Nassau, Bahamas to win the NWA Bahamas Heavyweight Title; Eric Embry won the WWC Puerto Rico Heavyweight Title in Bayamón, Puerto Rico by defeating Super Medico I

1991 - Los Villanos (I, IV and V) defeated The Hawaiian Beasts (Kokina (Yokozuna), Fatu and the Samoan Savage) for the UWA World Trios Title in Naucalpan, Mexico; Bill Dundee defeated Tom Prichard (subbing for Eric Embry) for the USWA Texas Heavyweight Title in Dallas, Texas

1992 - Chi Chi Cruz (Corey Peloquin) defeated Gerry Morrow in Winnipeg, Manitoba to win the West Four Wrestling Alliance Canadian Heavyweight Title.

1999 - Bam Bam Bigelow and Diamond Dallas Page defeated WCW World Tag Team Champions Kanyon and Saturn (subbing for Raven) to win the title during a Monday Nitro event from Houston, Texas; In Moline, Illinois Jeff Jarrett (with Debra) defeated WWF Intercontinental Champion The Godfather to win the title and The Acolytes (Bradshaw and Faarooq) defeated WWF Tag Team Champions Kane and X-Pac to win the title during a Monday Night Raw event.

2002- In Louisville, Kentucky Flash Flanagan and Trailer Park Trash defeated OVW Southern Tag Team Champions The Lords of the Ring (Rob Conway and Nick Dinsmore) to win the title.

2003 - In Carolina, Puerto Rico, Carly Colón won the WWC Universal Heavyweight Title by defeating Sabu, and Alex Montalvo defeats Pablo
Marquez for the WWC World Junior Heavyweight Title. Also at that show, Eddie Colón won the vacant WWC Puerto Rico Heavyweight Title by defeating Dominican Boy in a tournament final.

2004 - In Montreal, Quebec La Résistance (Robért Conway and Sylvain Grenier) defeated WWE World Tag Team Champions Edge and World Heavyweight Champion Chris Benoit to win the title.