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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