Skip to main content

The Year In Wrestling: ROH-NJPW to MSG, Rousey wins WWE gold

Ronda Rousey

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 and then April-June. We now move into July, August, and September which featured a company other than WWE making moves at MSG, a legend announcing his return to the ring, and Ronda Rousey winning the WWE Raw women's title.


  • ROH and NJPW announced plans for a combined Madison Square Garden show on April 6, the night before Wrestlemania
  • WWE announced their first all-women’s PPV, Evolution
  • Jay Lethal won the ROH world title
  • Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat had hip replacement surgery
  • WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar challenged Daniel Cormier to a UFC heavyweight title match after Cormier won the belt
  • New Japan Pro Wrestling held a show at San Francisco’s Cow Palace. On the show, Josh Barnett shoot got involved in the Jay White vs. Juice Robinson match after a table bump injured Jim Ross
  • Phoenix Police Department released a report on the sexual assault allegations against Enzo Amore after they dropped the investigation
  • WWE held a rare mid-year Madison Square Garden house show
  • Raymondo Rodriguez, the original Piratita Morgan, one of the top mini-wrestler heels in the 1990s, passed away at age 49
  • Nathaniel Whitlock, a heel manager for Nate the Rat in the USWA, passed away
  • Tessa Blanchard signed a two-year deal with Impact
  • Ric Flair had surgery to remove his temporary colostomy bag
  • Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson said the earliest he would run for U.S. president is 2024
  • The Miz & Maryse show debuted on USA
  • WWE Hall of Famer Nikolai Volkoff passed away
  • After a three-year suspension, Hulk Hogan returned to WWE
  • Under his real name Harry Smith, Davey Boy Smith Jr. captured a gold medal in the expert division of he shoot-style Billy Robinson Classic
  • Ayako Hamada, 37, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and three years probation for possession of methamphetamine
  • David Arquette, former WCW champion, had his first wrestling match since 2000
  • Tom Lawlor and Bryan Alvarez (The Chop & Roll Express) teamed up to battle The Rock & Roll Express
  • Brian Lawler (aka Brian Christopher) died of suicide while in jail


  • Roman Reigns defeated Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at SummerSlam while Ronda Rousey defeated Alexa Bliss easily to become the first woman to hold both the UFC and WWE championships
  • The ROH/NJPW MSG show sold 9000 pre-sale tickets on their first day and sold out in 19 minutes after the public onsale
  • In the main event of AAA' s biggest show Triplemania, El Hijo del Fantasma lost his mask in a four-way match against L.A. Park, Pentagon Jr., and Psycho Clown
  • Former professional wrestler and MMA fighter Aya Koyama passed away due to cancer at 45
  • Ed Cohen, WWF arena booker in the 1980s, passed away at the age of 62
  • Michael Luisi was fired as president of WWE Studios
  • WWE finally released Neville after he walked out in October 2017
  • Villano III passed away due to a brain hemorrhage at 66
  • Former pro wrestling announcer and Roller Derby host Walt Harris passed away at 97
  • Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart passed away at 63 due to a seizure
  • Daniel Bryan re-signed with WWE
  • Kane (aka Glen Jacobs) was elected mayor of Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Sami Zayn had surgery on his left rotator cuff
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi won the 2018 G1 Climax
  • Colt Cabana filed a lawsuit against CM Punk, claiming breach of contract


  • Shawn Michaels announced his return to wrestling in a tag team match at WWE Crown Jewel in October
  • All In and Starrcast weekend happend in Chicago to great fanfare and buzz
  • WWE announced the second season of Mixed Match Challenge
  • Becky Lynch defeated Charlotte Flair to win the Smackdown women’s championship
  • An New York State appeals court dismissed concussion lawsuits filed by 60 wrestlers against the WWE
  • Frank Andersson, one of the most decorated amateur wrestlers to turn professional, passed away at 62 from heart surgery complications
  • A Go Fund Me campaign raised $10,000 to pay Paul Orndorff's property taxes. Orndorff, 68, is suffering from severe memory issues
  • WWE 205 Live became a taped show instead of live
  • CMLL, the longest-lasting pro wrestling company in history, held its 85th anniversary show
  • Former UFC fighter and indie wrestling talent Matt Riddle finally signed a deal with WWE and began at NXT
  • Renee Young replaced Jonathan Coachman on WWE Raw
  • Ric Flair and Wendy Barlow (Fifi in WCW) got married
  • WWE announced a show for Helsinki, Finland, in 2019
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Kazuchika Okada at Destruction in Kobe, setting up a brutal beatdown of Okada by Jay White. Gedo also turned on Okada during the angle
  • New Japan Pro Wrestling held a show in Long Beach, CA
  • Brie Bella accidentally kicked Liv Morgan in the face during a match doing a Daniel Bryan kick spot, giving her a concussion

October-December coming up later today.