Classic moments that make December the most wonderful time of the year in WWE
December has been dubbed the “most wonderful time of the year.” Not only is the holiday season in full swing, but WWE action has historically heated up like chestnuts roasting on an open fire during the festive month. Whether it’s the debut of an icon, a clash of the titans between WWE Legends, a frenetic Hell in a Cell Match, or a sincere thank you to the troops, these classic WWE moments – some naughty, some nice – have helped the month of December live up to its lofty billing.
Dec. 17, 1979: Hulk Hogan's WWE Debut
At the World’s Most Famous Arena, Madison Square Garden, one of WWE’s most iconic figures made his debut against a pre-“Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase. Billed as the “Fabulous” Hulk Hogan, the future WWE Hall of Famer defeated DiBiase by getting him to submit to a suffocating bear hug. Little did the WWE Universe know that night, they had just witnessed the birth of a pop culture phenomenon and pretty soon would find themselves swept up in Hulkamania.
Dec. 3, 1991: Randy Savage vs. Jake Roberts at This Tuesday in Texas
This Tuesday night pay-per-view showdown was the first time the two rival Superstars met since Randy “Macho Man” Savage suffered a vicious bite from the venomous fangs of Jake “The Snake” Roberts’ King Cobra. The anticipation for this match was so high that the two opponents could not even wait to get into the ring to get things started. After stalking Miss Elizabeth, the snake-wielding Superstar was attacked on his way to the ring by “Macho Man” before the bell even rang. Savage would go on to win the match after delivering a diving elbow drop, but it was Roberts who would get the last laugh. After the match, a failed attempt by Savage to further harm the twisted competitor opened the door for “The Snake” to perform multiple DDTs on “Macho Man.” The out-of-control Roberts would have to be escorted out of the ring by WWE President Jack Tunney.
Dec. 10, 2000: Six-Man Hell in a Cell Match for the WWE Championship
The Hell in a Cell Match is the most sadistic event in all of sports-entertainment. When you throw six Superstars hungry for the WWE Title inside the steel structure, the mayhem only intensifies. That was the case at Armageddon in 2000. The main event was a hellacious six-man Hell in a Cell Match between Triple H, Rikishi, Undertaker, The Rock, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and defending WWE Champion Kurt Angle. The chaotic conflict ended with Angle successfully defending his title as the one-time Olympic gold medalist took advantage of a “Stone Cold” Stunnered Rock for the pinfall victory. When the carnage was over, however, The Texas Rattlesnake got even with Angle by giving him a Stunner of his own.
Dec. 9, 2001: Chris Jericho becomes the Undisputed WWE Champion
In 2001, Vengeance, the first post-Invasion pay-per-view, featured a tournament to unify the World Heavyweight and WWE Titles. The finals of the tournament pitted World Heavyweight Champion Chris Jericho against WWE Champion Steve Austin. Austin grabbed control of the match and appeared to be on his way to victory until Booker T interfered. Booker kayoed Austin with the WWE Title, allowing Y2J to pin “Stone Cold” and controversially become the first Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion in WWE history.
Dec. 25, 2003: WWE travels to Baghdad for first-ever Tribute to the Troops
In 2003, SmackDown aired a special episode on Christmas Day called “Christmas in Baghdad,” featuring WWE Superstars performing live for the U.S. Troops in Iraq. Highlights included a special present from Santa Claus to Mr. McMahon, a Divas Santa’s Little Helper Contest, and a main event in which John Cena squared off against Big Show. Following the show, “Stone Cold,” along with the rest of the Superstars and Divas that made the trip, delivered a heartfelt “thank you” speech to the brave men and women in attendance. The Christmas show would go on to become an annual WWE holiday tradition known as WWE Tribute to the Troops, and has cemented its status as the most important show of the year in WWE.
Dec. 22, 1997: “Stone Cold” Stunners Santa
In an act that surely landed him on the naughty list, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin delivered a Stunner to Santa Claus on Raw. When Santa didn’t receive the gift he was hoping for in the form of gorgeous Diva Sable, he took his frustration out by disappointing a poor kid sitting on his lap. Taking exception to the un-jolly St. Nick’s actions, Austin accused him of being a “fake” Santa, and gave the WWE Universe a bit of Christmas cheer by going “3:16” on the faux Kris Kringle.