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This Day in Pro Wrestling History (July 14)

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Or be a rosebud. Or give penguin hugs. Just don't do what WCW did.

28 years ago today, the WWF held their second-ever King of the Ring tournament from Foxboro, Massachusettes. Harley Race defeated Pedro Morales in the final to win the tournament. Race also defeated George "The Animal" Steele and Nikolai Volkoff. Other participants included Billy Jack Haynes, The Iron Sheik, Don Muraco, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Dan Spivey, the Junkyard Dog, Paul Orndorff, Rudy Diamond, Mike Rotundo, and Mr. X.

23 years ago today, WCW held The Great American Bash (WWE Network link) from the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Maryland. About 7,000 were in attendance, with about 145,000 homes purchasing the event on PPV.

It's the first major show for WCW since the sudden departure of their world champion at the time, Ric Flair. Flair left and/or was fired from the promotion over a contract dispute and took the WCW World Heavyweight Championship belt with him (the Big Gold belt) since he was owed his deposit on the belt. NWA, as it was a separate entity from WCW, still recognized Flair as their world champion until his WWF debut in September. WCW commissioned a new belt, but it was not ready in time for the show, so Dusty Rhodes used an old heavyweight title belt from Florida as a makeshift WCW world title belt.

Performers could be seen given less than full effort on the show in protest of the Flair departure, and fans throughout the arena chanted "We want Flair!" during the night. The combination of elements made this one of the worst PPVs in wrestling history.

  • The Junkyard Dog defeated Black Bart in a preshow dark match.
  • P.N. News and Bobby Eaton defeated Steve Austin and Terrance Taylor in a scaffold match. Prior to the match, the rules were changed from a traditional scaffold match to a "Capture the Flag" scaffold match, where one team had to reach the other's flag.
  • The Yellow Dog defeated Johnny B. Badd by disqualification.
  • Ron Simmons defeated Oz.
  • Big Josh defeated Black Blood in a lumberjack match.
  • Dustin Rhodes and The Southern Boys (Tracy Smothers and Steve Armstrong) defeated The Fabulous Freebirds (Badstreet, Jimmy Garvin, Michael Hayes) (with Big Daddy Dink) in an elimination match. In a side nugget, the seventeen minute bout had all five eliminations occur within the final four minutes.
    • Hayes pinned Armstrong.
    • Hayes was disqualified.
    • Garvin pinned Smothers.
    • Rhodes pinned Garvin.
    • Rhodes pinned Badstreet.
  • The Diamond Studd defeated Tom Zenk.
  • El Gigante defeated One Man Gang.
  • Richard Morton defeated Robert Gibson.
  • Nikita Koloff defeated Sting in a Russian Chain match. The chain match was contested under traditional strap match rules (touch all four corners in succession to win).
  • Lex Luger defeated Barry Windham in a Steel Cage match to win the vacant WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
  • Rick Steiner and Missy Hyatt defeated Arn Anderson and Paul E. Dangerously in a steel cage match. Side nugget again: the Maryland State Athletic Commission had a rule (that still exists today) that forbids man vs. woman wrestling matches, so to get around it, Hyatt was taken out of the match via "kidnapping" by the Dangerous Alliance. So how do you explain the Vince McMahon vs. Stephanie McMahon I Quit match from No Mercy 2003 (which took place in the same building) you ask? The WWE paid the fine in advance.

17 years ago today, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Mick Foley as Dude Love defeat Owen Hart and The British Bulldog of the Hart Foundation to win the WWF Tag Team Championship. The belts were vacated by Austin and Shawn Michaels after a falling out between the two.

16 years ago today at a RAW is WAR taping at the Broom County Arena in Binghamton, New York, D-Lo Brown defeats Triple H to become the new WWF European Champion.

8 years (and two days) ago today, Finlay defeats Bobby Lashley on Smackdown from the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota to become the new WWE United States Champion.

Two men most associated with ECW have birthdays today. And they're both born the same day believe it or not. First, the longtime voice of ECW (both the original and the reboot) Joseph Bonsignore, aka Joey Styles. He's 43 today.

Also, a happy 43rd birthday to Mark LoMonaco, aka Bully Ray. His most famous persona was Bubba Ray Dudley during his days in ECW and WWE. Here's his most famous-or infamous-moment, powerbombing the late Mae Young through a table on an episode of RAW in March 2000.

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And a happy 46th birthday to TNA and GFW founder Jeff Jarrett. Here's a tribute video courtesy of Youtuber JCShotgun.

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