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This Day in Pro Wrestling History (July 15)

22 years ago today, just one month after the second annual WBF Championship, Vince McMahon informed the owners of the International Federation of Bodybuilders that the World Bodybuilding Federation was disbanding. To date, this was the biggest of McMahon's failed ventures to expand beyond the WWF, recording $15 million in losses.

19 years ago, ECW held its first Heatwave event from the ECW Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In the main event, The Gangstas (New Jack and Mustafa) defeated The Public Enemy (Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge) in a steel cage match. The Sandman also retained his ECW World Heavyweight Championship with a win against Axl Rotten.

12 years ago today, hell truly froze over at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Eric Bischoff, former President of World Championship Wrestling, made his WWE debut as the RAW general manager.  An interesting side nugget: that role nearly went to Vince Russo. Russo laid out a similar scenario for McMahon when he briefly returned to the company the previous month, but the creative team talked McMahon out of it when they heard Russo's ideas. Russo was then moved into a consulting role, but left for TNA shortly thereafter. As for Bischoff, he did not arrive into the building until about 15 minutes before the show began and spent most of the first hour in a limo in the parking lot. Bischoff to on how the deal went down:

"We've been talking unofficially through third parties for almost a year now. We've come close to doing something a couple of times, but for a variety of reasons it's just never worked out. About a month or two ago, we'd gotten a little bit more serious in our conversations, and I got a chance to talk directly to Vince (McMahon). I think we were able to break a lot of ice, just over the phone. Once we did that, it just seemed like it was much easier to move forward and get a deal done for sure. Really, this just came together within the last week or 10 days."

8 years ago today, Brock Lesnar is stripped of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship following a dispute between Lesnar and New Japan Pro Wrestling management regarding a title defense against Hiroshi Tanahashi. Lesnar leaves the company as well as a result. Tanahashi would win the vacated title two days later against Giant Bernard in the final. Interestingly enough, the Inoki Genome Federation still recognized Brock Lesnar as the IWGP Champion when that promotion was founded in 2007. Both the New Japan and IGF IWGP titles would be unified in February 2008 by Shinsuke Nakamura.

Also 8 years ago today, the WWE presented Saturday Night's Main Event (WWE Network link) from the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas.

  • Batista, Bobby Lashley and World Heavyweight Champion Rey Mysterio defeated King Booker, WWE United States Champion Finlay and Mark Henry.
  • Carlito and Trish Stratus defeated Melina and WWE Intercontinental Champion Johnny Nitro.
  • D-Generation X (Shawn Michaels and Triple H) defeated World Tag Team Champions The Spirit Squad (Johnny, Kenny, Mikey, Mitch and Nicky) in an elimination match.
    • Michaels pinned Mitch.
    • Triple H pinned Johnny.
    • Triple H pinned Mikey.
    • Triple H pinned Nicky.
    • Triple H pinned Kenny.
  • Sabu pinned Stevie Richards in an Extreme Rules match.
  • In a WWE Championship match, John Cena defeated WWE Champion Edge by disqualification.

Nope, not done with 8 years ago today yet. ROH held Death Before Dishonor IV from the National Guard Armory in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In the featured bout, Team ROH (ROH world champion Bryan Danielson, Homicide, Adam Pearce, Samoa Joe, Ace Steel, and BJ Whitmer) defeated Team CZW (CZW world champion Chris Hero, CZW tag champion Eddie Kingston, Claudio Castignoli, Necro Butcher, and Nate Webb) in a Cage of Death match when Homicide pinned Webb. The match was conducted under War Games rules, meaning that a winner could not be determined until all ten men were in the ring. WARNING: VIDEO MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR ALL VIEWERS.

7 years ago today, TNA held Victory Road (pay link) from the Impact Zone at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.

  • Christopher Daniels won a Ultimate X Gauntlet match to become the #1 contender for the TNA X Division Championship. Other participants included Jay Lethal, Puma, Homicide, Sonjay Dutt, Petey Williams, Shark Boy, Elix Skipper, Kaz, and Senshi.
  • The Voodoo Kin Mafia (B.G. James and Kip James) defeated Basham and Damaja
  • James Storm defeated Rhino
  • The Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley) defeated Jerry Lynn and Bob Backlund.
  • Eric Young and Gail Kim defeated Robert Roode and Ms. Brooks
  • Christian Cage defeated Chris Harris
  • Sting and Abyss defeated A.J. Styles and Tomko
  • TNA World Heavyweight Champion Kurt Angle and TNA X Division Champion Samoa Joe defeated TNA World Tag Team Champions Team 3D (Brother Ray and Brother Devon) to win the TNA World Tag Team Championship. As a result of the victory, Samoa Joe got to choose his tag team partner to be the other half of the tag champions. He ultimately decided to defend the titles alone.

5 years ago today, TNA announces they have signed Bobby Lashley and Ayako Hamada.

2 years ago today, WWE held Money in the Bank from US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona. 10,800 were in attendance, with 188,000 homes purchasing the event on PPV, which was down slightly from the 195,000 in 2011.

  • Pre-Show: Kofi Kingston & R-Truth defeated Hunico & Camacho.
  • Dolph Ziggler defeated Damien Sandow , Christian, Santino Marella, Tensai, Tyson Kidd vs. Cody Rhodes, and Sin Cara in a Money in the Bank ladder match for a World Heavyweight Championship contract.
  • Sheamus (c) defeated Alberto Del Rio to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.
  • Primo & Epico defeated The Primetime Players.
  • CM Punk (c) defeated Daniel Bryan in a No DQ Match to retain the WWE Championship (with AJ as Special guest referee).
  • Ryback defeated Curt Hawkins & Tyler Reks in a Handicap Match.
  • Tamina Snuka, Kaitlyn, and Layla defeated Beth Phoenix, Natalya, and Eve Torres.
  • John Cena defeated The Big Show, The Miz, Kane, and Chris Jericho in a Money in the Bank ladder match for a WWE Championship contract.

Happy 31st birthday to Heath Miller, aka Heath Slater. Don't be a Slater and enjoy this highlight video courtesy of Youtuber WWEAttitudeWWF.

Happy 39th birthday to Kara Drew. She had a brief run in WWE as Cherry. Here's her WWE singles debut against Victoria.

Happy 63rd birthday to longtime wrestling color analyst and former governor of Minnesota James Janos, aka Jesse "The Body" Ventura. Ventura was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004. Here's Ventura's victory speech after he won the gubernatorial seat in the 1998 election.

Happy 72nd birthday to Mexican wrestling legend Aaron Rodriguez, aka Mil Mascaras (The Man of a Thousand Masks). Though Mascaras is considered royalty in Mexico as one of the three faces of lucha libre wrestling, his perceived unwillingness to put over opponents has caused controversy among his peers, including Mick Foley, Chris Jericho, Superstar Billy Graham, and John "Bradshaw" Layfield. Rodriguez has won over a dozen championship in his nearly 50-year career and has starred in twenty movies. Despite wrestling just once in WWE (the Royal Rumble match in 1997), his contributions to the business were enough for a WWE Hall of Fame induction in 2012. You may know one of his nephews: Alberto Del Rio. Check out this tribute from LegacyWrestling.

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