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This Day in Pro Wrestling History (July 17)

It's not often in life we're presented with an opportunity to grab the spotlight when the lights are on at their brightest. When it comes, go out there and grab it. And don't let go.

24 years ago today, Terry Gordy defeats Stan Hansen in Ishikawa, Japan to win the All-Japan Wrestling Triple Crown Championship for the second time. He lands in the hospital just ten days later due to overdosing on painkillers and had to vacate the title.

20 years ago today, WCW presented their first ever Bash at the Beach PPV (WWE Network link) from the Orlando Arena in Orlando, Florida. About 14,000 were in attendance, with 225,000 homes watching on PPV. A moment to put that number in perspective: WCW's two previous offerings, Slamboree and Spring Stampede, got about 225,000 buys combined. At the time of the event, it was the most watched PPV in WCW history. Why, you ask? It was the first ever televised match between Hulk Hogan (making his WCW in-ring debut) and Ric Flair. Wrestling legend Antonio Inoki was also in attendance and received an award for his contributions to wrestling.

  • In a preshow dark match, Brian & Brad Armstrong (aka the future Road Dogg Jesse James and Buzzkill) defeated Steve Keirn & Bobby Eaton.
  • Lord Steven Regal defeated Johnny B. Badd to retain the WCW World Television Championship.
  • Vader defeated The Guardian Angel by disqualification.
  • Terry Funk & Bunkhouse Buck defeated Dustin Rhodes & Arn Anderson.
  • Steve Austin defeated Ricky Steamboat to retain the WCW United States Championship. This was Steamboat's final PPV wrestling appearance for WCW. He would win the title at Clash of the Champions XXVII in August, but suffered a career-ending back injury and vacated the title at Fall Brawl. Shortly thereafter, Steamboat was fired by Eric Bischoff via FedEx.
  • Pretty Wonderful (Paul Roma & Paul Orndorff) defeated Cactus Jack & Kevin Sullivan to win the WCW World Tag Team Championship.
  • Hulk Hogan defeated Ric Flair to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Longtime Hogan BFF Mr. T was in the corner of Hogan, as well as NBA superstar Shaquille O'Neal, who played for the Magic at the time.

10 years ago today, Doug Williams defeated Alex Shelley in the finals of a one-night tournament to crown the first ROH Pure Champion at ROH: Reborn: Completion at Rex Plex in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Other participants included Jay Lethal, Nigel McGuiness, John Walters, Austin Aries, CM Punk, and Matt Stryker.

9 years ago today, TNA presented No Surrender from the Impact Zone at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. The show was highlighted by the TNA debut of Rhino, who was released from WWE earlier in the year, but made one last appearance for the company at One Night Stand the previous month.

  • In a pre-show match, Shocker defeated Jerrelle Clark with a roll-up.
  • America's Most Wanted (Chris Harris and James Storm) defeated Michael Shane and Alex Shelley.
  • Sonjay Dutt defeated Mikey Batts, Shark Boy and Elix Skipper in a Fatal Four-Way match to qualify for the Super X Cup Tournament.
  • Apolo and Sonny Siaki defeated The Diamonds in the Rough (Simon Diamond and David Young).
  • Samoa Joe defeated Chris Sabin by submission.
  • Team Canada (A-1, Bobby Roode and Eric Young) defeated Lance Hoyt and NWA World Tag Team Champions The Naturals (Chase Stevens and Andy Douglas).
  • Monty Brown and Kip James defeated 3Live Kru (Ron Killings and Konnan) in a Street Fight.
  • A.J. Styles defeated Sean Waltman. Jerry Lynn was the guest referee.
  • Christopher Daniels defeated Petey Williams to retain the TNA X Division Championship.
  • Raven defeated Abyss in a Dog Collar match to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Post-match, Jeff Jarrett appeared and said he would get his title back one way or the other, then Rhino appeared and gored Raven.

7 years ago today at a Smackdown taping at the Entertainment Center in Laredo, Texas (moved from Rexall Palace in Edmonton due to the Benoit family tragedy a few weeks earlier), The Great Khali won a 20-man over-the-top-rope battle royal to win the vacated World Heavyweight Championship. Participants included WWE Tag Team Champions Deuce and Domino, United States Champion MVP, Cruiserweight Champion Chavo Guerrero, Batista, Kenny Dykstra, Eugene, Finlay, Funaki, Kane, Matt Hardy, Mark Henry, The Major Brothers (Brett and Brian), Shannon Moore, Chris Masters, Jamie Noble, Dave Taylor, and Jimmy Wang Yang. Earlier in the evening, it was announced that Edge had suffered a torn pectoral muscle during an attack on Kane on the previous Smackdown. The injury would sideline him for four months (he returned at Survivor Series that November) and would have to vacate the title. Interestingly enough, it wasn't the main event of the show. Batista and Kane (the last two men eliminated in the battle royal) fought to a no contest in a #1 contender's match later in the show.

3 years ago today, WWE presented Money in the Bank (WWE Network link) from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, IL, a suburb of Chicago. 14,815 were in attendance, with 195,000 homes purchasing the event on PPV, which was up 30,000 from the 2010 edition. The focus of the show in addition to the two ladder matches for guaranteed world title shots is CM Punk's threatening to leave the company as WWE Champion, as it was announced a few weeks prior that this would be his final show with the company. The show won Wrestling Observer Newsletter's Best Major Show award in 2011, and the main event featuring John Cena vs. CM Punk for the WWE Championship won Match of the Year.

  • Dark Match: Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov defeated David Otunga & Michael McGillicutty.
  • Daniel Bryan defeated Cody Rhodes, Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel, Kane, Sheamus, Sin Cara & Wade Barrett in a Smackdown Money in the Bank ladder match.
  • Kelly Kelly defeated Brie Bella to retain the WWE Divas Championship .
  • Mark Henry defeated The Big Show.
  • Alberto Del Rio defeated Rey Mysterio, Kofi Kingston, The Miz, Alex Riley, Evan Bourne, R-Truth & Jack Swagger in a RAW Money in the Bank ladder match.
  • Christian defeated Randy Orton by disqualification to win the World Heavyweight Championship. Per a pre-match stipulation, Orton could lose the title if he were disqualified or if there was evidence of "bad officiating". Orton was disqualified due to a low blow.
  • CM Punk defeated John Cena to win the WWE Championship. Post-match, Alberto Del Rio attempted to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase, but a roundhouse kick by Punk thwarted the try and left the arena through the crowd before the match could be made official. The bout was awarded five stars (out of 5) by Wrestling Observer Newsletter, the first WWE match to get such a rating since the first Hell in a Cell match between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker from In Your House: Bad Blood in 1997.

Happy 28th birthday to Lacey Adkisson, aka Lacey Von Erich. Lacey is the daughter of the "Texas Tornado" Kerry Von Erich and the granddaughter of Fritz Von Erich. Lacey had a brief stint in WWE developmental, but is best known for her just as brief run in TNA as one-third of the Beautiful People, where she was a Knockouts tag team champion. Enjoy this video from her brief stint in Wrestlicious. For those wondering, Lacey now resides in Los Angeles where she's married with two children.

Today's the birthday of another former TNA Knockout, Shannon Spruill, aka Daffney. Spruill had stints in WCW, TNA, Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling, a brief run in WWE developmental, Shimmer, Shine, and Wrestilicious. She is of course known for her trademark scream. Enjoy this tribute courtesy of Youtuber Korey Kleber. And as it turns out, Daffney's got her own Youtube channel too.

Today would have been the 55th birthday of longtime NWA and WCW referee Randy Anderson. Anderson, who was a state wrestling champion at 119 lbs. in Georgia, began his refereeing career for Mid South Wrestling in 1978, and was brought into NWA affiliate Jim Crockett Promotions in 1985. Randy was the official for the six-man tag team match that led to the formation of the nWo in 1996. Little most people knew, he refereed the match while he was getting treated for testicular cancer. He was back to refereeing just two months after surgery, but would ultimately retire in 1999. The testicular cancer would ultimately claim his life in May 2002 at age 42. Here's his only bout in WCW, a match from the February 22, 1997 Nitro against Nick Patrick. (Side note: though Anderson would be "fired", he was rehired by Ric Flair in early 1999.)

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