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This Day in Wrestling History (July 2)

Sorry I wasn't here for July 1's TDIWH. I've been under the weather the last few days and didn't feel better fast enough to get the post for that day up in time. But good news for you: I'm feeling better and ready to deliver some history.

Some advice from Uncle Eddie: underestimate the value of your top employee at your own risk. Also, if part of your job requires you to stay in shape, stay in shape.


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23 years (and a day) ago today, Ric Flair, the WCW and NWA world heavyweight champion, leaves WCW just over a week before The Great American Bash where he was set to face Lex Luger. Flair had had enough of WCW Executive VP Jim Herd's management style and ideas, one idea being Flair being repackaged as Spartacus, another being to drop the title to Luger. Flair wasn't feeling that idea, saying they agreed to drop the title to Sting. Flair, with accusations of holding out during contract negotiations, offered to drop the belt to Barry Windham. Herd wasn't feeling that idea and said he was stripping Flair of the title and he was sending someone for it.

Small problem (and by small problem, I mean BIG problem): the WCW world heavyweight title belt was also the NWA world heavyweight title belt, and as it represented both the NWA and WCW, Ric Flair was recognized as both NWA world champion and WCW world champion. Oh, and the belt had a $25,000 deposit ($43,667 in today's dollars) attached to it to prevent anyone from escaping to a rival promotion with the belt. When a new NWA champion is crowned, the new champion puts that $25,000 down, and once they lose the title, they return the belt and in turn get their money back plus interest. Flair, champion since January of that year, was owed quite a bit of money, but Herd wasn't paying, so Flair wasn't giving.

Flair discussed the situation on the WWE DVD release Ric Flair: The Definitive Collection:

"(Jim Herd) lied to me about my contract. Then he called me in Daytona and said 'I want you to lose the title.' They wanted me to lose the title to Lex Luger. I said, 'No. No way. You promised it to Sting.' Jim Herd went, 'I don't care what I promised Sting.' I said, 'I do and I'm keeping my word to him.' We had spent all this time building Sting up and he was ready to be the champion. I just said, 'I'm not doing it with Luger and that's all there is to it.' I said, 'I'll be more than happy to send you my contract.' He said, 'You're not holding me up,' I said, 'I'm not holding you up, I'm holding you to your word.' And I already had an opportunity to come up here again. I called him back and I said, 'I'll tell you what I'll do -- I'm not waiting to Baltimore but I'll fly home from my vacation and I'll come to TV in Columbus next week and I'll lose the title to Barry Windham.' He said, 'Well, why Barry?' I said, 'Because Barry deserves it.' And he said, 'Let me think about that.' So I got in a plane, left my family, flew to Charlotte, packed my bag and he called me on the phone and said, 'Just forget about it, I'm sending Doug Dillinger over to get the belt.' And I said,'You better send a check for $25,000 plus interest because that's how much deposit I've got in the belt, which I've never gotten back.' And he said, 'F*ck you.' And I said, 'It ain't f*ck me, it's f*ck you.' Then I called Vince. Doug knocked on my door, I said, 'Sorry, Doug.' He already knew, Doug and I were friends. He didn't like Jim Herd either; nobody did. So I called Vince and I said, 'I'm ready to come.' And he said, 'Really?' And I said, 'Yeah and I got the belt, too.' So that's the way it went down."

Flair's WWF debut would be teased for the remainder of the summer, most notably in a promo where Bobby "The Brain" Heenan compared the WCW Big Gold belt and the WWF world title belt as ice cream to horse manureFlair, by the way, was stripped of the WCW title and a new belt was made and a new champion crowned at The Great American Bash a few days later.


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13 years ago today, the rebooted WCW made its debut on RAW is WAR from Tacoma, Washington... and it was a disaster. Booker T and Buff Bagwell (who wrestled for the first time since March the night before at a house show) put on a disastrous main event, one arguably called the worst main event in RAW history. Audible "Boring!" and "This match sucks!" chants could be heard in the Tacoma Dome, and the segment was only saved by a run-in by Stone Cold Steve Austin and Kurt Angle.  Not only did the Tacoma Dome crowd hate it, but Vince McMahon backstage hated it. For Bagwell, it was his only appearance on a WWF program, as he was released just before the next week's RAW. Any plans of splintering WCW into a second promotion also were soon scrapped. In an interesting little nugget, RAW the next week was in WCW's home, Atlanta, Georgia.


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12 years ago today, at a Smackdown taping in Boston, Edge and Hulk Hogan defeated Billy and Chuck to win the WWE World Tag Team Championships. For Edge it's his eighth tag team championship, and first with a partner other than Christian. For Hogan, however, it's his only tag team championship.


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7 years ago today, Umaga defeats Santino Marella on RAW from Dallas, Texas to regain the WWE Intercontinental Championship. It's his second and last Intercontinental title.


Happy 57th birthday to the "Excellence of Execution" himself, Bret "The Hitman" Hart. Here's a tribute courtesy of Youtuber DragoSteelers and 234 Productions.

Happy 44th birthday to former WWE Diva Amy Weber. These days, she's got a music career. Here's the video for one of her singles, "Let it Rain".

Happy 50th birthday to WCW and WWE referee Charles Robinson. Here's an interview from 2011 reflecting on his career in WCW.

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