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This Day in Pro Wrestling History (August 17)

46 years ago today, Dr. X defeated Verne Gagne in Bloomington, Minnesota to win the AWA World Heavyweight Championship.

28 years ago today, Nikita Koloff defeated Magnum T.A. in Charlotte, North Carolina to win their best of seven match series 4-3 to claim the vacated NWA United States Championship. Magnum T.A. was stripped of the title back in May when he assaulted then-NWA president Bob Geigel during a contract signing for a title match. In a side note, Koloff won the first three matches of the series, but would lose the next three before winning the deciding match.

27 years ago today, Nikita Koloff defeated Tully Blanchard in Fayetteville, North Carolina to win the NWA World Television Championship.  Koloff would unify the NWA and UWF television titles in November at Starrcade when he defeated Terry Taylor.

17 years ago today, ECW presented Hardcore Heaven '97 (WWE Network link) from the War Memorial Auditorium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. 1,950 were in attendance, with about 84,000 homes watching on PPV, which is down from 104,000 for ECW's first PPV Barely Legal.

  • Taz defeated Chris Candido to retain the ECW World Television Championship.
  • Bam Bam Bigelow defeated Spike Dudley.
  • Rob Van Dam defeated Al Snow in a Monday Night Wars rules match.
  • The Dudley Boyz (Buh Buh Ray Dudley and D-Von) defeated PG-13 (J.C. Ice and Wolfie D) to retain the ECW World Tag Team Championship. Prior to the match, the Dudleys were awarded the tag titles by forfeit. The original scheduled match was The Gangstas, the champions at the time, challenging The Dudleys. Mustafa Saeed, one-half of the Gangstas, had left the company.
  • Tommy Dreamer defeated Jerry Lawler.
  • Shane Douglas defeated Sabu and Terry Funk in a Three-Way Dance to win the ECW World Heavyweight Championship.

11 years ago today, Hiroyoshi Tenzan defeated Jun Akiyama to win the New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 Climax tournament.

6 years ago today, Hirooki Goto defeated Togi Makabe to win the NJPW G1 Climax tournament.

6 years ago today, WWE presented Summerslam (WWE Network link) from the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. 12,480 were in attendance, with 477,000 homes watching on PPV. That's down from 537,000 in 2007 and 547,000 in 2006. It's the first PPV of the PG era (WWE went PG a couple days after last month's Great American Bash), and features the last televised Hell in a Cell match not to occur in October (the month of the Hell in a Cell PPV since 2009) until Wrestlemania XXVIII two years ago. Despite the PG rating, there was a man-on-woman violence moment when Chris Jericho struck Shawn Michaels' wife Rebecca during a promo segment.

  • Montel Vontavious Porter defeated Jeff Hardy.
  • Santino Marella and Beth Phoenix defeated Kofi Kingston and Mickie James to win the WWE Intercontinental and Womens Championships respectively.
  • Matt Hardy defeated ECW Champion Mark Henry by disqualification.
  • CM Punk defeated John Bradshaw Layfield to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.
  • Triple H defeated The Great Khali to retain the WWE Championship.
  • Batista defeated John Cena. During the match, Cena suffered a herniated disk in his neck. The injury required surgery and would keep him out of action until Survivor Series.
  • The Undertaker defeated Edge in a Hell in the Cell Match.


2 years ago today, Shine Wrestling presented its second ever event from the Orpheum in Ybor City, Florida.

  • Su Yung defeated Kimberly.
  • Sojournor Bolt defeated Heidi Lovelace and Taeler Hendrix.
  • Mia Yim defeated Sassy Stephie.
  • Jessicka Havok defeated Reby Sky.
  • Rain defeated Santana.
  • Leva Bates defeated Portia Perez.
  • Made In Sin (Allysin Kay & Taylor Made) defeated MSEERIE (Christina Von Eerie & MsChif).
  • Jazz vs. Mercedes Martinez went to a no contest.

Looks like we jumped the gun by a couple days, but today for sure, it's a happy 22nd birthday to Saraya-Jade Bevis, aka WWE Diva Paige. Born in Norwich, England, she's a second-generation wrestler; her father Ricky was a promoter, while her mother Julia Hamer-Bevis continues to wrestle to this day under her ring name Sweet Saraya. Paige learned to wrestle from her brothers at her father's wrestling school during monthly classes until she made her debut in 2005 at just age 13. Her earliest known match was in April 2006 as Britani Knight when she teamed with her mother in a three-team tag match for World Association of Wrestling. Knight's first championship would come as one-half of the Norfolk Dolls in June 2007. By her 17th birthday, she had wrestled all over Europe and in the United States. She defeated her mother Saraya for three different women's championships in England in a span of four months in 2009, and in 2010 would win tag team gold with her mother. She would continue to collect gold until the summer of 2011. In the United States, the Knight Dynasty, managed by Rebecca Knox would unsuccessfully challenge for the Shimmer Tag Team Championship on two occasions in 2011, then late in the year the Knight Dynasty exploded and Britani would defeat Saraya in a no disqualification bout. WWE would sign the younger Knight to a WWE developmental contract in September 2011 following her second tryout for the company, and would debut in FCW in January 2012. First debuting as Saraya, she made her FCW television debut as Paige in February and would form the Anti-Diva Army. The feud would continue until the final FCW TV event in July where Paige and Sofia Cortez would defeat Audrey Marie. Paige would debut on the rebooted NXT later in the year in a losing effort to former Anti-Diva Army mate Sofia Cortez. From there, Paige would go on an unbeaten run that would continue until February when she suffered a shoulder injury. Paige would go on to become the first NXT Womens Champion in June 2013, defeating Emma in the final match. She would be the champion when she made her WWE main roster debut the night after Wrestlemania XXX, where she defeated longtime WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee in just 79 seconds. The win made her the youngest Divas Champion in WWE history at just 21 years of age. Her run as a double champion was brief; she was forced to vacate the NXT Womens Championship less than three weeks later. Paige would lose the championship in June back to AJ Lee in a short match. The two will face off this evening for the title at Summerslam. The Bevis family was the subject of a British documentary in 2012 called The Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family. Enjoy this tribute courtesy of Youtuber TNEEWorld.

Happy 32nd birthday to "Cheerleader" Melissa Anderson. Born in Los Angeles, Melissa is a second generation wrestler, with her father Doug having wrestled in the 1980s. In high school, she was a two sport athlete for Palmdale High School; one of them was wrestling, where she was one of four girls on the team. Her amateur wrestling knowledge translated quickly to the pros where she started for Billy Anderson's (no relation) wrestling school in age 15. While traning, she became the valet for the Ballard Brothers and worked primarily for West Coast-based All Pro Wrestling. While there, she trained under Christopher Daniels, Robert Thompson, and Bryan Danielson. She wrestled her first pro match 15 years ago today on her 17th birthday against Lexie Fyfe. Thanks in part to the Internet, Melissa still managed to get her high school diploma while training and touring. After wrestling for Ultimate Pro Wrestling, she was invited to tour Japan for Joshi promotion Arison. For her 20th birthday, Melissa took on Lioness Asuka, one half of legendary Japanese women's tag team the Crush Gals. She turned full pro-time in 2004 and won the APW Above the Law Championship from Robert Thompson that summer. In the fall, she would be a part of the all-female ChickFight tournament and eventually become the face of the tournament/promotion, appearing in the first ten ChickFight tournaments, appearing in four finals and winning twice. She would feud with Sweet Saraya, Eden Black, and Wesna Busic during the ChickFight series. The success of ChickFight would lead to lead to the formation of Shimmer Women Athletes, the sister promotion of Ring of Honor. Melissa would be in one of the company's first heated feuds against MsChif, a feud that would eventually see the duo team briefly against the Minnesota Home Wrecking Crew, then more on a full-time basis from 2008 to 2010. Anderson would chance the Shimmer Championship for more than a year before winning the title in October 2011 from Madison Eagles, ending Eagles' 18-month run as champion. Melissa's six-month run following would actually be the shortest in the promotion's history, losing the title to Sweet Saraya in March 2012. It would be more than a year before Melissa would win the title back from her, winning it the night before Wrestlemania 29 in a steel cage match. The win would make Melissa the only two-time Shimmer Champion in the promotion's six-year history.  Anderson would have a tryout match in 2006 for WWE against Victoria, but would have a more prominent television role as a TNA Knockout in 2008 rotating between Raisha Saeed (as a manager for Awesome Kong) and Alissa Flash (a self-proclaimed future legend), though the Flash persona would not debut until the summer of 2009, but a lack of TV time led to her requested release in January 2010. She reappeared twice for the promotion since, in March 2011 and March 2013. The well-traveled Anderson also won Attack of the Show's MySpace Girl of the Week in September 2006 and made occasional appearances on the show. Enjoy this tribute from Youtuber Steve D.

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