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This Day in Wrestling History (August 29)

32 years ago today in St. Paul, Minnesota, Otto Wanz defeated Nick Bockwinkel to win the AWA World Heavyweight Championship.  In an interesting side note, this is the time in the 22-year history of the AWA that that their world title changed hands without involvement by either Mad Dog Vachon or Verne Gagne. Wanz's only AWA world title run would last for just six weeks before Bockwinkel won it back.

26 years ago today, WWF presented the first Summerslam (WWE Network link) from Madison Square Garden in New York City. About 20,000 were in attendance, with about 400,000 homes watching on PPV. Summerslam would air on the last Monday in August for each of the first seven years, including 1992's edition, which was taped two days earlier. More on that later.

  • The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid) fought The Fabulous Rougeaus (Jacque and Raymond) to a time limit draw.
  • Bad News Brown defeated Ken Patera.
  • Rick Rude defeated The Junkyard Dog.
  • The Powers of Pain (The Barbarian and The Warlord) defeated The Bolsheviks (Boris Zhukov and Nikolai Volkoff).
  • The Ultimate Warrior defeated The Honky Tonk Man in just 31 seconds to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship.
  • Dino Bravo defeated Don Muraco.
  • Demolition (Smash and Ax) defeated The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart) to retain the WWF World Tag Team Championship.
  • The Big Boss Man defeated Koko B. Ware.
  • Jake Roberts defeated Hercules.
  • The Mega Powers (Hulk Hogan & Randy Savage) defeated The Mega Bucks (Ted DiBiase & André the Giant). Jesse "The Body" Ventura was the special referee.

22 years ago today, WWF held Summerslam (WWE Network link) from Wembley Stadium in London, England. The event, which did not air in the United States until two days later, was originally supposed to be held in Washington, DC, but the international market was growing, and the WWF saw dollar signs. And did they get them: a staggering 80,355 were in attendance (which, depending on who you ask, is either the largest or second largest crowd for a WWF/E event ever), with a record low (at the time) 280,000 homes watching on PPV. No matter, the WWF still cleaned up on the tape-delayed event: between ticket and merchandise sales, WWF made $3.65 million that day, including nearly $1.5 million in merchandise alone. There were eleven matches on the card, but only eight made it to the PPV broadcast. The other three would be interspersed with WWF programming over the next few weeks.

  • Dark matches:
    • Jim Duggan & The Bushwhackers (Luke & Butch) defeated The Mountie & The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs & Jerry Sags).
    • Papa Shango defeated Tito Santana.
    • Tatanka defeated The Berzerker.
  • PPV matches:
    • The Legion of Doom (Road Warrior Hawk & Road Warrior Animal) defeated Money Inc. (Ted Dibiase and IRS).
    • Nailz defeated Virgil.
    • Shawn Michaels fought Rick Martel to a double countout.
    • The Natural Disasters defeated The Beverly Brothers to retain the WWF Tag Team Championship.
    • Crush defeated Repo Man.
    • The Ultimate Warrior defeated Randy Savage by countout in a WWF Championship match (Savage retained the WWF Championship).
    • The Undertaker defeated Kamala by disqualification.
    • The British Bulldog defeated Bret Hart to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship. (Just a little note from yours truly, Curtain Jerker's review of said main event is worth a read. So... go read it. Or read Scott Christ's account. Or both. Definitely both.)

20 years ago today, WWF presented Summerslam (WWE Network link) from the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. About 23,000 were in attendance with 315,000 homes watching on PPV.

  • Bam Bam Bigelow and IRS defeated The Headshrinkers (Fatu and Samu) via disqualification
  • Alundra Blayze defeated Bull Nakano to retain the WWF Women's Championship.
  • Razor Ramon defeated Diesel to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship.
  • Tatanka defeated Lex Luger.
  • Jeff Jarrett defeated Mabel.
  • Bret "The Hitman" Hart defeated Owen Hart in a steel cage match to retain the WWF Championship.
  • The Undertaker (Bearer) defeated The Undertaker (Dibiase).

14 years ago today at a Smackdown taping in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Al Snow defeats Perry Saturn by submission to win the WWF European Championship.

8 years ago today at a Smackdown taping in Reading, Pennsylvania, Mr. Kennedy defeated Finlay and Bobby Lashley in a triple threat match to win the WWE United States Championship.

A happy 65th birthday to John Stanley "Stan" Hansen II today. Born in Knox City, Texas, Hansen debuted in 1973. At first, it was to be only a part-time gig, as he was trying out for the Detroit Wheels of the World Football League. After the team folded, Hansen turned to wrestling full-time. He teamed with Frank Goodish (later known as Bruiser Brody) wrestling for the Tri-State territory until the WWF came calling in 1976. Almost immediately, he was thrust in a feud with then-WWF Champion Bruno Sammartino. During a title match, Hansen broke Sammartino's neck. In reality, a botched powerslam caused the injury, but promoters claimed it was his powerful lariat that did the damage. The legend of Stan Hansen began. Sammartino would eventually recover and defeat Hansen to retain the WWF Championship. He soon left the WWF for New Japan Pro Wrestling where he teamed with Hulk Hogan and Dick Murdoch to feud with Antonio Inoki. He returned their briefly in 1990 to team with Riki Choshu and formed the Lariat Combo. But he would find his biggest success in All-Japan Pro Wrestling, competing there for a decade, then off and on from 1982 to 1999. In All Japan, he would be the only man to pin both Antonio Inoki and Giant Baba in singles title bouts. He would engage in high-profile feuds with Andre the Giant, Hogan, and Big Van Vader (a 1992 bout between Hansen and Vader resulted in Vader's eye getting popped out of his socket). Stan had a brief run in the AWA in 1985 and 1986, and defeated Rick Martel for the AWA World Heavyweight Championship in December 1985. He was set to defend in June 1986 against Nick Bockwinkel, but his no-show forced him to default the belt to Bockwinkel. Hansen, who was feuding with Greg Gagne at the time, allegedly called All Japan president Giant Baba and asked if it was ok for Hansen to drop the belt. Baba said no, as he lined up challengers for Stan's AWA title when he went on tour there. Despite being stripped of the title, Hansen went to Japan with the belt still in his possession. After being threatened with legal action if he didn't return the belt, Stan ran over the belt with a truck, then mailed it back to the AWA. Hansen has since expressed regret over how he handled the situation. He had a brief run in WCW in 1990, highlighted by ending Lex Luger's fifteen month run as NWA United States Champion at Halloween Havoc (Stan would lose the title belt back to Lex at Starrcade about two months later). During Stan's second tour of All-Japan Wrestling, he would feud with Mitsuhara Misawa, who would eventually become the All Japan booker following the death of Giant Baba. Foreign talent (gaijin) would be deemphasized during Misawa's booking, but in June 2000, Misawa along with 23 other full-time performers left All Japan to form Pro Wrestling Noah. Hansen remained loyal, but lower back pain forced him into retirement by October. Post-retirement, he underwent multiple surgeries and became commissioner of All Japan's Pacific Wrestling Federation. He voluntarily resigned in 2007. Hansen is married and has two sons, both college baseball players. His older son Shaver was drafted in the 6th round of the 2009 MLB Draft. Hansen also has a cameo in the WWF movie No Holds Barred in 1989. Hansen is a member of the inaugural class of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame in 1996 and has three Newsletter-recognized five star bouts.  Tribute courtesy of KayMezCreations.

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