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This Day in Pro Wrestling History (August 3)

18 years ago today, ECW presented The Doctor Is In from the ECW Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The show featured the ECW debut of "Dr. Death" Steve Williams. In featured bouts, 2 Cold Scorpio defeated Chris Jericho in Jericho's final ECW appearance, Taz and Brian Lee defeated Tommy Dreamer and "Dr. Death" Steve Williams in a tag team match, and The Gangstas defeating The Eliminators, The Bruise Brothers, and The Samoan Gangsta Party in a four-way dance to win the ECW World Tag Team Championship. In the main event, Sabu defeated Rob Van Dam in a stretcher match.

17 years ago today, WWF presented Summerslam: Hart and Soul (WWE Network link) from the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey. 20,213 were in attendance, with 250,000 homes watching on PPV. In a sign of the WWF perhaps turning the corner, it was more than 100,000 more than the 1996 edition, when a record low 145,000 homes bought the show. The show was the final appearance for Todd Pettengill, and the debut of his replacement Michael Cole. It was the also the first WWF show in New Jersey in nearly a decade. Oh, and the show also had an attempted million dollar giveaway.

  • Mankind defeated Hunter Hearst Helmsley in a steel cage match.
  • Goldust defeated Brian Pillman. As a result of the match, Pillman was forced to wear a dress the next night on RAW.
  • The Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal) defeated The Godwinns (Henry and Phineas).
  • The British Bulldog defeated Ken Shamrock via disqualification to retain the WWF European Championship.
  • Los Boricuas (Savio Vega, Miguel Pérez, Jr., Jose Estrada, Jr. and Jesus Castillo) defeated The Disciples of Apocalypse (Crush, Chainz, 8-ball and Skull).
  • Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated Owen Hart to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship. Had Austin lost the match, he would have to kiss Owen Hart's ass. The story was what went down near the conclusion of the bout. On an piledriver, more of Austin's head was exposed than normal when properly executing the maneuver, resulting in Austin's neck being injured. For about a minute, Austin was actually paralyzed. After some brief stalling, they immediately went to the finish, which saw Austin roll up Hart to win the title. Due to the injury, Austin vacated the title a month later.
  • Bret Hart defeated The Undertaker(w/ Shawn Michaels as special guest referee) to win the WWF Championship. The win made Hart just the second five-time WWF Champion in the company's history.

4 years ago today, in a very LOLTNA moment, Samoa Joe was suspended by TNA for a month following a confrontation with officials following a match with Jeff Hardy. Joe went to the production truck during the broadcast, which is generally seen as a no-no.

Today is the 33rd birthday of former Money in the Bank winner Aaron Haddad, aka Damien Sandow. He is actually on his second run in WWE. He had a cup of coffee in the WWE in 2006 as Idol Stevens. After a run in Ohio Valley Wrestling and World Wrestling Council, he returned to the WWE in 2012 as Sandow in a gimmick similar to Triple H's first gimmick in the mid-1990s.

Today is the 48th birthday of Eric "Butterbean" Esch. Esch for years was known as "the king of the four-rounders", running up a string of victories with his knockout power. The five-time World Toughman Champion and IBA superheavyweight champion is most famous in the wrestling word as the man that knocked out Bart Gunn in just 27 seconds at Wrestlemania XV.

Today would have been the 79th birthday of William Dee "Haystacks" Calhoun.  Raised on a farm in Texas, Calhoun was unusually large for his age and he had quite the appetite. He weighed 300 pounds by age 14, and weighed over 600 pounds into his early 20s. After appearing on Art Linkletter's House Party demonstrating his strength, he got the nickname Haystacks. His enormous size, mild-mannered persona, and surprising technical skill made him a favorite among fans and promoters, as he was booked as a special attraction at events all over the world. Calhoun won tag team championships in the NWA in 1966 and the WWWF in 1973. His weight and ailing health forced Calhoun into retirement, and he was confined to his home after losing his left leg to diabetes in 1986, a disease that would claim his life in December 1989. He was 55.

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