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This Day in Pro Wrestling History (August 5)

23 years ago today, Big Josh, Dustin Rhodes, and Tom Zenk defeated The Fabulous Freebirds to win the WCW Six-Man Tag Team Championship.

20 years ago today, The Rock ‘n Roll Express defeated Chris Candido and Brian Lee to win the Smoky Mountain Wrestling Tag Team Championship for the eighth time.

18 years ago today, The Great Sasuke defeated Ultimo Dragon to win the J-Crown tournament, and with it, a total of eight junior heavyweight championships. Here's the list for the curious:

  • IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
  • NWA Junior Heavyweight Championship
  • NWA World Welterweight Championship
  • WAR International Junior Heavyweight Championship
  • UWA World Junior Light Heavyweight Championship
  • WWA World Junior Light Heavyweight Championship
  • British Commonwealth Junior Heavyweight Championship
  • WWF Light Heavyweight Championship

The J-Crown was only around for 15 months, two of its other four holders were its creator Jushin Liger and Ultimo Dragon, who at the time of holding the J-Crown was also NWA World Middleweight and WCW Cruiserweight Champion. The J-Crown was retired in November 1997 when the WWF came for their light heavyweight title belt back. Shinjiro Otani, the champion at the time, also returned the other belts except the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.

14 years ago today, Pro Wrestling NOAH was born in Tokyo's Differ Ariake. The promotion was founded by a group of All Japan Pro Wrestling defectors led by Mitsuharu Misawa. In the featured bout, Jun Akiyama and Kenta Kobashi (not to be confused with recent WWE signee KENTA Kobayashi) defeated Misawa and Akira Taue two falls to none in a best of three falls match.

8 years ago today at ROH Fight of the Century from Edison, New Jersey, Bryan Danielson and Samoa Joe fought to a one-hour draw for the ROH World Heavyweight Championship.

Happy 37th birthday to Jorge Arias, once known as Hunico, but today known as Sin Cara.

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Happy 61st birthday to one half of legendary tag team The Fabulous Ones, Wallace Stanfield "Stan" Lane. Lane was a part of the Fabulous Ones with SteveKeirn in the early 1980s (and briefly again in the early 1990s) and pioneered the "MTV style" promotion, where they would use flashy entrances and promo videos interspersed with popular songs of the time. In the late 1980s, he along with Bobby Eaton formed a rebooted Midnight Express, where they would win the NWA United States Tag Team titles three times and the World Tag Team titles once.  He was also part of the original Heavenly Bodies with Tom Pritchard; together they won the Smoky Mountain Wrestling tag titles five times. Lane is a part of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame Class of 2009 with Eaton.

Happy 67th birthday to Rick Derringer. The name may not mean much to you, but you certainly know his work. He's the man behind Hulk Hogan's WWF theme, "Real American", one of the defining wrestling themes of all time. (Side note: the theme was first used for the US Express, the team of Mike Rotundo and Barry Windham.)

Today would have been the 99th birthday of women's wrestling icon Mildred Bliss, aka Mildred Burke. A member of the Wrestling Observer Newletter and Pro Wrestling Halls of Fame, Burke held the NWA World Women's Championship from 1937 to 1954. Mildred married her trainer Billy Wolfe, but life on the road put an eventual strain on the relationship (Wolfe garnered the reputation as a womanizer), and the couple, who had two children (one of which died to injuries suffered in a match) divorced in 1952. The fallout led to the couple competing for women wrestlers and Burke virtually frozen out of the NWA altogether. Burke lost the NWA Womens Championship to June Byers, Wolfe's daughter-in-law, in 1954. By that time, she had started her own promotion, the World Womens Wrestling Association, and recognized herself as champion until her retirement in 1956. The belt was revived for All Japan Womens Pro Wrestling in 1970. Burke's later days saw her as a trainer for her own wrestling school in Encino, California; her most famous protégé was Rhonda Sing, who went on to fame internationally as Monster Ripper and as Bertha Faye in the WWF. Burke died from a stroke in February 1989. She was 73.

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