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This Day in Wrestling History (April 18)

33 years ago today in St. Paul, Minnesota, Hulk Hogan defeated Nick Bockwinkel to win the AWA World Heavyweight Championship. But  AWA President Stanley Blackburn overturns the decision as both men used illegal objects in the match. The title change was voided and the win stricken from the record books.

30 years ago today, Bruiser Brody makes his singles debut for New Japan Pro Wrestling against Antonio Inoki.

11 years ago today, WWE presented Backlash: The Final Encounter (WWE Network link) from Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. About 13,000 were in attendance, with 320,000 homes watching on PPV. That's down from 345,000 for the 2003 edition.

  • In a Sunday Night Heat preshow match, Val Venis defeated Matt Hardy.
  • Shelton Benjamin defeated Ric Flair.
  • Jonathan Coachman (defeated Tajiri.
  • Chris Jericho defeated Christian and Trish Stratus in a 2-on-1 handicap match.
  • Victoria defeated Lita to retain the WWE Womens Championship.
  • Randy Orton defeated Cactus Jack in a hardcore match to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
  • The Hurricane and Rosey defeated La Résistance (Robert Conway and Sylvain Grenier).
  • Edge defeated Kane.
  • Chris Benoit defeated Shawn Michaels and Triple H in a triple threat match to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.

10 years ago today at a RAW/Smackdown Supershow taping, MNM (Joey Mercury & Johnny Nitro) defeated Eddie Guerrero & Rey Mysterio to win the WWE Tag Team Championship. During the RAW portion of the taping (which aired live), Jim Ross defeated Triple H in a no disqualification match.

8 years ago today, WWE ends its developmental relationship with Deep South Wrestling. All DSW talent were moved to Ohio Valley Wrestling. All WWE developmental talent in OVW would be moved to Florida Championship Wrestling about two years later.

5 years ago today, TNA presented Lockdown from the Family Arena in St. Charles, Missouri. As per TNA tradition, all of the matches on the show were contested in a steel cage.

  • Rob Van Dam defeated James Storm. With the win, Team Hogan would have the man advantage in the Lethal Lockdown match.
  • Homicide defeated Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin and Brian Kendrick in an Xscape match to earn an X Division Championship match later in the show.
  • Kevin Nash defeated Eric Young.
  • The Beautiful People (Madison Rayne and Velvet Sky) defeated Angelina Love and Tara. With Madison Rayne getting the win, she became the new TNA Knockouts Champion. The Beautiful People's Knockouts tag team titles were also at stake in the match.
  • Kazarian defeated Shannon Moore and Homicide to retain the TNA X Division Championship.
  • Team 3D (Brother Ray and Brother Devon) defeated The Band (Kevin Nash and Scott Hall) in a St. Louis street fight.
  • Kurt Angle defeated Mr. Anderson in an Xscape match.
  • A.J. Styles defeated D'Angelo Dinero to retain the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
  • Team Hogan (Abyss, Jeff Jarrett, Jeff Hardy, and Rob Van Dam) defeated Team Flair (Sting, Robert Roode, James Storm, and Desmond Wolfe) in a Lethal Lockdown match. Had Flair's team won, Hogan would have been banished from TNA.
3 years ago today, Derrick Bateman is declared (unofficially) the winner of NXT Redemption. The show stopped being a competition in late 2011 and became... well, something bizarre to best describe it. Bateman was declared the winner because he was the lone man on the show that was never eliminated—this despite the fact that he joined the competition more than four months after it began.

2 years ago today, WWE announced via press release that they were creating a "Performance Center", a place where future WWE talent can develop, and not just wrestlers, but production staff as well. The press release:

STAMFORD, Conn., April 18, 2013 - Opening this summer, the WWE state-of-the-art Performance Center will serve as the new home to WWE's talent developmental system, recently re-branded NXT® and create nearly 100 high-wage jobs in Orlando, Florida.

With 26,000 square-feet, seven training rings, a world-class strength and conditioning program and cutting-edge edit and production facilities, the new Performance Center will give WWE the ability to train more potential performers than ever before through a comprehensive program including in-ring training, physical preparedness and character development. The new center will be the training ground for talent that includes former professional and collegiate athletes, Olympians and entertainers, and will offer a best-in-class sports medicine program creating a central location for all WWE talent to receive the best care both in and out of the ring.

"Our economy has created nearly 300,000 new private sector jobs in just over two years, meaning that thousands of Florida families now have the opportunity to pursue their dreams," said Governor Rick Scott. "WWE could have chosen anywhere in the world to house this new global performance center - and they chose the Sunshine State. Today's announcement that WWE will create nearly 100 more jobs for families in Central Florida is further proof that everything we do is geared towards job creation and it's working."

"We are so excited that WWE has chosen to establish its training and talent development operations in Central Florida," said Teresa Jacobs, Mayor of Orange County. "In addition to strengthening our burgeoning entertainment production industry, the WWE Performance Center brings high-value jobs, capital investment and continued economic expansion to our area."

Today's announcement solidifies WWE's presence in Orlando and evolves WWE's partnership with Full Sail University. Last year, WWE and Full Sail announced an innovative partnership that moved live tapings of WWE NXT series, WWE's weekly one-hour show that broadcasts on and in more than 60 countries worldwide, to Full Sail Live, the university's state-of-the-art performance venue. The partnership, which created a new student scholarship fund, also allows students of the university's entertainment-focused degree programs, including Film, Show Production, Digital Arts and Design, Internet Marketing and Entertainment Business, to gain real-world experience alongside WWE production staff during WWE NXT tapings.

"The WWE Performance Center and our partnership with Full Sail University are critical to the future of our company," said Paul "Triple H®" Levesque, Executive Vice President, Talent and Live Events, WWE. "Orlando is now the home to the next generation of WWE Superstars."

"Collaborating with WWE has elevated the education experience here at Full Sail University by creating many opportunities for our students to gain hands-on experience by being mentored by some of the best minds in the entertainment production industry," said Garry Jones, President of Full Sail University. "We are excited to welcome WWE to the neighborhood and can't wait to see what the future holds for this evolving partnership."

The WWE Performance Center would open about three months later in Winter Park, Florida, about three miles from Full Sail University, the home of NXT.

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