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This Day in Wrestling History (April 30)

38 years ago today in Baltimore, Maryland, Superstar Billy Graham defeated Bruno Sammartino to win the WWWF Championship. Graham used the ropes for leverage to gain the win. Ironically, his feet were on the ropes when he lost the title to Bob Backlund about ten months later.

32 years ago today in Greensboro, North Carolina, Greg Valentine defeated Roddy Piper to win the NWA United States Championship. Piper would win the championship again, but not until 1998.

17 years ago today in Augusta, Georgia, Chris Benoit defeated Booker T to win the WCW World Television Championship. It would be the first of five consecutive days where the title changed hands, four of them occuring at house shows. Booker won it back in Greenville the next day, Benoit won it back in Charleston on May 2, Booker T won it back on May 3 in Savannah, Georgia, and on May 4 on Nitro from Indianapolis, Fit Finlay defeated Booker T for the title.

15 years ago today, WWF presented Backlash (WWE Network link) from the MCI Center in Washington, DC. 17,867 were in attendance, with an event record 675,000 homes watching on PPV. The event was the WWF PPV return of Stone Cold Steve Austin, appearing on that medium for the first time since the previous November's Survivor Series.

Sunday Night Heat matches:

  • D-Lo Brown defeated Al Snow by disqualification.
  • Steve Blackman defeated Val Venis.
  • The Godfather and Kaientai defeated Steven Richards and The Headbangers.

PPV matches:

  • Edge & Christian defeated D-Generation X (X-Pac and Road Dogg) to retain the WWF Tag Team Championship.
  • Dean Malenko defeated Scotty 2 Hotty to retain the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship.
  • The Big Boss Man and Bull Buchanan defeated The Acolytes (Faarooq and Bradshaw).
  • Crash Holly defeated Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, Hardcore Holly, Perry Saturn and Tazz in a six man hardcore match to retain the WWF Hardcore Championship.
  • The Big Show defeated Kurt Angle.
  • T & A (Test and Albert) defeated The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley).
  • Eddie Guerrero defeated Essa Rios to retain the WWF European Championship.
  • Chris Benoit defeated Chris Jericho by disqualification to retain the WWF Intercontinental Championship.
  • The Rock defeated Triple H to win the WWF Championship. Shane McMahon was the special referee, but it was a returning Earl Hebner that counted the fall.
12 years ago today at an NWA-TNA weekly PPV taping in Nashville, Tennessee, The Amazing Red defeated Kid Kash to win the TNA X Division Championship.

9 years ago today, WWE presented Backlash (WWE Network link) from the Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. About 14,000 were in attendance, with 273,000 homes watching on PPV, though some estimates have it as low as 220,000 buys. Either way, it's down from 320,000 for the 2005 event.

  • In a preshow Sunday Night Heat match, Goldust defeated Rob Conway.
  • Carlito defeated Chris Masters.
  • Umaga defeated Ric Flair.
  • Trish Stratus defeated Mickie James by disqualification in a WWE Womens Championship match.
  • Rob Van Dam defeated Shelton Benjamin to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship. Van Dam's Money in the Bank contract was also at stake in the match.
  • The Big Show fought Kane to no contest.
  • Vince McMahon and Shane McMahon defeated Shawn Michaels and "God" in a no holds barred match.
  • John Cena defeated Triple H and Edge in a triple threat match to retain the WWE Championship.

5 years ago today, WWE releases Hall of Famer Tony Atlas. Atlas had been working with the ECW brand, but was seldom used when the brand was discontinued two months earlier.

5 years ago today, TNA announces in a statement that they have fired Todd Clem, aka Bubba the Love Sponge. This comes off the heels of Clem's negative comments about Haiti after the country suffered a devastating earthquake earlier that month, leading to then-TNA Knockout Awesome Kong, who was raising money for earthquake relief, to physically attack Clem at a TNA taping backstage.

4 years ago today, Tommaso Ciampa defeated Adam Cole to win the East Coast Wrestling Association Super 8 tournament.

3 years ago today, The Bella Twins leave WWE as their contracts were set to expire. On the final night of their deal, they fail to defeat Layla for the WWE Divas Championship. The Bellas wouldn't stay gone for long though; they were back ten and a half months later just in time for Wrestlemania 29. In an unrelated story, on the same RAW from Dayton, Ohio, Kofi Kingston & R-Truth defeated Epico & Primo to win the WWE Tag Team Championship.

1 year ago today, WWE releases five NXT talents: Mason Ryan, who had a brief run with the New Nexus, Shaul Guerrero, who was working under the name Racquel Diaz, Oliver Grey, who was a NXT Tag Team Champion with Adrian Neville, Danny Burch, and multi-time arm wrestling champion Sarah Backman, who two months after her release married Bo Dallas.

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