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This Day in Wrestling History (July 11): Matt Hardy, Vengeful Lover

Happy 7-11 Day! If it's after 11am where you are and you haven't gotten your free Slurpee, go do it. Do it. DO IT! This will still be here when you get back. (However, if it's after 7pm, you can sit down. Too late for your free Slurpee.)

57 years ago today in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Angelo Savoldi defeated Dory Funk, Sr. to win the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship.

54 years ago today in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Gene Kinski defeated Verne Gagne to win the AWA World Heavyweight Championship.

28 years ago today, at two separate NWA Great American Bash events, Lex Luger defeated Nikita Koloff to win the NWA United States Championship at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina, while in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, "Dr. Death" Steve Williams defeated Big Bubba Rogers to win the UWF Heavyweight Championship. Williams would be the last UWF Champion, as the promotion was bought out by Jim Crockett Promotions back in April, but would not fold until December 1987. Side nugget: Williams was the only face champion in the brief history of the promotion.

26 years ago today in Hokkaido, Japan, Stan Hansen and Genichiro Tenryu defeated Jumbo Tsuruta and Yoshiaki Yatsu to win the All Japan Pro Wrestling World Tag Team Championship.

16 years ago today, WCW presented Bash at the Beach (WWE Network link) from the National Car Rental Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. 13,624 were in attendance, with 175,000 homes purchasing the event on PPV. That's down from 580,000 for the 1998 edition.

  • Ernest Miller defeated Disco Inferno.
  • Rick Steiner defeated Van Hammer to retain the WCW World Television Championship.
  • David Flair defeated Dean Malenko to retain the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship.
  • The No Limit Soldiers (Konnan, Rey Misterio, Jr., Swoll, and Brad Armstrong) defeated The West Texas Rednecks (Curt Hennig, Bobby Duncum, Jr., Barry Windham; and Kendall Windham) 4-2 in a tag team elimination match.
    • Swoll pinned Duncum.
    • Hennig pinned Armstrong with a Henning-Plex.
    • Konnan pinned Kendal after a DDT.
    • Barry and Konnan were counted out.
    • Misterio pinned Hennig after a Swan Dive from on top of Swoll's shoulders.
  • Fit Finlay won a Junkyard Invitational also involving Ciclope, Jerry Flynn, Johnny Grunge, Hardcore Hak, Horace Hogan, Brian Knobbs, Hugh Morrus, La Parka, Steven Regal, Rocco Rock, Silver King, David Taylor, and Mikey Whipwreck. It was one of the more notorious moments in WCW history, as numerous injuries occurred during the match. The match, which was actually filmed in a junkyard, cost over $100,000 to produce. Finlay, the winner, narrowly avoided a leg amputation later in the month when shards of a broken table cut deep into a nerve in his leg.
  • The Jersey Triad (Diamond Dallas Page, Chris Kanyon, and Bam Bam Bigelow) defeated Perry Saturn and Chris Benoit to retain the WCW World Tag Team Championship.
  • Buff Bagwell defeated Roddy Piper in a boxing match by knockout 36 seconds into the third round. Famed boxing referee Mills Lane officiated the match.
  • Randy Savage and Sid Vicious defeated WCW World Heavyweight Champion Kevin Nash and Sting. Per a pre-match stipulation, Savage became the new WCW world heavyweight champion.

11 years ago today, WWE presented Vengeance (WWE Network link) from the Harford Civic Center in Harford, Connecticut. About 7,000 were in attendance, with 240,000 homes purchasing the event on PPV.

  • Tajiri and Rhyno defeated Garrison Cade and Jonathan Coachman.
  • Batista defeated Chris Jericho.
  • La Résistance (Róbert Conway and Sylvain Grenier) defeated Ric Flair and Eugene by disqualification for the World Tag Team Championship.
  • Matt Hardy defeated Kane in a no disqualification match.
  • Edge defeated Randy Orton to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
  • Victoria defeated Molly Holly to become the #1 contender for the WWE Womens Championship.
  • Chris Benoit defeated Triple H to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.

10 years ago today, Matt Hardy makes his return to WWE three months after he was released from the company. Hardy, while rehabbing a knee injury, discovered that his girlfriend Amy Dumas (aka Lita) was having an affair with one Adam Copeland (aka Edge). Forget trying to wrap your head around the logic in Hardy being released. You'll only get lost. But in a nutshell, when Hardy found out, he went off the deep end. Not surprising. But then it affected his work, and that's bad.

He spent a few months on the independent circuit, most notably Ring of Honor, until WWE brought him back with the idea of turning this real-life situation into a storyline. In a cruel bit of irony, Hardy may have benefited least of all, at least in the short term. Edge won the feud when he banished Hardy from RAW in a loser leaves town ladder match, then went on to win the WWE Championship six months after Hardy's return and at the time of his sudden retirement in 2011, had won more combined championships than anyone in WWE history. He would be a member of the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2012. Today, he's in a relationship with former WWE diva Beth Phoenix, and the couple have a child together.

Lita, despite derogatory chants following her for the rest of her in-ring career, has largely been forgiven, and she too became a WWE Hall of Famer in April 2014. She dated fellow wrestler CM Punk twice since her retirement, but neither time it has worked out. These days, she's a trainer for the 2015 reboot of Tough Enough and is the godmother of Trish Stratus' son Maximus.

As for Hardy, he was released from WWE for a second time in October 2010 after expressing disinterest in the product on his Youtube channel. After a stint in TNA and Ring of Honor, he reunited with his brother Jeff to reform The Hardy Boyz in TNA. He also married his girlfriend Reby Sky in October 2013. The couple welcomed their first child, Maxel, last month.

6 years ago today in Las Vegas, Nevada, Brock Lesnar defeated Frank Mir via TKO in the second round to unify the UFC Heavyweight and Interim Heavyweight Championships. At 1.6 million home buys, the show, UFC 100, is the most bought in UFC history, and to this day remains one of the most bought events in PPV history. Though the show got more first place votes than its winner (Dragon Gate USA's Open the Historical Gate), the event is voted the second best major wrestling show of 2009 by Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

5 years ago today, TNA presented Victory Road from the Impact Zone at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.

  • Douglas Williams defeated Brian Kendrick in an Ultimate X/submission match for the TNA X Division Championship. The match could be won if either wrestler submitted the other or retrieved the belt from the Ultimate X cables. Williams submitted Kendrick to retain the title.
  • Brother Ray defeated Brother Devon & Jesse Neal in a 3-way match.
  • Angelina Love defeated Madison Rayne to become the new TNA Knockouts Champion. Had Angelina lost the match, Love would have been forced to retire.
  • A.J. Styles and Kazarian defeated Rob Terry and Samoa Joe.
  • Hernandez defeated Matt Morgan in a steel cage match.
  • Jay Lethal defeated Ric Flair.
  • The Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin) defeated Beer Money, Inc. (James Storm and Robert Roode) to win the vacant TNA World Tag Team Championship.
  • Kurt Angle defeated D'Angelo Dinero.
  • Rob Van Dam defeated Jeff Hardy, Mr. Anderson, and Abyss in a four-way match to retain the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.

4 years ago today at an Impact taping at the Impact Zone in Orlando, Sting defeated Mr. Anderson to win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. This would begin the fourth and final TNA world title for Sting. He was briefly tied for most TNA world titles until Angle defeated Sting for the title less than a month later at Hardcore Justice.

3 years ago today, WWE announces it had made a $5 million investment in social media service Tout. The service enables its users to send 15 second videos. The service gained popularity when Shaquille O'Neal used it to announce his retirement in June 2011. The partnership bombs, especially after Twitter-backed vlog app Vine is introduced just six months later and Instagram adds video capabilities to their service the following summer; WWE does not renew their deal with Tout when it expires two years later.

2 years ago today, WWE opens their Performance Center in Winter Park, Florida. The official training facility of the WWE, it's 26,000 square feet and includes seven training rings, a strength and conditioning program, edit and production facilities, and a voice-over room that performers and announcers can practice. Cagesider GuyNamedJason took a tour of the facility just before NXT Takeover: Rival back in February. Read and enjoy it, as it's probably the closest you'll get to it. The facility is not open to the general public.

Happy 35th birthday to Theodore James Wilson, known better to wrestling fans as Tyson Kidd. The last graduate of the famed Hart Dungeon, Wilson is a Hart by marriage; he married Natalya Neidhart in 2013. Wilson competed most notably in Stampede Wrestling from 1995 to 2007. In late 2006, he signed a WWE developmental deal. He joined the main roster in 2009 with David Hart Smith and his girlfriend at the time Natalya. Known as the Hart Dynasty, they won WWE Tag Team Championship in 2010.  Wilson floundered for most of the next three years, but experienced a resurgence after he returned from a torn meniscus in late 2013. Earlier this year, he began teaming with Cesaro. Dubbing themselves "The Brass Ring Club", the duo won the tag titles at Fastlane in February. Last month, Wilson suffered a severe neck and spinal injury during a dark match against Samoa Joe. Wilson could be out for up to a year, but by his own admission, it could be worse all things considered.

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