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This Day in Wrestling History (July 12): Happy Birthday Brock Lesnar!

29 years ago today, Bruno Sammartino and Tito Santana defeated WWF Intercontinental Champion Randy Savage and Adrian Adonis in a steel cage match in Madison Square Garden in New York City. The event would be Sammartino's final appearance at the Garden until his WWE Hall of Fame induction in 2013, a building he sold out nearly two hundred times.

23 years ago today, WCW presented The Great American Bash (WWE Network link) from the Gray Civic Center in Albany, Georgia. About 8,000 were in attendance with 70,000 homes purchasing the event on PPV. This would be the last Great American Bash until 1995. The focus of the event was to crown new board-recognized NWA Tag Team Champions. The NWA Tag Team Championship was vacated when the original versions of the title combined to create the WCW World Tag Team Championship lineage in 1991. The WCW and NWA tag team titles were defended together until September 1993 when WCW withdraws from the NWA. The first round of the tournament and one quarterfinal match was held at Clash of the Champions XIX back on June 16.

  • Nikita Koloff and Ricky Steamboat defeated Jushin Liger and Brian Pillman.
  • Dustin Rhodes and Barry Windham defeated NWA World Television Champion Steve Austin and NWA United States Heavyweight Champion Rick Rude.
  • Hiroshi Hase and Shinya Hashimoto (subbing for the injured Akira Nogami) defeated The Fabulous Freebirds (Jimmy Garvin and Michael Hayes).
  • WCW World Tag Team Champions Terry Gordy and Steve Williams defeated Nikita Koloff and Ricky Steamboat.
  • Dustin Rhodes and Barry Windham defeated Hiroshi Hase and Shinya Hashimoto.
  • Big Van Vader defeated Sting to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
  • WCW World Tag Team Champions Terry Gordy and Steve Williams defeated Dustin Rhodes and Barry Windham to win the NWA World Tag Team Championship. Following Gordy and Williams' win, the championship was defended as the NWA/WCW Unified Tag Team Championship until WCW's official withdrawal from the NWA in September 1993.

20 years ago, Jack Tunney resigns from his post as WWF "President". In reality, Tunney, who had a big hand in promoting WWF cards in the Northeast in the 1980s and early 1990s, specifically in the Toronto area, ran up some gambling debts and used company money to pay them off. When Vince McMahon got wind of it, he forced Tunney out, and Jack quietly faded away into retirement and obscurity. When Tunney died in 2004, there were no representatives from WWE at the funeral, nor was his death mentioned on WWE programming or their website.

17 years ago today, WCW presented Bash at the Beach (WWE Network link) from the Cox Arena in San Diego, California. 10,095 people were in attendance with 580,000 homes purchasing the event on PPV. It's WCW's most watched PPV of 1998.

  • Raven defeated Saturn in a Raven's Rules match.
  • Juventud Guerrera pinned Kidman.
  • Stevie Ray defeated Chavo Guerrero, Jr. by submission.
  • Eddie Guerrero defeated Chavo Guerrero, Jr. in a hair versus hair match. It was Chavo that did his own haircut post-match.
  • Konnan defeated Alex Wright by submission.
  • The Giant defeated Kevin Greene.
  • Rey Mysterio, Jr. defeated Chris Jericho to win the WCW Cruiserweight Championship. However, due to interference from Dean Malenko, the title was returned the next night on Nitro to Jericho.
  • WCW World Television Champion Booker T defeated Bret Hart by disqualification.
  • WCW World Heavyweight Champion Goldberg defeated Curt Hennig.
  • Hollywood Hulk Hogan and Dennis Rodman defeated Diamond Dallas Page and Karl Malone.

16 years ago today on RAW is WAR from Louisville, Kentucky, the WWF announces that Minnesota Governor Jesse "The Body" Ventura would return to the company as a special referee for the main event of Summerslam.

16 years ago today on Nitro from the Jacksonville Coliseum in Jacksonville, Florida, Hollywood Hulk Hogan defeats Macho Man Randy Savage to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship just one day after Savage had won the title at Bash at the Beach. Sound familiar? It should. Fifteen months prior, Savage won the world title at Spring Stampede, only to lose it the next night to Hollywood Hulk Hogan. Interesting side nugget: all of Randy Savage's six world title reigns were ended by one of two men: Hulk Hogan or Ric Flair.

10 years ago today, Matt Hardy gives his first public statement after his surprising return to WWE the previous night. The statement as posted on his website:

If you guys are ready for a ride, jump the f*ck on. Well, I promised you all fireworks, so I hope I didn't disappoint. As of July 11th, 2005, my personal Independence Day, the Movement has begun-- and the Movement's purpose is two-fold. Purpose one--To never let anyone control what Matt Hardy says and does and thinks. Purpose two--To make Adam Copeland, Amy Dumas, and the WWE regret what they did to me, what they did to us.

It's time for Matt Hardy to stand up for all the MFer's that have been chanting "We Want Matt", and "You Screwed Matt". Although you may not know this--you guys, the MFers, started the Movement months ago. I can now finally join the Movement because I am no longer controlled by the WWE. The McMahons, the Johnny Aces, and all of the WWE management can kiss my @$$. I did what I did tonight because for me to live with myself, Adam "Feces" Copeland must pay. I'm not going to let the WWE forget that they f*cked up when they released me instead of that scumbag home-wrecker. And Amy Dumas, you know what's it's like to have me as your closest ally--but you're gonna hate to see what it's like to have me as your worst enemy b*tch. Even though I didn't slash your tires FCF, slashed tires are going to be the least of your problems--Bank on it. A little message to the whore, the feces, and the horsesh*t "family" that is the WWE--Matt Hardy is like cancer, I don't go away and you won't find a cure. I thank EVERYONE that has supported me through thick and thin--I promise I will always be there for my MFers. I love you guys--and as I always say, without you, there is no me. I am going to turn a hugely negative situation into something that will benefit us. If you don't want to be able to predict what happens next, you're all in for a treat.

P.S. - If you're thinking about pressing charges Vince, I got a couple bucks, I'll fight it. Besides, I think I might have some pixs and video from a camera phone that shows your officers Rodney Kinging my @$$. My wrist is cut from the handcuffs, and I would suggest that there was a little unnecessary roughness involved in kicking me out of your building.

P.S.S. - And don't forget to catch Matt Hardy in action this Friday in Indiana, PA, this Saturday in Woodbridge, CT, and you never know where I'll show up on Sunday. And The Matt Hardy Show is so on...

Matt "F*cking" Hardy

4 years ago today at an Impact taping at Universal Orlando, Brooke Tessmacher and Tara (later collectively known as TnT) defeat Mexican America (Rosita & Sarita) to win the TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship.

3 years ago today, Kia Stevens, best known as Amazing Kong on the independent circuit, Awesome Kong in TNA, and most recently Kharma in WWE, confirms she has been released by the company. Stevens signed in late 2010 and made her WWE debut in May 2011. Just three weeks later, she revealed she was pregnant and forced to take a leave of absence. Though the announced she had given birth on New Year's Eve 2011, she later confirmed that she had miscarried and lied about giving birth due to her emotional state at the time. Stevens as Kharma wrestled a total of one match for the WWE: she entered the 2012 Royal Rumble match, eliminating Hunico and Michael Cole before being eliminated by Dolph Ziggler. Despite being released, she was announced as a playable character for WWE '13. After spending most of the next two and a half years on the independent circuit, Stevens returned to TNA earlier this year.

2 years ago today, SHINE Wrestling presented SHINE 11 from The Orpheum in Ybor City, Florida. The show marked the first anniversary of the promotion and featured a one-night tournament to crown its first ever champion.

Qualifying matches:

  • LuFisto defeated Mercedes Martinez, Nikki Roxx, and Su Yung in a fatal four-way match.
  • Ivelisse defeated Amazing Kong, Angelina Love, and Kimberly in a fatal four-way match.

First round:

  • Jessicka Havok defeats Saraya Knight by disqualification.
  • Mia Yim defeated Leva Bates.
  • Rain defeated LuFisto.
  • Ivelisse defeated Santana.


  • Rain defeated Jessicka Havok by countout.
  • Mia Yim defeated Ivelisse.


  • Rain defeated Mia Yim to win the SHINE Championship.

Happy 31st birthday to Rami Sebei, best known to wrestling fans as Sami Zayn. Allegedly wrestling as El Generico in a past life, Sebei became one of the most successful and popular wrestlers on the independent circuit, capturing the Pro Wrestling Guerilla world championship twice and the tag team titles five times with four different partners, and was a winner of the 2010 DDT4 (Dynamic Duumvirate Tag Team Title Tournament) with Paul London and the 2011 Battle of Los Angeles (he's the only man to win both PWG tournaments). He was also a Ring of Honor world tag team champion with Kevin Steen and a world television champion. El Generico's feud with Kevin Steen was Wrestling Observer Newsletter's Feud of the Year in 2010. In 2013, Sebei joined WWE. Briefly wrestling under his real name, he settled on Sami Zayn by the spring. His series of matches with Antonio Cesaro put Zayn on the map in WWE fans' eyes. He spent most of 2014 chasing the NXT Championship and finally won it in December, defeating Adrian Neville at Takeover: R Evolution. His reign ended just two months later at the hands of Kevin Owens. Zayn made his main roster debut in his hometown of Montreal in May in the John Cena US Open Challenge, but lost to Cena for the United States Championship. Currently, Sebei is sidelined with a shoulder injury he suffered either early on in the match or during his entrance.

Happy 38th birthday to Brock Edward Lesnar. Success has followed him everywhere he's been—as long as it's wrestling. In the amateurs, he won all 33 of his matches in high school in Webster, South Dakota, and 106 of 111 matches in college. He was the NJCAA heavyweight champion in 1998 and the NCAA heavyweight champion in 2000. He signed with the WWF right out of college. In OVW he won the Southern Tag Team Championship with his college roommate, Shelton Benjamin, three times in 2001. The next year, he joined the WWF main roster with Paul Heyman as "The Next Big Thing", and quickly found success there too. He won the WWE Championship three times, the first of which came just four months after his main roster debut. During his first run with the company, he became the youngest King of the Ring winner, youngest Royal Rumble winner, and youngest WWE Champion in history.

After controversially leaving the WWE in 2004, he turned his attention to trying to make the NFL's Minnesota Vikings. Despite suffering multiple injuries a month after leaving the WWE, he made it to training camp, but did not make the roster. He returned to wrestling in 2005 for New Japan Pro Wrestling and won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in his debut match. He left for the Inoki Genome Federation after a contract dispute and remained there until June 2007.

Shortly before leaving wrestling behind, he began a career in mixed martial arts. After winning his debut match in just over a minute, he signed with UFC in 2008. He lost his debut to Frank Mir in just 90 seconds. He would win his next four, including the UFC Heavyweight Championship at UFC 87, and unifying the heavyweight and interim championships at UFC 100. Illness would plague Lesnar's MMA career from there; he suffered bouts with mononucleosis and diverticulitis. He retired from MMA in December 2011 after losing to Alistar Overeem. At the height of his popularity there, he was one of the highest paid athletes in all of sports.

He returned to WWE the night after Wrestlemania XXVIII. He's wrestled sparingly in the three years since, but he's largely been successful; at Wrestlemania XXX, he became the first man to defeat The Undertaker at the event (he's still the only man to do it). Four months later, he won the WWE Championship for a fourth time.

Lesnar is married to former WWE diva Rena Mero, best known to wrestling fans as Sable. The couple have two children together, plus one from Mero's previous marriage.

Happy 41st birthday to Gregory Shane Helms. Best known for his time in WWE as The Hurricane and in WCW as "Sugar" Shane Helms, Helms has given his entire adult life to wrestling. He first wrestled as a 16-year old for North Carolina-based OMEGA (the same company that birthed The Hardy Boyz). He entered the national spotlight in 1999 as 1/3 of 3 Count in WCW, where he won the Hardcore and Cruiserweight championships (he was the last cruiserweight champion under the WCW banner). Helms was brought into the WWF following the sale of WCW and garnered the most fame under the superhero gimmick, The Hurricane. He won cruiserweight and tag team gold with Rosey. His biggest success in WWE came after he dropped the superhero gimmick. Wrestling under his real name, he held the cruiserweight championship for just over a year, the longest championship reign in Smackdown history. Helms briefly revived the Hurricane gimmick in 2009 for ECW. Following the end of ECW, Helms wrestled on the independent circuit , most notably for Lucha Libre USA. He recently joined TNA after a tryout with the company as an agent.

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