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This Day in Wrestling History (July 9): Dark Clouds at the Bash

52 years ago today in Minneapolis, Minnesota, The Crusher defeated Verne Gagne to win the AWA World Heavyweight Championship.

30 years ago today in Shelby, North Carolina, The Rock ‘n Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson) defeated Ivan Koloff & Krusher Kruschev to win the NWA World Tag Team Championship.

29 years ago today in Sydney, Australia, The Fabulous Moolah defeated Velvet McIntyre to win the WWF Womens Championship. The change comes just six days after Moolah lost the title to McIntyre. Moolah holds the championship until Sensational Sherri defeats her just over a year later. Many record books don't recognize the Australian title changes, but WWE does.

15 years ago today, WCW presented Bash at the Beach (WWE Network link) from the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Florida. 6,572 were in attendance, with about 100,000 homes watching on PPV. That's down from 175,000 for the 1999 edition and, in an indication of how far WCW has fallen at this point, down from 580,000 in 1998.

  • Lt. Loco defeated Juventud Guerrera to retain the WCW Cruiserweight Championship.
  • Big Vito defeated Norman Smiley and Ralphus in a Handicap match to retain the WCW Hardcore Championship.
  • Daffney defeated Ms. Hancock in a Wedding Gown match.
  • KroniK (Brian Adams and Bryan Clark) defeated The Perfect Event (Shawn Stasiak and Chuck Palumbo) to win the WCW World Tag Team Championship.
  • Kanyon defeated Booker T.
  • Mike Awesome defeated WCW United States Champion Scott Steiner by disqualification.
  • Vampiro defeated The KISS Demon in a Graveyard match.
  • Shane Douglas defeated Buff Bagwell.
  • Hulk Hogan defeated Jeff Jarrett to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.

    A backstory surrounding the match if you have a moment: Hulk Hogan and Vince Russo clashed from the moment Russo came to WCW in October 1999. Russo looked to push younger and underutilized talent, which clashed with the big pay and the perks that Hogan carried: he had complete creative control written into his contract (as did a lot of big names in WCW at the time). In fact, one of Russo's first acts as head of the creative team was to write off Hogan's character for four months. Fast forward to July 9, 2000. John Laurinaitis (he of the "People Power") broke the bad news to Hogan: he was losing to Jarrett, and creative had nothing for him going forward. Hogan passes on the news to Eric Bischoff, and the two and Russo come up with a new plan: Hogan wins the title, takes off, WCW crowns a new champion via a tournament, and Hogan returns at a future PPV claiming he's the real world champion (sound familiar?). Vince was not feeling that idea at all, but decided to play along. Both Hogan and Jarrett took their time coming to the ring. When the bell rang, Jeff simply laid down. Russo, at ringside, threw the world title belt at Hogan and told him to take it. Confused by the whole bit, Hulk Hogan gets on the mic: "This is the reason this company is in the damn shape it's in, because of bullshit like this." Hogan puts a foot on Jarrett, the referee counts three, and everybody leaves. Confusion everywhere from the stands to the booth and the locker room. A brilliant work shoot pulled off...and then it became a shoot. Russo returns and drops some scathing remarks in Hogan's direction, which, by the way, Hogan does not hear until days later, as he and Bischoff have already left the Ocean Center (transcript courtesy of cagematch.net):

"Three weeks ago, I left WCW...and quite frankly, I didn't know if I was gonna come back. And the reason I didn't know if I was gonna come back or not is because from day one that I have been in WCW, I 've done nothing, nothing but deal with the bullshit of the politics behind that curtain. The fact of the matter is, I've got a wife, I've got three kids at home, and I really don't need this shit.

But let me tell you the reason why I did come back. I came back for everyone of the guys in that locker that week in, week out, bust their ass for WCW. I came back for the Booker T's, I came back for every single guy in MIA, I came back for the Animals, I came back for Jarrett, I came back for the guys behind that curtain that give a shit about this company.

And let me tell you who doesn't give a shit about this company, that Goddamn politician Hulk Hogan. Cause let me tell you people what happened out here in this ring tonight. All day long I'm playing politics with Hulk Hogan, because Hulk Hogan tonight wants to play his creative control card. And to Hulk Hogan, that meant that tonight in the middle of this ring, when he knew it was bullshit, he beats Jeff Jarrett.

Well guess what, Hogan got his wish, Hogan got his belt and he went the hell home, and I promise everybody or else I'll go in the Goddamn grave, you will never see that piece of shit again! But I also, I sat out there in the people just like you, and I know you paid good money to come here tonight, and nobody is gonna be ripped off here tonight.

So Hulk Hogan now has the WCW belt, and Hulk, let's refer to that as the Hulk Hogan Memorial Belt, because from here on in, that belt don't mean shit! Because there will be a new WCW belt, and as far as I'm concerned, that belt still belongs to the one guy that busts his ass week in and week out in the middle of this ring. And you people can love him and hate him, but he doesn't screw anybody back there and that's Jeff Jarrett.

Now hold on a minute, Jeff Jarrett is still the official WCW champion, but he will defend that title in this ring tonight. And he will defend that title against the son of a bitch back there who for fourteen years has been bustin' his ass in WCW and can't get a Goddamn break because of the Hulk Hogans! And I'm talking about Booker T! Booker T and Jeff Jarrett are the two reasons why I'm in this damn stinkin' business to begin with! So tonight in this ring, for the WCW title, two deserving guys, Jarrett and Booker will compete for the WCW...and tear this goddamn house down! And Hogan you big bald son of a bitch, kiss my ass!"

Hogan would file a defamation suit against Russo, claiming the promo damaged his career, but it was dismissed. Hogan would be back a year and a half later, working for WWE (even winning one more world title). Oh, and in a bit of irony, Hogan, Russo, and Bischoff would reunite a decade later in TNA Wrestling, but all three would be out by the end of 2013. Hulk Hogan is back with the WWE under a legends contract.

  • Goldberg defeated Kevin Nash. As a result of the match, Scott Hall's contract with WCW was null and void.
  • Booker T defeated Jeff Jarrett to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Booker was just the second African-American to hold the top prize in WCW.

14 years ago today, the APA (Faarooq & Bradshaw) defeated The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von) to win the WWF Tag Team Championship. The show is most noted for the WWF debuts of Tommy Dreamer and Rob Van Dam and the surprise reformation of ECW. But the night ended with ECW and WCW joining forces to form the Alliance.

7 years ago today, WWE releases RAW Diva Search winner Ashley Massaro. She requested her release due to her daughter being ill. Outside of the occasional indy appearance, she's largely been out of the business ever since.

2 years ago today, Matt Morgan is granted his release from TNA. His last appearance with the company came a month earlier on Impact winning a fatal-four way qualifying match for the Bound for Glory Series. Six months later, he retired from wrestling full-time. Morgan has since returned to TNA, but according to Morgan, it was a one-time deal.

Happy 40th birthday to Shelton James Benjamin. Though he is best known for his eight-year run in WWE, these days, he's a part of New Japan Pro Wrestling and Global Force Wrestling. Benjamin, a two-time All-American (and one-time assistant coach) at the University of Minnesota, is a four-time Southern Tag Team Champion at Ohio Valley Wrestling, and is a three-time WWE Intercontinental Champion, United States Champion, and twice WWE Tag Team Champion with Charlie Haas. With Haas, he also won the Ring of Honor world tag titles twice. He also won Puerto Rico's top prize, the World Wrestling Council Universal Heavyweight Championship. He was voted Wrestling Observer Newsletter's Most Underrated Wrestler three years in a row from 2005 to 2007.

Happy 56th birthday to Kevin Scott Nash. Though he broke into the business in 1990 for WCW, success didn't come to him until he joined the WWF in 1993 as Diesel, the bodyguard/BFF of Shawn Michaels. In 1994, Diesel eliminated seven men in less than 20 minutes in the Royal Rumble match, won the Intercontinental Championship in April, the tag team championship in August, and in November, defeated Bob Backlund in just eight seconds to win the WWF Championship, making him the (at the time) fastest triple crown champion in WWF history. His 358-day run spanning most of 1995 is the longest WWF Championship run of the 1990s. He had a second run in the company in 2002 and 2003, but it was mostly plagued by injury. He stepped away from the ring to go under neck surgery in late 2003.

In 1996, Nash followed fellow Kliqer Scott Hall to WCW as two-thirds of what would be the original New World Order. He would remain with WCW until its shutdown in 2001. While there, he won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship five times (his first most infamously came against Bill Goldberg, being the first man to defeat him), the 1998 World War 3 battle royal, and the WCW world tag title nine times, six with Hall as one half of the Outsiders.

Nash would be in TNA from 2004 to 2011, winning the Legends championship twice and the World Tag Team Championship once. He was set to be a part of a reformed Main Event Mafia in 2011 when he was contacted to return to WWE. He appeared in the Royal Rumble match and spent most of the latter part of the year feuding with Triple H. He's been under the WWE banner since under a legends contract. Most recently, he appeared in Wrestlemania 31 during the Triple H-Sting match. Earlier this year, he joined the WWE Hall of Fame.

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