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This Day in Wrestling History (August 21): Diva Revolution

53 years ago today in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Verne Gagne defeated Mr. M to win the AWA World Heavyweight Championship for the third time.

50 years ago today in St. Paul, Minnesota, The Crusher defeated Mad Dog Vachon to win the AWA World Heavyweight Championship for the third time.

36 years ago today in Tampa, Florida, Dusty Rhodes defeated Harley Race to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship for the first time. The win ends Race's 926-day run as NWA world champion, at the time the fifth longest in the championship's history. Race's run also was the longest in NWA until Dan Severn's four-year run as world champion from February 1995 to March 1999. As for Rhodes, his run lasted all of five days, at the time the shortest recognized run in NWA world title history (the record has since been broken three times, most recently by Ray Gonzalez in 2005, though that less-than-a-day run wasn't recognized until earlier this year).

18 years ago today, WCW presented Clash of the Champions XXXV (WWE Network link) from the Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. This is the final edition of the series that began in March 1988 as NWA: Clash of the Champions and featured PPV caliber matches on free TV, similar to WWF's Saturday Night's Main Event. The series began to outgrow its usefulness with the addition of monthly PPVs and WCW Monday Nitro in 1995, and Clash was slowly phased out.

  • Steve McMichael defeated Jeff Jarrett to win the WCW United States Championship.
  • Raven defeated Stevie Richards in a no disqualification match.
  • Alex Wright defeated Ultimo Dragon to win the WCW World Television Championship.
  • Chris Jericho defeated Eddie Guerrero to retain the WCW Cruiserweight Championship.
  • Psicosis, Silver King, Villano IV & Villano V defeated Juventud Guerrera, Super Calo, Hector Garza & Lizmark Jr.
  • Ric Flair & Curt Hennig defeated Konnan & Syxx.
  • Scott Hall & Randy Savage (subbing for Kevin Nash) defeated Diamond Dallas Page & Lex Luger to retain the WCW Tag Team Championship.

15 years ago today on RAW is WAR from Lafayette, Lousiana, Lita defeated Stephanie McMahon in the show's main event to win the WWF Womens Championship. This was the first time in RAW history that a women's match main evented the show. On the same show, Shane McMahon defeated Steve Blackman to win the WWF Hardcore Championship.

13 years ago today at an NWA-TNA weekly PPV taping in Nashville, Tennessee, Jerry Lynn defeated Low Ki and AJ Styles in a ladder match to win the TNA X Division Championship.

9 years ago today, WWE presented Summerslam (WWE Network link) from the MCI Center in Washington, DC. 18,156 were in attendance, with 636,000 homes watching on PPV. It's nearly double the buys of the 2004 edition (just 320,000 buys) and the most since 1998 which had the still-standing event record of 700,000 buys. The show featured Matt Hardy's first match since he was fired from WWE in April, and Hulk Hogan's first PPV bout since Judgment Day 2003 when a falling out with the company caused him to quit the promotion about month later.

  • In a Sunday Night Heat pre-show match, Chris Masters defeated The Hurricane.
  • Chris Benoit defeated Orlando Jordan in just 26 seconds to win the WWE United States Championship.
  • Edge defeated Matt Hardy via referee stoppage.
  • Rey Mysterio defeated Eddie Guerrero in a "Custody of Dominick" ladder match.
  • Kurt Angle defeated Eugene to regain possession of Angle's Olympic gold medal.
  • Randy Orton defeated The Undertaker.
  • John Cena defeated Chris Jericho to retain the WWE Championship.
  • Batista defeated John Bradshaw Layfield to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.
  • Hulk Hogan defeated Shawn Michaels.

4 years ago today in Houston, Texas, former ECW Champion Bobby Lashley loses his professional MMA debut via referee stoppage to Chad Griggs.

Happy 29th birthday to Benjamin Satterly, aka Pac, but currently known as Neville.

Born in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, he began his pro career ten years ago as Pac for small British promotion Independent Wrestling Federation. He joined One Pro Wrestling in 2006 and became its first Openweight champion. In 2007, he would represent International Pro Wrestling: United Kingdom in the King of Europe Cup tournament. He defeated Trent Acid in the first round, but lost in the quarterfinals to the eventual winner, Nigel McGuiness.

By the time he debuted for Nu-Wrestling Evolution as Jungle Pac, he had also gained exposure in the United States competing in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. He wrestled El Generico in consecutive years at PWG All Star Weekends IV and V in November 2006 and April 2007 respectively, but lost on both occasions. In May 2007, Pac, a last-minute replacement for Jack Evans, teamed with Roderick Strong and won the Dynamic Duumvirate Tag Team Title Tournamet (DDT4 for short) and the vacant PWG World Tag Team Championship. The duo would lose the titles in July to El Generico and Kevin Steen. He finished his summer there making it to the semifinals of the 2007 Battle of Los Angeles Tournament, but lost to the eventual tournament winner Cima.

Pac also competed for TNA, Chikara, Dragon Gate as a member of the Typhoon, World-1, and Junction Three stables. He also briefly competed for New Japan Pro Wrestling as part of the 2012 Best of the Super Juniors tournament, defeating the legendary Jushin Liger in his first bout. Pac would win his block and a spot in the final four, but lost to eventual tournament winner Ryusuke Taguchi (who, in a side note, handed Low Ki his only loss in the tournament in the final).

Pac joined WWE in July 2012 and made his television debut on NXT as Adrian Neville in January 2013. Just a month later, Neville and Oliver Grey became the first NXT Tag Team Champions. Grey would go down to a torn ACL and would partner with Bo Dallas briefly, but the duo lost the titles on the first defense to the Wyatt Family. Neville and Corey Graves would win the titles from the Wyatts in June, but lost them to the Ascension in September. Neville would spend the next few months chasing Bo Dallas and the NXT Championship, finally winning the title at NXT Arrival in February, making him the only man in NXT history to hold both the singles and tag team titles. He would hold the championship for over nine months before losing it in December to Sami Zayn. In Febuary 2015 at NXT Takeover: Rival, he lost his last major bout as a member of their roster, a #1 contender's match for the championship, against Finn Balor.

He made his main roster debut the night following Wrestlemania 31 as Neville and quickly found himself in featured bouts. In April, he made it to the finals of the King of the Ring tournament before losing to Bad News Barrett. He's also fought in bouts against John Cena for the United States Championship and Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. He made a one-night return at Beast in the East earlier this summer in a losing effort to Chris Jericho.

Happy 31st birthday to Eve Torres-Gracie.

Born in Boston, and raised in Denver, and a USC (University of Southern California) graduate, Torres is multi-talented to say the least. While at USC, she co-captained the USC Fly Girls, founded the Omega Phi Beta sorority, and danced for an NBA summer league. She also graduated with honors with a degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering. She began dancing and modeling full time after college, becoming a member of the LA Clippers Spirit Dance Team and was one of the models of the short-lived ABC game show Show Me The Money.

Torres entered and won the WWE Diva Search in 2007 and debuted in early 2008 as a backstage interviewer for Smackdown. Torres would not make her in-ring debut until February 2009, a full year after being called up to the main roster, submitting to Michelle McCool. She appeared in backstage segments with Cryme Tyme before joining the RAW roster in October 2009. After a brief storyline romance with Chris Masters, she entered the WWE Divas Championship tournament, but lost in the semifinals to eventual winner Maryse. Eve would eventually win the title in April 2010, but lost the title to Alicia Fox just two months later. She would win it back at the 2011 Royal Rumble event after being a late addition to the match. She would again hold it for about two months before losing it to Brie Bella in April. Eve would have a storyline romance with Zack Ryder in early 2012, where she turned heel after confessing that she had no love for him, but used her seductive charm to convince Ryder to forgive. That would come back to bite Ryder as he was on the losing end of a six-on-six match at Wrestlemania XXVIII.

She would become the executive administrator to general managers John Lauranitis and Booker T. In September 2012, Eve would win the Divas title for third time, again as a last minute replacement. She would hold it until the RAW 20thAnniversary show in January 2013 to Kaitlyn, then immediately quit. In reality, she asked for and was granted her release to become an instructor for the Gracie Women Empowered self-defense program. Torres married famed jiu-jitsu instructor Rener Gracie in April 2014.

Post-retirement, she appeared in the direct-to-video release The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power and played Reyna Flores on the El Rey Network series Matador. In March, she announced that she and husband Rener are expecting their first child in September.

Today would have been the 91st birthday of famed wrestling legend Patrick John "Pat" O'Connor. Born in New Zealand, he helped tend to the sheep and cattle on his family farm in his younger years. After briefly serving in the New Zealand Royal Air Force, he became an accomplished amateur wrestler, representing his country in the Pan American Games in 1948 and the British Empire Games in 1950, where he was a silver medalist in freestyle wrestling. He won the New Zealand Heavyweight Championship in amateur wrestling in consecutive years, 1949 and 1950.

From 1955 to 1957, he would win singles and tag team gold for NWA territories in Chicago and Toronto, but in 1959, Pat would win at the time wrestling's biggest prize, the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, defeating Dick Hutton. However, the title change caused a rift between bookers Sam Muchnick and Chicago promoter Fred Kohler; the rift would in part lead to the formation of the American Wrestling Association. When the AWA was formed, Pat was named its first champion, but he never defended the title, so it was awarded to Verne Gagne three months later.

O'Connor would lose the NWA world title in June 1961 to Buddy Rogers at Comiskey Park in Chicago. The attendance of 38,622 fans and $148,000 ticket gate (nearly $1.18 million in today's dollars) were both records at the time, and would stand until the 1980s. Pat would eventually wrestle for the AWA in the late 1960s, winning the tag team titles with Wilbur Snyder in November 1967. They'd lose the belts less than a month later. O'Connor was a part of Sam Muchnick's final wrestling show in January 1, 1982; Pat then become a part-owner of the St. Louis territory along with Gagne, Harley Race and Bob Geigel. One of O'Connor's final bouts came for the WWF in November 1987 as part of an Old Timers' battle royal won by Lou Thesz.

O'Connor died of cancer in August 1990 less than a week before his 66th birthday. Posthumously, an eight-team tag was tournament held in O'Connor's honor in WCW. Pat is a member of the Stampede Wrestling Hall of Fame, the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame since 1996, and the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame since 2007.

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