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This Day in Wrestling History (August 31): The Genesis of Kaval

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47 years ago today in Bloomington, Minnesota, Verne Gagne defeated Mr. X to win the AWA World Heavyweight Championship for the ninth time. Gagne's ninth reign would be his longest, as he would hold the championship uninterrupted for more than seven years, losing the title to Nick Bockwinkel in November 1975.

32 years ago today in Tokyo, Japan, Terry Funk calls it a career for the first time. In his first final match ever, Terry Funk and his father Dory, Jr. defeated Stan Hansen and Terry Gordy. In perhaps a sign of things to come, Terry uttered one word over and over again in an emotional post-match speech: "forever". Probably intending to mean he'll be remembered forever, he's wrestled for that long since his retirement, returning to the ring just three months later. He's retired and unretired numerous times, and has wrestled as recently as last December at age 70.

28 years ago today, Jerry Lawler defeats Don Bass in a hair versus title match to win the AWA Southern Heavyweight Championship for the 50th time.

23 years ago today, WWF aired Summerslam. For card results, check out This Day in Wrestling History from August 29, the day the event took place.

18 years ago today, Kensuke Sasaki defeated Shinya Hashimoto to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.


Hulk Hogan & Bret Hart Vs Sting & Lex Luger by Ryugan2

17 years ago today, WCW aired Monday Nitro live from the Miami Arena in Miami, Florida. Running unopposed against US Open tennis coverage on the USA Network, TNT posted the show's highest rating ever with a 6.04. Nitro would lose 25% of its audience when RAW returned to its regular slot two weeks later. In the featured bout, Lex Luger and Sting defeated WCW United States Champion Bret Hart and Hollywood Hogan by countout.

13 years ago today in Dover, Delaware, Wifebeater defeated Nick Mondo in the finals to win the first ever CZW Tournament of Death. The final match was a 200 lighttubes/barbed wire match. Wifebeater also defeated Nick Gage in a Panes of Glass match and Necro Butcher in a Staplegun falls count anywhere match. Other participants included John Zandig, Nate Hatred, The Messiah, Nick Mondo, Homeless Jimmy, Toby Klein, and Adam Flash. WARNING: THE ABOVE VIDEO MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR ALL VIEWERS.

5 years ago today, Kaval is announced the winner of NXT Season 2. He would not last long, as he would be released from WWE just before Christmas. Michael McGillicutty, known today as Curtis Axel, finished 2nd, while Alex Riley finished 3rd.

Happy 38th birthday to Jeffrey Nero Hardy, or simply Jeff Hardy. Prior to gaining national and international recognition in the WWF, he was one of four co-founders of North Carolina-based Organization of Modern Extreme Grapple Arts (OMEGA) (his brother Matt is also a co-founder). His WWF debut came at age 16 as Keith Davis against Razor Ramon. He usually served as a jobber until about 1998 when he and Matt were pushed as a tag team as the Hardy Boyz. Along with Amy Dumas, aka Lita, they made up Team Extreme, one of the most popular trios in company history.

It was in that tag team he experienced his first major success, winning the WWF tag team titles six times from 1999 to 2001, and the WCW world tag titles once during the Invasion era. Also in 2001, he became the youngest Intercontinental Champion in WWE history, winning it at age 23 (the record still stands). He also won the European and light heavyweight titles in his initial run. After a falling out with WWE in 2003, he performed once for Ring of Honor before taking a year off to focus on motocross racing.

Jeff debuted in TNA in the summer of 2004 and was immediately thrust into featured bouts for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship; however, he failed to capture the title. In 2005, Hardy no-showed events on two occasions and served lengthy suspensions; the second in December 2005 resulted in Hardy being taken off television permanently. It would be six months before he was released.

In August 2006, Jeff returned to WWE and was thrust into featured bouts. He would capture the Intercontinental Championship for the second time in October (and twice more in 2007, the same year he won a seventh tag title with his brother Matt). He was given a main event push near the end of 2007, but was halted following a violation of the WWE Wellness Policy a few weeks before Wrestlemania XXIV. (It was also around this time Jeff's home had burned to the ground, killing his dog. He and his girlfriend Beth Britt were not home at the time of the fire). In December 2008, he would win his first WWE Championship. Hardy would also win the World Heavyweight Championship twice in 2009 before leaving the company that September. Shortly after leaving the company, he was arrested on charges of drug possession. Hardy pled guilty to the charges in late 2010 and served a ten-day jail sentence in October 2011.

Jeff returned to TNA in January 2010 and would win the TNA world title that October. Jeff would go on to win the title twice more, once in 2011 and at Bound for Glory in 2012 after winning that year's Bound for Glory Series. In March 2015, he reunited with his brother Matt and won the TNA world tag team championship, making the Hardys the second duo to win the WWF, WCW, and TNA world tag titles (the Dudley Boyz, aka Team 3D in their TNA run, were the first). Hardy's wrestling career is on hold at the moment as he had suffered a broken leg in a dirt bike accident this past April.

Hardy also leads the band Peroxwhy?Gen and the group has put out two albums, Plurality of Worlds in 2013 and Within the Cygnus Rift last month. He also dabbles in the arts, including painting, sculpting, and poetry. He's married to Beth Britt, whom he met in 1999. The couple have one child together.

Happy 36th birthday to Mickie Laree James, or Mickie James for short. Toiling on the independent circuit in most of her early years, she trained at the ECW Dojo and the Funking Conservatory. She also competed and managed for KYDA Pro Wrestling, Maryland Championship Wrestling, and Ring of Honor. Struggling to make ends meet on wrestling alone, she posed nude for a couple of magazines and worked as a waitress.

She came into national prominence in TNA in 2003 (though she did appear once for the company the year prior in a lingerie battle royal) as a member of Raven's Gathering. Less than a month after joining the stable, she became the first (and to this day, only) woman to compete in a Clockwork Orange House of Fun match.

After two years in WWE developmental outfit Ohio Valley Wrestling, she debut for WWE in October 2005 under her real name, with the gimmick that she was Trish Stratus' biggest fan. The gimmick evolved into her being an obsessed stalker, a la Single White Female. At Wrestlemania 22 she would win the WWE Womens Championship, a championship she would go on to win five times from 2006 to 2010 (only Trish Stratus has more reigns, with seven). In September 2009, she would win the WWE Divas Championship, making her at the time the second woman to hold both women's titles in WWE.

After being released a few weeks after Wrestlemania XXVI, she released her first country music album, Strangers & Angels. Late in the year, she returned to TNA, but it would not be until April 2011 that Mickie won the TNA Knockouts Championship from Madison Rayne. The win made her the first (and to this day, only) woman to hold the three major women's titles in North America. She would go on to win the Knockouts title three times before leaving the company after contract talks stalled in late 2013. Also in 2013, Mickie released a second album, Somebody's Gonna Pay.

After a brief stint as a guest trainer for NXT in late 2013, Mickie announced she was pregnant with her boyfriend Nick Aldis' (best known to TNA fans as Magnus) child. Mickie gave birth to Donovan in September 2014. The couple announced their engagement three months later. Two months after giving birth, Mickie returned to the ring for Queens of Combat, defeating Tessa Blanchard.

Mickie made a surprise return to TNA in early 2015 during the Impact tapings in Glasgow, Scotland and was involved in a storyline with her fiancé Magnus and James Storm. It caused a bit of controversy when Storm shoved Mickie onto a train track. It was a temporary write-off, but she returned to the ring last month, winning a mixed tag team match with Magnus over Storm and Serena. Last month, it was also announced that Mickie had signed with Global Force Wrestling.