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This Day in Wrestling History (July 18): Bully Beatdown

36 years ago today in Chicago, Illinois, Verne Gagne defeated Nick Bockwinkel to win the AWA World Heavyweight Championship for the tenth and final time. He would retire ten months later after defeating Bockwinkel again in his final match.

27 years ago today, WWF taped the 22nd edition of Saturday Night's Main Event (WWE Network link) from the Worcester Centrum in Worcester, Massachusetts. The show aired 11 days later on NBC.

  • Hulk Hogan defeated The Honky Tonk Man to retain the WWF Championship.
  • Jimmy Snuka defeated Greg Valentine.
  • Brutus Beefcake defeated Randy Savage by disqualification.
  • The Brain Busters (Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard) defeated Demolition (Ax & Smash) in a 2-1 in a best of three falls match to win the WWF Tag Team Championship.

23 years ago today, WCW presented Beach Blast (WWE Network link) from the Gulf Coast Coliseum in Biloxi, Mississippi. About 8,600 were in attendance, with 100,000 homes purchasing the event on PPV.

This was the final PPV for WCW under the NWA banner, as they would break away from the NWA officially by the end of the summer.

  • Paul Orndorff defeated Ron Simmons by disqualification to retain the WCW World Television Championship.
  • 2 Cold Scorpio & Marcus Bagwell defeated Tex Slashinger & Shanghai Pierce.
  • Steven Regal defeated Erik Watts.
  • Johnny B. Badd defeated Maxx Payne.
  • The Hollywood Blonds (Brian Pillman and Stunning Steve Austin) defeated the Horsemen (Arn Anderson and Paul Roma) to retain the WCW World Tag Team Championship.
  • Dustin Rhodes and Rick Rude fought to a 1-1 draw in a 30-minute Ironman match for the vacant NWA United States Championship. The championship would remain for six more weeks before Rhodes defeated Rude on WCW Saturday Night for his second US Championship.
  • Ric Flair defeated Barry Windham to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. It would be Flair's tenth and final NWA world title (though NWA officially recognizes only nine of them). The championship would be renamed the WCW International Championship following the WCW and NWA split.
  • Sting & Davey Boy Smith defeated Big Van Vader & Sid Vicious.

17 years ago today, ECW presented Heatwave '99 (WWE Network link) from the Hara Arena in Dayton, Ohio. About 3,700 were in attendance, with 100,000 homes watching on PPV. It was ECW's most watched PPV, and the last ECW PPV before their national television deal with TNN started a month later.

  • In a preshow dark match, Vito LoGrasso defeated Simon Diamond.
  • Chris Chetti & Super Nova defeated Danny Doring & Roadkill.
  • Jazz defeats Jason.
  • Super Crazy defeated Little Guido (w/ Sal E. Graziano)
  • Balls Mahoney & Spike Dudley defeated The Dudley Boyz (Buh Buh Ray & D-Von) in Dayton Street Fight to win the ECW World Tag Team Championship.
  • Francine defeated Steve Corino
  • Taz defeated Yoshihiro Tajiri to retain the ECW World Heavyweight Championship.
  • Jerry Lynn & Rob Van Dam defeated The Impact Players (Justin Credible & Lance Storm).

9 years ago today, George Caiazzo, aka John Kronus, died in his fiancée's home in Laconia, New Hampshire due to heart failure resulting from an enlarged heart, a condition which may have been aggravated by recent knee surgery. He was 38.

Caizzo was best known as one-half of the Eliminators with Perry Saturn. In ECW, he was a four-time tag team champion, three with Saturn, and once with New Jack. Caizzo would also have stints in USWA, WAR, XPW, and Dangerously Intense Wrestling before retiring in 2002.

7 years ago today, former WCW world heavyweight champion Ron Simmons was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

6 years ago today, WWE presented Money in the Bank (WWE Network link) from the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. About 8,000 were in attendance, with 165,000 homes purchasing the event on PPV, down from 228,000 buys for the July 2009 PPV offering, Judgment Day. The show featured two Money in the Bank ladder matches, the first time such a match occurred at an event other than Wrestlemania.

  • In a preshow dark match, Santino Marella defeated William Regal.
  • Kane defeated Big Show, Matt Hardy, Kofi Kingston, Christian, Cody Rhodes, Dolph Ziggler, and Drew McIntyre in a SmackDown Money in the Bank ladder match for a World Heavyweight Championship match up to one year.
  • Alicia Fox defeated Eve Torres to retain the WWE Divas Championship.
  • The Hart Dynasty (David Hart Smith & Tyson Kidd) defeated The Usos (Jey & Jimmy) to retain the WWE Unified Tag Team Championship.
  • Rey Mysterio defeated Jack Swagger to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.
  • Kane defeated Rey Mysterio to win the World Heavyweight Championship. The win gave Kane his first world title since his one-day reign as WWF Champion in 1998. Kane also became the first person to win and use his Money in the Bank in the same night.
  • Layla defeated Kelly Kelly to retain the WWE Women's Championship.
  • The Miz defeated Edge, Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, Evan Bourne, Ted DiBiase, John Morrison, Mark Henry in a RAW Money in the Bank ladder match for a WWE Championship match up to one year.
  • Sheamus defeated John Cena in a steel cage match to retain the WWE Championship.

4 years ago today, TMZ reported that John Cena and his estranged wife Elizabeth Huberdeau finalized their divorce.

The unexpected settlement comes two months after Cena files for divorce, claiming the marriage was "irrevocably broken". Huberdeau, allegedly blindsided by the news, challenged their prenuptial agreement by saying Cena cheated on her. Elizabeth's attorney, Raymond Rafool, said in a brief statement to TMZ that all matters have been settled and resolved amicably. Terms of the divorce settlement were not disclosed.

3 years ago today, TNA presented Destination X on a special episode of Impact from Broadbent Arena in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • Austin Aries defeated Bobby Roode in a Bound For Glory Series match.
  • Sonjay Dutt defeated Homicide and Petey Williams in a three-way match to qualify for the Ultimate X match for the TNA X Division Championship.
  • Manik defeated Chavo Guerrero and Kenny King in a three-way match to qualify for the Ultimate X match for the TNA X Division Championship.
  • Greg Marasciulo defeated Rockstar Spud and Rubix in a three-way match to qualify for the Ultimate X match for the TNA X Division Championship.
  • Chris Sabin defeated Bully Ray to win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.

It's a happy 47th birthday to Masanori Murakawa, best known to wrestling fans as The Great Sasuke.

Murakawa founded Michinoku Pro Wrestling and got connections with the WWF when they brought back the light heavyweight championship in the late 1990s. That connection got him and one of his best students, Taka Michinoku, on the WWF In Your House PPV Canadian Stampede. The agreement ended when the WWF got wind of him planning to defend the light heavyweight title only in Japan when he won it (in a bit of irony, his top student, Taka Michinoku, won the tournament and the title).

The former NWA Middleweight Champion stepped away from wrestling in 2003 to focus on his political career; that year, he was elected to the Iwate Prefectural Assembly, making him the first legislator ever to wear a mask. The decorated competitor has also won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight singles and tag team championships, and received four honors in 1994 from Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

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