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This Day in Wrestling History (July 26): Dusty Wins The NWA World Heavyweight Championship

30 years ago today in Greensboro, North Carolina, Dusty Rhodes defeated Ric Flair in a steel cage match to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.

It would be the third and last of "The American Dream"''s runs as NWA world champion. It lasted all of two weeks before Flair won it back.

18 years ago today, WWF presented Fully Loaded: In Your House (WWE Network link) from the Selland Arena in Fresno, California. 9,855 were in attendance, with 329,000 homes watching on PPV. That's up from 210,000 homes for the July 1997 PPV, In Your House: Canadian Stampede.

  • Val Venis defeated Jeff Jarrett.
  • D'Lo Brown defeated X-Pac.
  • Faarooq and Scorpio defeated Terry Funk and Justin Bradshaw.
  • Mark Henry defeated Vader.
  • The Disciples of Apocalypse (8-Ball and Skull) defeated LOD 2000 (Hawk and Animal).
  • Owen Hart defeated Ken Shamrock in a dungeon match. Dan Severn was the special referee.
  • The Rock and Triple H went to a 30-minute time limit draw in best of three falls match for the WWF Intercontinental Championship, with each man scoring one fall each. The Rock scored the first fall with a Rock Bottom at 20:23, then Triple H tied it up via a DDT by Chyna at 25:21. Triple H hit the Pedigree on The Rock just as time expired.
  • Sable defeated Jacqueline in a bikini contest, but the decision would be reversed the next night on RAW as Sable didn't exactly wear a bikini--she wore hand prints painted to her chest.
  • The Undertaker and WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated Kane and Mankind to win the WWF Tag Team Championship.

D-Lo Brown vs. Jeff Jarrett-IC Title by Stinger1981

17 years ago today at a RAW is WAR taping in Columbus, Ohio (WWE Network link), D-Lo Brown defeated Jeff Jarrett in a title-for-title match to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship. D-Lo's European Championship was also at stake in the match.

13 years ago today, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla was born at Frank and Sons in City of Industry, California. In the featured bout, NWA World Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles defeated Frankie Kazarian.

12 years ago today on RAW from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (WWE Network link), Chris Benoit defeated Triple H 4-3 in a 60-minute Ironman match to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.

Benoit, down 3-1, tied the match at 47:57 via the Crossface, then won it with Benoit pinning Triple H following a Rock Bottom by Eugene with just six seconds remaining. To date, this remains the last time a one-hour Ironman match was done on broadcast television.

7 years ago today, WWE presented Night of Champions (WWE Network link) from the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 17,774 were in attendance, with 267,000 homes watching on PPV, down slightly from the 2008 edition. This was the last Night of Champions to be presented in July, as every one since has taken place in September.

  • In a preshow dark match, Cryme Tyme (Shad Gaspard and JTG) defeated The Hart Dynasty (Tyson Kidd and David Hart Smith).
  • Jeri-Show (Chris Jericho and The Big Show) defeated The Legacy (Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase) to retain the WWE Unified Tag Team Championship.
  • Christian defeated Tommy Dreamer to win the ECW Championship.
  • Kofi Kingston defeated Carlito, Primo Colon, MVP, Jack Swagger, and The Miz in a Six-Pack Challenge to retain the WWE United States Championship.
  • Michelle McCool defeated Melina to retain the WWE Women's Championship.
  • Randy Orton defeated Triple H and John Cena in a triple threat match to retain the WWE Championship.
  • Mickie James defeated Maryse to win the WWE Divas Championship.
  • Rey Mysterio defeated Dolph Ziggler to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
  • Jeff Hardy defeated CM Punk to win the World Heavyweight Championship.

It's a happy 34th birthday to Chris Lindsey, best known by wrestling fans as Roderick Strong.

Though he works for several independent organizations, he's most noted for his time in Ring of Honor, where he is just one of three Triple Crown Champions in company history (the others are Eddie Edwards and Jay Lethal), he's also won world championships for Full Impact Pro Wrestling and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. He's the only man to win PWG's annual Dynamic Duumvirate Tag Team Title Tournament (DDT4) with two different partners (PAC, aka Adrian Neville in 2007 and Jack Evans in 2008). Strong briefly competed for TNA in 2005.

After 13 years with Ring of Honor, Strong left the promotion following last month's TV tapings. Though there is speculation he is heading to WWE, Roderick's wrestling future--at least for now--is unknown.

Happy 60th birthday to Thomas Richardson, better known "Wildfire" Tommy Rich.

Best known for his runs in the Georgia and Memphis, he also wrestled for the AWA, WCW, and ECW. In April 1981, Tommy Rich was briefly NWA World Heavyweight Champion when he defeated Harley Race. Rich was the winner of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Feud of the Year in 1987 with Austin Idol against Jerry Lawler.

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