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This Day in Wrestling History (August 21): Lita Wins The WWF Women’s Championship

this day in wrestling history

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

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

37 years ago today in Tampa, Florida, Dusty Rhodes defeated Harley Race to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.

The win ends Race's 926-day run as NWA world champion, at the time the fifth longest in the championship's history. No one would hold the title for such a length again until Dan Severn’s four-year reign 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 February 2015).

19 years ago today, WCW presented Clash of the Champions XXXV (WWE Network link) from the Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.

This would be the final edition of the long-running series of specials. First presented as NWA: Clash of the Champions in March 1988 (against Wrestlemania IV), Clash of the Champions followed a format similar to that of WWF’s Saturday Night’s Main Event, presenting PPV-caliber matches on free television.

With WCW producing monthly PPVs and the weekly Monday Nitro, the series outlived its usefulness, and was eventually phased out (from four a year—1989 had five—to two a year from 1995 to 1997).

A reboot is on the way... sort of. The franchise will reboot as an annual PPV, Clash of Champions, next month.

As for the show, it’s noted for Sting making his silent formal pitch to JJ Dillon for a match against Hollywood Hogan. Sting also made the same pitch to the nWo... via a vulture. The vulture was supposed to have a note attached saying Sting wants to challenge Hogan. The note never made it to the ring, leaving the group to stare at a very hungry vulture as the show faded to black.

  • 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, and Villano V defeated Juventud Guerrera, Super Calo, Hector Garza, and 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.

16 years ago today on RAW is WAR from Lafayette, Lousiana (WWE Network link), Lita defeated Stephanie McMahon to win the WWF Womens Championship. The Rock was the special referee.

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.

14 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.

11 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... and his last until the following year’s Summerslam.

  • 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.

Happy 30th birthday to Benjamin Satterly. Known in a past life as PAC, Satterly wrestles these days as Adrian 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 to Japan at Beast in the East in July 2015 in a losing effort to Chris Jericho. In a bit cruel irony, it would be Jericho he was in the ring against earlier this year when just before Wrestlemania 32, Neville suffered a fractured ankle. Neville returned late last month as a member of the RAW roster with a win over Curtis Axel.

It’s a happy 32nd birthday to Eve Marie 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 20th Anniversary 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.

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. She appeared as superheroine Maxima on an episode of the CBS (soon to be The CW) series Supergirl. Torres is now an ambassador for WWE, serving in that role since September 2014.

Torres married famed jiu-jitsu instructor Rener Gracie in April 2014; the couple have one daughter together, 11-month old Raeven.

Today would have been the 92nd birthday of Patrick John O’Connor, or Pat O’Connor for short.

Born in New Zealand, Pat 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, O’Connor 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 were both records at the time, and would stand until the 1980s. Pat would finally 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. Following his death from cancer, an eight-team tag tournament held in O'Connor's honor. 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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