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This Day in Wrestling History (August 4): Lex Luger Wins The WCW World Title

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33 years ago today in Tokyo, Japan, Tatsumi Fujinami defeated Riki Choshu by countout to win the WWF International Heavyweight Championship. Well, sorta.

Fujinami turned down the belt. A rematch was scheduled for eight days later in Calgary, but Choshu could not get into Canada, thus Fujinami was awarded the title via forfeit.

27 years ago today, the Adkisson family's World Class Wrestling Association (originally World Class Championship Wrestling) merged with the Memphis-based Continental Wrestling Association to form the United States Wrestling Association. Jerry Jarrett, the new principal owner of the merged companies, was not allowed by the Adkissons to use the World Class name following the event.

In what would be the final ever match for WCCW, Eric Embry defeat P.Y. Chu-Hi in a steel cage match.

On the undercard, Cactus Jack and Scott Braddock defeated Jeff Jarrett and Matt Borne to win the WCCW World Tag Team Championship. With WCCW being absorbed into the USWA, that technically makes them Cactus and Scott the last team to hold the titles. They would carry over to the USWA, where they would lose the title just a week later back to Jarrett and Borne.

A side note: conspicuous by their absence in the post-match celebration were Kerry and Kevin Von Erich. As the celebration was happening, wrestlers tore down, stomped on, and spat on the old World Class banner. Longtime announcer Marc Lowrance and Chris Adams were in the celebration, but did not partake in the defacing of the banner out of respect for the Adkissons and the World Class name.

The USWA/WCCW merger did not last long: just a year later, longtime TV partner KTVT dropped their Saturday night program due to its graphic content, then Jerry Jarrett pulled USWA out of Dallas due to a revenue dispute. Kevin Von Erich tried to promote the Sportatorium bringing back the World Class name, but with no TV deal and low attendance, the financial well quickly ran dry and Von Erich was no longer promoting by the end of 1990.

21 years ago today at SMW's Superbowl of Wrestling from Knoxville, Tennessee, The Heavenly Bodies (Jimmy Del Ray and Tom Pritchard) defeated The Thugs (Tony Anthony and Tracy Smothers) to win the SMW Tag Team Championship. They would be the last champions in the promotion's history before the promotion shut down in December.

21 years ago today, WCW aired Collision in Korea.

The event, originally taped over two days in April, was co-promoted by New Japan Pro Wrestling. It was the first North American wrestling PPV to take place in North Korea. With a reported combined attendance of 340,000 people, it's the largest attended pro wrestling event ever. Results below are matches that were broadcast on the PPV.

  • Wild Pegasus defeated 2 Cold Scorpio.
  • Yuji Nagata defeated Tokimitsu Ishizawa via submission.
  • Masahiro Chono and Hiro Saito defeated El Samurai and Tadao Yasuda.
  • Bull Nakano and Akira Hokuto defeated Manami Toyota and Mariko Yoshida.
  • Shinya Hashimoto fought Scott Norton to a 20-minute time limit draw for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
  • Road Warrior Hawk defeated Tadao Yasuda.
  • The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott) defeated Hiroshi Hase and Kensuke Sasaki.
  • Antonio Inoki defeated Ric Flair.

19 years ago today on the 100th episode of WCW Monday Nitro from Auburn Hills, Michigan (WWE Network link), Lex Luger defeated Hollywood Hogan via submission to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.

The win ended Hogan's run as WCW champion just six days short of a full calendar year. His moment of glory wouldn't last long, as just five days later at Road Wild in Sturgis, South Dakota, Hogan would defeat Luger and regain the world title.

14 years ago today at a Smackdown taping in Richmond, Virginia (WWE Network link), Brock Lesnar scored perhaps the most stunning defeat in Smackdown history when he defeated Hulk Hogan via referee stoppage. It would be Hogan's final appearance in WWE until the following January.

10 years ago today, WWE announces that Jeff Hardy would soon rejoin the company.

Jeff’s first run with the company dated back to 1994 when he was just 16 years old, but was used as occasional enhancement talent until 1998 when he began teaming with his older brother Matt as the Hardy Boyz. The duo became one of the most successful teams in WWE history, winning the WWF tag titles five times and the WCW tag titles once. Jeff himself would be a very prolific singles competitor, holding every singles championship in the company at least once (Intercontinental, European, Light Heavyweight, and Hardcore) but the WWF title.

Jeff’s run ended in disgrace in April 2003 when his erratic performances combined with his refusal to go to rehab to combat his drug addiction forced WWE’s hand (in a bit of trivial, Jeff’s final WWE match of his first run was against The Rock, who to date has not wrestled a match on RAW since). After wrestling one match each for Ring of Honor and OMEGA, Jeff took a year-long sabbatical before turning up in TNA in June 2004. Hardy’s TNA run ended when he no-showed Final Resolution in December 2005 citing “travel problems” (it was the second time he no-showed a PPV that year); he was subsequently pulled off television and was released from the company six months later.

The following Monday, WWE aired highlight vignettes to promote his return, which would happen on August 21.

8 years ago today on RAW from Knoxville, Tennessee, Batista and John Cena defeated Legacy (Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase Jr.) to win the WWE World Tag Team Championship. The duo would lose the championships back to Legacy just one week later.

t’s a happy 39th birthday of Frank Gerdelman, but wrestling fans know him best known as Frankie Kazarian.

He had a cup of coffee in the WWE, but his best successes came in TNA, where he is a five-time X Division champion and twice tag team champion. He also won the PWG world title twice, once in 2003, and again in 2004. After nearly a decade in TNA, he debuted in 2014 for Ring of Honor at Best in the World. He is currently on his second run as one-half of the ROH World Tag Team Champions with longtime friend and partner Christopher Daniels as The Addiction.

Gerdleman is married to Tracy Brookshaw, who is best known from her time in TNA as Traci Brooks. The couple, married in 2010, have one son together.

It’s happy 50th birthday to Kensuke Sasaki.

Along with Yoshihiro Takayama, he is one of just two men to hold every major puroresu heavyweight championship (New Japan's IWGP Heavyweight Championship, which he held five times, the All Japan Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship, and Pro Wrestling NOAH's GHC Heavyweight Championship).

Sasaki briefly held the WCW United States Championship in late 1995. Sasaki and his wife, fellow wrestler Akira Hokuto, ran their own independent company, Kensuke Office (later known as Diamond Ring) from 2005 until his retirement in 2014. The company served as a developmental territory for Pro Wrestling NOAH. The promotion folded following Sasaki's retirement.

It’s a happy 55th birthday to Dean Simon, best known to wrestling fans as Dean Malenko.

Today, Malenko works as a road agent for WWE, but he's won just about everywhere he's been as a wrestler. He's a two-time ECW World Television Champion, four-time WCW Cruiserweight Champion, United States Champion, and tag team champion, and twice light heavyweight champion in the WWF. The "Man of 1000 Holds" was the #1 ranked wrestler in the world according to Pro Wrestling Illustrated in 1997, and won Best Technical Wrestler from Wrestling Observer Newsletter in 1996 and 1997.