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This Day in Wrestling History (July 12): Vader Wins the WCW Championship


31 years ago today in Madison Square Garden in New York City, Bruno Sammartino and Tito Santana defeated WWF Intercontinental Champion Randy Savage and Adrian Adonis in a steel cage match.

The event would be Sammartino's final appearance at the Garden until his WWE Hall of Fame induction in 2013, a building he sold out nearly two hundred times.

25 years ago today, WCW presented The Great American Bash (WWE Network link) from the Gray Civic Center in Albany, Georgia. About 8,000 were in attendance with 70,000 homes purchasing the event on PPV. This would be the last Great American Bash until 1995.

The focus of the event was to crown new board-recognized NWA Tag Team Champions. The NWA Tag Team Championship was vacated when the original versions of the title combined to create the WCW World Tag Team Championship lineage in 1991.

The WCW and NWA tag team titles would be defended together until September 1993 when WCW withdraws from the NWA. The first round of the tournament and one quarterfinal match was held at Clash of the Champions XIX back on June 16.

  • Nikita Koloff and Ricky Steamboat defeated Jushin Liger and Brian Pillman.
  • Dustin Rhodes and Barry Windham defeated NWA World Television Champion Steve Austin and NWA United States Heavyweight Champion Rick Rude.
  • Hiroshi Hase and Shinya Hashimoto (subbing for the injured Akira Nogami) defeated The Fabulous Freebirds (Jimmy Garvin and Michael Hayes).
  • WCW World Tag Team Champions Terry Gordy and Steve Williams defeated Nikita Koloff and Ricky Steamboat.
  • Dustin Rhodes and Barry Windham defeated Hiroshi Hase and Shinya Hashimoto.
  • Big Van Vader defeated Sting to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
  • WCW World Tag Team Champions Terry Gordy and Steve Williams defeated Dustin Rhodes and Barry Windham to win the NWA World Tag Team Championship.

22 years ago, Jack Tunney leaves the WWF.

Tunney, son of promoter Frank Tunney, was best known as the WWF’s on-screen president since the fall of 1984, and had a hand in many of the company’s biggest decisions, including suspending Danny Davis for life (plus ten years) in 1987, vacating the WWF Championship following controversial matches in 1988 and 1991, announcing “The Ultimate Challenge” for Wrestlemania VI (and subsequently announcing there would be no rematch regardless of the outcome), and suspending Macho Man Randy Savage in late 1991.

Behind the scenes, Tunney had a hand in promoting WWF events all around Canada, but specifically the Toronto area. His two most notable events were The Big Event in August 1986 that drew over 65,000 people to National Exhibition Stadium (at the time a world attendance record for any wrestling event), and Wrestlemania VI in the SkyDome, which drew just under 68,000.

Why exactly he was fired depends on who’s telling the story. One theory suggests that McMahon found out that Tunney was using WWF funds to pay off gambling debts and that Tunney was quietly dismissed in the wake of the allegations; those closest to Jack reject this theory.

Another theory as to his ousting was that Tunney was let go due to cost-cutting measures WWF was implementing at the time. Tunney was receiving a cut from all shows promoted in Canada since the summer of 1984, and McMahon simply decided he no longer needed his involvement in running shows in Toronto.

Yet another theory suggests that Vince McMahon never got over what Jack’s cousin Eddie did. Eddie was responsible for getting the Skydome for Wrestlemania VI. Eddie also trademarked the name “Wrestlemania” in Canada. Jack tried to cut Eddie out of profiting off the trademark, leading to Eddie suing Vince. The case was ultimately settled, with Vince buying the trademark as part of the settlement. McMahon’s relationship with Tunney never recovered (in fact, it soured so much, the WWF did not do another PPV in Canada until December 1995).

Another possibility Tunney wasn’t sold on Bret Hart being a main-eventer (there’s some credence to this as Carl DeMarco, who favored Hart, replaced Tunney at the WWF Canada office). Bret, however, denies this theory.

Whatever the real reason, we’ll probably never know. Tunney was slowly phased out of WWF programming in the 1990s, with his last television appearance coming in a small role at the first ever In Your House in May 1995. That September, the WWF presented its final event at the Maple Leaf Gardens (best known as the longtime home of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs until the 1999 season), ending a 64-year association with pro wrestling for the building.

He never spoke publicly about his time in the company in his final years, choosing to live in anonymity until his passing in January 2004. He was 69. There were no representatives from WWE at the funeral, nor was his death mentioned on WWE programming or their website.

19 years ago today, WCW presented Bash at the Beach (WWE Network link) from the Cox Arena in San Diego, California. 10,095 people were in attendance with 580,000 homes purchasing the event on PPV. It's WCW's most watched PPV of 1998.

  • Raven defeated Saturn in a Raven's Rules match.
  • Juventud Guerrera pinned Kidman.
  • Stevie Ray defeated Chavo Guerrero, Jr. by submission.
  • Eddie Guerrero defeated Chavo Guerrero, Jr. in a hair versus hair match. It was Chavo that did his own haircut post-match.
  • Konnan defeated Alex Wright by submission.
  • The Giant defeated Kevin Greene.
  • Rey Mysterio, Jr. defeated Chris Jericho to win the WCW Cruiserweight Championship. However, due to interference from Dean Malenko, the title was returned the next night on Nitro to Jericho.
  • Booker T defeated Bret Hart by disqualification to retain the WCW World Television Championship.
  • Goldberg defeated Curt Hennig to retain the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
  • Hollywood Hulk Hogan and Dennis Rodman defeated Diamond Dallas Page and Karl Malone.

18 years ago today on RAW is WAR from Louisville, Kentucky (WWE Network link), the WWF announces that Minnesota Governor Jesse "The Body" Ventura would return to the company as a special referee for the main event of Summerslam.

17 years ago today on Nitro from the Jacksonville Coliseum in Jacksonville, Florida (WWE Network link), Hollywood Hulk Hogan defeats Macho Man Randy Savage to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.

If this sounds familiar, that’s because it is. It is the second time in as many years a Hulk Hogan title reign began after a one-day title reign by Randy Savage; the first came the night after Spring Stampede in April 1998.

11 years ago today, Matt Hardy gives his first public statement after his surprising return to WWE the previous night. The statement as originally posted:

If you guys are ready for a ride, jump the f*ck on. Well, I promised you all fireworks, so I hope I didn't disappoint. As of July 11th, 2005, my personal Independence Day, the Movement has begun-- and the Movement's purpose is two-fold. Purpose one--To never let anyone control what Matt Hardy says and does and thinks. Purpose two--To make Adam Copeland, Amy Dumas, and the WWE regret what they did to me, what they did to us.

It's time for Matt Hardy to stand up for all the MFer's that have been chanting "We Want Matt", and "You Screwed Matt". Although you may not know this--you guys, the MFers, started the Movement months ago. I can now finally join the Movement because I am no longer controlled by the WWE. The McMahons, the Johnny Aces, and all of the WWE management can kiss my @$$. I did what I did tonight because for me to live with myself, Adam "Feces" Copeland must pay. I'm not going to let the WWE forget that they f*cked up when they released me instead of that scumbag home-wrecker. And Amy Dumas, you know what's it's like to have me as your closest ally--but you're gonna hate to see what it's like to have me as your worst enemy b*tch. Even though I didn't slash your tires FCF, slashed tires are going to be the least of your problems--Bank on it. A little message to the whore, the feces, and the horsesh*t "family" that is the WWE--Matt Hardy is like cancer, I don't go away and you won't find a cure. I thank EVERYONE that has supported me through thick and thin--I promise I will always be there for my MFers. I love you guys--and as I always say, without you, there is no me. I am going to turn a hugely negative situation into something that will benefit us. If you don't want to be able to predict what happens next, you're all in for a treat.

P.S. - If you're thinking about pressing charges Vince, I got a couple bucks, I'll fight it. Besides, I think I might have some pixs and video from a camera phone that shows your officers Rodney Kinging my @$$. My wrist is cut from the handcuffs, and I would suggest that there was a little unnecessary roughness involved in kicking me out of your building.

P.S.S. - And don't forget to catch Matt Hardy in action this Friday in Indiana, PA, this Saturday in Woodbridge, CT, and you never know where I'll show up on Sunday. And The Matt Hardy Show is so on...

Matt "F*cking" Hardy

After appearing uninvited on RAW again on July 18 and 25, Hardy officially rejoined the WWE roster on August 1.

10 years ago today at a Smackdown taping in Minneapolis, Minnesota (WWE Network link), Finlay defeated Bobby Lashley to win the WWE United States Championship.

6 years ago today at an Impact taping at Universal Orlando, Brooke Tessmacher and Tara defeated Mexican America (Rosita & Sarita) to win the TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship.

5 years ago today, Kia Stevens confirms that she had been released by WWE.

Stevens, best known for her time in TNA as Awesome Kong, signed in late 2010 and made her WWE debut in May 2011. Just three weeks later, she revealed she was pregnant and forced to take a leave of absence. Though the announced she had given birth on New Year's Eve 2011, she later confirmed that she had miscarried and lied about giving birth due to her emotional state at the time.

Stevens as Kharma wrestled a total of one match for the WWE: as an entrant in the 2012 Royal Rumble match, eliminating Hunico and Michael Cole before being eliminated by Dolph Ziggler. Despite being released, she was announced as a playable character for WWE '13.

After spending most of the next two and a half years on the independent circuit, Stevens returned to TNA in 2015, but was fired from the promotion in February 2016 for her role in an altercation with Rebecca Hardy.

Most recently, Stevens appeared on the Netflix series GLOW, based on the 1980s all-female promotion, the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.

4 years ago today, SHINE Wrestling presented SHINE 11 from The Orpheum in Ybor City, Florida.

The show marked the first anniversary of the promotion and featured a one-night tournament to crown its first ever champion.

Qualifying matches:

  • LuFisto defeated Mercedes Martinez, Nikki Roxx, and Su Yung in a fatal four-way match.
  • Ivelisse defeated Amazing Kong, Angelina Love, and Kimberly in a fatal four-way match.

First round:

  • Jessicka Havok defeats Saraya Knight by disqualification.
  • Mia Yim defeated Leva Bates.
  • Rain defeated LuFisto.
  • Ivelisse defeated Santana Garrett.


  • Rain defeated Jessicka Havok by countout.
  • Mia Yim defeated Ivelisse.


  • Rain defeated Mia Yim to win the SHINE Championship.

It's a happy 33rd birthday to Rami Sebei, best known to wrestling fans as Sami Zayn.

Allegedly wrestling as El Generico in a past life, Sebei became one of the most successful and popular wrestlers on the independent circuit, capturing the Pro Wrestling Guerilla world championship twice and the tag team titles five times with four different partners, and was a winner of the 2010 DDT4 (Dynamic Duumvirate Tag Team Title Tournament) with Paul London and the 2011 Battle of Los Angeles (he's the only man to win both PWG tournaments). He was also a Ring of Honor world tag team champion with Kevin Steen and a world television champion. El Generico's feud with Kevin Steen was Wrestling Observer Newsletter's Feud of the Year in 2010.

In 2013, Sebei joined WWE. Briefly wrestling under his real name, he settled on Sami Zayn by the spring. His series of matches with Antonio Cesaro put Zayn on the map in WWE fans' eyes. He spent most of 2014 chasing the NXT Championship and finally won it in December, defeating Adrian Neville at Takeover: R Evolution. His reign ended just two months later at the hands of Kevin Owens.

Zayn made his main roster debut in his hometown of Montreal in May in the John Cena US Open Challenge, but lost to Cena for the United States Championship. After sitting out most of the remainder of the year, Sami returned to NXT in December 2015. His last bout for the promotion came at NXT Takeover: Dallas in a losing effort to the debuting Shinsuke Nakamura.

After an appearance in the 2016 Royal Rumble match where he eliminated Kevin Owens, Zayn returned to the main roster in March 2016 attacking Kevin Owens. After failing to win the Intercontinental Championship in a ladder match, his feud with Kevin Owens continued, mostly in multi-man bouts before Zayn defeated Owens at Battleground.

In the fall, Zayn feuded with Braun Strowman. Though Sami was thoroughly dominated by Strowman, he insisted on facing Strowman again and again, but was often turned down by either RAW commissioner Stephanie McMahon or RAW general manager Mick Foley. Though Sami fought Strowman to a ten-minute draw at Roadblock: End of the Line, he would be defeated by Strowman in a last man standing match in January.

Following Wrestlemania 33, Zayn was drafted to Smackdown and soon lost a #1 contender’s match for the WWE Championship at Backlash. After failing to win the Money in the Bank ladder match at the titular PPV and losing a #1 contender’s match for the United States Championship in a battle royal, Zayn has most recently begun feuding with Maria and Mike Kanellis.

The Montreal-born Zayn is trilingual, fluent in Arabic, French, and English. In 2015, Zayn was ranked among the 25 best singles wrestlers in the world by Pro Wrestling Illustrated.

It's a happy 43rd birthday to Gregory Shane Helms.

Best known for his time in WWE as The Hurricane and in WCW as "Sugar" Shane Helms, Helms has given his entire adult life to wrestling. He first wrestled as a 16-year old for North Carolina-based OMEGA (the same company that birthed The Hardy Boyz).

He entered the national spotlight in 1999 as 1/3 of 3 Count in WCW, where he won the Hardcore and Cruiserweight championships (he was the last cruiserweight champion under the WCW banner). Helms was brought into the WWF following the sale of WCW and garnered the most fame under the superhero gimmick, The Hurricane.

He won cruiserweight and tag team gold with Rosey. His biggest success in WWE came after he dropped the superhero gimmick. Wrestling under his real name, he held the cruiserweight championship for just over a year, the longest championship reign in Smackdown history. Helms briefly revived the Hurricane gimmick in 2009 for ECW.

Following the end of ECW, Helms wrestled on the independent circuit , most notably for Lucha Libre USA. After a tryout as an agent, Helms joined TNA in 2015. He managed the Helms Dynasty in early 2016, but would defeat them as his most famous persona, The Hurricane, during Total Nonstop Deletion in December.

After six months of inactivity, Helms announced last month that he was leaving Impact Wrestling.

Helms, an avid comic book fan (he has a tattoo of the Green Lantern logo on his biceps), has one child with his girlfriend and is a frequent guest on Konnan’s Keepin’ it 100 podcast.

The best of cSs on this day:

2016: Shane McMahon says he’s agreed to terms with a new SmackDown General Manager (Shane McMahon announces on Twitter he has picked his new GM for Smackdown—it was Daniel Bryan)

2015: Mick Foley hopes WWE calls up NXT stars Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Bayley at the same time (Mick Foley on Chael Sonnen’s “You’re Welcome” podcast hopes the Four Horsewomen all get called up at once—three of them do about a week later)

2014: Nikki Bella wants to do a storyline with John Cena on WWE TV before she retires (Nikki Bella wants a storyline with her boyfriend before she leaves the company—it would come two and a half years later)

2013: It's official: Kane out of Money in the Bank ladder match due to Wyatt family attack (Wyatt family takes Kane out of Money in the Bank)

2012: Kharma's WWE future in doubt after strange screw up (Kharma’s profile moved to the Alumni section, leading many to believe the former Awesome Kong had been released--turned out she was)

2011: Nightmares in Nashville: A look at TNA/Impact Wrestling management (S.Bruce looks at TNA Wrestling’s many management problems)

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