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This Day in Wrestling History (July 17): CM Punk Wins, CM Punk Leaves


27 years ago today in Ishikawa, Japan, Terry Gordy defeated Stan Hansen to win the All Japan Pro Wrestling Triple Crown Championship.

His second reign is a brief one; Gordy lands in the hospital just ten days later due to an overdose on painkillers and is forced to vacate the championship.

23 years ago today, WCW presented their first ever Bash at the Beach (WWE Network link) from the Orlando Arena in Orlando, Florida. About 14,000 were in attendance, with 225,000 homes watching on PPV.

A moment to put that number in perspective: WCW's two previous offerings, Slamboree and Spring Stampede, got about 225,000 buys combined. It also more than doubles the July 1993 offering, Beach Blast (100,000 buys).

Buoyed by the first ever televised Hulk Hogan-Ric Flair match (and perhaps helped by Hogan testifying in Vince McMahon’s steroid trial just three days earlier), Bash at the Beach would be the most bought PPV since The Great American Bash in 1990 (highlighted by Sting winning the NWA world title for the first time).

Wrestling legend Antonio Inoki was also in attendance and received an award for his contributions to wrestling.

  • In a preshow dark match, Brian & Brad Armstrong defeated Steve Keirn & Bobby Eaton.
  • Lord Steven Regal defeated Johnny B. Badd to retain the WCW World Television Championship.
  • Vader defeated The Guardian Angel by disqualification.
  • Terry Funk & Bunkhouse Buck defeated Dustin Rhodes & Arn Anderson.
  • Steve Austin defeated Ricky Steamboat to retain the WCW United States Championship. This would be Steamboat's final PPV wrestling appearance for WCW. He would win the title at Clash of the Champions XXVII in August, but suffered a career-ending back injury during the match and vacated the title at Fall Brawl. Shortly thereafter, Steamboat was fired by Eric Bischoff via FedEx.
  • Pretty Wonderful (Paul Roma & Paul Orndorff) defeated Cactus Jack & Kevin Sullivan to win the WCW World Tag Team Championship.
  • Hulk Hogan defeated Ric Flair to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Longtime Hogan BFF Mr. T was in the corner of Hogan, as well as NBA superstar Shaquille O'Neal, who played for the Orlando Magic at the time.

17 years ago today on Nitro from Auburn Hills, Michigan (WWE Network link), Lance Storm defeated Mike Awesome by submission in the finals of a one-night tournament to win the WCW United States Championship.

The championship was vacated following Bash at the Beach when then-champion Scott Steiner used the then-banned Steiner Recliner in his match.

15 years ago today at an NWA-TNA weekly PPV taping in Nashville, Tennessee, Sabu made his TNA debut with a win over Malice in a ladder match.

The show emanated from the Nashville Municipal Auditorium for the first—and only—time. As it turned out, the promotion was being misled about just exactly how many buys their weekly PPV was getting. When the actual number turned out to be much less, they had to move elsewhere to save money.

They would emanate the next from the Tennessee State Fairgrounds in Nashville from their next episode until their weekly PPVs discontinued in September 2004.

13 years ago today in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Doug Williams defeated Alex Shelley in the finals of a one-night tournament to win the vacated ROH Pure Championship.

The championship was vacated in April after TNA pulls their talent from Ring of Honor events after its then-owner Rob Feinstein was caught on camera for soliciting a 14-year old boy (the ROH Pure Champion at the time was AJ Styles). Other participants included Jay Lethal, Nigel McGuiness, John Walters, Austin Aries, CM Punk, and Matt Stryker.

12 years ago today, TNA presented No Surrender from the Impact Zone at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.

The show was highlighted by the TNA debut of Rhino, who was released from WWE earlier in the year, but made one last appearance for the company at One Night Stand the previous month.

  • In a pre-show match, Shocker defeated Jerrelle Clark.
  • America's Most Wanted (Chris Harris and James Storm) defeated Michael Shane and Alex Shelley.
  • Sonjay Dutt defeated Mikey Batts, Shark Boy and Elix Skipper in a four-way match to qualify for the Super X Cup Tournament.
  • Apollo and Sonny Siaki defeated The Diamonds in the Rough (Simon Diamond and David Young).
  • Samoa Joe defeated Chris Sabin by submission.
  • Team Canada (A-1, Bobby Roode, and Eric Young) defeated Lance Hoyt and The Naturals (Chase Stevens and Andy Douglas).
  • Monty Brown and Kip James defeated 3Live Kru (Ron Killings and Konnan) in a street fight.
  • A.J. Styles defeated Sean Waltman. Jerry Lynn was the guest referee.
  • Christopher Daniels defeated Petey Williams to retain the TNA X Division Championship.
  • Raven defeated Abyss in a Dog Collar match to retain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Post-match, Jeff Jarrett appeared and said he would get his title back one way or the other, then Rhino appeared and gored Raven.

12 years ago today in Sapporo, Japan, Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Giant Bernard in the finals of a one-night tournament to win the vacated IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Other participants in the tournament were Akebono, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Yuji Nagata, and Travis Tomko.

It would be the first of a record seven IWGP heavyweight titles for Tanahashi. The championship was vacated two days earlier after a dispute with then-champion Brock Lesnar reached an impasse; Lesnar ultimately left New Japan Pro Wrestling, but kept the belt for nearly a year.

10 years ago today at a Smackdown taping in Laredo, Texas (moved from Edmonton due to the Benoit family tragedy a few weeks earlier), Edge forfeited the World Heavyweight Championship due to a torn left pectoral muscle he suffered a week earlier. The pectoral injury would sideline him until Survivor Series in November.

The vacancy would be quickly filled. Later in the show, The Great Khali won a 20-man over-the-top-rope battle royal to win the vacated World Heavyweight Championship.

Other participants were Deuce, Domino, MVP, Chavo Guerrero, Batista, Kenny Dykstra, Eugene, Finlay, Funaki, Kane, Matt Hardy, Mark Henry, The Major Brothers (Brett and Brian), Shannon Moore, Chris Masters, Jamie Noble, Dave Taylor, and Jimmy Wang Yang.

Interestingly enough, it wasn't the main event of the show. Batista and Kane (the last two men eliminated in the battle royal) fought to a no contest in a #1 contender's match. The non-finish set up a triple threat match for the title at The Great American Bash.

6 years ago today, WWE presented Money in the Bank (WWE Network link) from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, IL, a suburb of Chicago. 14,815 were in attendance, with 195,000 homes purchasing the event on PPV. That's up from 165,000 homes from the 2010 edition.

The focus of the show in addition to the two ladder matches for guaranteed world title shots is CM Punk's threatening to leave the company as WWE Champion, as it was announced a few weeks prior that this would be his final show with the company.

The show won Wrestling Observer Newsletter's Best Major Show award in 2011, and the main event featuring John Cena vs. CM Punk for the WWE Championship won that publication's Match of the Year award.

  • in a preshow dark match, Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov defeated David Otunga & Michael McGillicutty.
  • Daniel Bryan defeated Cody Rhodes, Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel, Kane, Sheamus, Sin Cara, and Wade Barrett in a Smackdown Money in the Bank ladder match for a future World Heavyweight Championship match for up to one year. Of note, Sin Cara was injured early on in the match by Sheamus. In reality, the injury was a temporary write-off; Sin Cara tested positive for steroids a few weeks prior to the event and was subsequently suspended 30 days.
  • Kelly Kelly defeated Brie Bella to retain the WWE Divas Championship.
  • Mark Henry defeated The Big Show.
  • Alberto Del Rio defeated Rey Mysterio, Kofi Kingston, The Miz, Alex Riley, Evan Bourne, R-Truth & Jack Swagger in a RAW Money in the Bank ladder match.
  • Christian defeated Randy Orton by disqualification to win the World Heavyweight Championship. Per a pre-match stipulation, Orton could lose the title if he were disqualified or if there was evidence of "bad officiating". Orton was disqualified due to a low blow.
  • CM Punk defeated John Cena to win the WWE Championship. Post-match, Alberto Del Rio attempted to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase, but a roundhouse kick by Punk thwarted the try and left the arena through the crowd before the match could be made official. The bout was awarded five stars (out of 5) by Wrestling Observer Newsletter, the first WWE match to get such a rating since the first Hell in a Cell match between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker from In Your House: Bad Blood in 1997.

4 years ago today, TNA's big summer bloodletting continued with the releases of Bruce Prichard and D'Lo Brown.

Prichard was TNA's senior vice president of programming and talent relations since October 2011, and was the man blamed for many TNA talents not being resigned due to their expiring or talents being extended near the end of their existing deals.

D'Lo Brown, real name AC Connor, had been with the company since 2009 as an agent, and had handled their Gut Check tryouts and talent development program.

Prichard has since returned to the company, known today as Global Force Wrestling, as an on-screen authority figure.

2 years ago today, Hassan Assad, aka Montel Vontavious Porter (MVP) announced via social media that he had left TNA. The release was confirmed by TNA executive vice-president John Gaburick the next day.

Reportedly, he was released because of his hand in bringing Shawn Hernandez (aka Hernandez) to TNA despite the fact he was still under contract to Lucha Underground. When Lucha Underground got wind of this, they contacted TNA and forced the company to let him go. All footage of him involving Hernandez had to be re-edited or go unused.

As for MVP, he ironically ended up in Lucha Underground... for all of nine days. He was fired when he interview members of their roster for his podcast, which was a violation of the terms of his deal.

It's a happy 31st birthday for Lacey Adkisson, best known by her ring name Lacey Von Erich.

The daughter of Kerry Von Erich and granddaughter of Fritz Von Erich, Lacey had a cup of coffee in WWE developmental league FCW in 2007, but is most famous for her time in TNA as one of the Beautiful People.

Her only major championship came in TNA in 2010 where she was one-third of the Knockouts Tag Team Champions with Velvet Sky and Madison Rayne under the Freebird Rule. She also wrestled in Wrestlicious and on the independent circuit.

Following her release from TNA in late 2010, she retired from wrestling and opened up an advertising agency.

It's a happy 43rd birthday to Shannon Claire Spruill, but wrestling fans know her best as Daffney.

A self-described "military brat", Shannon based her most famous gimmick as the high-piercing gothic screamer based on Natural Born Killers character Mallory Knox and comic book character Harley Quinn.

She's most well-known for her time in WCW, where she became the last woman to hold the cruiserweight championship. Despite having quite the following, Shannon was released just before WCW was bought out in 2001.

She's been mostly on the independents since, most notably for SHIMMER, Shine, and Wrestilicous (as Draculetta). She did have a cup of coffee in WWE developmental league Ohio Valley Wrestling, but her most recent high-profile appearances came for TNA from 2008 to 2011, part of that time as The Governor, a play on Alaska governor and one-time vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Today would have been the 58th birthday of longtime NWA and WCW referee Randy Anderson.

Anderson, who was a state wrestling champion at 119 pounds in Georgia, began his refereeing career for Mid-South Wrestling in 1978, and was brought into NWA affiliate Jim Crockett Promotions in 1985.

Randy was most famously the official for the six-man tag team match that led to the formation of the New World Order in 1996. Little most people knew, he refereed the match while he was getting treated for testicular cancer. He found out he had testicular cancer through reading a medical magazine, and it was only later confirmed by a doctor.

The tumor was malignant, and his left testicle had to be removed. Randy returned to the ring two months after surgery, but his battle forced him to retire from wrestling in 1999. The cancer would ultimately claim his life on May 5, 2002 at age 42.

At the time of his death, he was survived by his wife Kristy, daughter Montana, and son Chase.

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