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This Day in Wrestling History (July 26): Dusty Rhodes Wins the NWA World Title


EDITOR’S NOTE: We, not Eddie, screwed up and ran “History” on the wrong day yesterday. So this is a chronicle of July 26. For July 27, click here.

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

The third and last of the NWA world title reigns for “The American Dream” would last all of two weeks before Ric Flair won it back.

19 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 winning one fall. 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 Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated Kane and Mankind to win the WWF Tag Team Championship.

18 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 and retain the WWF European Championship.

14 years ago today in Dover, Delaware, Nick Mondo defeated Ian Rotten in a 200 Lighttubes match to win CZW’s Tournament of Death II.

The tournament is most noted for Mondo suffering a massive cut on his back during his semifinal match against John Zandig when Zandig did a “Mother F’n Bomb” from the roof of a building onto a light tube log cabin and a stack of tables. NOTE: THE ABOVE VIDEO IS NOT SUITABLE FOR ALL VIEWERS.

It would be the final match for Mondo, real name Matt Burns. The severely punctured back, alongside three boken bones in his right wrist was enough for him to call it a career at just 23 years old.

The three-time CZW Ironman Champion would be one of the inaugural two inductees into the promotion’s Hall of Fame.

14 years ago today, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla was born at Frank and Sons in City of Industry, California.

Created by Southern California wrestlers Disco Machine, Excalibur, Scott Lost, Joey Ryan, Super Dragon, and Top Gun Talwar, PWG is unique its structure: the wrestlers themselves run the promotion, with Excalibur and Super Dragon doing the bulk of the behind-the-scenes work (Excalibur providing the DVD and website art, while Super Dragon books and edits the shows and provides Youtube previews of the events).

In keeping with its “punk rock” non-mainstream vibe, the shows have been uniquely titled, including Steen Wolf, Black Cole Sun, Prince, Nice Boys (Don’t Play Rock ‘n Roll), and Free Admission (Just Kidding).

Perhaps the show’s signature event is the annual weekend-long Battle of Los Angeles tournament, taking place every year around Labor Day weekend (except for 2008 and 2009, when they were done in November).

Most of PWG’s events have been presented at American Legion Post #308 in Reseda, California since 2006.

  • Charles Mercury, Sara Del Rey, and Supa Badd defeated Ryan Drago, Top Gun Talwar, and Zokre.
  • Excalibur defeated Chris Bosh.
  • Quicksilver & Scorpio Sky defeated The Ballard Brothers (Shane & Shannon).
  • Super Dragon defeated Matt Cross.
  • TARO defeated Babi Slymm.
  • Apolo Kahn & Hook Bomberry defeated Disco Machine & Mr. Excitement via submission.
  • Hardkore Inc. (Adam Pearce, Al Katrazz, and Hardkore Kidd) defeated The X-Foundation (Billy Kim, Joey Ryan, and Scott Lost).
  • AJ Styles defeated Frankie Kazarian.

13 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 done on broadcast television.

On the undercard, Randy Orton last eliminated Chris Jericho to win the show’s only other match, a 20-man battle royal, for a World Heavyweight Championship match at Summerslam. Other participants in the battle royal were Batista, Chuck Palumbo, Edge, Kane, Matt Hardy, Maven, Rhyno, Ric Flair, Rob Conway, Rodney Mack, Rosey, Steven Richards, Sylvain Grenier, Tajiri, The Hurricane, Tyson Tomko, Val Venis, and William Regal.

8 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 (the event was renamed Clash of Champions last year).

  • 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 35th 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, known today as 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 in June 2016. He would debut in the fall with NXT as Austin Aries’ tag team partner for the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.

Happy 61st 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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