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This Day in Wrestling History (July 28): The PG Era Begins

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30 years ago today in Trinidad and Tobago, Wendi Richter defeated Monster Ripper to win the WWC Womens Championship. Richter would hold the title until she left the company in 1990.

22 years ago today in Middletown, New York, Eddie Guerrero defeated Dean Malenko to regain the ECW World Television Championship.

The event, featuring the promotion’s debut of the Steiner Brothers (they defeated Dudley Dudley and the Vampire Warrior, who would go on to moderate success as Gangrel in the WWF), aired on the August 8 episode of ECW Hardcore TV (WWE Network link).

20 years ago today on Nitro from Charleston, West Virginia (WWE Network link), Alex Wright defeated Chris Jericho to win the WCW Cruiserweight Championship.

14 years ago today on RAW from Colorado Springs, Colorado (WWE Network link), Molly Holly defeated Gail Kim to win the WWE Womens Championship.

She would hold the title for the next seven months, the longest since Chyna's 214-day run ended when she left WWE in November 2001.

13 years ago today at an NWA-TNA weekly PPV taping in Nashville, Tennessee, Michael Shane and Frankie Kazarian defeat AJ Styles in an Ultimate X match to win the TNA X Division Championship. Both men retrieved the championship at the same time and were declared co-winners.

10 years ago today, TNA signed Adam "Pacman" Jones.

The then-Tennessee Titans cornerback was suspended for the 2007 season without pay for multiple violations of the NFL's personal conduct policy, most notably for his involvement in a shooting at a strip club in Las Vegas.

His TNA run was marred with controversy, with the Titans using legal means to prevent him from being involved in a physical capacity. He eventually would sign on in a non-wrestling role and somehow was one-half of the TNA World Tag Team Champions with Ron “The Truth” Killings.

10 years ago today, Karl Itsaz, aka Karl Gotch passes away from natural causes in Tampa, Florida. He was 82.

Gotch was known as the "God of Wrestling" in Japan as he is credited in influencing the Japanese strong style, and was said to have created the German suplex (even though Gotch himself denied it; he credits Lou Thesz for teaching him to use it).

Gotch was twice New Japan Pro Wrestling's Real World Champion and a WWWF Tag Team Champion with Rene Goulet in late 1971. He defeated Antonio Inoki in the deciding fall of a two out of three falls match on the first ever NJPW show in March 1972.

After retiring in 1982, he worked as a trainer and booker for New Japan, training such wrestling legends as Hiro Matasuda, Satoru Sayama (the original Tiger Mask) and Yoshiaki Fujiwara.

9 years ago today, Stephanie McMahon gives birth for a second time, this time to Murphy Claire Levesque. Murphy was born eight pounds, 12 ounces.

9 years ago today, WWE presented the 36th and final episode of Saturday Night's Main Event (WWE Network link) from the Verizon Center in Washington, DC.

Premiering back in May 1985 on NBC as an occasional replacement for Saturday Night Live, Saturday Night’s Main Event was a rarity for televised wrestling at the time, presenting bouts with established stars facing one another up and down the card as opposed to stars beating enhancement talent, usually in quick fashion. Saturday Night’s Main Event often featured key bouts in ongoing storylines, sometimes for championships, sometimes with a stipulation (such as steel cage, best of three falls, or handicap match).

NBC aired 29 episodes of Saturday Night’s Main Event, as well as five episodes of its primetime Friday night sister series, The Main Event, through 1991 (the first episode of The Main Event, featuring Andre the Giant defeating Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship, was watched by 33 million people, the largest audience for any wrestling show in television history).

With NBC acquiring the national TV rights to NBA games and interest in pro wrestling declining, Saturday Night’s Main Event was dropped. Fox would pick up the series in 1992, but would drop it that same year after just two airings.

The series was reborn in 2006 after NBCUniversal acquired the broadcasting rights to WWE programming; however, by this time, WWE had been adopting the Saturday Night’s Main Event concept for their main programming, RAW and Smackdown, for years. Case in point: the 2006 reboot (which admittedly was up against the first weekend of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament) got a 2.9 rating, slightly higher than a typical Smackdown at the time.

The show drew a 0.7 rating in the age 18-34 demographic and 2.38 million viewers overall. With the show outliving its usefulness, it was quietly discontinued (the two spots reserved for Saturday Night’s Main Event have since been replaced by a one-hour recap of that year’s Wrestlemania, usually airing in August, and a one-hour version of the Tribute to the Troops special, airing in December).

  • In a preshow dark match, Paul London defeated Charlie Haas.
  • John "Bradshaw" Layfield, Kane, and Legacy (Ted Dibiase and Cody Rhodes) defeated John Cena, Batista, and Cryme Tyme (Shad Gaspard and JTG).
  • The Great Khali defeated Jimmy Wang Yang in just 90 seconds.
  • Edge defeated Jeff Hardy.

That evening on RAW (WWE Network link), Mike Adamle is named the new General Manager of RAW. In his act as GM, Adamle announced that John Cena and Batista would face off at Summerslam.

The move was reportedly a last-ditch effort to salvage something for Mike's disappointing, yet expensive run with the company (he was getting a reported $300,000 a year). It didn't work out; just over three months later, Adamle was released.

The announcement ended the first RAW of the much-maligned "PG Era", which began the previous Tuesday when the company issued a press release saying all their programming would carry the rating going forward.

For those wondering, the first match of the PG Era saw Beth Phoenix and Santino Marrella defeat D-Lo Brown and Kelly Kelly.

8 years ago today, Hulk and Linda Hogan, aka Terry and Linda Bollea, announce via their attorneys that they have settled their divorce case.

The terms of the settlement were not disclosed at the time, but would be two years later when the terms were attached to a new motion filed in court by Hogan's attorneys in regards to monies owed to various companies. The most important numbers via USA Today:

Linda, 52, received a little more than 70% of the couple's liquid assets, plus 40% ownership in the semi-retired wrestler's companies and a $3 million "property settlement."

That breakdown of liquid assets meant Linda walked with $7.44 million, and Hogan took away $2.97 million. But Hogan, 58, (real name: Terry Bollea) owes no alimony.

The couple still is in the process of selling property, including a mansion that's listed at $8.87 million.

Linda also hangs onto a Mercedes-Benz, a Cadillac Escalade, a Corvette, a Rolls-Royce and various off-road vehicles. But Hogan keeps the rest of his considerable collection of cars.

Linda spent some of that $7.44 million on this home in Simi Valley, California. She bought it in 2010, and would sell it just five years later.

7 years ago today at a Smackdown taping in Laredo, Texas (WWE Network link), Dolph Ziggler defeated Kofi Kingston to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship.


It's a happy 54th birthday to Tomoko Kitamura, best known to puroresu fans as the legendary Lioness Asuka.

Debuting for All Japan Womens Pro-Wrestling at just age 16, she would go on to great success as one half of The Crush Gals with Chigusa Nagayo. At the height of their popularity, their bouts were among the most watched shows on Japanese television. The Gals split up in the late 1980s and had an emotional feud with one another, with Asuka taking the WWWA World Heavyweight Championship just before her retirement in 1989 (her retirement wasn't an option; at the time, joshis had to retire by their 26th birthday).

Asuka came out of retirement when the restrictions were lifted in 1994; by 1998, she joined Naguyo's federation, GAEA Japan. Initially debuting there as a heel and resuming her feud with Naguyo, the Crush Gals reunited in April 2000 under a new name, CRUSH 2000. Asuka announced her retirement following a neck injury in November 2004, and would wrestle her final match in April 2005 when the Crush Gals defeated Chikayo Nagashima and Sugar Sato at GAEA Japan's 10th anniversary show, which ironically, would serve as the promotion's last. Asuka is a member of the AJW Hall of Fame class of 1998 and the Wrestling Observer Newsletter class of 1999.

Lioness Asuka would be the basis of the ring name of Kanako Urai, known these days as NXT Women's Champion Asuka.

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