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This Day in Wrestling History (July 31): Wrestlefest ‘88

Today’s TDIPWH is presented in two parts. The second part will focus on the career and life of “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, who passed away two years ago today.


38 years ago today at a Championship Wrestling taping in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Roddy Piper and Tony Atlas both make their WWF debuts.

Piper’s first stint in the WWF would be a brief one, wrestling just three matches for the company, all in Madison Square Garden. His more famous run kicked off in 1984 (just weeks after taking part in the first Starrcade) and would eventually be one of the company’s lead villains during their national expansion. Piper would remain in some capacity with the WWF (first as a wrestler, then commentator, then on-screen authority figure) until 1996. He had a second brief run in 2003, and a Legends run from 2005 until just before his death in 2015.

Tony Atlas, aka “Mr. USA”, would go on to moderate success in WWE as well. In 1981, Atlas was the first man to both press slam and pin Hulk Hogan (the win came with an asterisk; Hogan’s foot was on the bottom rope). In 1983, Atlas and Rocky Johnson as the Soul Patrol became the first African-American team to win the WWF Tag Team Championship. Atlas was set to have a run as Intercontinental Champion, but drug problems would spiral his WWF run downward, until leaving the company in 1987. He returned to the WWF in 1990 as Saba Simba (though the gimmick was unpopular, Atlas credits the gimmick for saving his life). He had one last run in the late 2000s as the manager for Mark Henry.

Both men would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame (Piper in 2005, Atlas in 2006) and took part in the short-lived reality series Legends’ House in 2014.

33 years ago today in Tokyo, Japan, Giant Baba defeated Stan Hansen to win the PWF World Heavyweight Championship.

31 years ago today in Tokyo, Japan, Stan Hansen defeated Jumbo Tsuruta to win the NWA International Heavyweight Championship.

On the same show, Hiro Saito defeated Brad Armstrong in a tournament final to become the first PWF World Junior Heavyweight Champion.

29 years ago today, WWF presented Wrestlefest from the Milwaukee County Stadium in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 25,866 fans were in attendance for the event.

The event would eventually be released on Coliseum Home Video in abbreviated form, and some matches would eventually air on Prime Time Wrestling.

  • Big Boss Man defeated Scott Casey.
  • Brutus Beefcake defeated Hercules Hernandez.
  • Jacques & Raymond Rougeau defeated The Killer Bees (B. Brian Blair and Jim Brunzell).
  • Bad News Brown defeated Bret Hart.
  • Hacksaw Jim Duggan defeated The Honky Tonk Man via disqualification in a WWF Intercontinental Championship match.
  • The Powers of Pain (Warlord and Barbarian) defeated The Bolsheviks (Nikolai Volkoff and Boris Zuhkov).
  • Jim Neidhart defeated Lanny Poffo.
  • Macho Man Randy Savage defeated Ted DiBiase to retain the WWF Championship.
  • Curt Hennig defeated Terry Taylor.
  • Jake Roberts and Rick Rude fought to a double countout.
  • Haku defeated Sam Houston.
  • Ultimate Warrior defeated Bobby Heenan. As a result of Heenan's loss, he was forced to wear a weasel suit.
  • Demolition (Ax & Smash) defeated The British Bulldogs (Dynamite Kid & Davey Boy Smith) to retain the WWF Tag Team Championship.
  • Dino Bravo defeated Ken Patera.
  • Hulk Hogan defeated Andre the Giant in a steel cage match.

17 years ago today on Nitro from Cincinnati, Ohio (WWE Network link), Lance Storm defeated Chavo Guerrero via submission to win the WCW Cruiserweight Championship.

The win made Storm a triple champion, as he also held the United States and hardcore titles.

7 years ago today, Adam Pearce defeated Chance Prophet, Jimmy Rave, and Shaun Tempers in a four-way match to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.

6 years ago today, reported that Smashing Pumpkins lead singer Billy Corgan would launch his own promotion in the fall. The promotion would be Resistance Pro Wrestling, based out of Chicago, Illinois.

Corgan left the company in November 2014, and would join TNA in May 2015. Corgan, briefly a minority owner with the company, eventually ended up a contentious legal battle with the promotion when he sued for money owed to fund tapings. Eventually the case was settled, with Corgan getting what he was owed, but he no longer has any involvement in the promotion, known today as Global Force Wrestling.

In May 2017, Corgan got back in the wrestling business, buying the National Wrestling Alliance.

It's a happy 48th birthday for David Cash, best known to wrestling fans as Kid Kash.

Gaining national prominence in 1999 partly for his uncanny resemblance to Kid Rock, he competed most notably for ECW until its shutdown in 2001. He was briefly ECW World Television Champion. Following ECW's shutdown, he joined WCW... right before the WWF bought it. He emerged in TNA in August 2002 and stuck around there for nearly three years, winning the NWA World Tag Team Championship twice.

After a 15-month run in WWE (which included a six-week run as cruiserweight champion), Cash spent most of the remainder of the 2000s on the independent circuit before rejoining TNA in 2010.

Kash, released from the company a second time in January 2013, spent the remainder of his career on the independent circuit until his retirement in December 2015.

It's a happy 55th birthday for John Hodger Laurinaitis.

Best known from his wrestling days as Johnny Ace, he's the younger brother of Joe Laurinaitis, aka Road Warrior Animal, and the uncle of New Orleans Saints linebacker James Laurinaitis.

Long before his days as a "glad-handing, nonsensical, douchebag yes man", Lauranitis had a bit of success in the ring, though the majority of it was in Japan: he was a four-time All Japan Pro Wrestling world tag team champion, a two-time All-Asia tag team champion, and was part of Wrestling Observer Newsletter's Match of the Year in 1996.

Laurainitis left All Japan in 2000 in the mass exodus that led to the creation of Pro Wrestling Noah and retired from the ring. He returned to the states and rejoined WCW, where he was one half of the Dynamic Dudes in the late 1980s. He replaced Vince Russo as head booker and most notably booked the one-night tournament for the vacated WCW United States Championship.

He was brought over to WWE following the sale of WCW, and eventually took over Jim Ross' spot as head of talent relations. Laurainitis would have a brief, yet memorable run on-screen following the infamous "pipebomb" promo by CM Punk, eventually becoming WWE's general manager. Following his on-screen firing, Laurainitis returned to his role as a producer and road agent.

Laurainitis is credited with innovating the cutter maneuver, a ¾-facelock front face bulldog that would be popularized by Diamond Dallas Page and would be the basis of the Stone Cold Stunner.

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