July 11th – On This Day In Wrestling History

Matt Hardy
Credit: WWE

1961 – Gene Kinski defeats Verne Gagne in Minneapolis, Minnesota to win the AWA World Heavyweight Championship.

1987 – Lex Luger won the NWA United States Championship for the first time with a win over Nikita Koloff in Greensboro, North Carolina.

1989 – Stan Hansen and Genichiro Tenryu defeated Jumbo Tsuruta and Yoshiaki Yatsu to claim the All Japan Pro Wrestling World Tag Team Championship in a match in Hokkaido, Japan.

1999 – WCW Bash At The Beach took place at the National Car Rental Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The main event saw the WCW World Heavyweight Championship up for grabs in a tag team match pitting Kevin Nash and Sting against ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage and Sid Vicious. Savage and Vicious won the bout and as The Macho Man made the winning pinfall, he was declared the new champion. Despite this title change, the event is perhaps best remembered for the Junkyard Invitational match. This bout saw a number of wrestlers take part in a free for all in a real junkyard under Hardcore match rules, with the winner being the first one to escape the junkyard and awarded with a trophy. The match was filmed in advance with poor lighting that made the action almost impossible to follow. Fit Finlay won the match.

2004 – The Hartford Civic Center in Hartford, Connecticut played host to WWE Vengeance on PPV. The main event saw Chris Benoit successfully defend his World Heavyweight Championship against Triple H. Earlier on the card, Edge defeated Randy Orton to snare the WWE Intercontinental Championship.

2005 – In one of the most memorable Raw segments of the period, the recently released Matt Hardy made a surprise return to Raw to attack Edge. Hardy had been released just after WrestleMania and it emerged that while he was off the road suffering from an injury, his real life girlfriend Lita (Amy Dumas) and friend Edge began an affair. Subsequently Lita and Edge had been paired up on Raw as a heel couple and Hardy’s return shockingly blended the real life situation with a wrestling angle to create a massive fission of excitement amongst wrestling fans. The illusion of reality was furthered by commentary not acknowledging Hardy’s invasion and Hardy himself shouting about Ring Of Honor as he was led out of the arena by security.

2005 – Shinya Hashimoto died of a brain aneurysm in Tokyo at the age of 40.

2009 – Former WWE Champion Brock Lesnar headlined UFC’s landmark UFC 100 PPV in Las Vegas, Nevada. He faced off with Frank Mir to unify the interim and regular versions of the UFC Heavyweight Championship. Lesnar won via TKO in the second round. The event secured 1.6 million buys on PPV, breaking the UFC record at the time and remaining one of their biggest ever PPVs to this day.

2010 – TNA Victory Road took place at the Impact Zone in Orlando, Florida and was headlined by a four way match that saw Rob Van Dam retain the TNA World Heavyweight Championship against Mr. Anderson, Jeff Hardy and Abyss. Also on the card, The Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin) won the vacant TNA World Tag Team Championship with a win over Beer Money Inc. (James Storm and Bobby Roode). Another title changed hands when Angelina Love defeated Madison Rayne to win the Knockouts Championship in a match that would have seen Love forced to retire if she had lost.

2011 – At a taping of Impact Wrestling at the Impact Zone in Orlando, Florida, Sting defeated Mr. Anderson to win his fourth and final TNA World Heavyweight Championship.

2013 – WWE opened its much lauded WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. The centre has since been used as a venue for the training and polishing of recently signed independent wrestlers and development prospects. During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021 it was temporarily converted to be the base for all WWE programming whilst the USA was in lockdown and recovering from the affects. The venue hosted Raw, SmackDown, PPVs, NXT events, 205 Live and more. It even played host to WrestleMania 36 in April 2020.

2013 – One of the first bouts to truly put the NXT brand on the map saw Antonio Cesaro defeat Sami Zayn in a 2 out of 3 falls match on NXT’s weekly TV show that was taped on this date.

Notable Wrestling Birthdays:

  • Sami Zayn (1984)
  • Tyson Kidd (1980)
  • Brock Lesnar (1977)
  • Butch Reed (1954)
  • Rene Goulet (1932)