Today In Wrestling History 7/26: Triple H Goes 60 Minutes On Live TV, Famous Bikini Contest, & More

* 17 years ago in 1998, the WWF ran the first annual Fully Loaded pay-per-view (technically "Fully Loaded: In Your House) live from the Selland Arena in Fresno, California. The WWF was still trying to feel out what a three hour, full priced In Your House show looked like, as they were clearly bigger deals than before but were just as clearly inferior to most "big five" PPVs.

The main event was, in some ways, the least memorable big match on the show. WWF Champion Steve Austin and The Undertaker defeated WWF Tag Team Champions Kane and Mankind to win the titles in what was little more than the midpoint of the build to Austin vs. Undertaker at SummerSlam, which had been going on for a month or two. The reign was short-lived and inconsequential, just a brief chapter in the larger story.

The most memorable and iconic moment to most fans came during the Sable vs. Jaqueline bikini contest. Jackie went first, did a wacky dance, and fell out of his swimsuit, which...set the tone, more or less. At first, Sable walked out in a sweater and bikini bottom. She quickly peeled off the sweater, revealing handprints painted upon her bosom. The moment has been re-shown endlessly in Attitude Era video packages over the years and is probably the most replayed moment of Sable's WWF career.

The most purely entertaining match on the show saw Owen hart defeatiing Ken Shamrock in a Dungeon Match with Dan Severn as special guest referee. This was literally a match in the famed Hart Family Dungeon, also known as the basement in Owen's parents house. They did an absolutely tremendous job working an intense, hard-hitting, creative match that took advantage of the setting instead of being limited by it, and the result was one of the best, most unique matches of the Attitude Era. Owen won after knocking Shamrock out with a one of the dumbbells from his father's custom engraved weight set. This set up a "Lion's Den Match" return at SummerSlam, where Shamrock got revenge on his own turf, a faux MMA cage.

There was also a bit of a strange angle on the undercard. Even though Terry Funk and 2 Cold Scorpio had been teaming as the New Hardcore Legends, they were on opposite sides of a match where they teamed with Bradshaw and Faarooq, respectively. Before the match,Funk did a promo announcing he needed to take some time off to "recharge his batteries" at 54 years old, and Bradshaw got upset, acting as if a long-time partner was turning on him. It was just a poorly thought out angle to set up a heel turn for Bradshaw, as he laid everyone out after Scorpio pinned Funk.

* 12 years ago in 2003, CZW held their second annual Tournament of Death show outside Rack's Bar and Billiards in Dover, Delaware. In the finals, "Sick" Nick Mondo defeated IWA Mid-South's Ian Rotten to win the tournament in a short, uneventful 200 Light Tubes Match. The reason that the match underwhelmed was that in his semifinal match with Zandig (a 2/3 fall match where you won a fall by putting your opponent through a "light tube log cabin"), Mondo suffered a horrific gash in his back. How? He dropped a fall by taking Zandig's "Mother F'n Bomb" off the roof of a building through a light tube log cabin and a stack of tables.

Mondo retired soon after, making this his last match. He was one of those guys who didn't "need" to work the death match style at all, as he was really talented, but happened to enjoy working the style. It caught up to him quickly, though, so at 23 years old, he called it quits four years into his career instead of changing his style.

* 11 years ago in 2004, Monday Night Raw from the Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was an unusual show in that it had just two matches: The first was a battle royal for the World Heavyweight Championship at SummerSlam, which Randy Orton won by eliminating Chris Jericho after a very entertaining closing segment. They spent a ton of time fighting on the apron and the psychology, storytelling, etc. were amazing, with lots of cool "near falls," worked almost lik it was a scaffold match. It's one of the better WWE battle royals you'll see and worth going out of your way to watch.

The other match saw World Heavyweight Champion Chris Benoit defending his title against Triple H in a 60 minute Iron Man Match, the longest bout in the history of Monday Night Raw. They had good chemistry and had a very strong match. It was noticeably superior to the Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle Iron Man Match on SmackDown the prior year, which relied heavily on stalling to kill time and didn't get going until late in the match. Still, it showed where exactly Benoit's title reign stood in terms of its importance to the Raw brand as a whole, as the finish was a backdrop to Eugene distracting Triple H and costing him the match, setting up their feud instead of Benoit vs. Orton.


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