The holiday was traditionally one of the three biggest dates on the professional wrestling calendar. Many territories built for months to a Fourth of July spectacular.
This Week In Wrestling features 17 arena programs from around the country, many with results.
7/4/60 - Barry Windham is born. The son of the legendary Blackjack Mulligan (Bob Windham), he is a former member of the Four Horsemen and has held such championships as the NWA World title and the "NWA" U.S. title, and World tag honors as recognized by the NWA, WWF, and WCW.
7/4/68 - Professor Boris "The Great" Malenko (Larry Simon) downs the man who broke his false teeth, Eddie Graham (Eddie Gossett), in Jacksonville, Fla. to win the hardcore title of its time, the Brass Knucks championship.
7/4/74 - Ric Flair teams with his "uncle" Rip Hawk (Harvey Evers) to win the first championship of his career, the "NWA" Mid-Atlantic tag team title. They beat the team of Bob Bruggers & Paul Jones (Paul Frederick) for the straps at the Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C. Flair was basically a replacement partner, as Hawk's longtime partner Swede Hanson was taken out of action due to a nearly life-ending heart attack. Bruggers, of course, was in the plane crash that broke Flair's back in 1975 and which ended the career of Johnny Valentine (John Wisniski Sr.).
7/4/82 - In the fourth and final battle between the champions of the National Wrestling Alliance and the World Wrestling Federation, NWA World champion Nature Boy Ric Flair (Richard Fliehr) and WWF World champion Bob Backlund go to a double disqualification in Atlanta's Omni. There had been three previous inter-league unification matches prior to this with then-NWA kingpin Harley Race squaring off once with WWF titleholder Superstar Billy Graham (Wayne Coleman) and twice with Backlund.
7/4/83 - David Von Erich (David Adkisson) beats Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin, with Precious, to win the "NWA" Texas State title. That same night in Ft. Worth, David teams with brothers Kevin & Kerry to dethrone The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy, and Buddy Roberts) as WCCW World six-man champions.
7/4/86 - Gentleman Chris Adams pins Ravishing Rick Rude (Richard Rood), managed by Percival Pringle III (Bill Moody) in Dallas to win the World heavyweight championship as recognized by the World Class Wrestling Association. Pringle is best known to fans these days as former WWF manager Paul Bearer.
7/4/88 - Adrian Adonis (Keith Franke), Wildman Dave McKigney, and the Kelly Twins (Pat & Mike) are involved in a van accident in Lewisport, Newfoundland. Mike Kelly, the driver of the vehicle, is the only survivor. A decade later, Adonis is remembered by former tag partner and current Minnesota Governor Jesse "The Body" Ventura (Jim Janos) in his election night acceptance speech.
7/4/90 - Ed Leslie is injured in a freak parasailing accident in Florida, which completely shatters his face. Remarkably, after a painful series of surgery and much rehabilitation, he is able to return to the ring. Leslie has wrestled under a wide variety of names during his career, including Ed Boulder, Eddie Hogan, Dizzy Hogan, Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake, Brother Bruti, The Butcher, The Zodiac, The Booty Man, and The Disciple.
7/4/94 - Referee Joey Marella, son of the legendary Gorilla Monsoon (Bob Marella) is killed in an automobile accident in New Jersey. The death of Marella, a longtime WWF employee, is never mentioned on television.
7/5/16 - World heavyweight champion Joe Stecher wrestles a defensive Ed (Strangler) Lewis to a five-hour draw in Omaha.
7/5/74 - Buddy Colt beats Mr. Wrestling II (Johnny Walker) in Atlanta to win the sixth of seven career "NWA" Georgia State titles.
7/5/75 - The Sheik (Ed Farhat Sr.) beats arch rival Bobo Brazil (Houston Harris) in Detroit to win the "NWA" U.S. title for the eighth time of his career. You can see the buildup for one of their epic encounters, including highlight matches of both men, in Detroit Tape 2.
7/5/86 - 20,000 fans pack Memorial Stadium in Charlotte as the second-annual Great American Bash is headlined by Ric Flair retaining the NWA World title over Ricky Morton inside a steel cage.
7/6/85 - The first-ever Great American Bash takes place at Charlotte's Memorial Stadium before a crowd of nearly 30,000 fans, highlighted by wrestling matches, fireworks, and a concert by country music legend David Alan Coe. In featured action, Ric Flair retains the NWA World title over Nikita Koloff (Scott Simpson). Dusty Rhodes (Virgil Riley Runnels) wins the "NWA" TV title and the services of Baby Doll (Nickla Roberts) with a cage match victory over Tully Blanchard, and Magnum T.A. (Terry Allen) retains the "NWA" U.S. strap with a victory over Kimala (Jim Harris). You can see a lot of these great stars in Mid-Atlantic Tape 4.
7/6/98 - Bill Goldberg captures the WCW World title from Hollywood Hogan (Terry Bollea) at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta during a live broadcast of WCW Monday Nitro.