/WWF in Calgary
|WWF House Show||
|Guest columnist: James Kalyn|
So tell me honestly, is it nuts to drive eight hours for a wrestling show? What about when two of those hours were spent having lunch with grocery store assistant manager types?
Probably best not to think about that.
But yes, since it's been three years since the WWF made a stop here in Saskatoon, I made the trip down to Calgary with a few friends (hi Dave, Kerry). Because Dave rules the world, he was able to grab ringside seats for us through Ticketmaster. Yes, ringside. I've never sat ringside before.
The card had been changed a few times along the way. Originally, we were supposed to see:
A few weeks later, they announced the following card:
The next week, there were more changes:
Of course, this only vaguely resembles the card that we actually got.
With the show at 7:30 in the Saddledome, we agreed to meet there at 6:00. I wanted to see if I could watch some of the wrestlers show up, so I got there about 5:20. I was wearing my cliched EC F'N W shirt in hopes of making it easier for another friend (hi Wes) to recognize me. Strolling around to the back of the Saddledome, some guys stopped me to ask about my shirt, and we wound up talking wrestling for a little while. They said they'd seen Steve Blackman entering the arena (the actual entrance was fenced off), but that had been about it. Some women walked out of the arena - the guys said that they had shown up with Bad News Brown (he lives in Calgary and works with Stampede Wrestling). One of the guys yells out "Bring out Bad News!" and one of the women replies with "Bad News doesn't want to see you 'cause he says you suck!"
This was widely regarded as having been a bad idea.
The ladies were, well, heavyset and the guys along the fence were mean. You do the math. There was a little kid with the women, and he was running around. "You're so ugly that the kid's running away! He thinks you're going to eat him!" They're all hanging around their car. "What, are you too fat to fit in the car?" And so on. "Look, it's Viscera's hos!" I have to admit that I was laughing my ass off.
Suddenly, a car pulled up. The women were ignored as everyone tried to figure out who was in the car. Was it a wrestler? Could it be? It's... it's... "It's that ref!" "The fat one!" "IT'S TIM WHITE!!" A massive "Tim White Tim White" chant breaks out 'cause, well, these kids would chant for anyone.
I wandered off and entered the arena. Dave and Kerry were already there, waiting to tell me that hey had seen Bradshaw at the Calgary Zoo earlier in the day. Really.
You couldn't actually get to the seats yet, but you could get inside to the inner doors - and hey, there's a merchandise stand right here! Go figure. I picked up an APA shirt and one of those custom-to-each-city Rock shirts. There were no shirts for guys that weren't scheduled to be there, which is a shame, 'cause I really wanted a Big Nasty Bastard shirt and Dave wanted a Tazz shirt. Dave got an APA shirt as well, while Kerry got both a 2 Cool shirt and one for the Hardy Boyz. I bought a program, and Dave bought a program. And it's not just that we were freaks (well, we were, but it's not just that) - souvenir sales were damn brisk.
We wandered outside on this catwalk that overlooked where I had been standing before, watching the wrestlers enter. You couldn't really see anything from the catwalk, so we didn't stay long - just long enough to be spotted by the guys from before who were still down below. They chanted E-C-dub for me - well, they chanted for my shirt. I didn't do anything.
We went back inside and waited to get to our seats. A family of four took their place in line behind us - the little boy (he was about 10) was proudly carrying a homemade sign for The Rock that said "Gimme some poontang pie!" I mean... personally, I wouldn't take kids to a wrestling show in the first place, but c'mon... is the definition of "poontang" really that obscure?
At about 6:30 they finally let us into the arena. We picked up some drinks and popcorn and wandered down to ringside. Our seats were awesome, as expected. The security guard working by us chatted for a few minutes. The crowd slowly filled in. There were people dressed as their favourite wrestlers - Mankind, Scotty 2 Hotty, The Godfather. One guy was doing a dead-on imitation of Jeff Jarrett (complete with spiky blonde hair, orange sunglasses, silver guitar, and Slapnuts t-shirt) - I got a good picture of him. He was sitting next to someone who has the proverbial balls the size of grapefruits - he was dressed as The Blue Blazer. In Calgary. At the first show since Owen Hart's death. I was just waiting for someone to kick his ass. It was a great costume, though.
Wes came over to trade tapes and say hello right before the show was starting. Suddenly, das lights goes dark... and out comes The Fink! He reads through the rules, then it's the national anthem and we're underway!
MATCH 1: Bradshaw v. Bull Buchanan (w/Big Bossman)
MATCH 2: Dean Malenko (c) v. Crash Holly (Light Heavyweight Title Match)
MATCH 3: Edge & Christian (c) v. T&A (w/Trish Stratus) v. 2 Cool (Tag Title
2 Cool ran through some of the comedy spots from their last PPV match, with
Grandmaster Sexay's pants falling down and Scotty 2 Hotty laughing at
him. They also redid the bit where Edge tries to block Christian from
hitting the turnbuckle but gets stuck. Oh yes, and they also redid the
spot where one guy gets knocked down and the other guy does the worm before
chopping him. Hoo hoo hoo and all that. Sadly, 2 Cool were the first team
eliminated. If I recall correctly, Christian KOed Sexay with a tag title
belt, but Test threw Christian to the floor and covered Sexay for the first
pin. The match didn't last much longer. Christian's second beltshot
missed its mark, and he wound up on the floor courtesy of Albert. Still,
Albert was distracted enough to walk into a spear from Edge, and the
MATCH 4: British Bulldog v. Steve Blackman
MATCH 5: Rikishi Phatu v. Kurt Angle
After clearing the ring, Rikishi tries to leave until 2 Cool produces the magic sunglasses. Cue the lights, cue the music, and the dance is on. The crowd is loving it, of course.
Brief intermission. Yeah. The Fink gives away a satellite system and a few Nintendo 64 machines.
After the break, Paul Bearer makes a surprise appearance. He says that everywhere he goes, people ask him when Kane is coming back. He says Kane will be back soon, and blames his disappearance on a broken hand from that piece of Georgia trash, the Big Bossman. Bossman shows up and punks out Bearer. Cue the red lights, and we have a surprise match!
MATCH 6: Kane (w/Paul Bearer) v. The Big Bossman (w/Bull Buchanan, eventually)
Afterwards, Paul Bearer knocks out the ref with his shoe, for no reason that we could tell.
Perry Saturn enters next, drawing major heat, but it's not for him - it's definitely LATINO HEAT!
MATCH 7: Eddie Guerrero (c) (w/Chyna) v. Perry Saturn (European Title Match)
MATCH 8: Chris Benoit (c) v. Chris Jericho (Intercontinental Title Match)
At long last, it was time for our main event... X-Pac, Tori, and Road Dogg entered first. Dogg did his usual spiel, and people are finally starting to chant along with "two tears in a bucket," even though nobody has a clue what that means. He did a special intro for the last participant: "Your wives know him as the sixty-minute man, and some call him The Game, but you Canadian pieces of shit can call him the World Wrestling Federation Champion, Hunter Hearst Helmsley!" The Gameuh entered the ringuh by us and spit water on the people a few seats down from us. Cool. The referee for tonight's main event was Earl Hebner, and DX wasted no time in threatening to beat him down.
The bomb was dropped and the Dudleyz came out to ringisde. The tension built, everyone was on their feet. You knew it was coming but you couldn't help but get chills when it hit... IF YA SMELLLLLLLLL...
The crowd noise was deafening - literally. The security guards were standing with their hands over their ears. The crowd was electrified, as one would expect, and this was:
MATCH 9: The Rock & The Dudley Boyz v. Triple H, The Road Dogg, & X-Pac (w/Tori)
Afterwards, The Rock posed on the corner, while HHH was threatening Earl Hebner. HHH shoved Earl - and Earl shoved back, knocking Hunter on his ass. Some kicks from Hebner sent Helmsley to the floor. Road Dogg and X-Pac tried to make the save, but Earl punched them both out too. Earl demonstrated his crotch-chopping proficiency in their direction, and then raised The Rock's hand. Everyone filed out (with Buh Buh tossing his glasses to The Rock and laughing), leaving The Rock and The Mic.
"Finally, The Rock HAS COME BACK to Calgary." Let's see... He talked about playing for the Stampeders (well, he tried out and was cut, but let's forget that), he said it was a really hot crowd (that it was, they were super loud all night), and he polled us on our favourite kind of pie ("it ain't none of that pecan pie"). He hit the most classic of catchphrases, if ya smell what The Rock is cooking, and went to leave - but some guy from the crowd decided he wanted to jump into the ring. Security kept the drunk idiot and his drunk idiot friend at bay, as The Rock stood by and watched. At one point, he looked over at us, pointed to the guy and mouthed something that looked like "What's this faggot doing?" It might have been "faggot," it might have been "fucker," but you get the idea. Anyway, the drunk calmed down, but The Rock couldn't leave without making a proper exit, so he climbed back into the ring to talk some more. "The Rock doesn't want your monkey ass in here singing with The Rock!" And then The Rock sang to us - Smackdown Hotel, of course. Hit that catchphrase one more time and we're out.
After the show, we made the loooong walk out of the Stampede grounds to a nearby Humpty's (why not?) for a quick snack before Dave and Kerry could call a cab. Meanwhile, I had a short walk back to my grandparents' place where I saw an ad for the Essential 90s CD collection, but that's another story.
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