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WWF House Show


Guest columnist: James Kalyn


The Saddledome
Calgary, AB

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:

  • Chris Jericho & Rock vs. HHH & Chris Benoit
  • Big Show vs. Kurt Angle
  • Eddie Guerrero vs. Rikishi
  • Kane vs. Bull Buchanan
  • X-Pac & Road Dogg vs. Hardy Boyz
  • Godfather vs. Mideon
  • T&A vs. Headbangers
  • Edge & Christian vs. Too Cool vs. Dudleys vs. Acolytes
  • Hardcore Holly vs. Crash Holly
  • Essa Rios vs. Dean Malenko

    A few weeks later, they announced the following card:

  • Rock, Rikishi & Big Show vs. HHH, Road Dogg & X-Pac
  • Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit
  • Kane vs. Bull Buchanan
  • Edge & Christian vs. Hardy Boyz vs. Dudleys
  • Too Cool vs. Al Snow & Steve Blackman
  • British Bulldog vs. Kurt Angle
  • Eddie Guerrero vs. Val Venis
  • Dean Malenko vs. Crash Holly
  • Godfather vs. Perry Saturn
  • T&A vs. Acolytes

    The next week, there were more changes:

  • Rock & Dudley Boys vs. HHH, Road Dogg & X-Pac
  • Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit
  • Kurt Angle vs. Rikishi
  • Edge & Christian vs. Hardy Boyz
  • Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko
  • Too Cool vs. T&A
  • British Bulldog vs. Steve Blackman
  • Acolytes vs. Big Bossman & Bull Buchanan
  • Crash Holly vs. Perry Saturn
  • Godfather vs. Al Snow

    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)
    The abscence of Faarooq clues us in to our first no-show of the night. Right away, the benefits of ringside seats are apparent as Bradshaw and Buchanan nearly tumble into our laps. This match would probably not have been that good to watch at home, but when there's 11,000 people screaming "Bossman sucks" all around you, it's pretty cool. A pretty standard brawl ended when Bradshaw clipped Buchanan with the Clothesline From Hell, but Bossman jumped into the ring and smacked Bradshaw with the ightstick.
    WINNER: Bradshaw (DQ, Bossman interference)

    MATCH 2: Dean Malenko (c) v. Crash Holly (Light Heavyweight Title Match)
    I had been really hoping to see Dean against Eddie, ever since I found an old match of theirs on tape a few weeks ago (the match was a WCW Worldwide main event). Still, this promised to be pretty damn fine, and it was. Dean's not exactly popular - I heard a lot of people yelling for him to go back to WCW. This made Crash the babyface by default - unfortunately, everyone chanted "Elroy" for him, which is what they're supposed to chant when he's a heel... so confusing. Lots of nice wrestling from these two. Dean methodically worked over Holly's legs leading to the inevitable finish.
    WINNER: Dean Malenko (submission, Texas Cloverleaf, Malenko retains title)

    MATCH 3: Edge & Christian (c) v. T&A (w/Trish Stratus) v. 2 Cool (Tag Title Elimination match)
    Yep, this match meant that the Hardy Boyz were no-shows, dammit. Edge & Christian got massive face pops until Christian thanked all his wonderful fans in Edmonton. That drew some heel heat but then the crowd chanted along with Edge's line about "those of you with the benefit of flash photography." No special pose, though, just the normal one. Trish got face heat as well, until she talked about being from "Toronto, the centre of the universe." It's a Canadian thing. When she asked us if we wanted to see T&A, Edge turned to the crowd, nodded his approval, and made the universal sign language motion for "those are some big boobs she has." I laughed.

    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 champions retain.
    WINNERS: Edge & Christian (Test pins Sexay, beltshot from Christian; Edge pins Albert, spear, Edge & Christian retain titles)

    MATCH 4: British Bulldog v. Steve Blackman
    As the only Steve Blackman fan in attendance, I felt the need to be as vocal as I could. The Bulldog looked to have a decent build, but really - his best days are far behind him and he should really step down. The match was pretty poor and I don't think it was Blackman's fault. The highlight of the match for me was Blackman slapping a Sharpshooter on Davey Boy, and I screamed at the ref to ring the bell. At one point, Bulldog went for his trademark delayed vertical suplex (nearly pulling Blackman's pants off in the process) but Bulldog didn't fall back, he dropped Blackman forward. A few seconds later, and Bulldog caught Blackman with the powerslam for the win. I don't know what the problem was with the suplex spot, but it really looked blown. It was almost as if Davey couldn't fall on his back to complete the move.
    WINNER: British Bulldog (pin, powerslam)

    MATCH 5: Rikishi Phatu v. Kurt Angle
    Our Olympic Hero enters first to major heat, declaring that Calgarians don't have much to live for (it's true, it's true). He then solves all our ills by naming himself our honorary hometown hero. Rikishi comes out next, and walks around the whole ring slapping hands with everyone (including me). The crowd was way into this match, which was almost completely dominated by Rikishi. Of course, Angle took a Stinkface. Edge & Christian tried to do a "run in" (as they say) but wound up being dumped from the ring by 2 Cool, which left the two guys who were actually wrestling alone in the ring. WINNER: Rikishi Phatu (pin, Rikishi Driver)

    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)
    Not much to be said about this one, except the referee looked like The Urban Peasant. The match itself was blah, with a bit of Buchanan interference and a relatively quick ending. It was damn cool to see Kane, though. WINNER: Kane (pin, chokeslam)

    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)
    Great match from these two. Lotsa big suplexes from Saturn and some aerial moves from Eddie. At one point, Eddie got knocked to the floor so Chyna was checking on him. Saturn hit a bsaeball slide into Chyna and that drew some real heel heat. Saturn then tried to superplex Guerrero, so of course, Chyna punched Saturn in the balls and everyone loved it. With Saturn on the ground and Eddie still on the top rope, the end was near.
    WINNER: Eddie Guerrero (pin, top rope hurricarana, Guerrero retains title)

    MATCH 8: Chris Benoit (c) v. Chris Jericho (Intercontinental Title Match)
    The pop for Jericho's entrance shook the building. He lived in Calgary for 8 years, therefore Calgary... Is... JERICHO! The Robotic Crappler was not nearly as pleased to be in Calgary - after all, he makes his home in the City Of Champions (Edmonton - of course). It's an intra-Alberta rivalry! This was the great match that we were expecting, with the springboard dropkick, the springboard moonsault, and Jericho's new Tarantuliontamer. In the end, though, Jericho snatched defeat from the jaws of victory when he went for an inside cradle too close to the ropes - Benoyt grabbed the ropes and reversed the small package for 3. WINNER: Chris Benoit (pin, small package, Benoit retains title)

    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)
    Non-stop action in this one, with almost all the required moves. X-Pac hit his Bronco Buster on D-Von, but later on fell victim to D-Von's flying headbutt, as did the Road Dogg. Road Dogg did manage to hit his Shake Rattle N Roll punches and kneedrop on Buh Buh, though. D-Von played Face In Peril for a while, but the requisite hot tags followed. That is, when Buh Buh wasn't busy chasing Tori around the ring. Of course, it turned into a major brawl at the end, but worked out nicely. Road Dogg got sent to the floor, and that left The Gameuh and The Rockuh alone in the ring, if not for longuh.
    WINNERS: The Rock & The Dudley Boyz (Rock pins Triple H, Rock Bottom)

    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.

    James Kalyn

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