Source: London Free Press
Thousands of fans sprang to their feet when Canadian Chris Benoit won.
Death-defying drop kicks and back-breaking body blows brought wrestling fans to their feet last night as World Wrestling Entertainment lit up the ring at the JLC.
Thousands of die-hard fans — many decked out in WWE gear and toting championship belts — flocked to the John Labatt Centre for the double bill of WWE Smackdown and Extreme Champion Wrestling.
The event, expected to reach a broadcast audience of more than two million when it airs later this week, was electric.
“It’s bananas. It’s pure mayhem,” said Londoner Steve Boyle, a former wrest-ling club owner who came dressed as his own wrestling alter ego, Mel Function.
“Tonight’s all about plot twists and drama and a lot of things changing,” he said.
The “soap opera for males,” as Boyle described it, was set against a backdrop of thunderous heavy metal music and a deafening pyrotechnics show.
Fans went wild as blasts of fireworks shot off to mark the start of the show, a much-anticipated tag team showdown featuring Canadian wrestling star Chris Benoit.
Canadian flags were raised around the arena, and dozens of pumped-up fans threw up homemade signs urging the 40-year-old Edmonton native on.
Benoit, who recently lost the United States championship to Montel Vontavious Porter, alias MVP, took on his rival again last night with help from partner Matt Hardy.
“You suck, you suck,” fans roared when the cocky MVP pinned Benoit to the mat.
“Hardy, Hardy,” they screamed when the long-haired fan favourite took a whipping from the Miz.
The wild crowd sprung to their feet in a frenzy when Benoit used his signature move, the brutal crossface crippler, to clinch a win in the night’s first match.
“Wrestling is just awesome,” said Deanna Leduc, a 12-year-old hard-core fan who travelled from Hamilton with her dad to see the show.
“These guys kick ass.”
The sport — often dismissed as being fake by critics — is really misunderstood, said fan Jason Watts, 21, of London.
“It’s such a cool sport,” said Watts as he waited outside the arena, hoping to get a glimpse of one of the night’s stars.