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Watch out for the Backlash
By GRAHAM HICKS -- SLAM! Wrestling




When it comes to press conferences, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has no peer.

To announce a major wrestling show, Backlash at Rexall Place April 18, the WWE brought in star wrestler Booker T (he was on airplanes all day Monday to be here). Wrestling fans were invited to line up as early as 6 a.m. outside the AgriCom to take in the announcement, to chat with Booker T and get his autograph. They came in droves.

For those who drop into the wrestling world about as often as Hicks on Six, here's why Backlash is such a big deal.

The WWE is a travelling road show, with two rosters of wrestlers, Raw and Smackdown. The two shows are always on the road.

Raw and Smackdown each perform four times a week with one of them being televised.

Those are "regular" TV shows. But Backlash is one of 11 "semifinal" pay-per-view WWE shows. In pay-per-view events REALLY BIG things happen, like a change of champions.

The 12th month is the Super Bowl of the WWE, the once-a-year Wrestlemania, the biggest WWE show of all.

Backlash is the first pay-per-view to follow Wrestlemania. Wrestling fans expect a pile of interesting new storylines.

Of course it's scripted. Everybody knows. Nobody cares.

That's wrestling!

BENOIT COULD BE THE NEXT BIG WRESTLING THING

Sun wrestling writer Scott Zerr fills us in on what's been happening within the WWE since the last time the wrasslers were in town.

Our man Chris Benoit, the most famous Edmontonian in the world, is fully recovered from his neck injury.

"Chris is the No. 1 contender in Raw," reports Zerr. "At Wrestlemania he might wind up against Triple H and Shawn Michaels for the championship. If he wins, he'll defend that championship here."

And how about the famous WWE wrestlers that even non-wrestling fans know about? Stone Cold Steve Austin now acts as "the sheriff" of Raw, says Scott. His injuries are such that Austin can no longer seriously wrestle. The Rock is basically a full-time movie star. Hulk Hogan is still wrestling, but he's on the very fringes of the wrestling circuit, seriously past his time.

With Owen Hart and Davey Boy Smith both dead, and Bret Hart unlikely to return to wrestling because of a post-retirement stroke, the Harts of Calgary are no longer represented in wrestling's big leagues.

Two of the next generation, Davey Boy's son Harry Smith and Bret's nephew Teddy Hart are wrestling but are unlikely to crack the WWE.

Everything an outsider needs to know about the WWE.

GO BENOIT GO!!!

Hicks on Six can be reached by e-mail: graham.hicks@edm.sunpub.com.
Letters to the editor should be sent to mailbag@edm.sunpub.com.