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DeMarco admits Vince behind Cdn changes
WWE returns to 'Peg for show
By KEVIN ENGSTROM - Winnipeg Sun


It's official -- World Wrestling Entertainment stars will lay the Smackdown on Winnipeg this summer. WWE Canada President Carl DeMarco revealed the poorly kept secret, which had been publicized extensively for the past three weeks, at a press conference at the Winnipeg Arena. WWE Smackdown, which is televised in 120 countries and in 13 languages, will be taped at the arena on July 6.

More than 400 fans showed up at the arena for the press conference, with at least 100 being turned away at the door. Most came to see WWE superstars John Cena and Torrie Wilson.

Friends Ryan Schultz and Glen Zelinsky said they'll be among the thousands of people expected to be in attendance at the show.

"We've both been watching since we were five years old," said Zelinsky, 24.

"It's like an addiction, you just can't stop watching -- you always want to see what's going to happen next."

It's the first time the WWE will hold television tapings in Winnipeg since October 1995. The show should have a positive economic impact on the city's hospitality industry, said Deputy Mayor Dan Vandal.

Four hundred hotel rooms have been booked by WWE, and the city will collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales tax from hosting Smackdown, he said.

CHANGE HOMETOWNS

Meanwhile, DeMarco confirmed Vince McMahon was behind a decision to change the announced hometown of various Canadian fan favourites -- including Winnipeg's own Chris Jericho -- to locations south of the border.

"It came from Vince himself," said DeMarco. "What Vince is trying to do is he's trying to portray reality as to where the WWE superstars are now residing from."

However, Jericho doesn't live in Manhasset, N.Y. -- where WWE ring announcers now bill him as being from. Although Jericho was born there, he was raised in St. James and now lives in Tampa.

He told The Sun earlier this week he still considers Winnipeg his hometown.

DeMarco fended off suggestions Canadian fans should be offended by the move.

"I don't think anyone is trying to take away the history, the heritage and the roots that our Canadian wrestlers have," said DeMarco.

"I don't think Canadian fans should be offended -- they should be very proud."