June 1, 2004
Toronto now official SummerSlam host
By GREG OLIVER -- SLAM! Wrestling
TORONTO - It's now completely official: SummerSlam will be in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre on Sunday, August 15th.
Rumoured for months, and common knowledge to fans since the end of April, the WWE refused to let the proverbial cat out of the bag until its noon press conference today.
The event, held in the cramped atrium between the Air Canada Centre and Union Station, featured numerous WWE personalities from both brands, including world champs Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit, Triple H, Kurt Angle, John Cena, Trish Stratus, Rey Mysterio, Torrie Wilson, Edge and Chris Jericho.
Jim Ross hosted the gathering, allowing each of the WWE superstars a few minutes to get their characters over a little more to the loyal audience of about 1,000.
Needless to say, in just two minutes or so, none of the wrestlers had much to say beyond some cliches.
"Chris Benoit is for real," swore Chris Benoit, of all people.
Various chants started up at different times, including the way overused "You screwed Bret" for Vince McMahon, who was the last to speak.
Calling Toronto a "world class city" with a "world class facility" and "world class fans", McMahon got a mixed reaction from the crowd. "August 15th at SummerSlam, let's go have some fun," he concluded to a round of cheers.
The penultimate speaker was WWE Canada President Carl DeMarco, whom J.R. dubbed "the world's largest executive." Predictably, DeMarco ran down the list of WWE Canada sponsors (which differ from its U.S. sponsors) and promised that "we're going to be a great host."
After a few questions from the media in attendance ("Canadian sound systems don't work very well," quipped Triple H at one point), some of the WWE stars signed autographs for ticketholders for tonight's Smackdown! taping at the ACC.
Greg Oliver founded SLAM! Wrestling with John Powell way back in 1996, and has been writing about pro wrestling since 1985. He is the author of the recently published book The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Canadians from ECW Press. Order it from the SLAM! Wrestling Store. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.