July 17, 2004
WWE stars travel Canada to meet fans
By TJ MADIGAN - Calgary Sun

Summerslam may be coming to Toronto but the team at WWE's Canadian office is making sure the rest of Canada will get to share in the festivities. In the lead-up to the big event, which takes place Aug. 15 at the Air Canada Centre, WWE is sending its 'superstars' across the Great White North on a meet-and-greet tour like nothing we've seen before.

Randy Orton will be shaking hands and kissing babies in Vancouver, Christian will take on autograph-signing duty in Edmonton, Ric Flair will be shilling his autobiography out east and the rest of the Raw and Smackdown crew will be taking over Ontario Place for a special WWE day at the theme park.

In Calgary, WWE diva Gail Kim will stop by Toys R Us, 2929 32 Ave. N.E., Aug. 1 at 4 p.m. The former women's champ will be available to meet fans, sign autographs and be gawked at by male passers-by.

Of course, it's all to build awareness for Summerslam, which will be the biggest WWE event in Canada since Wrestlemania X-8 at SkyDome in 2002.

Tickets for the show sold out in hours but you can still catch the action on pay-per-view or on the big screen at Cineplex Odeon and Famous Players theatres, not to mention at Bottoms Up Sports Pub on 1 Ave. S.W.

Summerslam will be a dual-brand Raw and Smackdown event, headlined by Triple H challenging Chris Benoit for the world heavyweight championship in some kind of gimmick match.

This is the bout in which Triple H is expected to take back the title, leading to a long-term storyline surrounding the breakup of Evolution and setting up a Wrestlemania XXI main event against Orton.

On the Smackdown side of Summerslam, the Thursday-night brand will probably headline with the return of Kurt Angle, most likely against Eddie Guerrero or John Cena.

Doctors cleared Angle to return to the ring last week, after several months on the shelf because of yet another injury to his surgically repaired neck.

Shawn Michaels will also make a comeback Aug. 15 in Toronto, returning to action for retribution against Kane.

The Big Red Machine was responsible for the on-screen 'injury' which was used to write Michaels out of WWE storylines when his wife was due to give birth.

- - -

ULTIMO RETURN: Ultimo Dragon will be returning to WWE later this year, though he will be wrestling without a mask and working under the name Asai.

Dragon requested a leave of absence from his WWE duties to return to Japan to work with Toryumon, the wrestling promotion he founded that focuses on a more spectacular high-flying style.

Many expected Dragon to stay in Japan since WWE was booking him as a mid-card jobber and generally burying his matches on Velocity instead of featuring them on Smackdown.

Dragon had privately said he had two goals in North America -- to work for WWE and to wrestle at Madison Square Garden.

He achieved both those goals on his initial run, being signed to the Smackdown brand and taking part in the cruiserweight open at Wrestlemania XX in MSG.

Earlier this month, Dragon announced he was dropping his role in Toryumon, presumably to give his full attention to his WWE return.

The Toryumon promotion will continue to exist in Japan under a different name.

Dragon is expected to debut as the Asai character around Survivor Series in November.


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