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   Mon, August 16, 2004



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16,000 WWE fans get thrills, chills at ACC
By HIMANI EDIRIWEERA -- Toronto Sun


Orton on the cover of the Toronto Sun.


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  • Adding fuel to the fire by calling Canadian fans "ass-backward," modern-day gladiator Randy Orton took the title from Edmonton's Chris Benoit at the WWE SummerSlam.

    More than 16,000 wrestling fans packed the ACC last night to catch Toronto's first SummerSlam, featuring the top stars of World Wrestling Entertainment. At stake in the dramatic sweat-fest was the heavyweight title, held by Benoit.

    Leading up the main event, Orton -- a bad boy from south of the 49th parallel -- egged on fans by swearing he would leave the ACC as the world's youngest champ.

    After many body slams in the half-hour drama that ended the performance, Orton exultantly claimed the highly coveted belt.

    "I think it was expected, but it is still a shock," said Dianna Mazzone, 24, adding it makes no difference if a home-grown holds the title.

    "I do feel disappointed," said Shawn Rego, 19. "But Orton is now the youngest ever to win the title so it's great being part of this historical moment."

    Rego, who travelled from Cambridge with his father and brother, said the events are like a drug.

    "I think wrestling is like a male soap opera. If you watch it once, you're hooked," he said.

    Fans, many whom paid several hundred dollars to view the show and even came from afar, said it was worth the price and effort to see the event live.

    "You get to yell louder and it's the atmosphere," said Lana Gui, 52, who travelled from Ottawa. "It's one of the best comedies. It's like a circus seeing them live."

    But this circus had scantily clad women and musclemen staging an ongoing drama in its ring for fans.

    Only in the WWE would JBL, who held onto his world title, be thrown through his limo roof by the Undertaker and carried out all bloody on a stretcher. And only in the WWE would such chivalry exist with Diva Lita promising to marry Kane after he beat Matt Hardy in one of the earlier rounds.

    One of the highlights, the triple threat match -- with Winnipeg's Chris Jericho (also known as Y2J), Toronto's Edge and Batista -- brought fans to their feet.

    Support for the Edge was weak as fans chanted, "Jericho, Jericho," but the Toronto wrestler overcame fan opposition to take the round.


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  • Pre-order the WWE SummerSlam 2004 DVD now!