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Triple threat smacks down
By TJ MADIGAN - Calgary Sun


Wrestling addicts in Calgary can look forward to a loaded itinerary this weekend, as World Wrestling Entertainment rolls into Alberta. The grappling grassroots tour kicks off at noon today, with Raw superstar Shelton Benjamin signing autographs at the EB Games store in Chinook Centre.

Tonight, if you're willing to make a road trip to Oilers country, the Smackdown crew will be running a house show in Edmonton (7:30 p.m. at the Shaw Conference Centre).

Then, tomorrow afternoon, the WWE gang arrives in Calgary for a matinee Smackdown Live event at the Stampede Corral.

A revised card for the Calgary show was announced Thursday, with new matches such as Billy Kidman and Paul London vs. the Basham Brothers, Rob Van Dam vs. Luther Reigns, Rey Mysterio vs. Spike Dudley and a tag-title match between the FBI and the new champs, Rene Dupree and Kenzo Suzuki.

Due to an injury incurred at the Smackdown tapings Tuesday night, there were fears Eddie Guerrero would be pulled from the show but WWE officials have confirmed Guerrero picked up his plane ticket and will be appearing in Calgary, as scheduled.

Guerrero will wrestle in a triple-threat main event for the WWE championship, against John (Bradshaw) Layfield. The third competitor will be Kurt Angle, who is excited at the idea of wrestling in the Stampede city.

"When I come up there, I'll be putting on quite a show," Angle told the Sun earlier this week. "Hopefully, we'll give Calgary one of the best triple threats in the history of the sport.

"We love Canadian crowds and we have always sold well up there, even when business wasn't as good as in the U.S. It will be a tremendous show, paying tribute to Canada."

Other wrestlers tapped to perform at the Corral tomorrow include Charlie Haas, Orlando Jordan, Miss Jackie and Jamie Noble.

Although WWE's website is advertising a John Cena appearance -- and Cena is technically available, since his Australian movie shoot won't happen until later this month -- he's not expected to be part of the action.

Tickets for tomorrow's house show are still available through Ticketmaster or at the venue, with a bell time of 1:30 p.m.

And if you're not wiped out after all that grapping, then Unforgiven goes out live on pay-per-view tomorrow night.

Headlined by Randy Orton vs. Triple H for the world heavyweight championship, the show will be the first pay-per-view to ever emanate from Portland, so expect a red-hot crowd at the Rose Garden.

Here in the city, fans can gather to watch Unforgiven at Famous Players theatres, Cineplex Odeon Sunridge Spectrum and Bottoms Up Sports Pub on 17th Ave S.W.

- - -

NEXT BIG THING: On the Raw brand, Randy Orton is being positioned as wrestling's new 'next big thing.'

On Smackdown, the Big Show is back after a summer hiatus.

Both noteworthy news items, for sure but the biggest changes taking place at WWE aren't part of any storyline or marketing campaign.

Behind the scenes, a major reshuffling of the deck has resulted in a return to power for wrestling's resident creative genius.

Paul Heyman is back on the WWE writing team.

The driving force behind ECW and wrestling's hardcore revolution, Heyman is widely regarded as one of the sharpest minds in all of professional wrestling.

When he was at the helm of the Smackdown brand in 2003, the Thursday night franchise was at its absolute best, churning out solid, sensible and consistently entertaining shows.


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