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WWE figures it out
Latest Wrestlemania nixes the roman numerals
By TJ MADIGAN - Calgary Sun


WWE bosses can't seem to decide which format to use when assigning numbers to Wrestlemanias. Many of the events -- last year's Wrestlemania XX, for example -- followed the Super Bowl system of counting the years in roman numerals.

Several 'Manias were simply labelled with standard digits, as was the case with Wrestlemanias 2 and 13.

On a couple of occasions, WWE offered a compromise, merging the two styles to create more confusing names like Wrestlemania X-8.

It even dropped the number system completely at one point, ditching 'Mania 16 in favour of a futuristic-sounding Wrestlemania 2000.

Next year, however, it looks like we're back to regular arithmetic, as Wrestlemania 21 (not XXI or 2X-1) touches down in L.A. April 3.

And no matter which way the name is phrased, the WWE hype machine is shilling it as the biggest pay-per-view in the history of sports entertainment.

Actually, WWE shills every 'Mania as the biggest of all time but, with the grappling business stuck in a self-inflicted slump and the planned Triple H vs. Randy Orton match already wasted, the 2005 event may not even come close to the standards set by its predecessors.

Now, it may seem a little early to be going off on Wrestlemania tangents -- after all, the event is still more than six months away -- but the countdown officially begins this morning when tickets for the big show go on sale.

WWE pulled its usual pre-release stunt, sending out a password to its mailing-list subscribers yesterday morning. Hardcore fans (and probably a few scalpers) were able to buy up a hefty percentage of the seats before they go on sale to the general public today.

The few remaining tickets will likely be snapped up in minutes, creating the illusion of a fast sell-out and giving WWE the corresponding bragging rights.

A WWE press release pointed out seats will be even more scarce this year because the event will be held at the smallest venue to host a 'Mania in recent years. Staples Center, home of the Los Angeles Lakers, Kings and Clippers, is expected to be configured to hold about 17,000 fans, after set and production considerations.

The decision to move recent 'Manias from SkyDome-sized stadiums to Saddledome-sized arenas is less to do with the decline in business and more to do with the desire to hold the events at more atmospheric venues in major media epicentres such as New York and L.A.

If you happen to be lucky enough to snag the good seats, be prepared to hand over a sizable chunk of your refund from those Flames season tickets.

Floor seats for the show will set you back $750 US apiece, although you do get to take your chair home after the show. Other tickets ranging from $40 to $200 US.

Tickets go on sale at 11 a.m. but you can access the reserved seats before that time by using the password 'kayfabe' on Ticketmaster.

- - -

BIG BOSSMAN DIES: In sad news, Ray Traylor, best known to wrestling fans as the Big Bossman, is dead.

Traylor, 42, died of a heart attack at his home in Paulding County, Ga., Wednesday night.

His 18-year career included successful runs in the NWA and WCW and as a household name in the WWF.


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