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Saddledome may host the WWE draft
By TJ MADIGAN - Calgary Sun


It's always a big deal when Monday Night Raw rolls into town but the upcoming WWE TV taping in Calgary could wind up being one of the biggest wrestling shows of the year.

Based on some insider reports, the Saddledome is in line to host the 2005 draft lottery -- the annual event during which the Raw and Smackdown brands come together to trade (and sometimes steal) talent.

Although no firm date is set, the draft is scheduled to go down after the Judgment Day pay-per-view later this month, which means it will likely be held either on the May 23 edition of Raw in Wisconsin or the May 30 Raw show at the 'Dome.

Although WWE often leans towards American markets to host its bigger events, Calgary is a strong favourite.

Not only is the city known for having red-hot crowds but ticket sales are already way ahead of expectations, with three weeks still left until the show.

There are rumours the draft may be broken up over several weeks of TV tapings but based on WWE's touring schedule, it looks like Calgary's chances of being the sole host city are still strong.

Last week, company officials booked a non-televised Smackdown house show to run head to head with the Wisconsin Raw event May 23.

The odds of the draft taking place that night are now minimal, as John Cena, Kurt Angle and the rest of the Smackdown crew wouldn't be available to take part.

Meanwhile, although the Smackdown crew will be definitely in Alberta May 30, there has been no conflicting event scheduled against the Raw taping at the 'Dome.

HIGH TIMES: WWE announced the preliminary buy rates for Wrestlemania 21, with the four-hour mega-event blowing even the most optimistic expectations out of the water.

The estimated number of buys came in at 940,000 which, at $50 a pop, makes it one of the most profitable WWE pay-per-views in history and a pleasant fourth-quarter surprise for WWE stockholders.

The final tally, which won't be available for another few weeks, is expected to be even higher, possibly surpassing the one million plus buys for Wrestlemania 17.

The huge buy rate was unexpected since last year's 'Mania -- the 20th anniversary event with an infinitely better card and far more star power -- didn't even crack the 900,000 mark.

JURY OUT: With slightly more than a week to go until TNA's Hard Justice pay-per-view, the jury is out on whether Jeff Jarrett will finally drop the heavyweight title to A.J. Styles.

The title switch, which at one point was being pushed as a serious possibility, may no longer be in the plans in order to save the belt for Matt Hardy.

Hardy is expected to sign with TNA when his 90-day non-compete with WWE expires.

Other matches confirmed for Hard Justice include an X-Division championship match between Christopher Daniels and Shocker and an anything-goes weapons match involving Jeff Hardy and Raven.

Former UFC star Tito Ortiz will be the guest referee for the main event.

AT REST: Funeral services took place Tuesday for Chris Candido. The former WWE, ECW and TNA wrestling star passed away last week due to complications from his recent ankle surgery.

Candido was best known for his WWF run in the mid-'90s as part of the Body Donnas team with Tom Pritchard and his real-life girlfriend Tammy Sytch (Sunny).


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