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   Tue, May 31, 2005



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COMMENT





Catfights and chaos whip Calgary fans into a frenzy
By TJ MADIGAN - Calgary Sun




Wrestling fans usually take a few matches to really get into the action but the 11,000 fans at the Saddledome for Monday Night Raw last night were rabid right from the start.

The show, which was broadcast live to millions of homes in Canada, the U.S. and the United Kingdom, was WWE's first visit to Calgary in more than a year.

The action kicked off with a non-televised match between two local stars, Teddy Hart and Harry Smith.

WWE talent scouts kept a close eye on the contest, which was mostly wrestled on the mat with a few high spots thrown in for good measure.

Smith got the win after a power bomb.

Matches taped for Sunday Night Heat included Chris Jericho besting Simon Dean and Tyson Tomko taking down Wavell Starr -- but the real big crowd pop was saved for the Heat main event.

Maven came to the ring and issued an open challenge to any star on Raw -- and his call was answered by Calgary's Lance Storm.

Storm, who is coming out of retirement for a few matches only, showed no signs of ring rust, getting the win with a flying body press from the top rope.

The Monday Night Raw portion of the proceedings began with a divas swimsuit contest, which was designed primarily as a vehicle to turn Victoria heel.

Unfortunately, the Calgary crowd is tough to predict and when Victoria pummelled Christy Hemme, the arena erupted in cheers.

Stacey Kiebler was the star of the next bout, as she accompanied tag champs Hurricane and Rosey to the ring for a win over the Heart Throbs.

From there, Shelton Benjamin successfully defended the intercontinental title against La Resistance.

The match of the night was a tables bout between Chris Benoit and Edge.

Benoit -- who claims Edmonton as his home but spent much of his wrestling career in Calgary -- was a heavy crowd favourite.

After a series of intense near falls, Edge got the win after he power bombed Benoit through a table -- with a little help from some fellow bad guys.

The entire Raw event was heavy on backstage interviews, with a dull five-minute promo from Triple H and an only slightly more interesting backstage piece with Edge and Lita.

Things finally livened up when Christian made a surprise appearance. The Toronto native gave a fun speech about his impending move to Smackdown and was a big favourite with the crowd, even though he's supposed to be a heel.

The main event saw undefeated Muhammad Hassan challenge Batista in a brief brawl with an anti-climactic finale.

Batista, who received a white hat on a recent visit to Calgary, went nuts on Hassan to get disqualified, before bloodying him and Shawn Daivari in a vicious post-match brawl.

The show went off the air with Batista holding his title high, accepting Triple H's challenge to a Hell in a Cell match at Vengeance.

The announced main event, a Triple H and Ric Flair vs. Batista handicap match, didn't happen, with no explanation why. The match was supposed to take place after the TV cameras stopped rolling, as a treat for fans at the 'Dome.

As a whole, the show was better than last week's lacklustre Raw show.


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