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   Mon, May 30, 2005



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WWE invades Grande Prairie for first time


WWE Champ John Cena drops Kurt Angle to the mat during the cage match. Cena was successful in retaining his belt. - photo by Randy Vanderveen

Seeing the stars of WWE on the tube just isn't the same as when you can see them up close and personal.

And when you do see a guy like Big Show up close and personal, it can be an awesome spectacle, said WWE fan Aaron Barkemeyer.

"It was great. He's the biggest man I've ever seen," said Barkemeyer, shortly after he and his nephew Kaden got their picture taken outside the Crystal Centre with the WWE star. "He is a scary man."

Sunday night brought a new spectacle to Grande Prairie with the wrestlers of the WWE making their first ever stop to this city, drawing a crowd from all over to watch.

Mike Sandoval drove in from Fort St. John just so Cara Hildebrand could get to see her favourite stars.

"She's used to watching this on TV every day, so this is something big for her," said Sandoval.

Having these wrestlers in town is an incredible experience, said Malcolm Warren, who's been a fan for some 26 years and was waiting outside the Crystal Centre with plenty of others hoping to meet some of the stars.

"It's a big deal, a really big deal. I mean, Grande Prairie's on the map finally. Something like this coming here just means it's going to get bigger for Grande Prairie."

Terrance Chambers has also been a fan since he was a little kid, and now he's bringing his son, Tommy, out to see what it's all about.

"I was in Edmonton for the Backlash pay-per-view, so I'm excited it's coming to town finally," he said.

"It's a lot different than watching it on TV, you get to see these guys up close and personal. It's pretty special, I guess."

With Big Show talking to fans just metres away, Chambers wasn't afraid to admit he prefers some other wrestlers.

"I'm a Rock or a Hulk Hogan fan, the old school guys. This guy's pretty good, too."

375 x 341


Orlando Jordan puts the boots to Scotty 2 Hotty during the United States championship title match. - photo by Randy Vanderveen
Big Show's pretty good, but Warren still wouldn't mind taking him on in the ring.

"I want to challenge Big Show, see how hard he can choke slam me in the ring," he said.

"I want to be part of it. I think these guys are going to let me in and be part of the show. I think I got the looks for it. I got lots of tattoos."

Nothing else can quite beat watching live wrestling and getting to meet the stars outside the arena, said Barkemeyer.

"Really looking forward to it. It's going to be a heck of a time."

Kaden, who has wrestling toys at home and donned a wrestling mask for the night, was busy showing off his muscles and giving his uncle a headlock.

"I thought I'd bring him out and get him out to a good event," said Barkemeyer.

"Are you looking forward to the cage match - or the women's match?" he asked his nephew.

With a few moment's of thought, Kaden responded, "The cage match!"


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