June 1, 2005
Wrestling: The real thing
By SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

Hardcore Holly has Joey Mercury on the ropes during last night?s Smackdown! wrestling extravaganza at Rexall Place in Edmonton. (SUN Photo)

This is really reality TV.

Why bother watching couples yelling at each while trekking across the globe or losers trying to down cow intestines? Who cares if Rob and Amber are truly happy? Bachelors and bachelorettes? Big deal.

The best of reality TV is wrestling, which is why more than 7,000 fans turned out to see the World Wrestling Entertainment's Smackdown! taping at Rexall Place last night. Good guys (babyfaces) battling bad guys (heels) is the simplest form of reality out there and that's what the WWE brings every trip through Edmonton, be it for Smackdown!, Raw or last year's pay-per-view spectacle, Backlash.

This show had it all.

The biggest jeers of the night went to Carlito, who dissed the City of Champions.

"Edmonton is the least cool city in North America."


John Cena, the WWE champion, restored Edmonton's good wrestling name, when he pinned Carlito, in the evening's main event.

A white rapper and budding movie star (John Cena) who just happens to be built like a truck. A husband and wife (in real life, Booker T and Sharmell) trying to thwart off the unwanted and disturbing advances of a real Olympic gold medallist (Kurt Angle). There's a seven-foot giant with hands the size of frying pans (The Big Show), buxom blond babes (Torrie Wilson and Miss Jackie) and feuding former pals (Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero). There's everything that anyone would want out of a show that has such a loyal following.

All that's missing is a walking dead man (The Undertaker). Ah, but he's busy tending to his wife and birth of their child.

The devoted fans were there at the building early in the day, hovered over the driveway that brought limo load after limo load of talented, muscular phenoms into the arena.

They laid out their hard-earned dough for T-shirts emblazoned with their favourite star's face or trademark catchphrase and brought their own signs to the showcase, hoping to see themselves on TV tomorrow night when the show airs (5 p.m., the Score, Cable 80).

They went wild when the pyro lit up the building to mark the start of the show.

They chanted, booed and cheered.

THEY BOUGHT INTO THE WWE REALITY.


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