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'Bizarro' reactions bemuse the WWE
By TJ MADIGAN - Calgary Sun


The WWE stars were back on the road in West Virginia last night, ending a week-long jaunt in Western Canada that included a live Monday Night Raw broadcast from the Saddledome.

As is often the case after Canadian events, a lot of the talk coming out of the tour revolved around the crowd reactions, which were anything but what the WWE writers expected.

Take the Calgary Raw show, for example.

When Victoria attacked a group of diva-search contestants during the bikini contest, her efforts to turn heel were greeted with rousing cheers.

Chris Jericho was one of the most popular wrestlers of the night, even though he ragged on Calgary during the commercial break to turn the crowd against him.

During Triple H's intense backstage promo, the production team had to mute the audience microphones to drown out the 'boring' chants. And during some of the slower matches, the entire arena joined in a hilarious chant of "Taber corn!"

As a way to explain the audiences' behaviour, WWE often refers to Canada as Bizarro World but the truth is the fans here are just tougher to manipulate.

In most markets, wrestling crowds go along with the storylines like lemmings. They cheer the good guys, boo the bad guys and make some noise when prompted.

Canadian fans, especially in cities with a rich wrestling heritage such as Calgary or Toronto, are more critical of the product, as Eric Bischoff recently explained to the Sun.

"The fans are a different breed," Bischoff said. "Because of the legacy (in Calgary), they are much more knowledgeable and, therefore, demanding. Everybody has to be at the top of their game because if they're not, the crowd will react accordingly."

And react accordingly, they did.

Victoria got cheered because she was an established and talented wrestler who beat up a bunch of generic Barbie dolls.

Chris Jericho couldn't get the crowd against him because he's one of the best in-ring workers in the business.

Triple H's interview got a 'boring' chant simply because it was excruciatingly dull.

And as for "Taber corn!" well, if you leave the crowd with nothing interesting to watch, they'll find ways to amuse themselves.

Favouring better wrestlers and refusing to watch rubbish isn't a case of an audience going against the grain.

It's common sense and something WWE would be well advised to remember next time it comes to town.