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Rolling out celebrity welcome mat
By TJ MADIGAN - Calgary Sun


Wrestling with celebrities.

No, it's not the latest tacky reality TV gimmick from ABC or Fox -- although it's probably not too far off -- but simply WWE's most recent attempt to regain some mainstream media attention.

Taking advantage of the local celebs who mug for the cameras at any public gathering in Hollywood, WWE set up some celebrity storylines at the Raw and Smackdown TV tapings in L.A. last Sunday night.

Hyping him as an A-lister was certainly a stretch of creative licence but WWE definitely got its money's worth from Kevin Federline -- that's Mr. Britney Spears, for those of you who read S.I. on the can instead of Us Weekly.

Federline came to the ring as a 'close, personal friend' of Johnny Nitro and Melina -- cleverly working into Nitro's claims of hanging out with Hollywood hot shots.

Federline proved to be a good sport, not only playing along as a smarmy heel (not that it was particularly difficult to turn the crowd against him) but also taking a facebuster from John Cena in the middle of the ring.

K-Fed getting the snot kicked out of him on national TV proved to be an appealing idea for the mainstream press and Raw got far more media hype than any WWE TV show in years.

And since the episode was pre-taped instead of Raw's usual live format, the company had plenty of time to get the publicity machine in gear, broadcasting an advance satellite feed of the Cena-Federline fight to news agencies.

But while Federline's involvement was a fun distraction, the decision to bring in Jackass cast members Steve-O and Chris Pontius was ultimately less successful.

The Jackass guys were supposed to be decimated by Umaga after hopping the railing and challenging the giant Samoan to a fight. But Steve-O didn't sell Umanga's offence, laughing hysterically at every kick, punch and slam he was subjected to.

He later claimed to have blacked out and apparently does not remember a thing after the first slam.

Backstreet Boy Nick Carter and his brother Aaron also appeared at the show, acting as guest judges for a diva bikini contest on Smackdown.

B-ROLL: Calgary moviegoers may have noticed some familiar scenery in WWE's latest big budget action movie, The Marine.

The movie -- an '80s-style popcorn flick starring WWE champ John Cena -- was filmed entirely on location along Australia's Gold Coast, substituting for the swamps of South Carolina.

But twelve minutes into the first act, a panning overhead shot of a city skyline clearly shows the Calgary Tower, Bankers Hall and a number of other prominent Calgary landmarks.

WWE Films confirmed it used stock footage for some of the aerial downtown shots but until being contacted by the Calgary Sun, the producers had no idea they were cutting to scenes of the Stampede City.

FREE AGENT: One of the WWE's sexiest divas is apparently on the market again.

Former Playboy cover girl Torrie Wilson announced last week on her MySpace blog she was divorcing husband Billy Kidman.

The online post, however, was removed within days and she has not commented.


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