May 12, 2007
Hamilton hot for WWE house show
By BOB KAPUR - SLAM! Wrestling

Eugene, wearing a Hamilton Bulldogs hockey jersey, ties up Johnny Nitro at the WWE house show Friday, May 11, 2007 in Hamilton, Ontario.
Photo by Mike Mastrandrea

HAMILTON, ON -- It has been nearly ten years since the Copps Coliseum in Hamilton hosted a WWE pay-per-view (Breakdown in 1998). But listening to the audience in attendance on Friday night for a RAW-brand house show, one might easily have thought WrestleMania was in town.

From the opening bell to the main event, the raucous Steeltown crowd rocked the building, cheering and jeering the heroes and villains with an enthusiasm that's rarely seen anymore on TV with the exception of at the company's biggest pay-per-view events.

WWE Champ John Cena received the loudest reaction of the night when he came out to defend his title against Randy Orton in the main event. The two had a solid, back and forth battle that saw both men bring out the heavy artillery in the form of fists and high-impact smashes and slams. Late in the match, Orton got the advantage with some dirty tactics, throwing Cena hard against the ringside steps, then rolling him back into the ring where he was prone for the Orton Stomp. The champ fought back, feeding off the crowd's energy and escaping a sleeper hold. Fired up, Cena dropped Orton with some hard punches, and then nailed him with the Five-Knuckle Shuffle. Cena locked in the STFU, but released it when the Great Khali came to ringside holding the title belt that he had stolen from Cena this past Monday night. Orton tried to take advantage of Cena's distraction, but Cena countered a clothesline attempt, picked up Orton and dropped him with an FU for the pinfall. After the match, Cena vowed to get his belt back from Khali at Judgment Day, the company's May 19th PPV.

While Cena was arguably the most popular wrestler on the show, truly the audience has to be credited for their performance as well. Unlike a lot of local crowds (I'm looking at you, Toronto), the Hamiltonians followed the script to the letter, cheering the good guys and booing the bad guys -- no "Bizarro world" here. They were vocal, enthusiastic, and loud. The type of crowd that deserves to have another pay-per-view at some point in the future. Hopefully the WWE will take notice and make it happen.

Other Results:

  • Cryme Tyme beat the Worlds Greatest Tag Team.
  • Chuck Polumbo pinned Kenny Dykstra after hitting him with a running kick to the head.
  • Dan Rodman was disqualified when he refused to break a choke on Val Venis. After the match, the two brawled in the entrance aisle.
  • Melina used the ropes to hold Mickie James down for the three-count, thereby retaining her Women's Championship.
  • Johnny Nitro nailed Eugene with a a hangman's neckbreaker to get the pinfall after a fun match loaded with humourous Eugene antics.
  • The Hardys, who may have rivaled Cena in terms of popularity, beat Cade and Murdoch to retain their Tag Team Championship.
  • Santino Morella avoided the Masterlock and managed to roll up Chris Masters for the three-count in an Intercontinental title defense.


RELATED LINKS
  • Photo gallery from WWE in Hamilton

    Bob Kapur has only seen wrestling in Hamilton twice before this house show. Once was at Breakdown, and the other was a TV taping back in 1992 where the Berzerker tried to stab the Undertaker with a sword. If you were there too, he wants to hear from you at bobkapur@hotmail.com.



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