February 28, 2004
WrestleMania Rewind: Hogan left humbled
By LEE-ANN GOODMAN AND RASHIDA DHOOMA - Toronto Sun
WrestleMania VI fever almost blew the retractable lid off the SkyDome yesterday.
It was, without a doubt, the Ultimate WrestleMania matchup.
And it was likely the craziest afternoon the SkyDome - maybe even Toronto - has ever seen.
Some 67,678 delirious wrestlemaniacs shouted, screamed and cursed their brawny heroes through the familiar moves until the shocking finale - when the seemingly indestructible Hulk Hogan succumbed to the Ultimate Warrior in a sweaty, 23-minute battle.
Susan Phillips, 23, painted her face blue and green to match her favorite grappler - the Ultimate Warrior.
"He's absolutely gorgeous. I just had to be here to see him in person - I just love him,'' said the starstruck Cambridge woman.
Warrior, Hulk and the other musclebound wrestlers even outdrew the Rolling Stones.
In two concerts last December the Stones drew 59,000 and 54,000 people.
Crooner Robert Goulet kicked off the day's matchups with a rousing rendition of the national anthem.
Wrestlemaniacs came from far and wide for the canvas capers.
"We came all the way from Quebec for this,'' said Danny Lefebvre, 30, who brought his wife Johanne and four-year-old son Justin.
The SkyDome Hotel was booked solid, while the Hard Rock Cafe - at $80 a head - was filled to capacity.
Pre-fight predictions that the crowd could surpass 85,000 proved inflated. Outside the Dome, scalpers parted with top seats for less than regular price as fight-time approached.
While the action was hot in the ring, there were few problems in the stands.
Two men were arrested for causing a disturbance, and 15 scalpers were charged, police said.
"Apart from that everyone behaved themselves,'' Sgt. Tom Smith of 52 Division said.
Fears that the closed Gardiner Expressway would cause gridlock were eased when the eastbound lanes were opened in the morning.
But it was a different story when the fight ended around 8:30 p.m.
The Gardiner westbound remained closed and traffic was left in chaos. Lakeshore Blvd. was a mess for hours after the event.
And alternate streets - Front, King, Queen, Dundas and even Bloor - were packed with vehicles well into the night.
To help handle WrestleMania, the TTC added six trains to the normal Sunday compliment of 18.