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READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

WWF Canada not worried about WCW


By GREG OLIVER -- SLAM! Sports
 It was a daunting challenge, but SLAM! Wrestling was up for it.

Somehow, get WWF Canada president Carl De Marco to talk about something other than the WWF RAW Is WAR coming to Toronto's SkyDome on February 8th.

De Marco was at TSN on Friday, taping an edition of Off The Record with WWF superstar Sable and The LAW's Jeff Marek.

First up, is the WWF's Canadian arm worried about WCW finally coming to Canada in late March, with shows in Toronto and Kitchener?

"I wish them the best of luck," said De Marco. "I think competition is going to benefit the fans ... if fans go see it, they're going to realize how great of a job the WWF does with the live events.

"The fact of the matter is that WWF is clearly number one in Canada. Our fans are so loyal to us. We really appreciate them. ... I'm not worried whatsoever."

WWF RAW clobbers Monday Night Nitro in the ratings on TSN, and is one of the highest-rated shows on TSN, but it is hardly a level playing field. RAW is aired live, or later on Monday night, while Nitro airs two days later on Wednesday.

Simply put, WCW has very little presence in Canada.

"In Canada, it's like comparing NHL hockey, which is WWF, to pee-wee hockey, which is WCW," said De Marco.

The plan for WCW shows on NBC, which unlike Nitro, will actually be seen live in Canada, does not worry De Marco either.

"Honestly, I think they should worry about concentrating on their current shows right now," he said. "They're not beating us in ratings in the U.S. and I think they should get that taken care of first."

His shot at the sinking WCW ratings done, De Marco did admit that any exposure for pro wrestling on network television is good for the whole industry, and that everyone from the big leagues to the independents benefits.

On the domestic front, De Marco answered to the diminishing number of WWF Canadian shows. The most recent example is that the traditional Toronto - Montreal swing for the company has bitten the dust, and the WWF won't be back in Montreal likely until May, six months after their last show there.

"We're going to go there [Montreal]," said De Marco. "The thing is we're re-evaluating how many cities we do. There's only so many dates a year. The big part of it is just the way the touring schedule is done. We have to watch our costs, so we don't fly too far out of way to do a certain city."

And finally, back to RAW for Toronto.

"It's going to be huge," he said. Without any matches being announced, over 25,000 tickets to SkyDome have been sold. It will certainly be one of the biggest RAW gates ever, but the question has to be asked -- if it doesn't air live on the USA Network (because of the annual Westminster Dog Show), does it ever matter.

De Marco scoffed at that suggestion, and insisted that, even though nothing has been announced yet, there are plans for a mid-week WWF special on USA Network to replace RAW.