Raw's a draw for 10,000 maniacs
By KIM BRADLEY -- Edmonton Sun
Not even a nine-and-a-half-hour drive could keep the Rupchan family from the gaudy guts and glory of the World Wrestling Federation.
Robert, Audrey and their very excited son Ryan, 11, made the 800-km trip west to Edmonton from Hudson Bay, Sask., for last night's instalment of "Raw is War," televised live across North America.
"They don't come live to Hudson Bay," said Ryan, waiting anxiously to get into the Coliseum, host to this week's matchups.
"It's interesting because they have all these cool superstars. It's fun and it's the best."
At least 10,000 people ripped the roof off the rink as announcer - the mouthpiece, in ring parlance - Jerry (the King) Lawler slammed Canada and the Maple Leaf as he made his way to ringside.
Audrey Rupchan, however, was not as enthused about watching a bunch of grown men in makeup and tights toss each other around a ring.
"I'm just here because I'm the mother," she said rolling her eyes. "I would prefer to be doing other things. I was going to go shopping but they wouldn't let me."
Gina Lehmann, 18, who was selling $25 wrestling T-shirts among other paraphernalia such as posters of half-naked women, couldn't see the attraction either.
"I think it's a joke. It's all acting ... It's mostly for children who hopefully will hate it when they're older or for people who are too dumb to know any better."
But Jason Farrer and Danny L'Heureux, both 24-year-old psychology majors at Concordia College and walking encyclopedias of the wrestling world, say they're not dummies.
"This is what I want to do," said Farrer of his desire to be a wrestler when he's done school.
"I'm not a freak, but I love it."
The crowd joined Farrer in a frenzy second only to the Oilers winning the Stanley Cup when Lawler's comments ignited a rivalry between Canadian and American wrestlers.
"I hate Canada," screamed the King. "You know what we do with leaves where I come from? We burn 'em.
"You're all a bunch of beer-drinking, bacon-eating idiots."
But Bret (the Hitman) Hart, originally from Calgary, put the King in his place by saying: "Nobody is more proud of being Canadian than I am. I was told in America that you should love it or leave it. I left."
Hart and his tag team - his brother Owen and the British Bulldog - brought down the house as they burst into the arena wearing Oilers jerseys.
The trio fought and won against an American team in Calgary Sunday night.