Toronto fans were a disgrace
By ALEX RISTIC -- SLAM!
I'd have to say that the fans at the ACC were a disgrace to the city of Toronto, and to most wrestling fans anywhere. WCW's second foray into Canada in 1999 should have been met with a better response, not with rejects from a Jerry Springer audience taping. It's worth noting that over the last little while the WWF has held nothing of importance in the Golden Horseshoe, yet WCW has two major events, almost six months apart, and the wrestlers and the organisers only receive juvenile delinquents and drunks.
Fans cheered Curt Hennig after his defeat at the hands of Buff Bagwell. -- Vernonica Henri, Toronto Sun
Several signs were hanging around the venue, some quite humorous, and some just downright rude, such as "Tony Schiavone Molested My Dog," or "Goldberg B***'s Turner." I know we all pay our good money to go, and you have your favourites, and wrestlers you hate, but when you go overboard, that just gives the company incentive not to come back, and you won't be showing your signs to anybody.
The funny thing is, the building was only half full when 7:30 rolled around, but about 10 minutes before show time, it was packed. No dark matches were given to the fans, but pizza and video game give-away's were handed out to the fans. The face on "Scheme" Gene Okerlund was hilarious when every booed at the mention of free Pizza Pizza for a year.
Getting back to the original theme of this piece, WCW fans in Toronto, to put it nicely, aren't exactly the best fans out there. Usually when the King and J.R. come out it's to a warm reception, but for Schiavone, and legend Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, the lack of any reaction, whether heat or pop, was embarrassing.
It wasn't until the first match, with Chris Benoit and Jeff Jarrett that the crowd was making some noise, and hell yeah, they finally did. Of course, the pro-Canadian crowd lustily cheered for Benoit, as well as Bret Hart when he later came out.
Maybe the lack of fan reaction and rudeness for those non-Canadian stems from the lack of knowledge the average Toronto fan has of WCW. Outside of Norman Smiley being cheered for his Toronto Maple Leafs Jersey, the crowd was very muted for his Hardcore Championship match with Brian Knobs. His highly audible screams drew uproarious laughter, from about the three other people sitting bedside me, who also work for SLAM!. Everyone else couldn't have cared less.
To be fair, the whole lack of reaction can't be blamed on the locales. Only four of the 12 matches were of the "highly entertaining" variety, while the rest looked like Nitro re-hashes, which even the casual fan could have picked out. However, when Bret Hart is wrestling Sting to get to the next round of the title hunt, and 10,000 people scream "Take It Off," for some hot babe who's going to her seat from the concessions stands, that's just no class.
You know what else. Toronto fans are confusing as well. During Goldberg's match, the chant of "Goldberg Sucks" got so loud, even Bill himself looked at the crowd and shook his head, visibly annoyed. Then, when he wins the match, the fans cheer the hell out of him. Maybe I'm just nuts, and the rest of the world is sane.
At least Curt Hennig received some respect. In his retirement match he was cheered more than Bagwell was, and received a standing ovation when he lost. At least we have a sense of history.
The biggest non-canuck reaction was reserved for Scott Hall, who came to the ring looking drunk. Of course, the hardcore Springer following let him know he was appreciated, and he received one of the biggest audience pops of the night, not mention drunken fans fighting in the seats as a tribute to him during his match with Booker T.
The final big pop of the night was awarded to Hart for his victory over Chris Benoit for the WCW title. In reflection, outside of Goldberg getting booed, and Jeff Jarrett, there was hardly any heat on the night. It seems Toronto fans need an education in what WCW wrestling is all about, and a good dose of manners.
|The WCW Mayhem Gallery is here!|
It's late, we know. Real late. But there's 82 photos, so it's not exactly a small piece of work. But we think that our photographers Stuart Green and Veronica Henri has done a pretty bang-up job of capturing the essence of what was WCW Mayhem. Click here for the gallery.