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  Jan 8, 2000



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

Crippler to mix with 'Peg fans


By TAMMY MARLOWE -- Winnipeg Sun

 Wrestling fans will have the chance to get up close and personal with The Crippler next week when the World Championship Wrestling star signs autographs at the Winnipeg Arena to promote the organization's time-ever local card.

 "We've had people asking (about WCW) for a long time," said Winnipeg Enterprises Corporation spokesman Allen Reidke. "It's extremely popular."

 Yesterday, Reidke confirmed months of rumours and announced a jam-packed WCW show at the Arena scheduled for Feb. 26.

 Reidke said wristbands were being handed out yesterday morning, and tickets officially go on sale next Thursday at 9:30 a.m.

 Those who buy their seats from the box office at the Winnipeg Arena will be able to shake hands and talk shop with 32-year-old Chris Benoit, better known in the ring as The Crippler, who is flying in to the city for a few hours to help boost sales of the premiere event.

 Benoit, a 220-pound native of Edmonton, is slated at the top of the card, taking on Calgarian Bret Hart for the coveted WCW title.

 TRAGEDY

 It will be the first time Hart has been through Winnipeg since his younger brother Owen, a member of the World Wrestling Federation, was killed after a cord broke while he was being lowered from the ceiling into the ring during a televised match last year.

 Other wrestlers scheduled to square off include Vampiro, who will take on "Double J" Jeff Jarrett for the U.S. title, Sting will be pitted against The Total Package. Diamond Dallas Page will attempt to pin Buff Bagwell for the three-count.

 Tickets for the Feb. 26 WCW match range from $35 to $20 and are limited to 12 per person.

 Reidke said he has no doubt the bouts will bring in a big crowd.

 "The WCW will be a very large event," he said.