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WWF show a tag team of planning


By SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun
It's no simple feat putting together a tour for the World Wrestling Federation.

Although tomorrow's show at Skyreach Centre is not a major television production, it still requires countless phone calls and staff to pull off a WWF extravaganza.

It all begins, according to WWF Canada president Carl DeMarco, with the booking department compiling a list of available dates and venues.

"You have to string together a bunch of cities that are close because you don't want Calgary one night followed by New York the next," said DeMarco, who has been at the Toronto office for five years. "You want it so the talent can easily fly or drive to the next place, so you cut deals with all the buildings that make good routing sense. But everything can change a million times."

This particular swing begins at the Saddledome in Calgary tonight, then on to Edmonton before moving on Monday to GM Place in Vancouver and wrapping up Tuesday night at the Dome in Tacoma, Washington.

The next step in staging a live event is left to the marketing and public relations departments, which get in touch with the local media, with the creative department then taking over and developing spots for the WWF's various television shows as well as designing ads for the host city.

The talent relations department co-ordinates much of the wrestlers' travel plans although for every event outside of Wrestlemania, the performers pay for their own transportation and accommodation.

Finally, the day of the show arrives and that's where the technical crews and road agents take over proceedings. For a TV show like Raw is War, roughly 100 people are required to set up the rigging, sound, lights and special effects and another four or five to construct the ring. A crew of about 10 people will handle those chores in Edmonton with the building staff looking after ringside chairs and security while the road agents post the night's matchups.

The backstage catering setup is different on a night when the cameras are rolling. The talent is expected at the arena earlier, so dinner is laid out - a feast of chicken, pasta and salad. Tomorrow the wrestlers are on their own for meals but there will be plenty of coffee, water and diet pop on hand.

"It's a massive effort by numerous people in different departments to make everything go off without a hitch,'' said DeMarco, who will be attendance at Skyreach. "But we've been doing it so long, it all becomes a regular routine. When you're doing 280 dates a year around the world, you become the best in the business at doing what you're doing. There's always little hiccups, but that's part of every day life in this business."