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  Jan 5, 2002



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WWF makes triumphant return to Moncton
By NEIL GRANT-- for SLAM! Wrestling

 MONCTON, NB -- The World Wrestling Federation ran their first show in New Brunswick in five years last night before an enthusiastic crowd at the Moncton Coliseum.

 This was a 'B show' as the promotion's top stars were in Binghamton, New York last night for another house show where HHH made his return to the ring, teaming with Kane to defeat Chris Jericho and Kurt Angle. And even though we received the lesser of the two shows, fans in attendance had a great time.

 Any show that begins with former WCW Hardcore Champion "Not So" Fit Finley talking to RCMP in the entranceway is a show not to be missed. So flip that record over and listen to WWF's "B- side".

 The Fink entered to a nice pop and proceeded to inform the Moncton crowd of the rules for the night. It was not a sold out coliseum but it was a very receptive crowd who were eager for the night's matches to begin. In order to explain the appearance of certain former Alliance members The Fink explained that co-owner Rick Flair (excitement as the crowd actually thought the Nature Boy would suddenly appear) was allowing for some wrestlers to try and win a job. And with that the lights dimmed and the show began...

 First Match: Tajiri (WWF Cruiserweight Champion) vs. Billy Kidman -- The two themes of the night were bad guys wear black and protect your left knee. Kidman came out to the ring to a nice reaction until he started the evil HEEL routine. Of course as a HEEL he had to wear the necessary black trunks, pads, and boots.

 Tajiri came out alone, which was strange as the radio advertisements had been pushing an appearance by Torrie--oh well, maybe she'd interfere later on in the match. Tajiri got a huge pop and having this as the opening match was a good way to get the crowd excited for the entire show. The match was full of the usual cruiserweight aerodynamics as Tajiri bounced from the ropes in summersaults and launched himself into the air numerous times. Kidman was aggressive as well, as he dominated most of the match. Kidman got a good crowd reaction as a HEEL, but it was very noticeable that he was not completely recovered from his recent ailment, as he didn't go for as many high-flying manoeuvres as he has in the past. It looked like Kidman was on the way to recovery, but that he wasn't 100% just yet. Tajiri used the Tarantula, but unfortunately no green mist (I guess you can't buy the magic powder North of the Border). Tajiri hit the kick in the face for the win... and out came Torrie to celebrate!! No, that was the ref for the next match. Well, maybe Torrie will show up later on that night.

 Second Match: Lita vs. Mighty Molly -- What can you say? Short and sweet--and that was just Molly. This was mostly a filler match. Lita had a good pop from the crowd and the match lasted about seven minutes. Lita, as the FACE, took the win with the twist of fate followed by the Swanton.

 Third Match: Randy Orton vs. Shawn Stasiak -- This was supposed to be a Raven match, but Stasiak was the replacement.

 This was a clash of second-generation wrestlers as Randy Orton, the son of former AWA great Cowboy Bob Orton, took on the son of Stan Stasiak, a member of the Canadian Hall of Fame Wrestling.

 Stasiak was a good HEEL as he mocked Orton by wiping his brow and tossing the sweat in the youngster's direction, he gave the young wrestler a wet willy, and he basically dominated the match as, surprise, surprise, he went after Orton's left knee after it seemingly became injured during one of Orton's moves. Stasiak had good facial expressions and did a good job as a buffoon HEEL as he even tripped over the bottom rope upon one of his entrances back into the ring.

 In the end, Stasiak had a good pop for his finishing manoeuvre, the figure-four leg lock and Orton tapped out... just as Torrie rushed out to congratulate Meat--no what a second, that was just the ref for the next match... maybe later on she'd appear.

 Fourth Match: The Hurricane vs. Funaki -- Who put the "fun" in Funaki?

 A great deal of mimicking--and even a little salute to the Three Stooges as The Hurricane offered a hand and Funaki responded by poking the green superhero in the eyes. Later on in the match another handshake was offered and this time the poke to the eyes was deflected by that tried and true defence of The Hurricane putting his hand in front of his face. Nothing works better than the classics.

 More aerial manoeuvres were expected, but unfortunately the match seemed to be plagued by sleeper holds, which is a shameful thing to see in a cruiserweight match. In the end The Hurricane woke up from his slump and took the win with his inverted DDT, much to the delight of Torrie--- somewhere in Connecticut.

 Fifth Match: Big Show vs. Hugh Morrus -- Big Show entered to what would be the second biggest pop of the night. Morrus refused to start the match, which firmly entrenched him as a truly evil man. Big Show demonstrated great personality as he used humour to entertain the crowd.

 Why are so many people against Big Show's athleticism? He hopped over the ropes to get into the ring, at one point he flipped to his feet from lying on his back, and he did a lengthy criss-cross on the ropes with Morrus. For a big man, and let's face it--- he IS a big guy, he has a great deal of athletic ability.

 The slaps reverberated throughout the coliseum, but once again the match centred on the left knee as the HEEL, Morrus, was able to seemingly hurt the giant behemoth and take advantage for most of the match. This raises the question, why is such a seemingly indestructible guy so easy to get an advantage over? At one point Morrus was even able to put on a half-slam on the Big Show. In the end however Morrus missed the big moonsault, which allowed for the Big Show to recover and end the match with his chokeslam

 Sixth Match: Christian (WWF European Champion) vs. Rikishi -- The dastardly dude from T.O. was the first wrestler to grab the stick from the fink and he went on to turn the crowd solidly against him as he falsely stated that there was nothing good "east of Toronto".

 After a fairly entertaining match Rikishi was about to do the Bonzai drop, made famous by Yokozuna, when someone suddenly ran in and pushed Rikishi off the ropes. Torrie? ... No, of course it was Test--which made perfect sense.

 Anyway, Christian used his finishing move to get the pin. As the winner celebrated Rikishi recovered and snuck up behind Christian, knocked him into the corner and then proceeded, much to the delight of the crowd, to give Christian a stink face. As Christian retreated the poster boy for haemorrhoid cream posed for pictures with the European belt, before leaving with it slung over his shoulder. The wrestling savvy ladies behind us cheered for the "new" champ--- but then they were still wondering when the Rock would be showing up so we didn't bother to correct them.

 Seventh Match: Hardy Boyz (with Lita) with Lita vs. Tommy Dreamer and Steven Richards -- Hey Vince, how's the Tag Team Division looking when you're only tag match is between a team that was supposed to be imploding and going on to single careers and the powerful duo of Dreamer and Stevie?

 The bad guys wore black (all black) and the good guyz (note the z) made the little girls scream. Jeff Hardy was isolated for most of the match, and since Dreamer & Richards are a well-oiled machine they dominated. An ECW chant would begin whenever Dreamer took to the ring, and total silence would engulf the coliseum for poor Stevie.

 In all fairness it was better than you might expect, with Richards and Dreamer working well as a team. But in the end all of the puffy purple Hardy hands in the crowd pumped up Team Extreme, and after Lita hit her Hurracanrana the Hardys did their usual aerial show to get the win.

 Dreamer helped Richards back to the dressing room, as he seemed to have hurt his leg. Real or not, Richards did a good job of selling the injury--but he probably wasn't worried about it because he knew that Torrie was waiting to give him a long massage backstage -- where SHE WAS WAITING TO COME IN...

 Eighth Match: Edge (WWF Intercontinental Champion) vs. Val Venis -- This was a nice surprise as the HEEL entered first (wearing only black trunks and boots of course) and he looked ready to return to WWF TV. Val has shed his porn star persona, which had played out long ago. And like Stone Cold Steve Austin (no ladies, just like the Rock he's not here--clam down) he has chosen to amplify his own true personality. If you've ever seen Venis on TSN's Off The Record with Michael "I'm so stupid I think the Mount Allison Mounties are called the Mount Allison Huskies" Landsberg then you know that he's a staunch conservative who dislikes strong unions. The Venis this night grabbed the microphone and attacked Canada's high taxes (Why were the fans booing? I was agreeing with him!), our seemingly poor health care system, and our terrible hockey team (which had just lost to the Russians).

 The Intercontinental Champion entered with a red hat in the shape of a Maple Leaf. He defended our great nation (against this fellow Canadian's diatribe) and even revealed the little known fact that he himself had once resided in Moncton ... and yet he moved away, I wonder why?

 Great action as both wrestlers showed their stuff. Val looked in shape and looked like he had no lingering injury to bug him. The militant conservative did what only a HEEL could do--he attacked Edge's left leg. Venis put on some creative leg locks to the injured limb, allowing for the fans to get some pictures, which reeked of awesomeness.

 The match was mainly dominated by Venis until he tried the money shot (have to change the name now) and missed. Edge hit the spear, but to everyone's surprise Venis kicked out. Edge quickly followed up with a DDT to end the match.

 Is Val ready to return? Yes. Will you probably see him during the Royal Rumble? Definitely.

 Main Event: Rob Van Dam vs. Test -- RVD arrived to the biggest pop of the night. In fact while there were still plenty of Stone Cold foam snakeheads and Hardy hands, RVD's foam hands had sold out much earlier in the night. Test just gestured towards his crotch and gave everyone and their grandmother the middle finger.

 This was a fairly evenly contested match, and what is there really to say about Rob Van Dam? He is the whole DAM show, and I'm happy to say that the final picture in my camera (and in Nick's as well) was the five-star frog splash for the win.

 RVD exited the coliseum as the lights were turned on and the crowd went home happy. Hopefully it won't be as long as another 5 years until the WWF returns to NB and the Hub city.


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