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  Jan 6, 2002



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WWF thrills 'em in Saint John
By CHAD SOOLEY-- for SLAM! Wrestling
  SAINT JOHN, NB. -- Finally the WWF has come back to Saint John. For the first time in five years, Harbour Station held a WWF event here in the Port City. A small but vocal crowd was on hand to witness a card of unknowns, mid-carders and a few Alliance rejects!

 As the house lights dimmed to start the show, and the spotlights were in the middle of the ring for the man, the myth, the legend....Howard Finkel. A nice surprise to have the Fink as the ring announcer. Before he started the show, he welcomed the crowd and explained that the appearance of the former Alliance members was at the request of WWF "co-owner" Ric Flair, to see if they deserved a job in the federation. A nice little bit of information that really ties into the "split" storyline.

 Up first was Billy Kidman challenging Tajiri sans Torrie for the WWF Cruiserweight Championship. When the hell did they change this from the Light Heavyweight? This was a solid match to start the card. Kidman dominated for a good portion of the match, even attempting his frog splash only to have Tajiri move just in the nick of time. A few vicious kicks from Tajiri that you could hear all the way up on the concourse level to Kidman's face, and surely the match is over, but wait, Kidman attempts a comeback, but is thwarted by the Tarantula, a dropkick to the face, and a 1-2-3, and its over Tajiri is still your Cruiserweight Champ.

 Next we had a match that was a filler, but was entertaining none the less. A divas match-up between Mighty Molly and Lita. Match was short, but well executed. Molly was able to hit a nice snap suplex combo where she never released ala Benoit, but the crowd was solidly behind Lita. Lita hits the twist of fate, climbs the top rope (every male over the age of 13 in the place was happy to see her baby blue thongs---yes there is a God) hits the Lita-sault, and gets the 1-2-3 to the delight of the crowd!

 Then we had the match that had the crowd clamouring for..beer..lots and lots of beer, and even then it was less than bearable! WWF developmental talent and second-generation wrestler Randy Orton against Meat...I mean Shawn Stasiak. Nice chants of Meat from the crowd prompted Stasiak to grab the mic from The Fink and say "I am a human being...not a piece of Meat". Overall not a bad match, just a lot of disinterest. Orton showed some good speed and strength, and all five people that were still watching were solidly behind him. Both had some decent moves, too bad no one cared.

 Forth match of the night was another cruiserweight bout between the superhero The Hurricane, and that evil genius Funaki!! Hurricane posed a lot, even had the ref shaking his hand and giving him the ol' thumbs up. Not a bad match, if you like comedy. Funaki poked his fingers in the eyes of The Hurricane when the match got under way, and later in the match tried it again, only to be thwarted by the 3 Stooges hand on the nose. Good match to get the crowd back in after the Stasiak/Orton match. A lot of posing, and even Funaki's jewels becoming well acquainted with the top rope.

 Next we had two of the biggest men in the sport into entertain the crowd: Hugh Morrus against Big Show, who had a huge reaction from the crowd. This was a good match for the wrestling, for the entertainment, and for pure shock value! Who would ever think that the Show is such an agile athlete? I have a newfound respect for someone that big who can jump over the top rope, or flip to his feet from his back...craziness is the only word for it!! The match started slow, Morrus didn't want to be in the ring to the hip gyrating Show. Show tries to entice him to jump over the ropes into the ring, he even had referee Tim White show him how it's done. Morrus finally gets into the ring, and the two start crisscrossing the ring, or started to until the Show decided to laugh at Morrus in the corner. Morrus was a frustrated man, and wanted to vent on the Show. Hugh was able to take the big man down, and keep him down for the majority of the match. Until the biggest man you'll ever see do a moonsault missed, Show hits the chokeslam, the easy 1-2-3, and the roar of the fans as he exits up the aisle. This was by far the best match of the evening.

 Oh The Fink is up again...is it to introduce the next match...nope...it's to hock WWF gear available at the souvenir stand by the front door. Get it now while we have our 15-minute intermission.

 Once the mad dash to buy Test t-shirts, and personal floatation devices..oh wait Stephanie wasn't there..well back to the show!!

 Next was the Champion of Europe Christian vs. Rikishi. Before the match even began Christian took offence at some fans outside the building that were chanting "Christian Sucks", and he said that there wasn't anything important east of Toronto anyways. Rikishi came out to a loud ovation from the crowd. Rikishi had control for most of the match and looked to become the new European champion. That was until Test interfered, distracting Rikishi, allowing Christian to get the pin. After the match, Christian was showboating in the ring, which allowed Rikishi to start beating down on the champ and set him up for the stinkface to a tremendous roar from the crowd.

 For the obligatory tag team event to the night we were treated to some former ECW stars, Tommy Dreamer and Steven Richards against The Hardy Boyz with Lita. A good technical match, with a little comedy thrown in. Jeff Hardy took a beating for a good portion of the match, even allowing Richards to try the signature Hardy Swanton bomb. First he climbed to the top rope..but his balance was a little off. So then he tried it from the second rope, but that was even shakier. So he went from the very bottom rope and managed to miss. Then Richards and Dreamer set Jeff up for the Poetry in Motion, but Richards tripped over Dreamers back. The Hardys were able to fight back, and with Lita hit a Hurracanrana, the Boyz hit the Double Poetry in Motion, and Jeff pinned Richards for the win. After the match, Dreamer lifted Richards's arms in victory, and helped him to the back.

 Second to last match of the night saw the Intercontinental Title on the line, Edge vs. the returning Val Venis, who looks ready to return to fulltime federation rings. Val started throwing his right-wing views and saying that although we were born Canadians, he realized at a young age and got his ass out. Out came Edge, who was reeking of awesomeness, and very pro-Canada. Good match with some high spots, Val went for the money shot and was able to kick out after a spear. Edge was able to hit his DDT and leave as the Intercontinental Champ.

 The last, and most anticipated match of the night saw the Whole Dam Show, Rob Van Dam vs. Test. RVD had the full support of the crowd behind him as he proceeded to beat Test around the ring. He went for the Five Star Frog splash, but Test pushed Tim White into the rope causing RVD to fall off the top rope. Test went for the quick cover, but RVD was able to kick out. Test took offence and shoved White against the ropes. White then shoved Test straight into a small package and the win. After the bell Test went for the steel chair outside the ring. The ref tried to stop him, but was quickly flung aside. Before he was able to hit the shot, Rikishi, still hot over the interference in his match stormed to the ring, kicked the chair into the face of Test, and brought the crowd to their feet with the second stink face of the night! Much to the delight of all the fans in the crowd, the show ended with a very "cool" RVD, and Rikishi dancing up a storm in the middle of the ring.

 A great show that was put on by the WWF second string, a good vocal crowd and entertaining matches made this a great event...hopefully the WWF doesn't wait another five years to come back to Saint John.


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