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

WWF returns to Winnipeg
By JON WALDMAN -- For SLAM! Wrestling

 The World Wrestling Federation rolled into Winnipeg on Sunday for the first time in nearly two years.

 To put it into perspective, the last time the WWF did a show at the Winnipeg Arena, Chris Jericho was fighting in his first WWF match. Tonight, he battled "Stone Cold" Steve Austin for the WWF Championship. How did he do? Read on.

Ivory really gets into her fight with Molly Holly.
Photo: Marcel Cretain, Winnipeg Sun

  • June 3: Photo Gallery from Winnipeg


  •  Match 1
     Crash Holly vs. Spike Dudley

     Surprisingly loud pop for Spike, complete with a "Spike" chant during the match. The match was a pretty good opener. Part-way through, Molly came out, and Crash was distracted for the rest of the contest. Spike eventually scored with the Acid Drop for the pin. Molly left with Spike.

     ** out of 4

     Match 2
     Light-Heavyweight Championship

     
     Jerry Lynn vs. Funaki

     Funaki was sans TAKA and "INDEED". Jerry got a pretty good pop coming out, and a few fans chanted "Jerry, Jerry". Funaki dominated most of the match, including doing three double stomps. Lynn eventually took over in the match following a double KO spot. He attempted a second-rope Tornado DDT, but was unable to hit it. Lynn settled for a running Tornado DDT for the pin.

     ** * out of 4

     Match 3
     Molly Holly vs. Ivory

     Dear g-d did these women get pops. Ivory got some massive heel heat, and Molly got some major fan support, including a chant. The women responded, with one of the best matches of the night. Ivory put on a clinic, with a hilight being a mid-ring catapult leading into a Steiner Recliner, which got a few people chanting "Steiner" for a bit. Molly eventually overcame Ivory's onslaught, hitting a superplex and a top-rope somersault-press (a la RVD) for the victory. Killer match for the women.

     *** out of 4

     Match 4
     Dean Malenko (with Perry Saturn) vs. Steve Blackman

     Why is Malenko wrestling heavy-weights? Put him against Lynn and let him shine. Blackman tried to use a chair, but referee Earl Hebner took it away. The chair would come back to haunt the Lethal Weapon, as Saturn hit Blackman with it. Malenko ended the match with a pin with his feet on the second rope, just one of a few "Flair" manoeuvres he used in the match. Post match, Blackman laid out both of the Radicalz with the chair.
     *1/2 out of 4

     Match 5
     Rhyno vs. Chris Benoit (non-title)

     Massive pop for Benoit. I was a bit surprised at Rhyno's lack of major heat. Is it possible the fans really want to cheer for him??? The match itself was quite good, similar to their RAW encounter. At one point, Rhyno had Benoit in the Tree of Woe, and gored him. Benoit got the eventual win with the Crippler Crossface. Benoit was over huge here, just as much as out west.

     *** out of 4

     Match 6
     Intercontinental Title match
     William Regal vs. Kane

     Regal cut a hilarious promo, referring to the crows as, "fellow British Commonwealth members." Regal was royally booed throughout his promo, and a massive "Regal sucks!" chant broke out. Regal asked referee Hebner what they were saying, and he replied, "They're saying Regal sucks!" Great stuff. Regal appointed himself as the replacement for "Triple Haitch" in the match

     The match itself was okay, as Regal carried Kane through it. Regal may be the best at keeping heel heat going, with his waves to the crowd. Kane was victorious after reversing Regal's finisher into a chokeslam.

     ** out of 4

     A 15-minute intermission followed. Among the items for sale was Edge, Christian, and Rock sunglasses, pictures, and the brand-new Lita poster form the latest Divas shoot.

     Match 7
     Raven vs. Hardcore Holly

     This should have been a hardcore match. Instead, we got a formulaic match from the two, with Raven scoring the pinfall following the Evenflow DDT. Raven received a mini-ECW chant. Holly spent sometime jawing with ringside fans, spitting intheir direction after the match.

     *1/2 out of 4

     Match 8

     Big Show vs. Test

     Match was delayed for some reason, so some fans began chanting "we want the Fink", as the WWF's other announcer* was in for the show Big Show gets a...pop? Yes sir, and a pretty big one, just about as loud as Test's. Show goes through the usual "giant" moves (forearm to the back, bearhug etc.). A lacklustre match, with Big Show putting in 75% of the offence. Test eventually comes back and tries to hit the big boot, but Show reverses into the chokeslam for the duke.

     * out of 4

     Match 9
     Three Corner Elimination match
     Hardy Boyz vs. X-Factor vs. Dudley Boyz

     Hardyz and Dudleyz got pretty big pops, X-Factor got barely any heat. The match went really well, as all three teams put on a really solid effort. Hardyz were eliminated first, as the Dudleyz 3d'd Matt after a clusterfrick. The Duds and X-Factor then worked what can almost be described as a second match. After D-Von hit the Wazzap Drop, Buh Buh started to tell him to get the tables. D-Von, however, reversed, shoved Buh Buh, and told HIM to get the tables. Hilarious!

     The tables, however, never got involved as Albert handed X-Pac the ring bell and he KO'd Buh Buh for the victory. Post match, the Dudleyz put Credible through a table with the 3D.

     *** out of 4

     Match 10
     Main Event
     WWF Championship
     "Y2J" Chris Jericho vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin

     If Winnipeg Enterprises needs help when they demolish the Winnipeg Arena, they should call the WWF fans, because they blew the roof off the old barn when Jericho entered. Austin got nearly as much heel heat when he entered. He still got tones of flashing lights when he did his four post poses, however.

     Both wrestlers cut promos, Austin with his now standard "My name is Stone Cold Steve Austin" speech, while Jericho did the "this is my hometown" schtick. Jericho didn't even need to pull out catchphrases to get a huge pop.

     The match itself was easily the best of the night. Both men gave it their all in a long match, which saw Jericho use several highspot moves, including the Lionkick (Jericho's rope bounce kick sending opponents to the outside) and a second-rope dropkick.

     The match, predictably, ended screwy. Austin reversed a whip into the ropes and ducked, as Jericho was about to hit a flying forearm. Jericho knocked out referee Hebner, and Austin quickly followed up with a Stone Cold Stunner. Tim White ran-in to make the count, but Jericho kicked out at two. Austin then sent White to the outside. Jericho quickly hit the face jam and Lionsault, but a revived Hebner could only make it to two. Regal then ran out, clocked Jericho with a chair and Austin covered for the victory.

     After the match, Benoit ran out to help his tag team partner. Benoit put Regal in the crossface, while Jericho locked Austin in the Walls of Jericho.

     *** * out of 4

     After Austin and Regal left, Jericho thanked the crowd for supporting him, and reminisced about coming to the Arena as a child to watch wrestling, concerts, and the Winnipeg Jets. Jericho said that had they built the new arena five years earlier, Wininpeg would still have the team. Jericho and Benoit then celebrated as the fans left.

     Overall, a good show, one which may be the last at the Winnipeg Arena. Already, the WWF is planning on being the first show at the new Arena in October of 2003. Only time will tell if the Winnipeg Arena has seen its last squared-circle action.

    More WWF Winnipeg stories

  • June 4: Scribe goes to mat
  • June 3: Photo Gallery from Winnipeg
  • June 2: Jericho comes home to Winnipeg
  • June 1: Jericho: Wrestling 'ain't no ballet'


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