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.
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
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
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
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
*1/2 out of 4
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
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
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
** 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.
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
*1/2 out of 4
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
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
"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'