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  Saturday, March 16, 2002



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


Rumble-ready
Wrestling fans keen on Niagara Falls attraction

By CHEN CHEKKI -- Toronto Sun

It was round two for wrestling fans attending the WWF WrestleMania X8 warm-up party yesterday at the Automotive Building on the CNE grounds.

 And Fan Axxess visitors warmed up to yesterday's announcement of the world's first World Wrestling Federation attraction to open this spring in Niagara Falls.

 "I think it's a great idea," said William Knapp, 21, of the 4,000-square-foot WWF retail and exhibit venue. "It's time we got some respect in Canada."

 NIAGARA FALLS SITE

 Chris Willard, 24, of Elora, who was checking out the Axxess exhibits, was also keen about the new Niagara Falls facility.

 "It's good because for a long time WWF was not interacting as much with Canada," said Willard, who got an autograph from his favourite wrestler Bradshaw yesterday.

 "It'll be good for the fans in Canada."

 Wrestlers William Regal, The Dudley Boyz and Stacy Keibler were also on-hand to dish out signings to thousands of WrestleManiacs seeking autographs from their favourite superstars.

 Jean Principe, 31, of Brantford, was thrilled to see her idols in the flesh.

 "The Hurricane is one of my favourite wrestlers," she said, adding she's still waiting to see Undertaker.

 Older wrestling fans collected autographs from veterans Jim Cornette and Sgt. Slaughter.

 "I'm glad to see the Sarge," said Jay Gould, of Niagara Falls. "I'm having a great time."

 Slaughter was equally excited to be part of the Axxess party and he raved about being back in the city.

 "Toronto has always been one of my favourite cities," said Slaughter, who does about 500 signings per session.

 'FAN CARNIVAL'

 "It's like a WWF fan carnival."

 He was also looking forward to tomorrow's super bowl of wrestling -- which features The Rock and Hollywood Hulk Hogan -- but Slaughter was mum about who he was cheering for.

 "I hope all the best guys will win."

 Slaughter said he enjoyed signing fans' pictures of some of his previous matches in which he put the clutch on wrestlers such as Hogan and the Iron Sheik.

 Visits to Axxess continues today and has plenty to offer wrestling diehards. Fantasy Play By Play allows fans to announce events of a pretaped match and get a videotape of it. The Playstation Brawlfest pits fans against each other in wrestling videogame tournaments, then puts winners up against such wrestlers as Edge.

More on: WrestleMania 18




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