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  Mon, Mar 18, 2002



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'Mania strikes Hogtown

By TIM BAINES -- Ottawa Sun

 TORONTO -- The World Wrestling Federation's theatre of the absurd added plenty more chapters to its legacy last night.

 Nearly 70,000 fans were mesmerized as the WWF took no prisoners in wrestling's annual Super Bowl -- Wrestlemania X8, at SkyDome.

 It was a night when a new champion was crowned as Triple-H pinned Chris Jericho.

 And it was a night when Toronto welcomed an old icon, as Hollywood Hulk Hogan turned his back on his nWo soulmates to join forces with The Rock, who had just defeated him. The win came after

 The Rock kicked out of Hogan's devastating legdrop. Hogan lapped up the crowd's applause as he posed, at the prompting of The Rock, in the centre of the ring.

 As could be expected in the WWF's Barnum and Bailey world, there was plenty of violence, high-flying athleticism, a Spinerooni, fireworks, a sea of signs and Canadian flags, some title changes, lots of 'you suck' chants directed at Olympic hero Kurt Angle, a few surprises and some high-voltage thrash-and-roll music from Saliva and Drowning Pool.

 SKYDOME RECORD

 The 68,237 fans on hand set a new SkyDome record and the total take was $6,137,200 Cdn., a WWF live-event record.

 The extravaganza was a prelude to two more nights of mat mayhem -- RAW is in Montreal tonight, while Ottawa's Corel Centre will host Smackdown! tomorrow.

 And after last night's hit parade, both shows promise to be electric.

 The night began before the 8 p.m. official launch, with Rikishi, Scotty 2 Hotty and Albert defeating Test, Lance Storm and Mr. Perfect.

 Then, after the show-opening fireworks erupted, the card began as Rob Van Dam won the intercontinental title over William Regal.

 Diamond Dallas Page defeated Christian, and that wasn't a bad thing, it was a good thing, with Christian throwing a temper tantrum after the loss.

 The advertised hardcore title match of Maven vs. Goldust turned into much more than that.

 DETHRONED DUDLEY

 Spike Dudley jumped into the fray and won the title. But his night was far from complete. Chased backstage by Storm, he was dethroned by The Hurricane.

 The title would change hands again thanks to the 24/7 rule. Hurricane's sidekick Mighty Molly bushwacked him backstage to win the title. Molly later knocked herself out on a door and was pinned by Christian, who tried to escape the building in a taxi, but was pinned by Maven.

 In other matches, Kurt Angle managed to defeat Kane. The Undertaker left Ric Flair a bloody mess, his face covered by a crimson mask. All the Edge-heads went home happy as local boy Adam Copeland (Edge) defeated Booker T. Steve Austin defeated Scott Hall. Billy and Chuck kept their tag-team belts. Jazz kept her women's title in a three-way tilt with Lita and Trish Stratus.

 Wrestlemania could be qualified as nothing but a resounding success, a magnificent return of the event after 12 years, when the Ultimate Warrior defeated Hulk Hogan to win the heavyweight championship.

 And wrestling fans won't have to wait long for another premier WWF event in Toronto. RAW will be held at the Air Canada Centre May 13, while Smackdown! will be staged in Montreal May 14.


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