KNOXVILLE, TN – With the recent acquisition of the Turner-born World Championship Wrestling by the wrestling czar Vincent K. McMahon, Monday nights have taken on a whole new shape. Wrestling enthusiasts now must get their fix on McMahon’s World Wrestling Federation alone.
This past Monday night, the WWF made their closest appearance to Cullowhee, stopping at the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, TN.
One month-ago, almost to the date, the WCW made their final Nitro appearance prior to its special, “season-finale” Spring Break Out, in the eastern Tennessee city. Now, almost in a mocking fashion, McMahon rolled into town with his dozens of tractor trailers and touring buses.
Just as was the case one-month removed, it started with a wild idea; why not drive over and indulge ourselves in an evening of body slams, suplexes, and three counts.
So it was set. The group that has made appearances in such venues as the Belk Arena, Bi-Lo Center, Timmons Arena, and even Cullowhee’s own Ramsey Center traversed across the state line to invade Volunteer country.
Traffic surrounding the largest college football stadium in the nation–Neyland Stadium–and Tennessee’s basketball venue seemed like it included everybody and their brother–or at least brother-in-law. Yet, after it was all said and done, we joined close to 24,000 fans in the arena.
After overcoming the nauseating feeling associated with the loud orange colored decor, we settled in for the pre-show and the live showing of Raw is War. The evening started out with Mr. McMahon coming out and addressing the crowd concerning his made-for-TV divorce of Linda.
Vince was confronted by Debra who was talking about both the divorce and the apparent cohersion of her new hubby Stone Cold Steve Austin. She spoke lowly of divorce, which immediately brought forth a groan from the four Cullowheedians… but Debra, you divorced Mongo McMichael. Guess she forgot about that.
The night included spit slinging interviews with the largest waste of humanity, the Big Show, which in turn was followed by him being pummeled by the APA. Yet, in the end, Japan’s tag team, Kaientai, got double-choke slammed. Ouch. Indeed.
Appearances made by the British commissioner William Regal, Olympic champion Kurt Angle, the Canadian crippler Chris Benoit, and his new millennium countryman Chris “Y2J” Jericho in tag fashion featured some of the best wrestlers the WWF has to offer in the ring at one-time.
And in the end, perhaps the largest four stars in the sport right now–Austin, Triple H, Kane, and the Undertaker– ended the live show in confrontation style, staring each other down. That’s where the cameras stopped…but being there live just began.
We were treated to approximately 15 additional moments of Taker and Kane choke slamming HHH and Austin, thus creating a face rivalry for the heel duo, followed by Taker simply raising his hand to the delight of the remaining fans.
In all, it was well worth the road trip to Volunteerdom. The Titan-tron, the pyrotechnics, the entrance music, and, oh yea, the in-ring action heightened anything seen on the tube.