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AWE opens for business in Winnipeg
By ROCHELLE SQUIRES - Winnipeg Sun


The crowd was loud, the music was loud, but it was the wrestlers that really rocked the house. Nearly 1,200 people turned out for Larger than Life, Action Wrestling Entertainment's (AWE) inaugural event last night.

"I could not be happier with the turnout," said AWE organizer Mike Davidson. "I think Winnipeg is ready to support this event on an ongoing basis."

The 14-match event -- held at the University of Manitoba's Investors Group Athletic Centre -- included well-known grapplers Billy Gunn, Jamie Noble, "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan and Rikishi, as well as local talent "The Mecca" Shane Madison, "The Outlaw" Adam Knight, and several others.

The first match of the evening saw former WWE star Jamie Noble lose to rookie wrestler Shawn Houston.

From there, the place only got louder until 400-pound behemoth Rikishi brought the house down by using his patented 'stink-face,' squishing Chi Chi Cruz for the pin.

The next AWE event won't be held until May, but Davidson's goal is to turn the wrestling entertainment show into a weekly Canadian television event.

"Ultimately, what we want is a weekly TV deal," said Davidson, adding last night's success was a step in the right direction. "So many people helped make this a success, I mean, there was so much ass-busting that went into this, I almost had tears in my eyes."

Many fans were also worked up into a frenzy of excitement.

"It looks like it'll be a really good show. It's a different venue than what I'm used to, I usually go to the weekly shows at the Lid, and they're a lot smaller," said avid wrestling fan Matt Bond at the beginning of the evening.

"I'll definitely come again," he said, as he nodded with approval after the first few matches.

Jim Sarapu was another fan who's hoping AWE organizers will bring wrestling "back to what it used to be."

"I'm sure hoping this will be a success in Winnipeg," said Sarapu, adding he has extra motives for wanting AWE to be a hit. "My son is Zack Mercury, one of the wrestlers."

Several young ladies were also cheering on the wrestlers.

"I'm not big into their names or anything like that, I just like to watch," said 21-year-old Jennifer Pollen.