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Wrestling fans get AWE fix
Taped for Fight Network
By CHRIS KITCHING - Winnipeg Sun

Joey Brightnose is almost too young to have seen some of wrestling's biggest names when they were in their prime.

But the nine-year-old Winnipegger was in awe last night when he took in Action Wrestling Entertainment's Harsh Reality pay-per-view taping and fixed his eyes on one behemoth.

"I came to see Scott Steiner," said Brightnose, who was with his aunt, Dorothy Munroe. "He's cool and he's strong."

Brightnose and Munroe were two of more than 1,000 people who filed into the University of Manitoba's Investors Group Athletic Centre for the first of two back-to-back AWE shows.

Today's begins at 6:30 p.m. and is a TV taping for AWE Overload, which is set to air on The Fight Network. Tickets are $25 at the door.

Fan Scott Anderson has ducats to both events, and took advantage of an opportunity to meet former WCW and WWF grapplers Rick and Scott Steiner before they hit the mat last night.

"I'm surprised (AWE) is able to bring in someone this big for an event that's not at the MTS Centre," Anderson said. "They're really nice guys. "Pretty personable and down to earth."

The Steiner brothers weren't the only notables there who were part of the heyday of the last decade.

Billy Kidman, Buff Bagwell and Dan (The Beast) Severn were slated to appear, along with AWE-developed talent, and female stars April Hunter and Sarah Stock.

The mix of talent and all of the action was a hit with Lisa Wyszynski as she watched 14 lesser-known 'rasslers duke it out in an over-the-top battle royal.

"I think it's really good, harmless entertainment," she said.

Entertaining fans and enticing them back for more is what AWE is trying to do in its attempt to become a major player in professional wrestling.

Despite being in operation for only nine months, the organization has already held 25 events and carved a place in the industry with pay-per-views, a national TV deal and big-name performers.

"Our goal is to be to the WWE what the CFL is to the NFL -- a really strong Canadian alternative and something that grows into a different breed of wrestling," said Mike Davidson, AWE's director of operations.