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  Aug 24, 1999

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Promoters slammed for no shows

By TAMMY MARLOWE -- Winnipeg Sun
A battle is brewing over who will pay the price for four wrestlers failing to show up at last weekend's World Wrestling Federation match in Winnipeg.

"My phones are ringing off the walls," Winnipeg Enterprises Corp. spokeswoman Shirley Preteau said yesterday.

A WWF press release dated Aug. 19 announced The Rock, Road Dogg, The Godfather and Intercontinental champion D'Lo Brown would be among the two dozen wrestlers on the Aug. 21 card.

Sexy sidekick Debra was also to wiggle her wares at ringside.

More than 12,600 tickets were sold for the event ("one of our largest crowds ever," said Preteau) at prices ranging from $16 to $35 -- but when Saturday came, none of the four heavyweights set foot in the place, and some fans were steamed at the switches.

"Not everybody does the house shows," said WWF spokesman Tim Smale. "The card is subject to change."

Preteau said an announcement was made at the start of the match, telling fans they could receive a refund -- before intermission -- if they weren't interested in seeing the The Rock-less show.

"They could get a refund and leave the building," she said. "But once the show takes place, they cannot get a refund."

About 60 people took advantage of the offer, but many other fans who have telephoned Winnipeg Enterprises since Saturday night's match said they must not have heard about the possibility of a refund, because of the arena's less-than-crystal-clear sound equipment.

But yesterday, neither side was willing to take it on the chin about the inaudible announcement.

"First of all, the sound system is the WWF's sound system," said Preteau. "They used the same sound system they use through the whole tour."

"The sound system was the stadium's," countered Smale.

Preteau said any fans wanting to file a complaint or fight for a refund can write to the World Wrestling Federation's Fan Services department, 1241 East Main St., Stanford, Conn., 06902.

Otherwise, she said, her hands are tied.

"We're just the ticket agent. We take our direction from the promoter."