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  Feb 20, 1999

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Indie groups fight for fans

By GLENN COLE -- Toronto Sun
  In a "country and wrestling" bar, Sherri Martel and Jim Neidhardt were busily posing for pictures with fans who will pay $10 apiece for the privilege.

On the other side of a huge bar at Cactus Pete's, Missy Hyatt sold autographed pictures.

Later in the afternoon, all three were in a wrestling ring with 500 fans urging them on, far far away from the 41,232 who jammed the SkyDome six days previous for a Raw show that was flat, and sometimes boring.

Independent wrestling promotions are springing up all over Canada again, particularly in this area. On this particular Sunday, Apocalypse Wrestling Federation commissioner Ron Hutchison, who once wrestled for Jack Tunney and then trained the likes of WWF superstars Edge and Christian, is hopping around, trying to keep the folks entertained before the action gets under way.

"We brought in Abdullah the Butcher a month ago and we are going to bring him in again next month," said Hutchison, who makes good use of contacts he made in his active career. "People here love him and they haven't seen him for a long time. What we are trying to present here is stuff that I as a fan would like to see."

On this day, Demolition's Ax was a no-show, the worst fear of indie promoters, but fans saw Hyatt become the AWF champion and now she has put a bounty on the head of Abdullah's much-scarred head.

Terry Funk will try to collect on the bounty March 14 at the AWF's next show at The Guvernment, 132 Queen's Quay East at Jarvis. Bell time is 4 p.m.

Meanwhile, other indies have cards before WCW's sold-out Nitro hits the Air Canada Centre March 29 and the WWF returns to the SkyDome April 23.

King Kong Bundy, Superfly Snuka and Jake Roberts are scheduled to appear tomorrow at Abyss Event Centre, 3636 Hawkestone Road in Mississauga for the World Wrestling Superstars. Bell time is 5 p.m.

A week from tonight, the fledgling Northern Wrestling Federation with the likes of Joe E. Legend, Scott D'Amore, Sadistic Sid Steele and the Arkansas Hillbillies will be at the Thunder Night Club, 2714 Danforth (near Main).

HERE AND THERE: Veterans Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair meet for the WCW heavyweight title tomorrow (8 p.m. Viewer's Choice). Also on the card, Roddy Piper battles Scott Hall for the U.S. title which Piper snared from Bret Hart recently. Hart, who is not listed on this card, apparently had a heated argument this past week with Eric Bischoff about the direction or lack of same of his character, but expect Hart to be prominent for Toronto's Nitro show ... Shane McMahon as WWF European champ? Maybe that fall from the top of the cage Vince McMahon took in that spectacular St. Valentine's Day Massacre loss to Steve Austin hurt more than we thought ... Sunny is in trouble because of an altercation with her mother ... Scorpio has been dropped from the WWF roster for unprofessional conduct ... Have to like Val Venis as new WWF I-C title holder -- anybody but Ken Shamrock.