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  Oct. 3, 2001

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WWF debut for young turk Lesnar
South Dakotan shows WWF promise

By DOUG LUNNEY -- Winnipeg Sun

 Longtime Winnipeg wrestling fans love to tell stories about the old days.

 They'll talk about being there when Greg Gagne put the sleeper on Bobby Heenan, then stuffed him into the weasel suit. They'll remember Jesse Ventura hitting Hulk Hogan over the head with a chair after losing an arm wrestling match.
Brock Lesnar

 Well, younger fans who take in Saturday's World Wrestling Federation show at the Winnipeg Arena (7:30 p.m.) may have a tale to tell for years to come. They can say they witnessed Brock Lesnar work his first WWF house show.

 "I hope that's so," Lesnar chuckled in a phone interview from Louisville, Ky., yesterday.

 Lesnar is a 6-foot-4 295-pound monster, who was recruited by the WWF during his amateur wrestling career with University of Minnesota, which ended last year with an NCAA heavyweight title.

 The 24-year-old has been making an impact in Ohio Valley Wrestling, the WWF's training grounds in Louisville, since signing with the Federation in June of 2000.

 Oddly enough, Lesnar wasn't a fan as a kid. Like most amateur wrestlers, including WWF champ Kurt Angle, Lesnar didn't think much of the pro rasslin' game.

 "I just started watching it when I knew they were interested in me, and slowly became a fan of it," said Lesnar, who grew up on a farm near Webster, S.D. "I didn't watch any of it until my sophomore year in college.

 "After watching it and going to a few live matches, I thought, man, this is a great show and I'd like to be a part of it."

 Training in Louisville with the likes of Billy Kidman, Dean Malenko, Mark Henry and The Big Boss Man has been exciting for Lesnar, but he's eager to take the next step.

 Like Angle, fans can expect him to use his collegiate background for finishing moves, such as the "fisherman suplex" and "shooting star crab."

 Lesnar, whose older brother Chad lives in Brandon, expects to move back to Minneapolis, Minn., soon. After taking on Chris Kanyon Saturday, Lesnar isn't certain what angle WWF writers have in store for him, but the idea of being a "rugged and tough" heel appeals to him.

 "I'd like to see myself the WWF champion in the near future," he said. "I'll definitely be in the business for quite some time."

 Saturday's main event features Angle and Stone Cold Steve Austin for the title. Winnipeg's own Y2J Chris Jericho will meet Lance Storm, while the Hardy Boyz take on the Dudley Boyz for the tag team title.

More on: Brock Lesnar

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