World Wrestling Entertainment returned to Jamestown with a bang Saturday as superstars from Raw, Smackdown! and ECW all put on a pay-per-view caliber performance at the Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena.
The night began with hundreds of fans lining West Third Street, some waiting as long as 10 hours to enter the building.
''We are the biggest wrestling fans in the city,'' proclaimed Kevin Spencer, who was first in line along with Dominick Hulett, Jake Hultin and Mark and Chris Conklin. ''Any time WWE comes to town, we are right here.''
The Big Show quiets the crowd before his patented reverse knife-edge during a match with Carlito on Saturday at the Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena.
P-J photo by John Whittaker
Mayor Sam Teresi and City Councilman Michael Taylor, D-Ward 3, climbed in the ring to present CM Punk with the key to the city and a heartfelt ''thank you'' for coming to Jamestown. After Teresi made an official proclamation, the crowd was ready for some wrestling.
The first match of the night saw Evan Bourne take on Chavo Guerrero. The crowd booed and chanted ''Chavo sucks'' so persistently that the nephew of the late Eddie Guerrero seemed a little perturbed and distracted. Bourne dominated much of the match, showcasing the skills that could make him a top-tier performer in the coming years. But his efforts were in vain, as Chavo's dirty tricks got him the win.
Kelly Kelly and Kofi Kingston teamed up to face Buffalo's own Beth Phoenix and the obnoxious Santino Marella, who ended up raking in a win despite the feelings of the crowd.
The show was an interactive one, with WWE Diva Eve making her way through the crowd, bringing one boy into the business as an honorary manager for The Truth and a young girl as honorary time keeper.
For the ECW championship match, the crowd was encouraged to send free text messages to choose a stipulation for the match. It was the fans' decision to allow the Matt Hardy-Mark Henry match to go without disqualification. The fans got their wish as the two battled with weapons and in the hardcore style that made the original ECW notorious.
The Big Show received a huge reaction from the crowd as he was announced. The 7-foot tall, nearly 500-pound mammoth made his way to the ring with much of the crowd in awe of his size.
''You see him on TV and know he's big, but in person he really is a giant,'' said one fan at ringside.
He made short work of Carlito, who was sporting a new hairstyle and outfit. At one point in the match, he quieted the crowd so they could hear the impact of his steak of a hand slapping Carlito's chest in a way that Ric Flair would have approved of.
Cryme Tyme attempted to leave with tag team gold as they took on the second-generation superteam of Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase Jr. The crowd was rooting for JTG and Shad, chanting their trademark ''Money, money, yeah, yeah,'' but despite their best efforts, the seeds of the American Dream and the Million Dollar Man, respectively, reigned victorious.
In the main event, Kane, the Great Khali and MVP teamed up against Rey Mysterio, World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk and WWE Champion Triple H.
As each of the competitors made their way to the ring, the crowd seemed to get louder and louder, before finally erupting with the entrance of The Game, Triple H. As his music hit, people came rushing toward the ringside barriers, giving security a run for their money.
MVP took his time running around the ring and gesturing his usual taunt. The Game responded by mocking his taunt and ending with a DX chop, to which the crowd went wild.
It was an action-packed match with a lot of high flying and a crowd-pleasing finish, as Triple H led his team to victory.
Every match on the card was stellar without exception, and logistically, the ice arena crew led by JSBIA general manager Mike Ferguson prevented the bottleneck of people entering the arena lobby as in previous shows. Saturday's event was the first at the arena to take advantage of the concierge desk and ticket lines. WWE officials made a promise to return to the city again sometime in the near future.