WWE Wrestling Returns to Australia

WWE Wrestling Returns to Australia, by Greg Tingle 15th May 2003

The modern day gladiators of the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) are set to once again display their craft in Australia wrestling rings.

The WWE'ers will be back in Melbourne on the 31st of July, and will perform in Sydney for the first time in 19 years, on the 2nd August.

Australians have long had a love affair with professional wrestling, which these days is referred to by promoters and fans alike, as sports entertainment; a term that WWE guru, Vince McMahon coined in the late 90's, when it became more obvious that pro wrestling was performance art, not sport.

Today the wrestling business is well respected, and has been elevated in status, with fans and non-fans appreciating the performance art for what it is. The athletic prowess of the performers is well acknowledged, with them fearlessly "busting their arse" (and back), nightly, in the interest of optimum entertainment.

In the background, Vince McMahon, the master puppeteer, is pulling the strings, writing fresh storylines and developing new talent. On occasion, McMahon, and his family even get in on the act, in the interest of drawing high ratings, and maintaining total creative control. One can draw parallels between the WWE and "carnies" (circuses), of yesteryear.

The performers combine athleticism, charisma, muscle, ego, sex appeal, and the all important, thespian ability, to put on a show like no other. When the mix is right, living legends are created. These include Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Triple H, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Booker T, Kane, Y2K, and the list goes on.

While the WWE is not the only game in town, they have the biggest stars in their talent pool, and their marketing is amongst the best on the planet. Other wrestling promoters don't even try to seriously take them on head-to-head, although smaller promotions exist, which have stars in their own right, like former WWE and WCW wrestlers, Bret "Hitman" Hart, Jeff Jarrett, Sting, Raven, Shane Douglas and Sabu.

WWE Chairman, Vince McMahon rightly recognized the huge market "down under", and has just begun to exploit the opportunity.

The WWE drew huge PPV (pay-per-view) figures, when they were previously screened on Australian subscriber TV. Wrestling has always been a staple of television.

When Foxtel couldn't come to financial terms with the WWE last year, the WWE came to a deal with Australian movie cinema's such as Greater Union. Now wrestling fans can go to their local cinemas each month and pay $25 to get their monthly WWE dose of Wrestlemania on the big screen.

Last year's tour saw Melbourne's Colonial Stadium sellout, with over 57,000 screaming fans in attendance, even with megastar Kylie Minogue performing live "down the road". The DVD of the event came close to being the most popular title selling at video outlets and retailers around Australia.

The upcoming WWE tour has sent fans and WWE business partners into a frenzy.

On the 15th May, the Ticketek website "overloaded", with many fans not being able to order tickets online. Some phone delays were also experienced by Ticketek, and promoter, Dainty Consolidated Entertainment.

WWE fans are advised to keep trying to secure tickets via the website, or to call Ticketek from Monday 19th May 2003, from 9am.

The event is predicted by industry "insiders" to sell out quickly, so rush to secure your tickets to the "grunt and grown" event of the year. Sports entertainment indeed!







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