slides: The Best WWE Moments in Worcester History
Saturday, January 25, 2014
"I remember Worcester fans as being very rabid," said former WWE and ECW superstar Spike Dudley. (His real name is Matt Hyson. He's now a financial planner living in Lincoln, RI)
"Everybody says Philly, but Worcester is definitely a hard core wrestling city. They're very into it."
This is not to say that every Worcester resident enjoys watching giant athletes hit each other with folding chairs. The DCU's first act was a blue-eyed fella named Frank Sinatra, a far cry from the top rope aerobatics and intense melodrama of professional wrestling. However, there is a strain of bloodlust for primal thrills in this town.
"Worcester is just ravenous for this type of entertainment," said Amy Peterson, DCU Director of Marketing.
"It's the same for monster trucks. It comes in February and it always sell out. And the WWE always fills the house, too. It's family entertainment but mom and dad can get some enjoyment out of it, too."
The Worcester DCU (formerly the Centrum) is the epicenter for wrestling fans in the area. In its 30-year history the WWE has appeared in the venue a staggering 66 times, many of which appeared on television. The most recent, SmackDown TV, aired last Friday. The WWE knows what fans in Worcester have known for decades: Worcester fans are intense.
Related Slideshow: The Best WWE Moments In Worcester History
April 27, 2003
This was the first Backlash produced under the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) name, starring wrestlers from both Raw and SmackDown. The goliath known as Goldberg, a former football player who came to the WWE after leaving the WCW, beat The Rock in the main event.
Saturday Night's Main Event XXII
July 18, 1989
This historic event saw Hulk Hogan pin The Honky Tonk Man for the WWF Championship, Jimmy Snuka lept from the top rope to defeat Greg Valentine, Brutus Beefcake beat the late, great Randy Savage by disqualification, and The Brain Busters defeated Demolition in a "two out of three falls" match for the WWF Tag Team Championship. (It marked the first and only time a title changed hands during the show's run on NBC.)
An Epic SmackDown
January 17, 2014
With just nine days left before this year's Royal Rumble, CM Punk stood up to all of his foes at once. For his trouble he was rewarded with a thundering Big Red chokeslam from Kane. In another match, The New Age Outlaws followed up their Monday night crimes against The Second City Saint with a Friday night win over WWE Tag Team Champions Cody Rhodes and Goldust.
Steel Cage Match
November 3, 1996
Historians say the first cage match was staged in Atlanta, Georgia, on June 25, 1937. The match took place in a ring surrounded by chicken wire, in order to keep the athletes inside and the drunks outside. It was far more technical - but likely just as brutal - when HBK (Heart Break Kid) and The Undertaker defeated Mankind and Goldust in a cage match in the famed Worcester venue.
Mick Foley's First Championship
December 28, 1998
On December 28, 1998, legendary hard core wrestler Mick Foley, performing under the name Mankind, won his first WWE Championship in a television taping of Monday Night Raw at the Worcester Centrum. His victim? None other than The Rock. WCW, in an attempt to convince fans to stick with them, gave away the taped outcome on air. Broadcaster Tony Schiavone said the now infamous, sarcastic remark of, “Ugh, that’ll put a lot of butts in the seats.” It backfired. 600,000 homes changed the channel. For years afterward, signs were seen in arenas reading: “Mick Foley put my butt in this seat.”
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