TORONTO — Canadian wrestling fans are in for a Stratusfying summer.
Canadian pro wrestler Trish Stratus and her fellow World Wrestling Entertainment cohorts were in town Tuesday to announce an Aug. 15 date at the Air Canada Centre for the annual SummerSlam pay-per-view extravaganza. Stratus, a Toronto native, was there with fellow Canadian wrestlers Edge, Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit - all with wrestling personas going at full throttle.
"It's always a pleasure to come home," said the blond and buxom Stratus as her male fans hollered in appreciation.
With his world heavyweight champion belt slung across his shoulder, Benoit, an Edmonton native, told hundreds of screaming fans he is "psyched" to wrestle in SummerSlam on Canadian soil.
"I get the opportunity to defend my world heavyweight title one more time here in Canada," he said in a typical gravelly wrestler's voice, on the verge of shouting.
But rival wrestler Triple H wants to put Benoit in his place. He worked the crowd by saying that as a WWE superstar, he has to take the good with the bad.
"In this instance the good is SummerSlam. . . . The bad is the fact that I have to come one more time to Canada," he growled as the crowd both booed and laughed.
"I'm hoping to add another good on the plus side of this and maybe, just maybe, when I do come to Toronto for SummerSlam, I can get another one of your so-called Canadian heroes to slap around in front of all of you."
That brought another round of boos, louder this time.
"But that would be like having the night off since you guys are so easy to beat up," Triple H added.
Also on hand was WWE boss Vince McMahon, who called Canadian wrestling fans "world class."
"Canadians are unique in one respect in their fervour for this product," McMahon said.
"I mean, there's hockey and there's wrestling, you know? And that's the way it is in Canada and we love that."
"No matter where we go in the world, we look for audiences that are extremely receptive to what we do and nowhere in the world are they more receptive to WWE than here in Canada."
SummerSlam is considered WWE's biggest pay-per-view event next to Wrestlemania. Toronto hosted Wrestlemania in 2002, drawing a SkyDome-record 68,237 fans.
by neena chowdhury