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A rumble in the Rock

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WWE SuperStars
Alltel Arena
Jan. 16

The WWE “Smackdown” and “ECW” superstars once again battled their way into Central Arkansas to the delight of a packed Alltel Arena lower-bowl crowd of 6,258 wrestling fans of all ages and sizes.

The crowd was buzzing throughout the nearly four-hour show, part of which was televised on “WWE Smackdown.” The lower bowl was full well before the show began, and became raucous as opening fireworks blasted everyone’s ears within a three-mile radius of the arena. Soon, all of the crowd favorites appeared, including WWE World Heavyweight Champion Batista, the Legendary Undertaker, ECW Champion Bobby Lashley, Rob Van Dam, Kane, Chris Benoit and Matt Hardy.

Much of the younger crowd seemed to be Rey Mysterio fanatics, wearing all sorts of Rey gear even though Rey wasn’t on the card because of a knee injury. Rey’s famed mask was everywhere, though, and seemed to be only second in popularity to the replica wrestling belts being sported by middle-aged men. They walked around with their replica belts either wrapped around their waists or lying stylishly perfect on their shoulders.

We’ll give props to WWE for bringing some of its top-notch superstars back out after both the “Smackdown” and “ECW” shows were over to give the fans a main-event match that wasn’t televised. The crowd was as into it as if the show had just begun, witnessing the Undertaker, Kane and Batista defeat King Booker, Finlay and Mr. Kennedy.

Mark Wilson, a diehard WWE wrestling fan who’s been to more than 10 WWE events in the past year, described the show as one of the best he’s seen. “Just a lot of great action,” Wilson said, “and it helps that you get to see your favorite wrestlers for a four-hour time period like we got to see tonight. It was a real blast.”

Nine-year-old Jason Sanderson, who was sporting one of the popular Rey Mysterio masks, says he has watched WWE since he was 5, and was looking forward to the event for weeks — it was his first time to see wrestling live. “I’m really ready for it,” he said. “I just wish Rey was here, but I can’t wait to see Batista and the Undertaker.”

For this passable wrestling fan it was a great time and I enjoyed seeing old-timers like Undertaker and Kane, who I can remember watching when I was younger. The wrestlers put on a great show, and the fans, wrestlers and TV producers delivered a nice atmosphere. I’ll jump at the chance to go the next time the WWE comes to rumble in the Rock.

— Cory Williams

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