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The Road to WrestleMania Hits Canton

WWE rolled into Canton, Ohio last night, the home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame for a house show at the Canton Civic Center in front of what turned out to be a great crowd of about 4-5,000 fans. The sold out show was highlighted by what was at one point going to be the main event for WrestleMania, a WWE Title match between champ John Cena and challenger Randy Orton, with legend Ricky Steamboat as the guest ref. It amazes me to see just how over Cena is at house shows, and by far he was the main attraction for just about every fan at this show. Yet one week from tonight I can bet my bottom dollar that he is going to get booed out of Ford Field when he takes on Shawn Michaels in WrestleMania 23.

The night was filled with some very good matches, with the open being Jeff Hardy vs Kenny Dykstra. I have been impressed with Kenny, and he gave Hardy a solid match that eventually went the way of Hardy with his finishing swanton bomb. Both men worked very hard and gave a solid effort. The second match was Vicera vs Hacksaw Jim Duggan, with Big Vis getting a win by DQ when Duggan used the 2X4 upside Vis' head. Match three was newcomer Daniel Roadeimer vs the now bald Eugene. Roadeimer (may have the spelling wrong on his name, but close enough), looks a lot like Brock Lesner when he first came into the company. He has a lot of green in him, and needs a lot of work, but vs Eugene looked okay and finally got the win with a slam off of a full nelson.

Then was the most odd match of the night, two guys "reportedly" from Canton, who looked like twins about 23-25 years old, a cross between Stevie Richards and Renee Dupree, vs The Worlds Greatest Tag Team - Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Hass. The match was pretty good for two no-names, and again, in an odd book, the two newcomers got the win about 10 minutes in with a small package on Benjamin. We'll know more about these two new guys down the road.

Ric Flair and Carlito vs MNM was next on the show, and again, all four men worked hard with the crowd to get over, and they did. Seems like a shame thar Flair is likely off next weekend's Mania, as he is still so over with the crowd, and you can be in the arena or outside before the show and people will be doing his trademark "Whoooooo." Both MNM worked over Flair quite a bit, and after a hot tag to Carlito and some back and forth, the two faces got the win with Carlito's backcracker on Joey Mercury.

Three matches were held back after intermission, with two of them being matches we'll see next Sunday at Mania. The first was what looks to be a train wreck, with Khali and Kane going at it until then brawled enough to get outside the ring for a double count out. I would not be shocked to see this match held to 5-7 minutes, and it end in the same way Sunday in Detroit. Not much can make this match good. Then they had a Divas match, with Melina taking on her Mania opponent, Ashley. The two went back and forth, and then Mickie came out, threw Melina in the ring as she was about to leave, and Ashley got the roll up for the win. Again, a warm up for Sunday in Detroit.

Then you had Cena vs Orton, which was well done, and after Steamboat got knocked out, a second ref nearly counted out Cena, but he kicked out of a RKO. Then as Orton went for a chair, Steamboat grabbed it, chopped Orton, and then Cena gave him the FU for the win. Again, a great crowd that you could sense loved each and every minute of the card.

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