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Wrestling: Good versus evil at the Show Me Center

Saturday, January 31, 2009

(Photo)
Before every World Wrestling Entertainment event, John Morrison performs the same ritualized taping of his hands. The layers of white and black tape, he said, symbolize the two dramatic elements present in every WWE match: good versus evil.

On Sunday he'll be among the WWE RAW Superstars at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau for "Pregame Pandemonium!" a two-hour show that starts at 2 p.m., intended to end before the kickoff of Sunday's Super Bowl XLIII. Headliners include Chris Jericho, CM Punk and Jack Swagger, Rey Mysterio, Cryme Tyme and a Five Man Battle Royal. Melina faces Beth Phoenix in the women's championship match.

Shannon Buford, Show Me Center marketing director, said WWE events are definite crowd pleasers.

"The people who are into it are really into it, and it attracts sports fans, too. Those guys are really athletic," he said.

Fans often arrive with handmade signs touting their favorites. They push through the crowd to get near the wrestlers' entrance, hoping to smack hands with a hero.

"It's bigger than life, very well produced," Buford said. "It's like watching a soap opera for guys."

Morrison likes to think good wins every time, but more than anything, he said, the bouts are primarily dramatic layers of conflict, and it's that physical resolution that sets fans' hearts racing for their favorites.

Kind of like NASCAR meets the Metropolitan Opera.

Morrison, the one-time boyfriend of WWE's women's champ Melina, prefers to compare what he does to a performance of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet."

He rattles off lines from Romeo's pal Mercutio, a character who might fit right in with the WWE crowd, given his pugnacious nature and love of puns.

"Part of the appeal to our kids is that it's like a fairy tale. The basic plot of a sports entertainment event is good versus evil, and that's something kids can latch onto," he said. "They can tell who the good guy is and the bad guy is right away. It's something the whole family can get behind."

Morrison's seemingly mundane name, among such cohorts as The Miz, CM Punk, and Tommy Dreamer, is actually a reference to the late singer Jim Morrison. "Poet" is just one nickname for the wrestler, formerly known as John Hennigan.

WWE is the kind of theater that demands fitness.

Morrison trains using a form of the Chinese martial art, Zu Quan, also known as drunken boxing, "not the drinking part, just the footwork and surprise attacks," he said. "At the gym, I do a lot of work on the exercise ball, and I do squats, use the pull bars and do handstands."

The wrestler, who studied film before getting on the WWE circuit in 2005, said "wrestling is just a melting pot of everything I've ever wanted to do."

He still indulges in film, doing a weekly WWE live show, "The Dirt Sheet" airing online at 4 p.m. Fridays and independent short films posted online.

Morrison sees himself as a role model for children.

"They can take away [a message to] be yourself and stand up for what you believe in," he said. "People stand up and cheer for people" who are emphatically themselves, "who are strong and stand up for themselves."

"Pregame Pandemonium!" starts at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Show Me Center and the card is subject to change. Ticket prices range from $17 to $62 for the two-hour event. For details, call 651-5000.

pmcnichol@semissourian.com

388-3646


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I hope everyone comes out and cheers on their favorite WWE Superstar as I am going to be there and am every year WWE comes to town, I mostly go to watch but also cheer on my best friend who I went to Jr High and High School with WWE Superstar Randy Orton so if you like him or any other stars please come out sunday and watch it and there are plenty of tickets left for the event and then you can go home and watch the Superbowl.

-- Posted by capeguy30 on Sat, Jan 31, 2009, at 12:00 PM

I wish I was half as cool as John Morrison.

-- Posted by TheWrestler on Sat, Jan 31, 2009, at 5:09 PM


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