As the women of the world prepare to go head to head in Miss Universe – lip-gloss, eye liner and bronzer at the ready, some of Americas finest beefcakes have already slipped in to a bit of spandex for an adoring audience at the Expo. They did however; ditch the catwalk, opting instead for something a little more familiar to them – a wrestling ring!
Yes, Sunday afternoon played host to a Chinese first when a smörgåsbord of spandex-clad, Muscle Marys from World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (the WWE) performed at the Expo. Thousands upon thousands of WWE buffs travelled from all over mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau to catch a glimpse of some of the biggest names in the wrestling world and watch them battle it out, right here, in Shanghai.
The WWE was founded in 1952 but WWE matches have only been broadcast in China for the last 3 years. Initially, only 1 province broadcast the matches.
But as broadcasting expanded to 10 provinces, a large fan base has grown… and WWE now has the potential audience of 90 million homes.
Sunday’s grapple was performed to an 8000 strong audience: a full house. The 8000 tickets for the event were all given away merely one hour after the box office opened. Fans queued outside the Shanghai Expo World Culture Centre from 6am as bus loads of fans travelled from all over China together in ‘fan-organised’ transport. WWE followers organised the travel via wrestling forum 19977.com
Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman, stated that WWE was honoured at the rare and historic opportunity to perform at the Expo, thanking the government for the opportunity to entertain the fans.
The most lucrative markets available to WWE in the Asia-Pacific region are India and Australia. Nevertheless, according to Andrew Whittaker the executive vice president of the WWE, they have achieved their goal of introducing WWE to China. So when will the actual love affair start?
For now, Chinese wrestling buffs are going to have to take a flight across the Atlantic if they want another opportunity to see some of their favourite wrestler’s battle. WWE have reported that they currently have no further plans to stage another event in China.