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WWE unleashes on fans Up to the Test

The Fargodome's first nontelevised World Wrestling Entertainment event unleashed excitement on spectators Friday night. "Unleashed" featured WWE superstars Triple H, Rob Van Dam, Trish Stratus, Kane and others. Vicky Huffman was already up on her...

The Fargodome's first nontelevised World Wrestling Entertainment event unleashed excitement on spectators Friday night.

"Unleashed" featured WWE superstars Triple H, Rob Van Dam, Trish Stratus, Kane and others.

Vicky Huffman was already up on her chair cheering during the first match of the night between Spike Dudley and Rico.

The 47-year-old traveled from Havana, N.D., with her husband, Randy, and son, Wylee, to see WWE live for the first time. Her favorites are the Dudley Boyz and Van Dam.

"It's a treat to see this," said Huffman, a frequent viewer of televised wrestling.

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Libby and Albert Gonzales of Fargo, both sporting Triple H T-shirts, watch WWE on TV twice each week.

Friday was the third time the Gonzales couple, with their son, Albert Jr., have seen professional wrestling live.

"It gets exciting, all the people yelling," Albert Gonzales said.

The main event was a World Championship Street Fight with Kevin Nash facing Triple H and Ric Flair.

But just as many spectators wanted to see the steel cage matchup between Van Dam and Kane, the 7-foot-tall "Big Red Monster."

Although WWE still has devoted fans, the Fargodome had many empty seats Friday night.

Fargodome Executive Director Paul Johnson said at the height of professional wrestling's popularity, shows drew crowds of 15,000 to the dome. He expected 4,000 to 5,000 people at Friday's event.

Some thought the performance was less elaborate because it wasn't going to be televised. Past professional wrestling events at the Fargodome have been televised, Johnson said.

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Bonnie Akset of Grand Forks, N.D., said: "It's kind of fakey. It's better on TV."

"I thought the ring was going to be huge like it is on TV," said 15-year-old Josh Jeanottee of Belcourt, N.D.

Ryan Samuelson, who had fifth-row seats, said WWE looks better on TV, but he liked seeing the wrestlers up close. Samuelson wore a homemade blue mask and cape in honor of his favorite wrestler, The Hurricane. The 20-year-old from Fargo said he enjoys WWE for the athleticism. "And the storylines are pretty comical at times."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590

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