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August 23, 2010

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Wrestling stars kick up a fan frenzy

WORLD Wrestling Entertainment slammed into Shanghai last night with its first live show in China as the brand looks to expand in China.

Based on last night's enthusiastic crowd at the Expo Culture Center, it looks positive for WWE.

The crowd went crazy when Rey Mysterio did his signature 619 move on Chris Jericho.

The 59-year-old Li Jianfeng of Shanghai said he is a loyal fan of WWE wrestling as he watches video clips on the Internet every month.

"I heard there was going to be a live performance in the Expo Park a week ago and I'm so happy I could come and watch it," Li said.

The biggest cheers of the night were reserved for nine-time world champion John Cena. Many fans in the crowd even jumped onto their chairs to cheer Cena.

"I arrived here at 5 this morning, just to get a ticket," said Cheung Ka-chu from Hong Kong. He traveled to Shanghai specifically to see the wrestling.

The ticket center inside the Expo park started to give out tickets at 9:30am yesterday. More than 4,000 tickets were gone past 10:00am. A total of 5,500 tickets were distributed.

Before this live show, only a small fraction of Chinese, mostly in Guangdong and Jiangsu provinces, have been able to access WWE wrestling programs.

Andrew Whitaker, executive vice president of WWE International, which has its China headquarters based in Shanghai, said yesterday that they wanted to see how Chinese people would respond to the wrestling event before making a decision whether to hold more events in the city.

WWE programming is now broadcast in more than 145 countries and 30 languages, and reaches more than 500 million households worldwide.

During the first three months this year, WWE held 71 live events in the United States and four internationally, with revenues of US$138.7 million.


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