Arena Report - Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim
WWE returns to Orange County, California tonight as RAW broadcasts live from the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim. The Pond has played host to many a prestigious WWE event since its grand opening in 1993, and is one of only five arenas to host more than one WrestleMania.
A "boyhood dream" was realized in the Pond at WrestleMania XII, when Shawn Michaels defeated Bret "Hit Man" Hart for the WWE Championship in their now famous 60-minute WWE Ironman Match. WrestleMania XII was a historic event for reasons other than the showstopping main event. Stone Cold Steve Austin made his WrestleMania debut at the Arrowhead Pond, defeating Latino Superstar Savio Vega in a hard-hitting grudge match, and WWE Hall of Famer Rowdy Roddy Piper defeated Goldust in a Hollywood Backlot Brawl.
WrestleMania returned to Anaheim just four years later, hosting the 16th edition of the yearly tradition which was titled WrestleMania 2000. In the main event, it was a McMahon in every corner as The Rock with Mr. McMahon, Mick Foley with Linda, Triple H with Stephanie, and Big Show with Shane waged war over the WWE Championship. Triple H, with the use of a barbed wire 2x4, and help from Mr. McMahon, pinned The Rock to retain his Championship. In another controversial match, Kurt Angle attempted to defend his Intercontinental, European Championships in a Triple Threat Match with Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit. In a bizarre ending, Angle lost both his Championships without getting pinned as Benoit pinned Jericho for the Intercontinental title, and Jericho pinned Benoit for the European Championship.
WrestleMania is not the only major WWE pay-per-view to come to Anaheim. In 1999, the Royal Rumble emanated from the Pond. The Rock won the WWE Championship by defeating Mankind in an "I Quit Match", and later in the night, Mr. McMahon, with help from The Rock, shocked everyone by eliminating Stone Cold Steve Austin to win the Royal Rumble match.
WWE most recently visited Anaheim in 2005, for a live Halloween edition of Monday Night RAW. Fans were treated to a special Diva Halloween Costume contest, where Mickie James raised eyebrows by coming out in a Trish Stratus outfit. The main event saw John Cena and Shawn Michaels fight to a no-contest when Kurt Angle interfered.
The Arrowhead Pond, which opened in 1993, has played host to several high profile concerts from acts such as Paul McCartney, Britney Spears, Madonna, and Queen. The Pond is also home to the NHL's Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.