Arena Report - Target Center
Tonight the SmackDown Superstars make their way to Minneapolis, Minn., home of the Target Center, a location where legends and current superstars have created many compelling sports entertainment moments.
While many arenas have been privileged to host one of WWE’s internationally viewed pay-per-views, The Target Center has been fortunate to host two. The first was 1999’s Summer Slam. The fans were greeted with a treat when then-Governor and WWE Hall of Famer, Jesse Ventura, was announced as a special guest referee in a Triple Threat WWE Championship Match between Triple H, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Mankind. The match began with referee Jesse Ventura immediately ejecting Chyna from ringside. Fury ensued, and in the end, Mankind was able to connect with a Double-arm DDT in the middle of the ring on Stone Cold allowing him to win the WWE Championship for the third time. Triple H, favored to win the title took out his frustration on Stone Cold, brutally assaulting him with a steel chair, while Ventura and Mankind left the ring in celebration.
The second pay-per-view rolled into Minneapolis in May 2005, allowing the Superstars of SmackDown to settle their rivalries at Judgment Day. In the main event, JBL took on John Cena in an “I Quit” match. The match was brutal- at one point Cena, sporting the proverbial crimson mask threw JBL head first into a TV screen. Standing threateningly with an exhaust pipe in hand, Cena finally caused JBL to scream the two words “I Quit”, ending the match. Or so we thought. To make sure JBL met his Judgment Day, Cena connected with the pipe, causing JBL to fly through the Judgment Day glass wall on the stage.
When brutal attacks and bloody assaults were not enough for the dedicated WWE Minnesota fans, in September of 2002, they were given the honor to witness first hand the Commitment Ceremony between Billy and Chuck; the first two men to solidify their relationship live on RAW. But, General Manager Eric Bischoff had other plans. Disguised as the minister, he had the tag team of Three Minute Warning and Rico, attack and dispose of Billy and Chuck, thus permanently ending their relationship.
The Minneapolis fans have definitely seen their fair share of memorable moments, but none will be more remembered than the Nov. 13, 2005 Tribute show, where both the RAW and SmackDown Superstars came together to celebrate the tragic passing of fellow friend, wrestler, icon and legend Eddie Guerrero.
Minnesota has churned out many WWE Superstars, both legendary and current, from Black Jack Lanza to Ventura, and Ric Flair among others. While the Center has been home to many WWE shows, the arena is also known as the home of the National Basketball Association’s Minnesota Timberwolves. Opened on Oct. 13, 1990, The Target Center took 27 months to build and cost $104 million. In 2004, the arena was renovated and more seats were added bringing its seating total to 20,500 for basketball, 19,000 – 19,500 for concerts and 17,500 for hockey. In 1994, the arena was home to the NBA All-Star Game where Most Valuable Player Scotty Pippen led the East to Victory 127 - 118 over the West.