Arena Report - ipayOne Center
Tonight, WWE returns to the ipayOne Center at the Sports Arena in beautiful San Diego, California for SmackDown. The ipayOne Center, formerly known as the San Diego Sports Arena is a legendary venue of the west. For nearly four decades, it has hosted the music, sports and entertainment world's biggest artists and acts. In just the last several years alone, the ipayOne Center has been the home for some of WWE's biggest and most significant signature moments.
In 2001, the Sports Arena was host to the inaugural Vengeance pay-per-view, and one of the most important accomplishments in WWE history. In consecutive matches, Chris Jericho defeated The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin to win both the World and WWE Championships, becoming the first Undisputed Heavyweight Champion in sports-entertainment.
WWE's last visit to the ipayOne center was in November '05 for the interactive pay-per-view Taboo Tuesday. The fans had their say when they put the legendary Ric Flair in a steel cage with Triple H, and the result was nothing less than a bloodbath. In the end, the Nature Boy relied on years of experience to get the win over The Game. In the Triple Threat Main Event, John Cena survived with his WWE Championship by defeating Kurt Angle and the fans' choice, Shawn Michaels.
SmackDown also stopped off at the Sports Arena in April '05. The show featured an early preview of what will be this year's Judgment Day main event as hometown hero Rey Mysterio faced off with JBL in a No. 1 contender qualifying match. On that night, JBL was victorious thanks to a controversial disqualification involving Eddie Guerrero. However, in perhaps a slight bit of consolation for Rey's hometown fans, they were treated to a SmackDown Diva Bikini contest which was won by Torrie Wilson.
The ipayOne Center's SmackDown and RAW history dates as far back as 1999. In May of that year, the rivalry between Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock took a unique turn when the two met in a Lumberjack Match on RAW. The would-be match never quite played out, as both men were viciously attacked by Undertaker and the Corporate Ministry. Also on that night, WWE Legends Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco outlasted the Mean Street Posse when Rodney and Pete Gas were counted out.
In 2002, SmackDown made its first trip to the San Diego Sports Arena. In an early SmackDown classic, Rey Mysterio pulled off an unlikely upset, defeating Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle in a Triple Threat Match, electrifying the hometown crowd. The '02 episode of SmackDown was also the site of an entertaining No Disqualification Match which featured all sorts of weapons including a ladder, which Edge used en route to a victory over WWE Hall of Famer Eddie Guerrero.
WWE visited San Diego twice in 2003. In June, RAW was live from the Sports Arena. The main event was a six-man tag pitting Evolution's Triple H, Ric Flair and Randy Orton against Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash and the Hurricane. Evolution won the match, but what happened afterwards was more significant as Kevin Nash delivered a viscous Jacknife Powerbomb on The Game.
Later in 2003, SmackDown visited Southern California for another action packed show. The hometown kid Rey Mysterio, with friends and family in attendance came up just short in his challenge for Brock Lesnar's WWE Championship.
RAW made its return to San Diego in 2004, hosting a huge 20-man Battle Royal featuring the likes of Ric Flair, Batista, Edge, Triple H, Kane, Randy Orton, Chris Jericho and Shelton Benjamin. The Big Red Monster came out victorious, in the process becoming the No. 1 contender for the World Championship.
Completed in 1966, the ipayOne Center has hosted more than its fair share of big names. The Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra, 'NSync, U2, Van Halen, Britney Spears, and Grateful Dead are just a few of the music world's best to tour through the famous San Diego venue. The sports world has also made history in the Sports Arena. In 1973, local boxing standout Ken Norton became the Heavyweight Champion of the World when he stunned everyone by beating the legendary Muhammad Ali.
As previously mentioned, San Diego is the home of SmackDown's World Champion, Rey Mysterio. Tonight's homecoming may be short lived, as the city's favorite son, Rey Mysterio will be forced to get in the ring with the unbeaten and unstoppable monster known as The Great Khali. Tune in to SmackDown to find out if Rey can once again survive the unthinkable, and go into Judgment Day with the momentum he will so desperately need.