Arena Report - U.S. Bank Arena
WWE returns to the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio tonight for Friday Night SmackDown. WWE has long made the Queen City a favorite destination.
The most recent visit was a special episode of SmackDown in December 2005. On that night, Booker T defeated Chris Benoit in Match No. 2 of their dramatic best-of-seven series. Also on that night, Randy Orton attempted to destroy Undertaker once and for all.
Early in 2005, WWE visited Cincinnati for a live edition of RAW that featured one of the last appearances of Evolution as a collective unit. In July 2004, a huge episode of SmackDown played out at the U.S. Bank Arena. Booker T, who will be facing Gunner Scott on tonight's show, won an eight-man Elimination Match for the United States Championship, defeating the likes of John Cena and Rob Van Dam along the way.
U.S. Bank Arena has also been the site for several WWE debuts. Theodore Long enjoyed his first night as General Manager of SmackDown on the previously mentioned July '04 edition. In March 2004, the Arena hosted RAW. In Shelton Benjamin's first match with the RAW brand, he stunned the wrestling world by defeating The Game, Triple H in the middle of the ring.
WWE's history at the U.S. Bank Arena traces all the way back to 1989. At the time, the arena was known as the Riverfront Coliseum, and it hosted a vintage episode of the popular Saturday Night's Main Event. Hulkamania ran wild in Cincinnati, as the Immortal Hulk Hogan scored a pinfall victory over the Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase.
WWE is not the only sports-entertainment company to have made its way through the Queen City. In January 2000, the U.S. Bank Arena, then known as the Firstar Center, was the site of Chris Benoit's first ever World Heavyweight Championship as he defeated Sid at the last ever nWo Souled Out Pay-Per-View.
The Arena was built in 1975, and is located in downtown Cincinnati, right off the Ohio River. It is also a close neighbor of the Great American Ballpark, the Major League home of the Reds, where SmackDown's World Champion Rey Mysterio threw out the first pitch on Tuesday afternoon.
Tonight, SmackDown looks forward to continuing the legacy of great wrestling action in Cincinnati.