Arena Report - U.S. Airways Center
WWE returns to the desert capital of Phoenix, tonight for the 2006 edition of the pay-per-view spectacular Judgment Day. Tonight's arena, the U.S. Airways Center has long been a destination of WWE since opening its doors back in 1993. As usual, the great Phoenix fans have made WWE the hottest ticket in town.
WWE's most recent visit to the U.S. Airways Center was in June '05, when the RAW crew came to town. On a huge live broadcast, the draft lottery continued and Carlito was drafted to the RAW brand. Moments later, he upset Shelton Benjamin to win the Intercontinental Championship. That same RAW also saw John Cena retain his WWE Championship by defeating Muhammed Hassan in under five minutes. Later in the night, Kane interrupted the wedding of Lita and Edge, and took out his aggression by assaulting the priest. In the main event, the unlikely pairing of Triple H & Kurt Angle defeated fan favorites Batista & Shawn Michaels.
In 2004, both RAW and SmackDown came through Phoenix. First in May, RAW featured an exciting six-man tag that saw Shelton Benjamin, Edge & Tajiri score a surprising victory over Evolution's Triple H, Batista & Randy Orton. Later, in the main event, Chris Benoit retained his World Heavyweight Championship by defeating Shawn Michaels after interference from The Game.
In the Fall of '04, the U.S. Airways Center hosted the special 5th anniversary edition of SmackDown. On that show, the fans were witness to one of the more interesting scenes in SmackDown history when The Fabulous Moolah & Mae Young defeated Divas Torrie Wilson & Dawn Marie in an "Old School vs. New School Tag Team School Girl Match". The main event of the special anniversary show was marred when Kurt Angle shot Big Show with a tranquilizer gun, rendering the huge Superstar motionless as Angle shaved his head in the middle of the ring.
In 2003, The U.S. Airways Center, then known as the America West Arena was host to the annual WWE Summer spectacular, as SummerSlam emanated from Phoenix. On that evening, Shane McMahon defeated Eric Bischoff in a No Disqualification, Falls Count Anywhere Match after interference from both The Coach and Stone Cold Steve Austin. Later, Kurt Angle retained the WWE Championship by forcing Brock Lesnar to tap out to the Ankle Lock Submission, and in the huge Elimination Chamber main event, Triple H defeated Goldberg, Randy Orton, Kevin Nash, Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho to retain his World Heavyweight Championship.
Prior to SummerSlam, WWE made stops at the arena for RAW in both 2003 and 2002. In the January '03 edition, Kane & Rob Van Dam defeated Chris Jericho & Christian in the main event. In April '02, the main event saw Stone Cold Steve Austin defeat the nWo's Scott Hall with the signature Stone Cold Stunner.
The U.S. Airways Center is located in downtown Phoenix, and is a close neighbor of Chase Field, the home of Major League Baseball's Arizona Diamondbacks. The arena is home to the NBA's Phoenix Suns, WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena Football League. From 1995 to 2003, the U.S. Airways Center was also the home ice for the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes.
The Center has hosted its fair share of big time events, such as the 1993 NBA Finals and the 1995 NBA All Star Game. It has also hosted some of the biggest acts in the entertainment world from Britney Spears to REO. Speedwagon to The Backstreet Boys.
Tonight, WWE will add to the arenas already storied history as Judgment Day comes to you live from Phoenix, Arizona.