Arena Report - Veterans Memorial Arena
On Friday, reigning World Heavyweight Champion King Booker and the rest of SmackDown's Superstars will come to the Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla. just five days after No Mercy. What will be in store for Jacksonville now that the Rabid Wolverine Chris Benoit is back on the roster?
SmackDown last came to the Veterans Memorial Arena on Sept. 1, 2005. That night, Benoit retained his United States Championship when he forced Orlando Jordan to tap out just 23 seconds into the match. Also that night, Ken Kennedy and Booker T squared off, as did Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio. World Heavyweight Champion Batista was in action, as well. SmackDown's first visit to Jacksonville came on Dec. 18, 2003 when Rey Mysterio pinned Jamie Noble to become the No. 1 Contender to Tajiri's Cruiserweight Championship.
In addition to those two Friday Night SmackDown sessions, Jacksonville hosted WCW Greed 2001 on March 18. Chavo Guerrero unsuccessfully challenged Shane Helms for his Cruiserweight Championship. The United States Championship changed hands, however, as Booker T won the gold. Jacksonville also marks the place where Hulk Hogan won the WCW World Title from Randy Savage on July 12, 1999's edition of Nitro.
The Veterans Memorial Arena, which holds 15,000 people, was built to replace the former Veterans Memorial Coliseum. In 2004, the arena hosted the U.S. Men's Olympic basketball team. It also hosted the first two rounds of the 2006 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. The Veterans Memorial Arena is currently home to the Jacksonville Barracudas ice hockey team and it is also expected to get an indoor football team and an American Basketball Association team in the next two years.
Will Chris Benoit, Rey Mysterio, Mr. Kennedy, Batista and King Booker all have busy nights again when SmackDown returns to Jacksonville? What is next for the Rabid Wolverine and his return to WWE? Find on at 8/7 CT on the CW Network.