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Featured Music & Events Sports Fara Illich March 24, 2010

Most guys, at some point during their lifespan, get into pro wrestling.
I was no different.
jesse-the-bodyIn Southern Minnesota, where I grew up, wrestling was h-u-g-e. The American Wrestling Association, which was based out of Minneapolis and was at one time the premier wrestling company in the country, featured legends like Nick Bockwinkle, Sheik Adnan El Kassey, The Crusher, Verne and Greg Gagne, Jerry Blackwell, Ken Patera and a certain flamboyant, feather boa-wearing loudmouth named Jesse Ventura [pictured left], who went by the name “The Body.” 
We Minnesotans would later call him “The Governor.”
In the early 80’s most of the AWA’s top talent, including golden-locked rising star Hulk Hogan, were lured to the then-World Wrestling Federation by power promoter Vince McMahon and soon the WWF became the most dominant company in the sport’s history, spawning pay-per-views, video games, action figures, a gazillion T-shirts, and more than 10 hours of cable programming each week.
Today, more than 25 years after Hogan captured the WWF heavyweight belt and ignited a nation of Hulk-a-maniacs, now-World Wrestling Entertainment remains at the top of the wrestling food chain. Why? The evidence can be found in Downtown Phoenix all week.
33027_PPV_WMAxxess_2Web_300x250WrestleMania – The bell rings on the latest installment of wrestling’s biggest extravaganza Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Fan Friendliness – WWE’s popular interactive  fan experience, AXXESS, is happening Thursday thru Sunday at the Phoenix Convention Center. The list of wrestlers scheduled to appear at AXXESS includes The Undertaker, John Cena, Edge, Big Show, Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, CM Punk, Rey Mysterio, Kane, MVP and Sheamus (not to be confused with Seamus). There will be autographs, memorabilia, video games, WWE Shop, Superstar Entrance , photos, Vince McMahon and Stone Cold’s 4×4, Kidzone, a tribute to Shawn Michaels, and many other interactive exhibits.
Preserving History – The WWE Hall of Fame ceremony will be held Saturday at Dodge Theatre. This year’s nominees include Ted DiBiase, Antonio Inoki, Wendi Richter, “Mad Dog” Vachon, Bob Uecker and Stu Hart.
Monday Night RAW – The iconic program that marked the beginning of WWE’s television takeover will be live at US Airways Center on Monday (for non-fans, the “RAW” episodes that follow marquee pay-per-views, especially WrestleMania, tend to be some of the highest-rated cable telecasts of the year).
So, with the WWE and its passionate fans visiting Downtown this week, the people watching figures to be ideal. Let’s just hope there’s no piledriving in the streets.
Have a wrestling memory you’d like to share? Feel free to sign in and use our comments section below.