AEW President Tony Khan has compared the reaction of the fans to CM Punk at Full Gear to the reaction The Rock received when he fought Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania X-8.
In 2002, Hogan had made his long-awaited return to WWE but was still teaming with Kevin Nash and Scott Hall and wearing the black and white of the nWo.
As soon as the trio entered the company, they were on a collision course with WWE’s two biggest stars at the time Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock. With WrestleMania X-8 on the horizon, matches fell into place with Austin facing Hall in a forgettable encounter while The Rock faced Hogan in anything but.
Despite The People’s Champ being ubiquitously loved and Hogan still enamoured with the worst excesses of his personality, the crowd that filled Toronto’s SkyDome for WrestleMania were fully behind Hulk Hogan – well, perhaps for one person still cheering for The Great One.
Tony Khan was there that night in Toronto and compared his feelings from that night to witnessing the jeers for CM Punk at Full Gear at the post-show media scrum:
“I remember being the only person out of 70,000 cheering for The Rock in Toronto. My friend looked over me like, ‘what are you doing?’ And I was like, ‘somebody has to.’ And that’s how I felt about Punk getting booed tonight (vs. Kingston). There were way, way, way more Punk people tonight than there were Rock people in Toronto, though. I can attest as I was there for both shows.”
On the subject of Canada, Tony Khan says he’d love for AEW to run shows there and says he has his own personal bias towards Toronto:
“I would love to come to Canada. There are a number of great wrestling cities all across Canada. It’s a great country for wrestling. I have so much respect for so many Canadian wrestlers from different cities. I’m very biased towards Toronto because my father owns a Four Seasons Hotel there.”
In spite of the crowd reaction, CM Punk managed to put away the sentimental favourite Eddie Kingston at Full Gear with a Go 2 Sleep for the pinfall.
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