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Live wrestling’s back at Mall of America

Al Urbanski
The nation’s largest mall hosted the first episode of WCW’s Monday Nitro in 1995.

If a big mall is truly “of” America, it has to fit big-time wrestling somewhere inside its galleries, don’t you think?

Mall of America did it 27 years ago when it hosted the very first episode of World Championship Wrestling’s Monday Nitro with a bill headed by Hulk Hogan, Sting, and Ric Flair. It got back into the ring last year with Saturday Night Nitro, an event put on by Minneapolis-based F1RST Wrestling. That packed the house, and so it’s back again this year.

Saturday Night Nitro will return to Mall of America’s Huntingdon Bank Rotunda on September 9, but the fun for wrestle-maniacs will begin on Friday the 8th with a Fan Fest giving them the opportunity to meet their favorite wrestlers in person.

“Last year’s event was epic, truly a dream come true for fans of sports entertainment.” said Chris Grap, VP of experiential at Mall of America. “These fans are the some of the best we’ve ever had in the Rotunda. After witnessing firsthand the rapturous reception to last year’s event and how quickly it sold out, we knew we needed to do it again.”

Tickets for the event go on sale this week, and Mall of America is expecting another sell-out.

The headline match at WCW’s Monday Nitro debut at MOA on September 4, 1995, had Hulk Hogan clashing with Big Bubba Rogers. It also provided the stage for Lex Luger’s emergence as a WCW star after leaving the World Wrestling Federation.

New Jersey’s American Dream center--owned by Triple Five as is Mall of America--this year became home ice for the Metropolitan Riveters of the Premier Hockey Federation, a professional league for women players. Fans can buy rink-side seats for the games, but any mall visitors can watch the action from behind the seats or above them on the third-level concourse.  

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