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August 20, 2014

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Thomas & Mack Turns 25:

No. 21: The Mack ‘Smackdown’

Wresting events keep coming back to the Mack

Beyond the Sun

Editor's Note: In conjunction with the 25th anniversary of the Thomas & Mack Center's opening on Nov. 21, 1983, the Sun is celebrating the building's colorful history with a top 25 countdown - to No. 1 on Nov. 21, 2008 - of the biggest events held inside the arena located on UNLV's campus.

You Little Hulksters, just don’t get too close to the action on the rails of the Thomas & Mack Center!

That may or may not have been the request over the speakers on March 21, 1987, when wrestling made its debut in the arena and 14,434 attended the event that featured Hulk Hogan.

But it started a trend that has kept coming back to the Mack.

In September 1999, Vince McMahon won a title over Triple H when Steve Austin interfered with the proceedings in WWE’s "Smackdown" before a crowd of 9,893.

In October 2001, at "No Way Out 2001," 14,425 saw The Rock deliver two crushing Rock Bottoms and defeat Kurt Angle.

And in May 2006, 9,837 packed the Mack for the RAW “See No Evil” tour.

Edge and Mick Foley went after Paul Heyman, then Tommy Dreamer and Terry Funk showed to make it a brawl.

In the Intercontinental Title match, Rob Van Dam kicked Shelton Benjamin, who had been taunting Van Dam with his title belt, on his rear, and the referee DQ’d Van Dam.

Van Dam also got into it with John Cena, Carlito Cool and Maria Kanellis talked about winning money by cheating at cards and Kane “demolished” Trevor Murdoch with a chokeslam.

At least, demolished is how WWE officially described Kane’s maneuver.

And a five-member “spirit squad” took out Shawn Michaels.

“The Spirit Squad members took turns kicking, kneeing, punching, backflipping and decimating Shawn Michaels.”

Can’t beat those WWE writers, or the entertainment value of their industry.

In February, a crowd of 14,011 packed the Mack for WWE’s “No Way Out” event. It was one of the 36 wrestling events that have been staged inside the arena.

Plenty of aficionados, no doubt, are planning return trips to the building as wrestling is one of its staples.

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