When WWE takes center stage in Detroit later on tonight it won’t be like any other visit. This one will be special. After over 30 years of housing some of the greatest moments in the history of professional wrestling, the Joe Louis Arena will host their final WWE event before closing their doors for good later this year.
Moments like ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin driving a Miller Lite Zamboni down to the ring when the Red Wings were the toast of the town, The Undertaker winning his first WWE Championship, Kurt Angle and Big Show making their WWE debuts and of course – a memory that is fresh in everyone’s mind – Shane McMahon returning to WWE after an extended absence. These were just some of the special moments that will always hold a special place in the hearts of wrestling fans in the D.
Over 100 shows took place inside of the Joe including seven PPV events. Remember Randy Orton winning the 2009 Royal Rumble, Triple H besting Ric Flair in a bloody Last Man Standing match at Survivor Series 2005, CM Punk battling Rey Mysterio in a hair vs. hair match at Over The Limit in 2010, or how about Daniel Bryan beating Orton to win the WWE Championship at Night of Champions 2013 – an event that would turn out to be the final PPV at the Joe? These were just some of the quality moments Vince McMahon and company delivered inside of the same arena that would see the Red Wings hoist the Stanley Cup on 4 separate occasions.
With the Joe scheduled to be demolished in 2017 (along with the Red Wings incredible 25-year playoff streak) the action will shift to 66 Sibley Street, the site of the brand new Little Caesars Arena. The $700 million plus project is set to open its doors on September 12th when local musician Kid Rock plays the first of six consecutive shows inside of the new home of the Red Wings and the NBA’s Detroit Pistons (who are set to move downtown after playing for nearly 30 years in Auburn Hills).
Little Caesars Arena will also be the new home for WWE when they visit the Detroit area with their first show rumored to be of the Pay-Per-View on October 8th in the form of No Mercy, a Smackdown exclusive event. Until then, it’s time to relive all of the special moments that took place inside of the JLA and prepare to make some new memories today when WWE parks its cavalcade of buses on 19 Steve Yzerman Drive.
Here’s a great piece from Adam Graham of the Detroit News for those of you who are into continuing that proverbial trip down memory lane before tonight’s show.