McMahon: WWE move to Staples brokered at Lakers-Nuggets Game 1
World Wrestling Entertainment Chairman Vince McMahon told The Times today that the agreement to move his scheduled 'Monday Night Raw" event from Denver's Pepsi Center to Staples Center was verbally agreed upon by his son, Shane, and AEG executive Tim Leiweke at Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference Finals Tuesday night at Staples Center.
"We were invited to come out to L.A., and that's what we did," McMahon said. "It's not easy moving the second largest traveling show in the country behind Ringling Bros. [circus] at the last minute, when you're talking about rerouting trucks and finding hotel rooms on a holiday. But we're doing it. Now we just need to sell tickets."
The rescheduled "Raw" show certainly has attracted publicity after McMahon blasted Denver Nuggets and Pepsi Center owner Stan Kroenke for double-booking his Colorado venue with the WWE and Game 4 of the Nuggets-Lakers series. McMahon is calling Kroenke by his formal name now, E. Stan Kroenke, and encouraged an investigation into "people who have one letter as their first name being bad people."
"We haven't even had an apology -- in the media, or to me," McMahon said. "All one of their lackeys have to say is that, 'I've done wrong, and we'll make it right,' and we'll deal with it reasonably. Don't try to say the only way to deal with it is having me sign a joint press release where they have me saying what a great guy E. Stan Kroenke is."
A WWE spokeswoman said the WWE and Kroenke Sports signed the contracts for Monday's event on April 15.
McMahon, for now, said he's not concentrated on a possible legal claim against Kroenke Sports, adding, "If anyone ever had a legitimate legal gripe, we do. I expect a resolution, but nothing's been offered yet."
No doubt capitalizing on the attention, McMahon said WWE has scripted a "Raw" showdown between his WWE character Mr. McMahon against a Stan Kroenke impersonator and will also dress up the 10 wrestlers in his newly planned "5 on 5 playoff" bout to be dressed in the uniforms of the Nuggets (The Miz, Randy Orton, Ted DiBiase, Cody Rhodes, Big Show) and the Lakers (Jerry Lawler, John Cena, Batista, MVP and a special mystery guest).
The television ratings will be interesting to watch, as WWE on USA goes head to head against the Lakers-Nuggets on ESPN. "We'll be fine," McMahon said. "We clobber the NBA during the regular season, but I don't think that will be the case this time. Everybody loves the Lakers."
The WWE will also have a Tuesday night card, featuring Extreme Championship Wrestling and Friday night "SmackDown" fighters at Staples.
"When you can't control things, all you can do is turn a negative into a positive," McMahon said.
-- Lance Pugmire