WWE Niagara Falls

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WWE Niagara Falls
Private
Industry Retail
Fate Opened
Founded 2002
Defunct 2015
Headquarters Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
Area served
United States
Canada
Key people
Vince McMahon (Owner)
Products Clothing, accessories and media
Number of employees
1,000
Parent WWE

WWE Niagara Falls was a wrestling-related retail establishment that was part of the Falls Avenue Entertainment Complex, which is located in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada was and owned by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). It was the second WWE establishment to open up after The World, though it was the first WWE Retail Store to operate in Canada and the first to open out of the United States. After The World's closure it became the only WWE Retail Store in the world.[1]

History[edit]

The venue was announced during the WrestleMania X8 fan access press conference in early 2002. The facility later opened on August 1, 2002 as part of the Clifton Hill strip in Niagara Falls. It was partly owned by Canadian Niagara Hotels and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). It was designed by Forrec of Toronto, Ontario, Canada with the exterior of the store having a gigantic title belt as well as big posters and hand-prints of wrestlers. The building featured a gift shop with WWE memorabilia and exhibitions on display, selling everything from action figures and t-shirts to books, DVDs, autographs and exclusive WWE Niagara Falls branded merchandise.[1] The venue also featured video games and pay-per-views playing to entertain the visitors. Notably, a sixty-minute video feed ran throughout the store, and this video feed was available at all Canadian Niagara Hotels branded as a WWE channel - used to promote the store to tourists.[2] During the first couple of years of operation, it featured a free indoor light show. The venue also played many WWE entrance themes and event music, mostly audio produced by Jim Johnston. The store also featured a drop tower attraction called The Pile Driver, based on the wrestling move, spanning 220 feet (67 m).[1] This particular attraction was open from mid-May to mid-November due to seasonal demand and climate reasons.

Fans began arriving to the grand opening the day before.[3] Trish Stratus, Chris Benoit, and Val Venis arrived for the opening to sign autographs for fans.[3] Many wrestlers visited the establishment during its nine-year run, those being, John Cena, Batista, Rey Mysterio, Randy Orton, Edge, Rob Van Dam, Mr Kennedy, Booker T, Torrie Wilson, Roddy Piper, Lita, Maven, Gene Okerlund, Stacy Keibler and Bobby Heenan. The last signing the store held was Gail Kim and Evan Bourne in October 2009.

In 2003, Stratus's DVD, 100% Stratusfaction Guaranteed had a segment filmed at the store. In 2007, notably after the Chris Benoit double-murder and suicide, the store removed Benoit's hand-prints from the exterior of the store as well as his poster that stood above the entranceway. All Benoit merchandise was cleared from the store and recycled.

WWE Niagara Falls ceased operations as of March 31, 2011.[4] The store was re-opened by Falls Avenue Entertainment Complex later in 2011 as a general gift shop with some of the items being wrestling related due to the venues past. In 2015, the gift shop closed to make way for Niagara Brewing Company - a company that brewed its beer organically in the store. The big title belt, the hand-prints and the pile-driver ride were taken down.

References[edit]

Coordinates: 43°05′29″N 79°04′27″W / 43.09129°N 79.074193°W / 43.09129; -79.074193