WWE attracts crowd of ticket buyers

Jennifer Bailey | Commercial-NewsFans wait in line Friday morning at the David S. Palmer Arena box office for WWE Wrestling tickets. The first fan in line, Roy Walters of Jamestown, Ind., camped out all night for tickets.

DANVILLE — A long line of wrestling fans couldn’t wait to get their tickets Friday morning at the David S. Palmer Arena box office for a WWE wrestling event coming to the city in July.

Roy Walters of Jamestown, Ind., was the first person in line at the box office Friday.

He had been camped out all night. He arrived in line with his lawn chair in hand at 11:30 p.m. Thursday night, Illinois time, he said smiling.

Tickets didn’t go on sale until 10 a.m. Friday for the WWE Live Summer Slam Heatwave Tour. The event will be at 7:30 p.m. July 18 at the David S. Palmer Arena, 100 E. Main St.

Walters said the little over an hour’s drive to Danville and time spent in line was worth it to get tickets. He’s a big wrestling fan.

“I like John Cena,” he said. “I like Dolph Ziggler, too.”

Those are just two of the wrestling stars expected to come to Danville for the event. There is another WWE tour stop the same night in Peoria, with different WWE stars expected.

The Danville event is to include United States Champions John Cena vs. Rusev in a United States Championship Street Fight.

Also expected live in action are: Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus, Dean Ambrose, Bad News Barrett, New Day and many more. The superstars are subject to change.

Tickets range in price from $20 to $100 and can be purchased at the David S. Palmer Arena or at www.palmerarena.com.

Arena general manager Peter Blackmon said the last time a WWE event was in Danville seven years ago it was 100 percent sold out. That had between 3,900 and 4,000 total seating, he said. This event will have about 3,900 seats and he expects it also to be sold out.

“This is a game changer …,” Blackmon said about the hot-ticket event for the arena.

Any given budget year, having big events like this “changes your whole outlook,” he said.

Blackmon said the arena already was “having a banner year,” and even “a great decade,” and this fantastic fiscal year for the arena that ends July 31 will have a great ending too.

“This is the kind of event that will definitely pick things up,” he said.

Blackmon added the arena also has Ben Porstmouth as Elvis coming up at 7 p.m. June 11 as a celebration of Elvis’ 80th Birthday.

He said people are “nerds” for their favorite singers, actors, wrestling stars and others.

“Everybody has their interests,” Blackmon said. “WWE is a huge show for the central Illinois market.”

Pro wrestling is huge for the area in general, he said.

Others who were in line Friday morning to purchase tickets for themselves and family members were Josh Wakeland, who arrived at the arena at 5:20 a.m. Friday, and Gina Noerenberg, who arrived at 6 a.m. Friday. Both are from Danville. They were in line before the sale time with more than 20 people. They were talking about their favorite WWE wrestlers, new and older ones, in the nice morning weather while passing the time.

Noerenberg said she’s excited WWE was coming back to Danville. She last saw a WWE event in Champaign.

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