WWE made this announcement today via the following press release.
WWE(R) Debuts in China at Expo 2010 Shanghai
STAMFORD, Conn., Jul 06, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) — World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. and Expo 2010 Shanghai today announced that they will present the first live sports entertainment event in China on Sunday, August 22 at 7 PM (local Shanghai time) in the Expo Cultural Center. The 90 minute event, titled “WWE Raw(R) Presents SummerSlam(R)” will feature WWE Superstars John Cena(R), Rey Mysterio(R), Chris Jericho(R) and others.
“WWE Raw Presents SummerSlam” is free of charge to Expo attendees on August 22. Tickets can be obtained at the Expo Cultural Center from 9:30am the day of the event. WWE expects to fill the 8,000 person arena capacity. WWE will be one of about 15 shows performing on the main stage at the Expo Cultural Center, which is the newest, most state-of-the-art arena in China.
“WWE is honored that the Chinese government and Expo 2010 Shanghai have offered us this rare, historic opportunity to perform at the successful Shanghai World Expo,” said WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon. “We are thankful to be allowed to entertain the attendees and our fans in the region at Expo 2010 Shanghai.”
Expo 2010 Shanghai opened on May 1 to great international fanfare and will run until October 31, 2010. More than 240 countries and international organizations are participating in Expo 2010 Shanghai, with about 145 international pavilions. Many world leaders have attended during the first month, including United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, President of France Nicolas Sarkozy, and many others.
Expo 2010 Shanghai expects to see more than 70 million visitors from around the world, and has already had more than 10 million attend.
The theme of Expo 2010 Shanghai is “Better City, Better Life,” representing the common wish of the whole humankind for a better living in future urban environments. Through different sub-themes, Expo 2010 Shanghai will create blueprints for future cities and harmonious urban life styles, providing an extraordinary educational and entertaining platform for visitors of all nations.
WWE opened an office in Shanghai in 2007, introducing its unique brand of sports entertainment content to China, and has steadily grown in awareness and popularity. This will be the first opportunity for Chinese fans to sample the live event part of the WWE experience.
This announcement is a very important one and should not be underestimated by wrestling fans as the China market is huge. It’s one of the biggest untapped media markets in the world. Due to the country’s Communist government the amount of American entertainment that reaches the Chinese people has been small. In recent years, China has opened up to letting in more Western culture into the country with recent 2008 Beijing Olympics and this global Expo.
Pro Wrestling has been able to make it’s mark in often closed-off Communist countries before. In the video below, the legendary Antonio Inoki takes on the Nature Boy Ric Flair in front a live audience of over 190,000 people in Pyoyang, North Korea. The match was part of a two day ‘peace festival’ between Japan and North Korea. As part of the festival, Inoki and his New Japan Pro Wrestling united with World Championship Wrestling to put on a show in front of the largest pro wrestling crowd ever assembled.