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WWE Friday Night SmackDown comes to Hartford

The show returned to the capital city for the first time in nearly two years.
Credit: FOX61

HARTFORD, Conn. — The WWE brought the SmackDown to the XL Center Friday night. New and lifelong fans were excited to be able to watch the blue brand in person.

"I am a huge fan, I just started watching about a year ago and wrestling has been kind of a hobby of mine ever since," said Gianni Divilli of Westminster, Mass.

"I've been a lifelong fan since the age of 3. It's a fun excitement, it takes your mind off the day-to-day life," said Juan Santana of Springfield, Mass.

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Families came together to share in that excitement, bringing some loved ones along for the very first time.

"I'm excited to see some wrestlers I've been wanting to see for a while," said Alexis Snowman of West Warwick, R.I.

"My girlfriend and I are both music teachers and we love the wrestler Rick Boogs, you know he plays the guitar so music teachers love Boogs, Go Boogs!" Divilli said.

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Drawing in a crowd of thousands, local businesses were also looking forward to the event. Shows and games at the XL Center helping to bring business back to downtown Hartford.

"UConn Basketball last weekend was fantastic, the men were great the women were great. Hockey's been fantastic for us," said Johnny Vaughn, owner of Vaughn's Public House.

RELATED: WWE Friday Night SmackDown returns to Mohegan Sun Arena

After a tough almost two years, businesses are finally starting to see a difference. 

"I think we're seeing Hartford kind of getting its pulse back again and starting to beat again," Vaughn said.

The WWE fans certainly brought the energy to the capital city. WWE SmackDown will be back in Connecticut in January at Mohegan Sun.

Gaby Molina is a reporter and anchor at FOX61 News. She can be reached at gmolina@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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