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Show’s Blackout Angers Pittsburgh Fans With PM-Wrestlemania Bjt

April 1, 1985 GMT

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Angry professional wrestling fans, who knocked over a closed-circuit television screen when technical problems blacked out the satellite feed of ″Wrestlemania,″ are due to get ticket refunds today.

A total of 11,443 tickets, priced at $8 to $10 each, were sold to fans wanting to see the match at the Civic Arena. But there was nothing to see.

″We were scrambling up to the very last minute to get the thing on. It got to the point of no return,″ said Tom Rooney, vice president for advertising and promotion at the Arena.

″It looked like there was a problem in decoding the signal,″ he said. ″We had a scrambled picture and we were unable to unscramble the signal.″

The fans waited for the much-ballyhooed tag-team match pitting Mr. T and Hulk Hogan against Rowdy Roddy Piper and Paul ″Mr. Wonderful″ Orndorff.

They began chanting ″Refund, refund,″ as arena operators explained that technical problems were holding up the satellite feed of the New York event, according to one fan.

At about 2:30 p.m., 90 minutes after the scheduled start, the lights came up, and an announcement was made that refunds would be available at the arena at noon today, or by mail.

Angry fans toppled a closed circuit television screen and threw folding chairs to the floor of the arena, Rooney said.

″People were upset, understandably,″ he said. ″The extent of the damage we don’t know yet. It was minimal.″

Pittsburgh police made no arrests, but said three people were given citations for disorderly conduct, criminal mischief, and defiant trespass.