Theodore's World: Wrestle Mania Rocks Camp Victory

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December 07, 2008

Wrestle Mania Rocks Camp Victory

WWE's sixth annual Tribute to the Troops program airs Dec. 20 at 9/8 CT on NBC, featuring exciting matches from Raw, SmackDown and ECW Superstars' live performance in the Middle East. WWE's mission to bring its unique form of entertainment to the U.S. servicemen and women in Iraq also bridges the American public with those who continue to fight in the name of freedom. Tune in to NBC at 9/8 CT on Dec. 20 for this poignant holiday special.

WWE website

World Wrestling Entertainment Divas Kelly Kelly and Eve, leave the ring after their fight as part of the WWE's Tribute to the Troops Tour Dec. 5 in front of the Al Faw Palaceon.

World Wrestling Entertainment's wrestler, John Cena, holds up the United States flag while paying a tribute to the troops in Iraq

Troops from all over the Victory Base Complex gathered to cheer for their favorite World Wrestling Entertainment wrestlers at the Tribute to the Troops Tour held in front of the Al Faw Palace on Dec. 5.

Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldiers gather around the World Wrestling Entertainment ring, raise their right hand and re-enlist to serve their country before the WWE wrestlers took the ring during the Tribute to the Troops Tour held in front of the Al Faw Palace on Dec. 5.

(From left to right) John Morrison, Jeff Hardy and R Truth, World Wrestling Entertainment wrestlers, pose with Soldiers after their fight during the Tribute to the Troops Tour, held in front of the Al Faw Palace Dec. 5.

Soldiers from 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division-Baghdad, cheer as World Wrestling Entertainment wrestler R Truth climbs out of their mine resistant ambush protective vehicle and takes the ring during the Tribute to the Troops Tour held in front of the Al Faw Palace on Dec. 5.

Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond, a Hattisburg, Miss. native, commanding general, Multi-National Division-Baghdad, poses with Vince McMahon, World Wrestling Entertainments chairman, before the WWE wrestlers took the ring during the Tribute to the Troops Tour

Wrestle Mania Rocks Camp Victory

By Spc. Benjamin Crane and Pfc. Lyndsey Dransfield

Multi-National Division-Baghdad Public Affairs Office


Hundreds of service members gathered in front of Al Faw Palace Dec. 5, to watch World Wrestling Entertainment wrestlers lay the smack down.

John Cena, Chris Jericho, the Big Show and the WWE Divas headlined the Tribute to the Troops Tour.

Troops from all of the Victory Base Complex came out to cheer on their favorite stars. Some even waited in line for three hours before the barriers were opened so they could get a ringside view of the action.

“I was extremely excited when I heard about this because I grew up watching wrestling with my dad and my friends back home,” said Spc. Scott Snow, a Garland, Texas, native, with Company B, Special Troops Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad. “I got here at 8:15 a.m. and there was already a line”

The troops stormed toward the ring when the gates opened at 10 a.m. for a day to enjoy and boost their morale.

“I really appreciate it because they realize we do so much for the country. Then by them coming out here, they support us. It raises a lot of morale for a lot of people and I really enjoy watching,” said Sgt. Molly Stoklosa, a native of Ely, Minn., and part of the 4th Inf. Div. Band.

Before the fights began, Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond, commanding general of MND-B re-enlisted one hundred Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers.

Spc. Jerry Ewell was one of the soldiers that decided it was a good opportunity to rededicate his service to his county and see his favorite wrestlers at the same time.

“I want to make the Army a career,” said Ewell, an Idaho native, who serves with the Special Troops Battalion 2nd Brigade, 1st Inf. Div., MND-B. He talked to his retention non-commissioned officer and was told he could be ringside when he was sworn in.
“My favorite wrestler is John Cena and I really hope to meet him,” said Ewell. “He knows what the troops are like because his dad was a Marine.”

Whether or not Ewell got the chance to meet Cena is a mystery, but most likely he was thrilled when at the end of the show Cena proudly held his championship belt over his head and paid a special tribute to the service members.

“This vacation means a lot to me and it means a lot to spend it with you guys. I am surrounded by the most disciplined, courageous unbelievable bunch in the universe and I am proud of each and every one of you,” he yelled to the crowd as they threw their hands in the air and cheered in unison.

This is the sixth year the WWE wrestlers have volunteered to perform for the troops in Iraq and according to Vince McMahon, chairman and promoter of the WWE, it certainly won’t be the last.

“All of our performers want to come year after year. It’s an extraordinary personal experience for them to be able to interact with our Armed Forces,” McMahon said. “It’s the biggest event we do all year, bigger than Wrestle Mania. We get more out of it than any other event. It’s the least we can do as patriots; to come over here and show some appreciation for all of the good work these men and women do.”

Wrestler and entertainer, the Big Show, has been coming to Iraq since 2003 and personally continues to come back each year because of the feeling he gets when he’s around Soldiers.

“I know we are supposed to be a big morale booster for the Soldiers, but I find myself being inspired when we come over here,” said the Big Show. “I love everything about the Armed Forces and I’m a proud American.”

Over two months ago Maj. Michael McGregor, a Roaring Springs, Pa. native, deputy of personnel office with 4th Inf. Div, MND-B, was appointed as officer in-charge of coordination and planning for the event.

“We met with the set design staff, who came over before time and gave us a layout of how the venue would work,” said McGregor. “When the staff landed they just needed to add the finishing touch.”

But McGregor said, it’s not the set design or the venue layout that make the event so significant each year. It’s the unique opportunity service members in theater have to meet and see people they may not otherwise have the opportunity to see.

“WWE wrestlers are larger than life to most of our Soldiers, so they carry a certain amount of mystery or amazement for people,” said McGregor.
“When you go to a concert in the United States the entertainers don’t do a meet and great after the show where everyone gets an autograph, but they do here because they are appreciative of what the Soldiers do for them and our country, he said. “I don’t think these entertainers realize that for some, this is a dream come true.”

Posted by Wild Thing at December 7, 2008 06:48 AM


Those guys and gals are great for bringing joy and entertainment to the troops.

Posted by: BobF at December 7, 2008 09:54 AM

I am not a wrestling fan, but I sure appreciate what the WWE has done for our troops. Six years of these wrestlers going over to meet and greet with the soldiers. I don't know if the wrestlers get any recognition here in The States for those trips, but you can see they get plenty of respect from the troops.

Posted by: TomR at December 7, 2008 11:33 AM

But this is all about what makes America so great. Whether you believe in the war or not, it is your duty, as a star entertainer, to give back and show these kids some appreciation for everything they've given up for you. Do you think Bob Hope was ever scared when he went overseas for his troop shows? More than likely, but he did it because the troops deserved it and he was a "real" man, so to all who do go and spend a few hours giving the kids a nice treat, you have all our Thanks!

Posted by: Lynn at December 7, 2008 02:27 PM

BobF, yes they sure are. I love their enthusiam for our troops.

Posted by: Wild Thing at December 7, 2008 04:32 PM

Tom, the only thing I know of is the trip they make is shown on TV each year. This one will air on Dec. 20th.
Other then that I think you might have something there, I don't think they get any notice about the things they do like this. It would have to be a really slow news day I guess for the major media to pick up on trips like this that are made.

Posted by: Wild Thing at December 7, 2008 04:36 PM

Lynn, I agree, I have read where some of the stars have said they would go but are afraid because it was too dangerous.
Yes it is dangerous and lots of things have to be done to try and make it as safe as possible but like you said and I agree is worth it. The troops appreciate it so much.

Posted by: Wild Thing at December 7, 2008 04:39 PM

Miss the old Bruno Samartino vs. Killer Kawalski and Gorilla Monsoon matches in Philly... My favorites were George 'The Animal' Steel and Rowdy Roddy Piper! - "Pencil Neck Geeks 2008"
PS: Miss Elizabeth was a LooKER, eh?

Posted by: darthcrUSAderworldtour07 at December 7, 2008 04:48 PM

My son and I watched the WWF years ago even had to by him a 2 x 4 like Rowdy Randy Piper. Then he got interested in girls and that was the end of that. But this is amazing. God Bless the WWF and may they be prosperous.

Posted by: Mark at December 7, 2008 05:19 PM

Mark, that is so neat, I can just imagine the two of you watching it together. Love the part that he got interested in girls. giggle..

Posted by: Wild Thing at December 7, 2008 05:38 PM

Darth, yes, what is so neat is they have very physical people and so our are troops. Whata perfect match for them to get together like this.

Like you said too the troops love the pretty girls too.

Posted by: Wild Thing at December 7, 2008 05:46 PM