In anticipation of the 2009 “SUMMERSLAM” Pay-Per-View, WWE closed off the streets surrounding the Staples Center and took over the Nokia plaza for a weekend full of in-ring events, superstar autograph signings and trivia contests. Thousands of WWE fans braved the blistering heat to get a glimpse of their favorite stars in person.
Saturday saw stars like Batista, The Great Khali, Big Show, Mark Henry, Randy Orton, Ted DiBiase, Jr., Cody Rhodes, and William Regal were among the many stars who turned out to delight fans of all ages.
Current WWE champion Randy Orton, normally known for his abrasive manner and temper, showed a somewhat softer side during his question and answer session on Saturday. Orton says he “really respects the WWE fans, regardless of what you see in the ring. Without the WWE fans I wouldn’t have a job. We are all here because of you.” One fan wanted to know if the WWE champ was able to compete against any former WWE superstar who he might pick. “That one’s easy. My father, Cowboy Bob Orton!” Randy spoke about how becoming a father adjusted his priorities. “Having a baby really changed my life. Everything I do is for my family. I know I am going home to my wife and my baby girl and that is why I do everything that I do.”
Orton also gave major props to the other members of Legacy – Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase, Jr. Along with Orton, Rhodes and DiBiase are both sons of legendary WWE wrestlers and continue to prove they are the future of the WWE.
The National Guard was a major sponsor of the Summerslam Axxess event and they offered physical fitness contests and demonstrations throughout the weekend. Many giveaways were available and included water bottles and lanyards which offered a code to get a free WWE poster online.
Sunday’s event saw more than double the number of attendees – numbering in the thousands. Former WWE Champ and #1 contender John Cena drew a huge crowd to his in-ring Q&A session. Cena announced that he has donated the pair of shoes he wore during his first championship win to MDA Betty’s Battle, a charity from MDA and “Access Hollywood” star Nancy O’Dell in honor of her mom, Betty, who passed away in 2009 from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Cena says that whenever he and the WWE get to partner for such worthy causes that they will do all they can to help out. “It’s important to give back and the WWE and the Superstars work hard for the charities that they support.” You can get more information on how to bid on Cena’s championship shoes at www.bettysbattle.org.
The guys weren’t the only ones who turned out to meet and greet fans. The WWE Divas represented on Sunday in force. Kelly, Maryse, Rosa, Maria and Melina all came out to pose for photos and sign autographs.
CFM spoke with Maria and Rosa about what getting to interact with fans means to them. Rosa says “It’s a great experience, it’s really cool. Kind of like WRESTLEMANIA.” “It’s our biggest pay-per-view. It’s nice to see that now we can give the fans the kind of interaction that they always ask for so it’s really cool.” added Maria. When asked when if the excessive heat was getting to them, Maria added, “We’re sticky, they’re sticky….it’s kind of a bonding experience!” As Divas, the ladies are on the road traveling more often than not. “At the end of the day you have to remember that it’s really cool that we get to go all around the world and see all of these places.” says Maria. “When a fan comes up to me and says “Oh, you’ve been to Australia?” I can say Yes! That makes it worth it, definitely.”
All the fans loved getting autographs and photos with their favorite stars and many of them then headed over to the Staples Center to line up for WWE SUMMERSLAM. If you missed the pay-per-view, you can check with your local cable company to catch a repeat and be sure to tune into WWE Monday Night Raw on Monday at 9pm for a recap of all the exciting matches and winners.