WWE wrestlers pay pre-match visit to Yongsan
December 6, 2003
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Diane Riddick was determined not to miss World Wrestling Entertainment stars.
The mother of two waited 90 minutes Thursday at the post exchange for the arrival of four barrel-chest wrestlers: 290-pound Bradshaw, who is not only a wrestler but an author of a financial-tips book; 380-pound A-Train, whose finishing move is called the train wreck; John Cena, a 240-pound former football star; and Hardcore Holly, a 235-pound wrestler who recently recovered from spinal surgery.
“I’m so excited,” Riddick said. “This has made my day.”
Riddick said she is a wrestling fan by the prompting of her two children, 35-year-old Vincent and her daughter, Toni, 17, a senior at Seoul American High School.
She said her son turned her daughter onto the semi-sport/drama.
“My son has just ruined my daughter,” she said.
The mother said she was collecting the wrestlers’ autographs for her children and held a couple autographed cards with photos of the wrestlers. Dozens of soldiers and civilians lined up to shake hands with the wrestlers, get autographs and have them pose with infants.
Staff Sgt. Jose Rodriguez had tickets to Thursday night’s WWE Smackdown show in Seoul in his pocket. He said he’s turned his 9-year-old son onto the sport.
“I grew up on wrestling,” Rodriguez said, holding a signed magazine and photo card.
John Lavender, 20, stumbled across a large poster of the four stars tacked on a board in the garbage before he came to the post exchange.
He snatched it and got it inked.
Lavender said he watches wrestling “every time it’s on TV.”
A-Train said it was his first trip to South Korea and said he enjoyed meeting soldiers.
“It’s time to say thanks,” said the hulking, bald wrestler with hands the size of bear claws and three studs through his lower lip. “It’s fun to give back.”
The four wrestlers have a tight schedule.
They came to the base from Incheon right off an airplane and were scheduled for “Smackdown” on Thursday evening.
They’re scheduled to leave at 4:30 a.m. Friday for Singapore, eventually hitting Perth, Australia, before a three-day stint for the troops in Baghdad, Iraq, next week.
“It’s going to be a great trip,” Cena said. “It’s going to be awesome.”