WWE stars: It’s all about inspiring fans to rise above their challenges

Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka Picture: Supplied
Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka Picture: Supplied

Dreams do come true if you persevere no matter what your situation is.

This was the central message shared by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) wrestlers in the US last week for their South African fans.

City Press caught up with them at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Los Angeles, US, on Friday last week, ahead of the historic SmackDown Live’s debut on the Fox Network held at the Staples Centre as part of WWE’s 20th celebrations.

Several events were lined up ahead of the main attraction last Friday.

Read: Don’t miss the edge-of-your-seat action, drama as WWE turns 20

Aside of expressing their excitement for being part of the SmackDown move to Fox, their message for their local fans was more about inspiring them to accomplish despite their challenges.

Baron Corbin said his SA fans should realise that they could achieve greatness no matter their background.

“WWE superstars come from all parts of the world from different backgrounds and are achieving these amazing things from helping children read, helping [them deal with] bullying and to be larger than life on TV. I think WWE proves that it doesn’t matter your background, your ethnicity and your economy level or anything. You can achieve greatness.”

Corbin, who arrogantly refers to himself as King Corbin in the ring, said it was amazing to be part of the move to Fox, which will bring new audiences to watch his performance.

Especially in South Africa. I love going over there – just the energy and culture and everything else.
Titus O’Neil

Titus O’Neil said he grew up poor in a single parent household.

“There are a lot of people in that situation globally, who look like me, talk like me, dance like me, walk like me. And I want all those kids and families to understand that there is hope out there for us and people who look like us. When I was growing up there were not a lot of people like minorities on TV who had positive influences. There were all stereotypical characters.

“And now there are likes of Kofi Kingston [who lost his title to Brock Lesnar at the main event last Friday], the New Day, the list goes on and so many other talented Afro-American performers like Mark Henry, Booker T.

“It warms my heart to be part of that class of people that have not only broken barriers but also set barriers and different mindset of what Afro-American people can do in this business.”

O’Neil said the move to Fox would allow SA fans to watch him continue being one of the pillars of positive change in the world.

“Especially in South Africa. I love going over there – just the energy and culture and everything else. I’ve been over there few times.”

He said he grew up watching Friday night SmackDown and Monday night Raw and never envisaged himself that one day he would be part of a historic move to Fox. “As a kid I played football and basketball, I wanted to be like Michael Jordan. But, to be able to be part of this historic moment today is truly amazing.”

And the Australian-born tag team female wrestlers, the IIconics, said they would like to inspire South African women to triumph over their challenges.

WWE Blue Carpet

The tag team is made of Billie Kay and Peyton Royce, who fell in love with wrestling at an early age.

Kay said their goal was to entertain.

“So when you are watching the IIconics, we just want to entertain and make people feel like the way we felt inspired when we watched wrestling when we were younger. So that will be our message first and foremost. The other message is that we would like to inspire men and women all around the world to chase their dreams because we are living proof that if you chase your dreams, work hard, you can really achieve anything.”

Royce said: “Wrestling is our childhood dream come true so this is what we wanted to do since we were nine or 10 years old and we are living our dreams.”

Asked if they don’t worry about getting injured, Kay said: “We don’t cringe. We are badass women. We are WWE superstars. We would take the fight and hit no matter what.”

WWE Blue Carpet

Msindisi Fengu

Journalist | City Press

+27 11 713 9001
Media Park, 69 Kingsway Road, Auckland Park
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City Press is an agenda-setting South African news brand that publishes across platforms. Its flagship print edition is distributed on a Sunday.
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