Professional wrestling, more often than not, is unforgiving. From wrestlers getting addicted to drugs to withering away, unable to stand the test of time - the shelf life of a professional wrestler is relatively small.
Moreover, cutting it in the biggest sports entertainment entity in the world is anything but easy. A lot of wrestlers tried making it big in the company, but only very few have had the opportunity to get their fifteen minutes of fame.
In fact, the business today is much better, compared to the toxic environment that persisted during the mid 90’s. We witnessed a rise in casualties, either due to a drug overdose, anabolic steroids or complications stemming from their past abuses.
However, WWE has been actively reaching out to the Superstars from yesteryear, and have helped numerous stars in entering the rehabilitation centres. For its part, WWE has done some incredible work to make the lives of its talent and the fans a little better.
Today, we take a look at the ten most heartwarming things WWE has done.
#10 Starting Connor’s Cure in memory of Connor “The Crusher” Michalek
Back in 2012, a certain young WWE fan put out a video, voicing his desire to meet WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan. Connor Michalek battled cancer of spine and brain, and his touching video soon went viral. This prompted the WWE fans to start a campaign, to help Connor fulfil his dream of meeting Bryan. Once Vince McMahon saw the video, he immediately promised Connor that he would meet Bryan during RAW in Pittsburg.
Connor immediately made a massive impact on the Superstars and the WWE management. Before WrestleMania 30, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon brought Connor to RAW, where Connor was cheered on by the Superstars, as he pinned the on - screen villain, Triple H!
After Connor’s passing, Stephanie and Triple H started ‘Connor’s Cure’, a non-profit charitable organisation for paediatric cancer research. Connor also received the first ever Warrior Award!
#9 Partnering with Susan G. Komen and honouring breast cancer survivors
Susan G. Komen and WWE have together taken up the initiative of fighting against breast cancer, and the promotion has contributed over $1.5 million over the past 5 years. WWE, along with Susan G. Komen have since pledged their unwavering support to those fighting against breast cancer, with WWE releasing a special edition ‘Rise Above Cancer’ and ‘More Than Pink’ ring gear, with 20% of the retail sales price of individual piece going to Susan G. Komen.
During the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 2015, WWE invited several breast cancer survivors on RAW, and honoured them, as the fans chanted “Yes”. Roman Reigns and John Cena thanked the survivors, and once again reaffirmed WWE’s commitment to fight breast cancer.
#8 Most wishes granted by a single individual; WWE donates $1 million
It is no secret that the WWE Superstars are some of the most frequently requested celebrities by the kids, through the Make - A - Wish Foundation. It is also no secret that one Superstar in particular - John Cena has granted more wishes than anybody else in WWE.
In fact, John Cena became the first celebrity to grant more than 500 wishes, and that was two years ago! Cena has since granted more wishes, and is still the most requested celebrity/athlete today.
WWE, in its effort to reach out to the community, has worked closely with the Make-A-Wish Foundation for years, and Miami Herald reported in 2015 that Stephanie McMahon, WWE’s chief brand officer donated $1 million to Make-A-Wish during a special event, as part of the SummerSlam Weekend.
#7 WWE presents Eric LeGrand with the Warrior Award
After the bravery and courage Connor showed, exemplifying the warrior within all of us, WWE decided to honour these ‘warriors’ during the annual WWE Hall of Fame festivities. While Connor was the very first recipient of the Warrior Award, this year, WWE presented the award to former Rutgers University football player, Eric LeGrand.
Eric was left paralysed after making a tackle 7 years ago, and through the years, he managed to defy the odds and has stood as a beacon of hope for thousands of people. Eric has also given motivational speeches, and WWE recognised his heroics by inducting him into the WWE Hall of Fame, and presenting him with the Warrior Award!
#6 Triple H gives a fan with Down’s Syndrome his 15 seconds of fame
For a young fan, there can be no better feeling than to share a moment with their favourite Superstar(s). The performers often bring kids into the ring during commercial breaks or once the show goes off the air, so that they can give the young fans a moment they can cherish.
During Triple H and Shawn Michaels’ final run as D - Generation X, ‘The Cerebral Assassin’ spotted a fan with Down’s Syndrome at ringside. The King of Kings proceeded to greet the fan, and brought him down to the ring for the patented D - X crotch chops.
The fan took part in the signature taunt in front of thousands of fans, and had the opportunity to communicate with, and embrace Shawn Michaels and Triple H!
#5 Chris Jericho helps a fan propose to his girlfriend at a live event
Some of the most entertaining skits happen during house shows, and when WWE visited the Land Down Under couple of years ago, a fan got in touch with WWE and Chris Jericho with a special request. Daniel House wanted to propose to his girlfriend Mikala in a WWE ring, and Chris Jericho agreed to help him.
During the event, Jericho invited them into the ring, and helped Daniel propose to Mikala in front of thousands of fans. With the question flashing on the big screen, Daniel got down on one knee and popped the question, to which a visibly emotional Mikala said yes.
#4 Bayley recreates her entrance with one of her biggest fans
Bayley is one of the most beloved WWE Superstars today. Her charisma and infectious smile have made her the biggest babyface in the women’s division on RAW, and the former RAW Women’s Champion is adored by the WWE Universe for her “Hug Life” motto.
One of the most heartwarming instances came during Bayley’s NXT run when WWE gave a fan the opportunity to recreate her entrance!
Bayley has two “super fans” - Izzy and Zoey. Back in 2016, Zoey had the opportunity to not only introduce Bayley before her bout, but also had the once - in - a - lifetime opportunity to recreate Bayley’s entrance, along with the former NXT Women’s Champion herself!
#3 Helping the Superstars of yesteryear
Back in the 80’s and 90’s, there was rampant drug use in professional wrestling - more so in WWE and WCW. The wrestlers had to compete five days a week, and could not afford getting injured. This led to them overdosing on drugs, or mixing pain pills with alcohol. Even a decade later, it became difficult for the old timers to move on, and get their act together.
This was when WWE initiated their rehabilitation assistance program, helping the current and yesteryear stars. In fact, WWE helped Scott Hall numerous times, sending him to rehab as a part of their Former Talent Rehab Program. While WWE’s success rate with Scott Hall wasn’t great, they helped Maven in 2012, offering him free drug rehabilitation.
#2 Giving Chase Holt a chance
Back in 2013, Chase Holt was like any other six year old. Chase loved sports, loved to play video games, and most of all, loved WWE. But his whole world came crumbling down when he was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) - a rare genetic disorder. The doctors gave Chase a few years at most, but he didn’t let his condition stop him from living a normal life.
During this time, Chase’s parents started “A Chance for Chase” - a fundraiser, and reached out to WWE and WWE Superstars, knowing Chase’s love for WWE and itsSuperstars. Since then, WWE Superstars from John Cena to Natalya have met Chase. In fact, Natalya and Chase Holt became close friends, and during his final days, Natalya ordered a special action figure for Chase Holt!
Chase, unfortunately, passed away earlier this year in May.
#1 8-year-old Drax Shadow becomes an honorary WWE Superstar
For a young WWE fan, there could be nothing better than to live the life of a WWE Superstar - even for one day. The younger members of the WWE Universe look up to the talent, and dream of walking under the bright lights someday. WWE Superstars such as Edge and Zack Ryder decided to become professional wrestlers, after attending WWE shows as kids.
So when WWE informed Elijah Mainville, an 8 year old, that he would be given a WWE contract, it meant more to Elijah than anything else in the world. For those few days, Elijah forgot that he was fighting an uphill battle; Elijah was diagnosed with stage-four neuroblastoma, but that meant very little when “Drax Shadow” became an honorary WWE Superstar!
Elijah signed the WWE contract, along with his favourite WWE Superstar, Stardust aka Cody Rhodes. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon offered Elijah the contract after RAW ended back in 2015.
“Drax Shadow” sadly passed away earlier this year.
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