TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – World Wrestling Entertainment Superstar, WWE Global Ambassador, philanthropist and Tampa native Titus O’Neil plans to host his annual “Back to School Bash” at Raymond James Stadium in person this year.
O’Neil, whose real name Thaddeus Bullard, and his Bullard Family Foundation partner with AdventHealth, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Tampa Bay Lightning, WWE and more to provide children with backpacks, school supplies, health physicals and dental and vision screenings during the event.
O’Neil confirmed to 8 On Your Side that he plans to host the Back to School Bash in-person once again this year as more people in the Tampa Bay area receive the COVID-19 vaccine. He expects between 35,000-40,000 people, “if not more,” to be in attendance.
The event will be held on Aug. 7 beginning at 9:01 a.m. at Raymond James Stadium, O’Neil said.
“This year, though, we’re going to open it right back up the way that I usually do,” he told 8 On Your Side.
The event last year was held virtually for students at Amalie Arena, due to the pandemic. O’Neil enlisted help from his friends, fellow Superstars with WWE.
“It had a really cool feel, we had shots different places within the arena. We had John Cena reading his book ‘Elbow Grease.’ We had Sheamus doing the ‘Celtic Warrior’ workout,” he said. “They had shout out videos from Buccaneers players, from Lightning players, so [it was] very interactive.”
The virtual event was able to target the 27 Title One schools in Hillsborough County to make sure all students had backpacks and school supplies. O’Neil said the supplies were pre-shipped to each school, so they could be handed off to students.
O’Neil is bringing a special guest to help out this year: Florida native, rapper and singer Flo Rida. The duo will be holding a “battle of the bands” showcase for high school bands, as bands did not have the opportunity to play at all last year due to COVID-19 restrictions in high school stadiums.
“Therefore, they didn’t have a chance to generate any funds, so we’re going to have a very special surprise for them along with this showcase, and kind of let Flo Rida help introduce that surprise,” he said.
All of O’Neil’s work to give back has earned him the honor of being named a finalist for ESPN’s Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award for the second year in a row.
The ceremony will take place on July 12 and be broadcast in a 90-minute special on July 24.