WWE Superstars visit with front-line workers at Moffitt, patients at Shriners ahead of WrestleMania

Sports

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Ahead of WrestleMania 37 in Tampa, a host of WWE Superstars visited frontline workers at Moffitt Cancer Center and patients at Shriners Children’s Hospital virtually, via Zoom.

Superstars Roman Reigns, who is the WWE Champion, and R-Truth, WWE 24/7 Champion, visited and took questions virtually from doctors, nurses and first responders at Moffitt Cancer Center. The visit was exceptionally special for Reigns, who has battled leukemia twice, as recently as 2019. He spoke on the importance of a patient’s relationship with those caring for them.

“You build and you establish so many relationships that you weren’t prepared for, or you didn’t realize were going to happen. And those relationships are with the staff, the nurses that bring you back to the back to take your blood, or seat you in the office with the doctor, the relationship with the doctor itself, the same lady you see at the receptionist at the front desk,” Reigns said.

Reigns is grateful for all of the supporting roles to nurses and doctors at hospitals, including customer service.

“From my experience [it’s] second to none, and I’ve had to go through it a couple times and I’ve met some really awesome people along the way,” he said. “And without that type of love and that type of positivity, I don’t think it would have been a smooth transition, as successful as a fight, as it was for me.”

WWE Raw Superstar R-Truth also has a personal experience with cancer, through his sister, as well as with Reigns. He described his friend as an “awesome, humble guy.”

“That comfort that he needs that come talk to that lean on that you know, so I want to be that because he’s truly an inspirational walking testimony and he [has] no problem telling, inspiring people about, people are inspired by stories, people inspired by testimonies and, if I can assist that in any way I’m there for that,” R-Truth said.

On television, R-Truth plays a silly, comedic character for WWE. He said being able to put smiles on the faces of first responders and others who have been in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic fight makes him smile as well.

“A smile can change you in so many ways, you can change the effect of others, you can change the outcome, they can change your perspective,” he said. “I think we all should smile a lot more and I love this role, because I get to just hide and smile and run.”

WWE Smackdown Superstar Alexa Bliss brought smiles to faces by visiting patients at the Shriners Children’s Hospital virtually.

Bliss thinks of WWE for kids like her love for Walt Disney World, and tries to keep in character and keep “the magic alive.”

“We wouldn’t do what we’re doing if it wasn’t for the WWE Universe. We’re in the business of putting smiles on people’s faces,” she said. “Especially now with COVID and everything, if we can help people escape reality, at least for a couple of minutes a day, it’s so worth it.”

Bliss said she’s missed connecting with people, but she was able to do so on Wednesday with a few patients at the hospital.  

The Florida resident portrays a spooky character on WWE television and was able to connect with one young fan who thought the story angle a bit scary, but she was able to get him to open up and laugh.

“Just to watch him smile about that was awesome. It’s great that even if it’s via Zoom we’re able to connect with people on some level.”  

WWE WrestleMania will take place on Saturday and Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. It will be broadcast on NBC’s Peacock Network beginning at 8 p.m. both nights.

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