ORLANDO -- In the ring, TNA President Dixie Carter is now portraying a condescending, egomaniacal, pompous persona that has really captivated audiences, but away from it, she is a person who still has a heart of gold.
At recent TNA Impact Wrestling tapings, little Donovan Hill and his family attended as guests of Carter.
Donovan, 8, who lives in Dallas, has cancer, a brain tumor. For a couple of days, a fun time he and his family shared, courtesy of Carter and company, at Soundstage 19 of Universal Studios Orlando.
Donovan and his brothers, DeAndre and Darius, wore face paint, thanks to Jeff Hardy. They and their family met the Charismatic Enigma pre-show, and he painted them Hardy style. During the show, Hardy gave Donovan his sleeves and even acknowledged him at ringside.
Hardy wasn’t the only one who got acquainted with Donovan before shows. AJ Styles, Al Snow, Bully Ray, Kurt Angle, Christy Hemme, Samoa Joe, The BroMans, Joseph Parks, Brooke Tessmacher, Chris Sabin, Jason Hervey, Cowboy James Storm, Curry Man and more took time to meet the young fan and his family. When the Icon Sting surprised them in ring attire and facepaint, Donovan’s mom, Malaika, was super excited.
Donovan’s dad, Brian, and Malaika are long-time wrestling fans. They grew up with the Von Erichs, Freebirds and Kamala via World Class Championship Wrestling. They’ve always watched and continue to watch today’s version with their children, including their oldest, Anthony, and daughter, Da’Toneyia, who also enjoyed the TNA experience.
That included Jeremy Borash introducing Donovan and his family to the crowd at the new Impact Zone. Ring announcer Christy Hemme then led them through the curtain, down the ramp and to the ring while welcoming Mr. Anderson. He carried Donovan and announced him ala Mr. Anderson, changing it to Mr. Donovan. Borash followed by leading a Donovan chant echoed by all in attendance.
The Hills were treated like rock stars -- VIP treatment -- even photographed and filmed. They left with many autographs, photos and souvenirs as well as a lifetime memory.
The Hills thanked the wrestlers and staff of TNA and Universal, the fans and especially Carter. That is, of course, until Carter appeared during shows to cut scathing promos, and then the Hills -- like the rest of crowd -- booed her mercifully. That’s OK. Carter wouldn’t want it any other way.
• TNA Impact Wrestling is 9 p.m. EST Thursdays on Spike TV.