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WWE in the Community: WrestleMania Week: Cena Make-A-Wish Party

Wish kids group photo with WWE Superstar John Cena during his annual Make-A-Wish Luncheon Party on Saturday, April 1 at Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food Restaurant at Universal Studios Orlando City Walk. Cena inducted 39 wish kids into the WWE Circle of Champions as part of WrestleMania Week.
Wish kids group photo with WWE Superstar John Cena during his annual Make-A-Wish Luncheon Party on Saturday, April 1 at Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food Restaurant at Universal Studios Orlando City Walk. Cena inducted 39 wish kids into the WWE Circle of Champions as part of WrestleMania Week. Photo By Jim Varsallone

What better day than April Fool’s to have some fun pranking a WWE Superstar.

David De Beer, a Make-A-Wish kid from Belgium, put one over on the master of U Can’t C Me, which thoroughly entertained his friends watching on Facebook Live and the live crowd at Universal Studios Orlando City Walk.

Once WWE Superstar John Cena realized the joke, he played along like an old pro, turning the tables just a little bit. All in good fun.

Cena once again took time from his ultra-busy schedule to surprise 39 Make-A-Wish kids from throughout the world at a ginormous party during WrestleMania 33 Week Orlando. With family of the wish kids included, the party guest list topped 170 people. They enjoyed not only a special luncheon with Cena and friends, but they also went to a Dave & Buster’s party and attended WrestleMania Axxess at the Orange County Convention Center and WrestleMania 33 at Camping World Stadium, formerly Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium.

Cena hosted his annual Make-A-Wish Luncheon Party on Saturday, April 1 at Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food Restaurant at Universal Studios Orlando City Walk. He inducted 39 wish kids into the WWE Circle of Champions.

Some of his WWE friends -- Finn Balor, Sasha Banks, JoJo and Becky Lynch -- also brightened each wish kid’s day.

WWE’s motto is to put smiles on faces, and Cena embodies that. He is the lead wish granter of any athlete, celebrity, entertainer, granting more than 500 wishes. Now that’s a lot of smiling faces.

Cena’s good efforts, giving back, have inspired others, especially the wish kids.

An appreciative Cena noted: “A [wish kid] comes up to me with a Money In The Bank Briefcase and a ton of signatures on it. I immediately think he’s been collecting signatures on it from the WWE [Superstars].”

The signatures on the briefcase were not WWE superstars but rather autographs of even bigger superstars -- the Make-A-Wish kids at the party.

Cena continued: “He informs me that the briefcase is a gift for me. That is the most selfless gesture for someone to go around to everybody, introduce themselves, ask for an autograph, get an autograph.

“So I, in turn, sign it for him, and I said, ‘No, I want you to have it,’ because that memory will be etched in my head forever, and I know that will bring back the memory of his experience at WrestleMania.”

The wish kids love Cena. They erupted just by the sound of his name.

Make-A-Wish honoree Bryan Peterson of Cleveland got very emotional when meeting Cena, a 16-time world champion who professes hustle, loyalty and respect. Cena is a super hero type to many kids, who comprise a major portion of his fan base.

Hearing the cheers and watching the kids’ faces – some in awe - when Cena appeared made it all worthwhile. He inducted each into the WWE Circle of Champions, shaking their hand, posing for a photo and signing autographs (in some cases two or three). They carried and/or wore WWE merch including Cena hats, Cena T-shirts, Cena wristbands and replica title belts.

One sported cool Sasha Banks glasses. Good thing because The Boss also participated. Prior to Cena’s surprise entrance, Banks joined Finn Balor, Becky Lynch and emcee JoJo. They visited each table, mingling with wish kids. More autographs… more photos... and plenty of hugs. (Sorry Bayley).

Before the meet-n-greet, the wish kids and their families ate lunch, provided by Antojitos inside the restaurant. Reps and staff from Universal Studios Orlando, Antojitos, Make-A-Wish and WWE did a very good job.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said a few words as well as Make-A-Wish representatives from the national headquarters and local division including Kathryn Vroman, the president and CEO of Make-A-Wish of Central and Northern Florida, and Kathy Forshey, vice president, corporate alliance at Make-A-Wish America. WWE Director of Community Relations Sue Aitchison, a long-time WWE associate who does a wonderful job, also spoke at the party.

WWE has a more than 30-year partnership with Make-A-Wish.

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WWE Circle of Champions

WWE Circle of Champions grants the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses who desire to meet their favorite WWE Superstars. Since 1982, WWE Superstars have conducted more than 6,000 meet-and-greet sessions with these children in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Spain, Germany, France, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand to name a few. WWE grants hundreds of wishes a year to children around the world who have requested meets with WWE Superstars through various wish organizations including the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Giving Back during WrestleMania Week

WWE hosted many activities designed to give back to the local community during WrestleMania Week including a park clean-up, a ‘Be a STAR’ anti-bullying rally, hospital visits, a Veterans employment panel, reading challenge school reading, Special Olympics basketball game, the Cena Make-A-Wish party and more.

WWE conducted more than 20 activities, events and shows during WrestleMania Week. That is the most in WWE’s WrestleMania history. Because of WrestleMania, WWE also held more community-related events in the host area throughout the year, leading to the busy week.

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