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SmackDown Champ Charlotte Flair talks WWE Tribute to Troops, more

WWE SmackDown Women’s Champ Charlotte Flair at this year’s Tribute to the Troops from Naval Base San Diego. The 15th annual WWE Tribute to the Troops will be broadcast 8 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. CT on Thursday, Dec. 14 on USA Network.
WWE SmackDown Women’s Champ Charlotte Flair at this year’s Tribute to the Troops from Naval Base San Diego. The 15th annual WWE Tribute to the Troops will be broadcast 8 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. CT on Thursday, Dec. 14 on USA Network. Photo Courtesy WWE

Everyone stood proudly as former WWE ring announcer Lilian Garcia delivered a powerful rendition of the National Anthem to drop kick-off the wrestling portion of the 15th annual WWE Tribute to the Troops event, which will be broadcast 8 p.m. ET Thursday, Dec. 14 on USA Network.

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WWE once again showed its respect and support of the brave men and women of the U.S. military by visiting Naval Base San Diego to thank them personally...WWE style.

WWE staff and talent look forward to participating in this annual event, meeting troops and their families, getting involved in community type activities, touring the facilities and conducting a show complete with solid wrestling action and musical guests like multi-platinum hip-hop artist Machine Gun Kelly.

The ring stationed outdoors on the base amid a beautiful day -- with the USS Dewey (DDG 105) battleship destroyer overlooking the action -- made it an even more memorable experience.

Just ask WWE SmackDown Women’s Champ Charlotte Flair.

“Being in an arena is much different than being outside and beside a ship,” she said. “This year we were literally outside on a Naval Base [San Diego].”

Last year the wrestling portion of Tribute to the Troops was taped at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

“When you’re wrestling or entertaining and you look out in the audience in an arena, yes, you know it’s a special show, but there’s nothing compared to what last Tuesday [Dec. 5] was like when we filmed Tribute to the Troops outside,” she added. “Being in their backyard and the only people you see in the audience are men and women in their uniform and the energy and the personal setting was incredible.

“You can definitely feel this was a show dedicated just to the troops.”

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What does Tribute to the Troops mean to The Queen of WWE?

“I had the opportunity to be on the handshake tour last year and actually go to Afghanistan,” Charlotte said, “so being able to have that experience and to see what their daily life is like and to interact with the men and women overseas and then be able to do Tribute to the Troops this year on the Naval Base was awesome.

“I know what it’s like for them -- from what they told me -- being gone for months at a time and what they sacrifice. So to be in their backyard, to see all the men and women in their fatigues and just to say thank you to them was incredible. It’s the most heartfelt and patriotic show of the year that we have.”

It also hits close to home for the multi-talented WWE Superstar.

“My aunt Kathy, my mom’s baby sister, started out in the army and then ended up in JAG [Judge Advocate General's Corps],” Charlotte said. “She flew helicopters, before she wound up in JAG. She was in JAG, based in Kuwait, and now she’s back in Georgia.”

Charlotte, 31, starred in several sports, growing up in Charlotte. While in high school, she noticed the R.O.T.C. program.

“The dedication it must take to be part of R.O.T.C. was always interesting to me,” she said.

A highly-touted athlete, her efforts led her to a college volleyball scholarship at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C.

“I was recruited by one of the [military] schools up north, I want to say Annapolis [home base of the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland],” she said, “and I actually thought about going on a recruiting visit there for volleyball, but I didn’t.”

Charlotte did visit troops in Afghanistan last year, making an overseas trip.

“I was a little nervous, because last year, when we went, was a week and a half, two weeks after the bombing on the base, but I knew that we wouldn’t have gone if it wouldn’t have been safe, and with the security there, I felt extremely secure. Knowing that the morale was down there, and for me, Big Show, Alicia Fox and R-Truth going and saying thank you and going by the different sections and to see how happy and excited and their smiles. Their daily life is monotonous, and just knowing that we can bring that little bit of joy to them and that we had the courage to come over there and knowing they would protect us was incredible. It really opened my eyes.

“This year I wasn’t part of the signings or the talent that went around the Naval Base, but I was part of [the wrestling show] in a triple threat [match against Ruby Riott of Riott Squad and Carmella], and then after the triple threat, I was able to have some mic time and thank the men and women for being so brave and serving this great nation and thanking them for what they sacrifice...and I never got to do that before, so that was extremely awesome...The setting was very personal. I could look people in their eyes and feel that moment and make that connection and just hope that they could see how genuine I was in how grateful and thankful I am for what they do.”

Professionally, Charlotte’s resume continues to grow. The tough blonde beauty recently made her acting debut on Psych: The Movie on the USA Network. a two-hour television movie based on the USA Network dramedy series, Psych, which ran for eight seasons (2006-2014). The TV film featured the entire cast and some special guests from past episodes including WWE Superstar John Cena.

James Roday and Dule Hill, stars of Psych, are big WWE fans. In 2010, Dule even guest hosted WWE Monday Night Raw, which is also on the USA Network.

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The 15th annual WWE Tribute to the Troops

The 15th annual WWE Tribute to the Troops will be broadcast in a two-hour special starting at 8 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. CT on Thursday, Dec. 14 on USA Network. The event was filmed a few weeks prior at Naval Base San Diego.

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WWE began Tribute to the Troops in 2003 as a way to honor the U.S. servicemen and women and their families, and it is considered one of TV’s most patriotic and heartwarming shows of the year. In the tradition of Bob Hope, WWE brings together the best of sports, entertainment and pop culture with celebrity appearances and performances from music’s most popular acts.

While in San Diego, WWE Superstars spent time giving back to military personnel and their families. Activities included a Be a STAR bullying prevention rally, as well as hospital visits and military outreach initiatives at various installations including Naval Base San Diego, Naval Air Station North Island and San Diego Naval Medical Center.

For photos, video and more info on the 15th annual Tribute to the Troops, click the link:

http://www.wwe.com/shows/tributetothetroops

For Charlotte Flair Twitter: https://twitter.com/MsCharlotteWWE

WWE SmackDown Live is 8 p.m. Tuesdays on USA Network.

- Raw in Miami on New Year’s Day

Monday Night Raw is heading to Miami for New Year’s Day night (Monday, Jan. 1, 2018) at the AmericanAirlines Arena, home to the three-time NBA champion Miami Heat.

Bell time is 7:30 p.m. ET. Raw will broadcast live at 8 p.m. ET on USA Network.

Tickets are on sale.

Visit http://www.aaarena.com/events/detail/wwe-raw-1

Check out https://twitter.com/WWE

http://www.wwe.com/

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- WWE SmackDown Live in Orlando

WWE SmackDown Live will be broadcast on the USA Network beginning at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday, Jan. 2 from the Amway Center in Orlando.

Tickets, click the link:

SmackDownOrlandoTickets

- WWE in Tampa

WWE will be at the Amalie Arena in Tampa for a SmackDown house show at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 30, and tickets are also on sale.

WWE Champ AJ Styles, WWE SmackDown Women’s Champ Charlotte Flair, U.S. Champ Baron Corbin, WWE Tag Champs The Usos, Jinder Mahal, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Natalya, Randy Orton, Shinsuke Nakamura, Bobby Roode, New Day, Becky Lynch, Rusev, John Cena and more.

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For a listing of all WWE event, click this link:

http://www.wwe.com/events

- Pro Wrestling On The Web

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