Wrestling & MMA

In South Florida, WWE Superstars lead Be a STAR event and Cricket Wireless meet-and-greet

Don’t be a bully. Be a STAR.

WWE is a top sports entertainment company, building superstars, and those superstars are giving back, encouraging the youth to become stars of their own.

WWE Champ Kofi Kingston and WWE SmackDown Tag Team Champs Xavier Woods and Big E, collectively known as The New Day, along with talented WWE Superstars (and South Florida residents) Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville led a WWE Be a STAR (Show Tolerance And Respect) antibullying rally on Tuesday at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade County — South Beach Unit.

It was part of WWE SmackDown Day Miami.

Interviews with WWE Superstars prior to the rally.

Fifty boys and girls, age 11-17, who are in the club’s summer camp program, participated in the event. Siblings Sebastian and Fiorella Garcia were two of them. Sebastian is 11 and Fiorella 16.

After WWE Ring Announcer Greg Hamilton introduced the WWE superstars, they split into groups with the kids and teens, giving it a more intimate setting.

The WWE talent directed various activities, asked questions and spoke with them about bullying. This type of interaction during the program created more involvement for the kids and teens.

The session closed with each group performing an anti-bullying skit.

Then they joined forces for a Be a STAR chant.

The WWE Superstars next signed autographs and posed for pictures, before gathering for a big group photo.

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Photo By Jim Varsallone

The South Beach Unit is under the direction of Ronny Vera. Shane Davis of WWE Community Relations supervised the effort.

WWE was in town for its SmackDown Live and 205 Live TV shows later that night on USA Network and WWE Network, respectively, from the AmericanAirlines Arena.

WWE and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America have partnered to support bullying prevention efforts in local clubs across America. The Be a STAR bullying prevention program encourages people to treat others as equals and with respect Since 2011, Be a STAR bullying prevention rallies, resources and programs have reached more than 500,000 children globally.

For more videos of the Be a STAR event in Miami, go to my YouTube channel:

For the WWE Be a STAR web page, click:

https://community.wwe.com/diversity/programs/star-alliance

For the Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade County, go to:

https://bgcmia.org/

WWE Bayley meets fans at Cricket Wireless

Also on Tuesday, about 140 fans met WWE SmackDown Women’s Champ Bayley at Cricket Wireless, 9935 Miramar Pkwy.

Cricket Wireless is a presenting sponsor for WWE nationally, and the event was free to the public.

Spending nearly two hours at the store, Bayley signed autographs and posed for photos with fans and also spoke with them in a mini-ring type set-up.

Outside Cricket Wireless, enthusiastic South Floridians -- from Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties -- as well as two from Cape Coral and Winter Haven -- lined on the covered walkway of the plaza.

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A snow cone machine stood as a welcome addition near the store entrance.

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They brought championship belts, photos, books, wore WWE style T-shirts.

Some even dressed like Bayley and had her name (spelled differently), like 7-year-old fan Bailee Berhard.

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On the other hand, Wes Moore of Cape Coral dressed as Macho Man Randy Savage. That would have been an elaborate tag team..

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Summer Ng (with New Day T-shirt and Money in the Bank briefcase) and her daughter, Carly, 3, (with her mini WWE title) enjoyed meeting Bayley.

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U.S. serviceman Kevin McMahan of Winter Haven met Bayley, too.

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Those photos courtesy Cricket Wireless.

Salvador Santoyo attends NXT and WWE shows in Fort Pierce, Miami, Orlando, Sunrise and beyond, and he had something to say which made Bayley laugh.

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Juan Antonio is at NXT and WWE shows, too.

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Steve Courtney sported his John Cena attire.

You can see him and Bayley.

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Breakfast with Ziggler

WWE SmackDown Day Miami started for me with WWE Superstar Dolph Ziggler at First Watch healthy, good-tasting eating (breakfast, brunch, lunch) near the Sky Lake Plaza off Miami Gardens Drive in North Miami.

Thanks to Christina and Natasha of First Watch for the hospitality.

Click the Tweet below for that interview.

After interviewing the outstanding sports entertainer, show host and stand-up comic, I ventured to South Beach for a WWE Be a STAR rally.

The Be a STAR rally was simultaneous to the Bayley meet-and-greet at Cricket Wireless in Miramar. Could not be in two places at once, so Cricket Wireless and fans sent photos and info from that fun event to share in this post/story.

The day concluded with WWE SmackDown Live (USA Network) and 205 Live (WWE Network) from the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami.

The Queen and Lil Natch

When the cameras stopped rolling, fans were treated to a solid match between WWE SmackDown Women’s Champ Bayley and The Queen Charlotte Flair to end the event.

Who’s your referee? Charles Robinson. Nice.

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Flair and Lil Natch in the same ring at the same time. Had to take some photos. Nostalgic. How cool is that?

After the match, Bayley continued the meet-and-greet experience from earlier in the day by thanking fans and posing for photos with some around ringside. This time I photographed those.

The life of a WWE champion goes full circle from day’s start to finish.

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South Florida, now we rest until next time...I mean NXT time.

FYI: Plenty more photos below of the WWE Be a STAR anti-bullying rally.

My Pro Wrestling Talk on the Web and Social Media

http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/fighting/

Twitter: @jimmyv3

YouTube: jim varsallone (jimmyv3 channel)

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Jim Varsallone covers pro wrestling, something he’s done since his college days in the late 1980s. Spanning four decades, he currently covers WWE (Raw, SmackDown and NXT), Ring of Honor, Impact Wrestling, Lucha Underground, MLW, WOW, FSCW, AEW and the South Florida indies. He also writes MMA -- mostly profile stories and video interviews with American Top Team talent in South Florida. As for pro wrestling, he writes feature stories and profile pieces, updates upcoming show schedules in South Florida, photographs the action and interviews talent (audio and video) -- sharing the content here and via social media on his Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channel: jim varsallone (jimmyv3 channel).
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