Circle of Champions: Batista's Memphis Wishes

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September 20, 2008

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- For Make-A-Wish's Whitney Sullens and Ruben Fennell, Magic Moments' Tamarius Williams, and Children's Wish Foundation's Devon Pilgrim, experiencing Monday Night Raw live and meeting their favorite WWE Superstar, Batista, was a dream come true. (PHOTOS)

"I like Batista because he's good looking," Whitney, 11, of Dickson, Tenn., said with an ear-to-ear grin on her face. "I didn't think he would be as huge as he is. He was pretty nice."

Ruben, 15, of Memphis, spends every Monday evening in front of the TV watching Raw. His mother, Vivian, said, "On Monday nights, we know not to bother him.

"When he comes home, all he wants to do is eat, take his bath and watch wrestling." Vivian continued. "Actually seeing Superstars in person is remarkable and exciting for him. He's going to love it."

When the 6-foot-6, 290 pound, three-time World Heavyweight Champion walked into the VIP suite in Memphis' FedEx Forum bearing gifts for the Circle of Champions honorees, there was not a single face without a smile -- including the kids' mothers, who swarmed to get their pictures taken with The Animal. 

Batista gave the True Champs his personalized merchandise, posed for photos with them and their families, and signed autographs. Batista also conversed with the lucky four about baseball, martial arts training and his first World Heavyweight Championship win.

"Winning the title was a dream come true," Batista said. "When I won it the first time, I never thought I would give it back."

Although The Animal is their favorite WWE Superstar, the True Champs also received special visits from WWE Hall of Famer Jerry "The King" Lawler, Shad, Lilian Garcia and Kelly Kelly.

If meeting Batista wasn't enough, Whitney and Ruben, along with Tamarius, 7, of Birmingham, Ala., and Devon, 13, of Pendleton, S.C., were later escorted to the ring, in front of the WWE Universe in Memphis, for the ultimate experience. The True Champs were given the opportunity to climb inside the same steel cage that World Heavyweight Champion Chris Jericho and CM Punk would battle in during Raw that night (Watch Y2J and CM Punk's Steel Cage Match).

"This was the best thing to happen to me. I've been through a lot and this experience helped me mentally. It's definitely something I'll never forget," Devon explained. "Getting this opportunity to meet everybody and getting inside the ring was incredible. Thanks WWE for giving me this opportunity."

Tamarius' mom, Phyllis, agreed, "This was a magic moment. It's indescribable. We had an awesome trip."

Batista, a huge Circle of Champions fan, reflected on his encounter with the True Champs.

"Bringing smiles to kids' faces is one of the biggest perks that come with this job. The fact that their wish is to meet me is such a humbling experience. I'm grateful to have the success I do because it enables me to do things like this." The Animal added, "Meeting the kids puts me in a very good mood and makes me feel that all this physical pain we go through is well worthwhile."

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