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Stars at Raw's 800th episode celebration
TAMPA, Fla. -- Music artist Chris Kirkpatrick and stars of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers gathered at the St. Pete Times Forum to celebrate 800 episodes of Raw, Monday night.
"I've never been to a live wrestling event, and this is one of those things that I had to check off my list of things to do," said Kirkpatrick, a former member of the popular band ‘N Sync. "It's cool being here, because we played here so many times. It's so different to have all these WWE Superstars hanging out."
Kirkpatrick, who has been busy working on his new Nigels 11 project, met with WWE Superstars and Divas and also took the opportunity to speak about his favorite Superstar, Chris Jericho.
"I'm excited to see Jericho. I'm expecting to see a lot of fun and people getting their butts kicked."
Coming off a thrilling victory yesterday against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Bucs teammates were in high spirits watching the 800 episodes celebration from ringside.
"I've been a big fan of WWE for a long time. It's real special for me to be here, because I was able to bring my son," said 10-time Pro Bowl linebacker Derrick Brooks. "To hosting the Super Bowl next year, to the Bucs playing very well, to the Tampa Bay Rays making the World Series — having Raw here tonight for the 800 episodes celebration is a momentous occasion."
For fellow Bucs linebacker Cato June, who witnessed WWE live for the first-time, being here was a dream come true.
"I've watched it on TV a lot and seen it evolve, so I wanted to come out here to see it live for the first time to get the actual feeling of being in the arena," recalled June.
The Bucs spoke glowingly about some of their favorite all-time WWE Superstars including Michael Hayes and Ultimate Warrior, along with WWE Hall of Famers Tony Atlas, Dusty Rhodes and Ric Flair. But there's one Superstar that will always be Brooks' hero.
"I'm very partial to my man Ron Simmons. From him being a great football star at my alma mater, Florida State University, to being a World Champion, I'm always going to be a big fan of his," Brooks explained.
With any sport, camaraderie is vital to a team's success. The Bucs understand this, which probably will explain why the Bucs are former Super Bowl Champions and are vying to get back to professional football's grandest spectacular.
"You want to share a moment like this with your teammates. We go to war together each week, so to have some off time and come and enjoy this is a great experience," June explained.