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Don't mess with Axxess
There was a frenzy at San Antonio's Ingram Park Mall, and it had nothing to do with red-tag clearance sales.
In a mere two days, the WrestleMania Fan Axxess Tour attracted more than 13,000 WWE fans to the Texas mall. Along with activities ranging from color-commentating a WWE match, playing the new SmackDown vs. Raw video game, getting free airbrushed temporary tattoos and participating in game show style WWE trivia against other WWE fans, those in attendance also had the opportunity to meet two of their favorite WWE Superstars-- Mr. Kennedy and Women's Champion Mickie James.
While some WWE fans brought all of their championship titles and memorabilia from past WrestleManias to show off, others just came for the atmosphere. According to Christian Litke, who co-hosted the event with WWE Legend Hillbilly Jim, it's the environment that's the real prize at the WrestleMania Fan Axxess Tour.
"Everything is free," he said with a massive smile. "We give away thousands of dollars worth of free WWE merchandise all day long… it's a way to give back to the WWE fans."
Jesse Olivia received two Royal Rumble tickets.
"I've been a [sports-entertainment] fan for 20 years, and this will be my first live event… I'm bringing my girlfriend," said the lucky winner.
The free giveaways were a way for some to kill time before World Heavyweight Championship hopeful Mr. Kennedy and Mickie James appeared to sign autographs from 4-6 p.m.
The praise Mickie received from her fans flattered her, and she said the admiration and reception she got was heart-warming.
"The WrestleMania Fan Axxess tour is amazing and a great opportunity for WWE fans to get up close to their favorite Superstars…which, unfortunately, they don't get a lot of opportunities to do."
Monica Hernandez, who began waiting in line at 8:30 a.m. to see Mickie, said the wait to meet her idol was well worth it.
"She gave me a hug" she screamed as she jumped up and down. "I asked her for a hug and she said, ‘Sure.' It was great."
Mickie's partner at the autograph session, the brash Mr. Kennedy, wasn't as thrilled, and certainly didn't receive the same reception as the champion. After shaking certain WWE fans' hands and posing for snapshots, Kennedy could be seen using hand sanitizer while making disgusted facial expressions.
"Some people forgot to brush their teeth… for several years, while others were fat, smelly, disgusting… I saw it all here today," he said in disbelief.
Kennedy wasn't the only one disgusted. Many of the WWE fans in attendance couldn't wait to show him how repulsed they were by him. Boos, insults and chants supporting Kennedy's Royal Rumble opponent, Batista, were heard more often than any claps.
"The crowd wasn't really here to see Mickie," Kennedy shrugged. "Look, my time is limited… and for these people to see me in person is thrilling, and all in all [the WrestleMania Fan Axxess Tour] was a good event-- because I was in it."
The road to WrestleMania is rapidly approaching. To find out when WWE's WrestleMania Fan Axxess Tour is coming to a town near you, check out WrestleMania.com. Don't miss your chance for free WWE gear and the chance to meet your favorite Superstars and Divas.