The Marine Premiere Diary
WWE.com spent all day Tuesday trailing WWE Champion John Cena at the world premiere of "The Marine" at the Camp Pendleton Marine Base in southern California. The base is larger than many of the small American towns from which it draws its recruits, accommodating some 60,000 people during the day. Our running diary captured all the highlights of the day's events, from the morning meet-and-greet to the The Champ's big walk down the red carpet.
9:30 p.m. Pacific (2130 military time): It's almost time for the late show, and the fans are out in droves yet again. There must be 300 people forming a line around the block for viewing number two. If the reception is anything like this when The Marine opens nationwide on Oct. 13, Hollywood could have a brand new phenomenon on its hands. Same old WWE, taking the world by storm. Good night from Camp Pendleton!
8:20 (2020 military time): WWE fans and Marines filed out of the first ever showing of The Marine, and judging by the sound of things, they were impressed. The theater was packed and the rowdy crowd inside could have fooled us into thinking that Cena was delivering an F-U in the center of the ring inside the theater. As they file out, we grab the appreciative stars out of the crowd.
"Tonight has been really wonderful," Cena admits. "It really is heartwarming that the first time I saw The Marine on the big screen was with the United States Marine Corps."
His co-star Kelly Carlson still can't get over the passion and enthusiasm shown by the WWE fans and Marines in attendance.
"It was the best movie premiere I've ever been to," said the sexy starlet.
6:15 p.m. (1815 hours, military time): The red carpet closes with the crowd more excited than ever, ready to start the show.
5:40 p.m. (1740 hours): Camp Pendleton's Base Commander Col. Seaton takes his turn down the red carpet. What a memorable moment for the camp's representative to receive such a warm ovation from the WWE fans.
"This is a huge event for Camp Pendleton," said Col. Seaton.
5:31 p.m. (1731 hours): The man of the hour finally arrives, and the throng of rabid fans is now in an absolute frenzy. Cena is excited, but nervous too, as he admits to WWE.com.
"I'm nervous, but excited to be nervous. This is a moment I've been waiting my whole life for."
Cena was arm-in-arm with his co-star, the beautiful starlet Kelly Carlson, who no doubt helped calm Cena's nerves. Cena has a final announcement before heading inside:
"The Champ is right here, I'm ready to get this thing started. Let's go to the movies!"
5:27 p.m. (1727 hours): Triple H emerges from his limo and the crowd goes wild. Chants of "DX!" arise, but The Game is riding solo tonight.
5: 23 p.m. (1723 hours): Carlito, Candice, Coachman and director John Bonito arrive next. Like her fellow Diva, Candice is also wearing a lovely black number. The men all sport handsome suits, with Carlito looking especially cool as always.
"This place is definitely cool. The Marine is gonna be cool. Carlito not being in The Marine -- that's not cool. Not even a cameo?" he joked.
A sharp ensemble can't help Coachman, who gets booed relentlessly on the red carpet as he was for much of the day -- although who could blame our nation's finest for showing their contempt towards Mr. McMahon's right hand man?
"It's awesome to come here, to be able to come here to the true heroes and the true stars of the world today," he says.
5:19 p.m. (1715 hours): The first limousine arrives, and out step Ric Flair in a crisp suit and Maria in a sexy black cocktail dress. Maria blew kisses to her adoring Marine fans. Todd Grisham asks if any of the Marines have a chance, and Maria replies, "All of them." Too many lonely hours spent watching Kiss Cam, perhaps?
Even a guy who has been around the block as many times as Rick Flair knows a spectacle when he sees one. "There's one word to describe it: Awesome. We know that the Marines are the baddest of them all and the bravest of them all," said "The Nature Boy."
5:13 p.m. (1713 hours): It's a wild scene at the red carpet as hundreds of Marines and their families line the red carpet in anticipation of their favorite Superstars' arrivals. The first 500 to arrive received The Marine t-shirts, which many opted to wave instead of wear. The Power 106FM bus is parked across the lot, displaying a huge ad for The Marine across the side of it. Out of the bus pour even more of Cena's hyperactive fans. Todd Grisham takes the mic and welcomes everyone to the world premiere of The Marine at Camp Pendleton.
3:45 p.m. (1545 hours): The Superstars and Divas return to the Officers' Center to relax, recharge and change into their finest theater attire for their big red carpet entrance, slated to happen in just a few hours. Over 100 civilians and soldiers are already lined up outside the theater, eager to be among the first viewers of The Marine.
3:00 p.m. (1500 hours): Next stop on the tour is the Wounded Warriors Center, a hospital for Marines wounded in combat. The WWE Superstars are told that 99 percent of the Marines there are rehabilitating injuries suffered in Iraq. The Superstars and Divas toured empty rooms and lounge areas throughout the center and met a few wounded Marines, who were delighted to shake hands and take pictures with some of their favorite Superstars.
Triple H was moved after leaving the facility:
"So far the day has been great. Coming to these bases is always cool -- spending a few minutes saying hey to the soldiers, the people who are putting their lives on the line for us to have the freedoms that we have and do what we do for a living."
2:00 p.m. (1400 hours): A bunch of Marines have decided to give an obstacle course demonstration for the Superstars, Divas and their fellow Marines.
As the demonstration is going on, Triple H yells out, "Who wants to see Coach do the obstacle course?"
Coachman quickly replies, "I didn't bring a towel, I didn't bring soap."
"There's a fire hydrant right over there," kids one of the hundreds of Marines who are still gathered around to cheer on their fellow soldiers.
1:30 p.m. (1330 hours): It's off to the 7th Engineer Support Battalion for another meet-and-greet between the Superstars, Divas and Marines. There's a huge tent set up along one of the camp's many obstacle courses where upwards of 500 Marines are waiting. About 50 of them crowd around Ric Flair -- apparently Marines can't have enough "Woo!" in their lives. Most of the Marines, however, are interested in meeting Maria, who is quickly becoming the favorite hottie at camp.
One of Maria's fans, Cpl. Lorenzi, said, "It was fun meeting Maria. I asked if I could take a picture with her and she said yes. When I watch wrestling, she's hot."
Maria appreciated the compliment. "I decided that the Marines have the prettiest eyes," said the flirtatious Diva as she posed for pictures with the eager Marines.
The WWE Superstars are as excited to be at Camp Pendleton as the Marines are to welcome them.
"We love coming to the military bases, especially today," said Jonathan Coachman. "Having the premiere of The Marine later today and meeting all the Marines throughout the entire camp -- we're excited and very happy to be here."
12:30 p.m. (1230 hours): The excitement at Camp Pendleton is palpable as WWE Superstars and Divas accompany The Marine stars John Cena and Kelly Carlson and director John Bonito to one of the base's chow halls. Ric Flair, Triple H, Carlito, Jonathan Coachman, Maria and Candice enter to flash-bulbs and autograph requests, and the Marines are clearly glad to welcome some of their favorite Superstars to camp. The Superstars and Divas are dressed in their finest attire, while Cena has chosen to don his Marine fatigues for the day. Many of the Marines kid with "The Nature Boy" -- there's plenty of "WOOOO"-ing to be heard.
John Cena has a message for the crowd:
"We're here at Camp Pendleton to premiere The Marine. This is a very important day for WWE Films and for me. It's fantastic that we have the U.S. Embassy on board. I'm looking forward to seeing the movie today -- it's my first time seeing it on the big screen."