Circle of Champions: SmackDown honors True Champs
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Before taking center stage at Amway Arena in front of thousands of members of the WWE Universe, WWE Champion Triple H and Jeff Hardy teamed up to meet Circle of Champions honorees Carlos Carle Rodriguez Jr., of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, and Kevin Anderson, of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, in their VIP suite. (PHOTOS)
"There are a lot of WWE Superstars I like. It was hard to choose one. There's no better one than the WWE Champion, The Game," recalled Kevin, 18, of the Sunshine Foundation. "What stands out to me is his athleticism and his jokes. I find him funny when he's being sarcastic. I'm so excited to be meeting Triple H."
For Make-A-Wish kid Carlos, 7, it was a family affair. The True Champ's brother, Juan Carle, mother, Carmen, father, Carlos Sr., and perhaps the biggest WWE follower out the group, Carlos' grandmother, Lidia, accompanied him to the hometown of WrestleMania XXIV. The entire family was decked out in Jeff Hardy gear.
Then, the moment the honorees had anxiously been waiting for finally came as their favorite Superstars entered their luxury suite. The Game and Jeff Hardy brought the True Champs merchandise, signed autographs, posed with the honorees and their families, and fielded many questions about their careers -- including one Carlos asked Jeff Hardy about his first match and whether he won.
"My first match was against Razor Ramon. I lost. Come to think about it, I lost a lot back in those days," the four-time Intercontinental Champion and seven-time Tag Team Champion joked.
However, not to be outdone by their favorite Superstars, Kevin and Carlos presented The Game and Jeff Hardy with gifts of their own. Kevin gave the Cerebral Assassin a Sunshine Foundation baseball cap. Jeff Hardy received an authentic Puerto Rican candy and a personalized, long-sleeved, netted shirt.
"I'm digging the shirt. I think I can pull it off," Jeff Hardy said. "These kids are so young, and it really shows the connection that WWE has with the WWE Universe. To have the entire family wearing Jeff Hardy gear and wanting to meet me, that means the world to me. It's a moment I'll never forget."
The highlight of the event for Triple H came from Carlos' grandmother, Lidia. Upon seeing the D-Generation X member, she jumped out of her seat, made two fists, crossed her arms and repeatedly did the DX pose, which amused the WWE Champion.
"It's not everyday you go into a room and a grandmother tells you she has two words for you," said The Game, with a huge smile. "People stereotype our industry. WWE runs across generations. Those families are huge fans. They get together on Monday, Tuesday and Friday nights and they watch WWE. It's a bonding experience for them."
The WWE Champion was humbled by his meet-and-greet with the True Champs.
"The fact that they could have any wish they want and their wish is to meet you is special. It is a huge honor to be able to impact somebody that much," The Game explained.
The True Champs' parents were especially appreciative for witnessing the joy that WWE Superstars brought to their kids.
"For me and my family, this experience was the best. Thank you, WWE and Make-A-Wish Foundation, because my son's wish came true," an emotional Carlos Sr. said. For all of us, it's a great moment and thanks to all the people who made this happen."