Circle of Champions: Batista and SmackDown & ECW Superstars meet Steven and Derrick
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Batista made the dreams of Make-A-Wish kids Steven Madlansacay, 11, and Derrick Hassel, 10, come true in the locker room area at Tucson Convention Center before last week's Friday Night SmackDown.
"He's the greatest wrestler there is. He's much bigger in person," said Hassel, who traveled from Chicago to see his favorite Superstar live, in action, for the first time.
Madlansacay, of Bloomfield, N.J., enjoyed hanging out with his hero and admitted after seeing Batista's "very muscular body," he believes The Animal will maul any opponent that crosses his path.
"I'm expecting to see him beat up every person tonight. Soon he'll win the World Heavyweight Title back from whoever wins it at WrestleMania," an enthusiastic Madlansacay predicted.
The three-time World Heavyweight Champion's Feb. 26 meeting with Hassel and Madlansacay came on the same day WWE and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America announced a new, multi-year agreement. The partnership starts with 50 Wishes on "The Road to Wrestlemania XXIV," in which actress Raven-Symoné, star of That's So Raven and the upcoming flick College Road Trip, will help grant wishes.
"It is one of the perks with this job. How many people get the chance to make a kid's day? I love children," The Animal said. "It just makes me feel good knowing that it makes them feel good. These kids are gifts straight from God."
Batista and several SmackDown and ECW Superstars, including Diva Victoria, Finlay, Jimmy Wang Yang, Shannon Moore, CM Punk, Tommy Dreamer and a few others, signed autographs and posed for photos with Hassel, Madlansacay and their families. Batista also had a personal talk with his two young fans about how dangerous his job in the ring is, and they should never try any of his moves at home.
"I like to take advantage of the time I have to teach them," Batista said. "To kids watching us on TV, they see [WWE Superstars] as being one-dimensional. They only see us on TV. Outside the ring, I'm really an easy-going guy."