WWE & My9's Block Party helps kick off SmackDown on MyNetwork TV

WWE & My9's Block Party helps kick off SmackDown on MyNetwork TV

NEW YORK -- Early this morning on the streets of New York City, WWE Superstars Jeff Hardy, Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder were on hand for the "My9 SmackDown Block Party," helping to launch SmackDown on MyNetwork TV, tonight at 8/7 CT. WATCH | PHOTOS

WWE fans Jagger & Alfred Nastro came out early to be part of the event, with 7-year-old Jagger waiting in line beginning at 4:30 a.m. "I came to see Jeff Hardy," is all Jagger could get out through his excitement, but his father made it clear that this trip was tradition. "This is great to share with my son; I shared a lot of wrestling with my father years ago, during the days of Andre the Giant and Mil Mascaras, and to have Jagger here with me is fun for both of us."

While young Jagger had trouble with his words this morning, Joey Rotella was crowned the Hot 97 trivia champion at 6:45 a.m.

"It was really cool to be up there in front of everyone -- I never thought all the sports-entertainment knowledge I had would win me anything, but this morning it did," Rotella explained.

For native New Yorkers Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder, being back in the Big Apple at a WWE event as Superstars was a welcome change, one that has brought them both full circle.

"This is awesome for both of us to be here," said Hawkins. "To have been at WWE events as fans just a couple of years ago, and now to be up here as WWE Superstars is just mind-blowing." As for the crowd reaction the duo received when they hit the stage early in the morning, Hawkins shook his head and laughed. "That's what I would like to call a mixed reaction, but it's New York, and home or not, New Yorkers are the hardest fans to please."

Ryder echoed his tag team partner's sentiments. "This is just what it is all about, the fans. Love us or hate us, cheer us or boo us, we have been on the other side of these crowds many times, and for us to come back after making it, no matter the reaction, is just great."

The experience was a bit different for No. 1 contender Jeff Hardy, who the crowd began chanting for at 5:30 a.m.

"It's always cool to be in New York, it's kind of a different world to me being from North Carolina. But especially on a day like this, when we are celebrating such a huge event for SmackDown, it's just the place to be." Hardy continued, "I know this move to MyNetwork TV is going to be huge, and I am glad to be a part of it, as I have been all week with promotional tours."

That schedule hasn't lessened Hardy's focus, as he is just two days away from challenging WWE Champion Triple H for the gold.

"It's really hard to think about what is going on at No Mercy, but I'm ready. I will get back to North Carolina tonight, but my mind is definitely right -- mentally and physically, I'm good to go."

Hardy, Hawkins & Ryder did more than just appear on Good Day New York, they also judged the "My9 Biggest SmackDown Fan Contest," which saw nine participants strut their stuff on stage -- and also gave the contestants one minute with a live microphone in their hands.

Matthew Saxon Rivera came dressed as his favorite SmackDown Superstar -- Montel Vontavious Porter. Though he didn't win, Rivera and his friend Gino Cabrera, who dressed as Carlito, put on quite a show for the WWE Universe -- including the three Superstar judges. Cabrera spent his minute on the microphone challenging the Superstardom of Hawkins & Ryder -- who took exception and disqualified Cabrera. As for being part of the contest and being in front of their fellow fans, Cabrera spoke for he and Rivera, but could only utter two words: "That's cool." (He assured no pun intended.)

But Hardy, Hawkins and Ryder did choose a winner of the My9 Biggest SmackDown Fan Contest -- Jose Vasquez and his son, Jose Vasquez Jr., who walked away with tickets to the 2008 Survivor Series in Boston. The father-son duo charmed the judges with their talk of family, and Vasquez Jr. made sure to get the crowd behind him when he exclaimed that Hardy would walk out of No Mercy the new WWE Champion.

"To be here in Manhattan with all of these WWE fans, and to be part of the whole experience today has been nothing short of incredible," Vasquez said. "I grew up watching WWE, and my son has started getting into it over the past few years, and we both just think it is great family entertainment."

The wide-eyed, 10-year-old Vasquez Jr. only wished one thing after learning of the Biggest Fan victory: "I hope the seats are good for Survivor Series."

The most touching moment of the morning came when Jeff Hardy was approached by 20-year-old Linda Torres of Manhattan -- a lifelong Hardy fanatic. Accompanied by her friends, Nathan Storm, Dan Szymanowicz and Jeff Rivadenerya, the wheelchair-bound Torres came to tears when she finally met Hardy. After calming her emotions, Torres expressed her love for The Hardys, and Jeff made sure she didn't go away empty-handed, signing her Hardys poster and sealing the meeting with a kiss on the cheek.

As Hardy prepares to help SmackDown kick-off tonight at 8/7 CT on its new home of MyNetwork TV as part of the All Star Eight-Man Tag Team Match, he, Hawkins & Ryder made sure that every fan went home satisfied, all before breakfast was over.

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