I didn’t have the typical childhood where my parents took me to just “Disney on Ice” or baseball games. My childhood involved going to a lot of WWE events, which some people find a bit weird. After all, little girls aren’t supposed to be WWE fans. But the more I went, and the more I told my friends how much fun I had, the more they wanted to go to an event themselves.
The problem though, was convincing their parents. WWE’s biggest event of the year, WrestleMania, takes place this Sunday in New Orleans and while it may be too late to go to that event (which you can watch on the WWE Network), WWE has several events in the Los Angeles area every year. This year, a major WWE pay-per-view, Survivor Series, takes place at Staples Center on Nov. 18. So how do you convince your parents? Who better to answer that question than WWE’s Chief Brand Officer, Stephanie McMahon.
“I think you should say ‘Mom and Dad, WWE’s mission is to put smiles on people’s faces and when I watch WWE I have so much fun, I am so entertained. The messages I take away are ‘Don’t give up. Believe in myself and I can achieve anything.’ I want to go to watch this live action-adventure spectacular where there are fireworks and costumes and larger-than-life characters and incredible stories and I want to get swept up in it all and have a blast and I want to do it with you so we can all enjoy it together and make these memories that last a lifetime.”
McMahon ought to know. Not only has she been going to events since she was small, she also has become one of the best heels the WWE has. But her first memory of a WWE event was being terrorized by a Hall of Fame WWE villain.
“I was anywhere between 3 and 5 years old and it was at the Philadelphia Spectrum, which doesn’t even exist anymore. I remember walking through the parking lot and entering through this side door which I didn’t expect. There was this backstage hallway that was a concrete floor and concrete walls with fluorescent lights. It wasn’t very glamorous. And I remember suddenly seeing all of these larger-than-life personas. It’s the only way I can describe it. The costumes and the size of all of these individuals. And everyone wanted to talk to my dad [WWE owner Vince McMahon]. I kept walking down the hall as my parents were swept up in these business conversations and my brother was running around doing I don’t know what.
“I found myself at the end of the hallway and all of a sudden a bunch of kids came running at me, screaming their heads off. I stood there and didn’t know what was happening. And then around the corner came George “the Animal” Steele. And if you never saw George “the Animal” Steele, he had a green tongue, was bald with a wrinkly head and he was covered in so much hair all over his body that it looked like fur. He walked down the hallway like a gorilla, walking side-to-side and kind of hunched over. He walked right at me and I screamed as loud as I could and I ran to my father’s arms, wrapped my arms around his neck and dug my head into his shoulder. And he started to laugh. Then I thought ‘Wait a second’ because I know my father would take his last breath defending my honor and here he is laughing?
And then he introduced me to Jim Myers, who was George “the Animal” Steele. He was so horrified that he scared me. It was my first inkling into the world behind WWE.
Now she gets to enjoy WWE events, including WrestleMania, with her own family.
“It’s a huge week and it’s fun because my whole family likes to have a vacation while my husband and I work the whole time. But that’s OK by us because they are having a blast.”
So the next time WWE comes to town and your kid asks you to go, don’t let your preconceived notions on pro wrestling get in the way. Just go with the flow, take your family and enjoy it. And don’t be surprised if you will be asking your kids if they want to go with you after that.
Note: Hannah Mitchell is the daughter of Sports Now editor Houston Mitchell.