Jul. 3–NORFOLK — It’s been called the ultimate male soap opera.
And Glen Smith of Elizabeth City, N.C., watches World Wrestling Entertainment any chance he gets.
Smith, 24, rolled back his sleeve Sunday to reveal two tattoos of Stephanie McMahon-Levesque , the daughter of World Wrestling Entertainment’s chairman , Vince McMahon. He had one of her entire head with her birth date underneath, and one of just her eyes.
He was waiting in line Sunday at MacArthur Center for an autograph from Shawn Michaels, a WWE legend who was passing through town and Scope that night with a show called “WWE’s Biggest Party of the Summer!” — SummerSlam — presented by WWE’s “Raw” program.
About 300 fans snaked through an entire wing of MacArthur Center to see Michaels.
One fan brought two boxes and a duffle bag of wrestling figurines, hoping to get them signed. Some people carried wrestling belts.
Fans who had just met Michaels gripped glossy photos of him wearing dark shades with a tough-guy, “What are you lookin’ at?” kind of smirk on his face.
“WWE wrestling fans are manic,” said Brien Berry, manager of the Tidewater Sports and Collectibles store, where Michaels appeared. “Easily put, they’re crazy, crazy folks.”
Later, at Scope, fans proved their enthusiasm with stomping, boos and cheers on their feet to the scripted “wrasslin'” in the ring.
Grown men taunted wrestlers. “Get her, baby boy,” one shouted. “Let’s see what you got, Girl Scout!”
And, “Hey, Striker, your slip is showing!”
The Scope performance was a “house show” — it wasn’t taped for television. WWE’s popularity comes primarily from its TV presence .
The show tours the United States and world every week of the year, and it is on TV several times a week. WWE Raw took the No. 3 and No. 4 spots in Nielsen’s top 15 cable shows for the week of June 19-25.
Sunday’s stop at Scope wasn’t sold out early in the night, but Scope staff expected 6,000 fans.
Smith, with the tattoos, has gone as far as New York for a performance.
Regina Bradshaw of Hampton doesn’t travel for WWE, but she is a diehard fan. She has to leave her kids at home, though, and meet up with friends .
She said her teenage daughter looks at her like she’s crazy when she gets into it, and she won’t let her 7 -year-old son watch it.
“It’s just not appropriate,” she said.
For James and Jamyson Skaggs, though, WWE’s a family affair. Jamyson is 9 years old, and his mom doesn’t like that he watches WWE. But his dad takes him to Hooters to watch it on Pay-Per-View.
When Jamyson was asked whether he knows the wrestling is fake, he said, “It looks real.” He masterfully demonstrated “Sweet Chin Music” — a high side kick at the chin, the trademark move of Shawn Michaels’ — and his dad said he broke his parents’ headboard practicing wrestling moves at home.