Source: Southeast Missourian
It was a day where dad might just let you get away with body slamming your little brother. Fans young and old alike flocked to the Show Me Center on Saturday as WWE Raw WrestleMania Revenge came to town.
For the wrestling novices, plenty were ready to give pointers on their favorite moves.
“You put the guy up on your shoulders and then you slam ’em down,” said Hunter Cook, 8, mimicking his favorite wrestler John Cena, who wrestled for the World Tag Team Championship on Saturday.
Asked who bears the brunt of those moves at home, Cook pointed to his brother, Garrett, 10, as dad, Mel, smiled.
“Actually, he’s the one that does it to me,” Hunter said.
Crowds lined up hours before doors officially opened at 6:45 p.m. Organizers said, though, the event was not sold out and plenty of seats were still available at showtime.
While many in attendance were young and male, a few bucked the stereotype.
“There aren’t really many girls in our class that watch WWE. You have to be really cool to get into this,” said Brandi Durham, 15. Durham and best friend Stephanie Slinkard, 16, came with signs and homemade shirts supporting their favorite WWE stars, Shawn Michaels and Cena.
They said wrestling is more fun than some of the teenie-pursuits most girls their age are into.
“It’s just pure excitement, and most of the guys are hot,” Slinkard said.
Others have been watching wrestling for a long time.
Jeremy Bosco, 25, of Cape Girardeau County came to the show with a gold wrestling belt engraved with his name on it. He said he grew up watching greats like Andre the Giant and Rowdy Roddy Piper and loves the diversion the sport offers.
“Most of us wrestling fans know it’s fake … most of us, I have to stress that. But a lot of it has to do with escaping reality for a couple of hours,” he said.
Some serious fans made it an all-day affair. In the afternoon, tag-team duo Cryme Tyme signed autographs at Steve and Barry’s apparel store at the West Park Mall.
Rayetta Collier, 21, of Sikeston, Mo., said she watches the televised WWE Raw event every Monday night. She said the two wrestlers signing autographs are fairly new to the scene. They put on skits where they stole wallets and other things from wrestlers.
“With Cryme Tyme around, I hope everybody watches their wallet,” she said.
Corey Gowin, 24, came all the way from Chicago to see the duo.
“They’re not really that popular yet, but they’re just hilarious. They steal wallets. Last week they stole one of the other wrestler’s cars. I just love how they entertain the crowd and interact with fans,” Gowin said.
Gowin has been watching professional wrestling for almost 20 years and can spot a winner when he sees one. Since wrestling is a staged competition, it’s more about charisma than skill, he said.
“These guys have a great future. They just have great energy. They’re natural-born entertainers,” he said.
For others, the WWE event was an excuse to spend time with loved ones.
Andrew Jefferson of Poplar Bluff, Mo., brought his family up for the weekend as a reward for straight A’s earned by his grade-school-age sons, Adam and Austin.
“It’s an opportunity to spend quality time as a family,” he said, adding “A lot of homes don’t have parents that can take time out to spend with their children, so this is special.”