WWE Stars Tour Military Bases for Visit with Service Members, Families


Military personnel at Mayport Naval Station put on a show for a handful of World Wrestling Entertainment superstars and divas before heading into the ring Tuesday evening at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.

The pro wrestlers gasped during a K-9 attack demonstration as a 92-pound German shepherd yanked the arm of a Navy serviceman wearing a bite suit.

Kennel master Josh Lopez narrated the performance as the wrestlers peered from behind a chain-link fence.

"I don't know if you guys have ever pinched yourself in that area under the arm," Lopez said emphatically. "But it's very sensitive."

The wrestlers applauded the performance of the dogs and their handlers before mingling with military personnel and posing for photos.

Mayport was one of many stops the athletes made during their tour of Jacksonville for WWE's 13th annual Tribute to the Troops. Dozens of superstars and divas also visited Jacksonville Naval Air Station, Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base, work sites and youth centers to meet military personnel and their families.

While wrestlers such as Dolph Ziggler and Titus O'Neil usually steal the show, they were happy to point the spotlight at service members instead.

"It's just an honor to work with these people," O'Neil said. "I'm so thankful to be here for this event."

Ziggler hopped straight over to Mayport Middle School where he joined some of the divas for an anti-bullying rally. The wrestlers encouraged the kids to respect each other, discuss difficulties with their parents and teachers, and avoid cyber-bullying.

Frank Caroccio, 12, said meeting the stars was the best part of his day.

"Maybe one day I'll become a wrestler," the sixth-grader said. "This was so awesome."

Carracio's friend Seren Baird, also 12, said she's never met anyone famous and she felt lucky. She added that bullies didn't bother her, but she wouldn't be afraid to help someone else out.

"I don't think I've ever been bullied before," Seren said. "But if I saw someone getting bullied, I would defend them."

According to school liason officer Sharon Kasica, the students weren't the only ones excited over WWE's presence.

"There's a lot of military guys that have been talking all about this," Kasica said. "It's something they've been really excited about."

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