ND Soldiers Meet WWE Wrestlers in FargoN.D. National Guard News Release | 1/23/2012
"(I`m) kind of nervous because I`ve never met a WWE superstar. It`s been my dream since I was a little kid," Hunter, of Fargo, said. "I always thought that I`d be all confident, but now that I`m going to talk to him, I don`t know what I`ll say."
After a big, catered meal in the Dome`s hospitality room, 20 select Guardsmen and their guests were introduced to "The Big Show," who tops 7 feet tall and weighs more than 440 pounds. The wrestler autographed posters featuring Guardsmen alongside WWE stars and posed for photos.
"I meet actors and actresses and musicians and so-called famous people all the time, and 99 percent of them don`t impress me at all, but every single service person I`ve met and shook hands with has impressed me," The Big Show said. "Ö To me, it`s just humbling to be in the presence of people like that, it just really is. They leave home, they leave everything, they leave country, and they go out and execute duty, and their sacrifice makes it possible for me to do what I do."
He joked with the Guardsmen and guests, and when it came time for a team photo with the North Dakota National Guard recruiters, he picked up Staff Sgt. Katie Fagre and swung her like a pendulum as she laughed.
"I think if I had it to do over, I don`t think I`d be a WW wrestler. I think I`d be in the military somewhere blowing something up," said The Big Show, who has traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan with the WWE talent to entertain deployed service members.
He admitted, though, that the military equipment likely wouldn`t fit his frame, and his size might make him a good target for the enemy.
Staff Sgt. Derek Brandenberg, a Fargo-based North Dakota National Guard recruiting and retention noncommissioned officer, helped organize the event. The National Guard Bureau is a WWE sponsor, and the pre-event dinner and meet-and-greet was a good opportunity to reward Guardsmen, he said. Some received spots after being named "Soldier of the Month," while others won a competition for who could bring the most friends to a drill weekend to experience life in the North Dakota National Guard. All in all, it was a good event for the entire Guard family, he said.
"A lot of people were really excited about it," Brandenburg said of the participants` reaction to being chosen. "We have some big fans of WWE. They were really excited to know that they get to go meet The Big Show, get an autograph, get a photograph; it made their day."