As fans from around the world converge on North Texas for WrestleMania 32 to be held at AT&T Stadium on Sunday, April 3rd, the full-time residents of the venue joined their weekend guests in community events to bring smiles to kids who are fans of the Dallas Cowboys and WWE.
Cowboys players, Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and WWE Superstars & Divas partnered on Wednesday for events at both The Ronald McDonald House of Dallas as well as the Salvation Army’s North Texas Youth Education Town in Arlington.
Appearing at The Ronald McDonald House were Cowboys players Lance Dunbar, Terrell McClain, and new free agent signee Cedric Thornton. They were joined by DCC members Jinelle and Chantel. WWE Superstars making the Dallas appearance were Mark Henry, Goldust, Darren Young, Jack Swagger, and WWE Diva Eva Marie.
When the DCC, WWE Superstars and Diva headed to Arlington for the event at The Youth Education Town, they were welcomed by Cowboys defensive backs Brandon Carr and Byron Jones.
“It’s great to be around the kids and be around the WWE Superstars and Divas,” Thornton said between scoops of ice cream at the ice cream social for the kids and families at The Ronald McDonald House. “I’m always been a fan and I’m glad to see how they’re supporting the kids.”
“Growing up I was a big-time WWE fan,” said Dunbar. “My favorite was Stone Cold Steve Austin. I’m a big fan and now that WrestleMania is here in Dallas, it’s a chance to go back to the old days of when I was a kid. There are some of us who’ve done events this week that will be there on Sunday night at the stadium. We have a lot of guys who are fans of WWE, so we show up and have a good time.”
“Lance was on my fantasy football team last year, so he apologized for missing part of the season with an injury,” joked WWE superstar Jack Swagger. “But I thanked him because he helped me win my league!”
Swagger is a former football player at The University of Oklahoma who was teammates with former Cowboys safety and first round draft pick Roy Williams. The fact that Wrestlemania 32 will be held at the home of the Dallas Cowboys is exciting for Swagger.
“This is like a childhood dream,” he says. “I grew up in Oklahoma so I consider this my home. To be involved in an event like this in the biggest stadium ever made is like a dream. It gives me goosebumps. It brings so many people together from so many countries, and they get to experience Texas culture and learn about Dallas’s hospitality. We’ll meet people from different countries who are wearing Cowboys gear. It’s really cool.”
Of the week-long events leading up to Sunday’s main event, Swagger particularly enjoys meet-and-greets with kids.
“It’s really the best thing that we do,” notes Swagger. “I remember when I was a kid I got an autograph from baseball player Fred McGriff when he was playing first base for the Braves. His nickname was The Crime Dog. So I named my first puppy ‘Crime Dog’. I remember being at the baseball game and climbing on the dugout and he gave me an autograph. To be on the other side of that now as a professional athlete, it’s awesome. It’s what keeps my going. There are lots of bumps and bruises that we take, and there are long travel days. But it’s all worth it when you meet some kids and they want you to sign an autograph or take a picture.”
WWE superstar Goldust, whose sister Kristin Ditto was a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader from 1998-2000, was particularly happy to join the Cowboys for both events on Wednesday.
“It’s very important for all of us to give back to the communities we visit, and these kids at The Ronald McDonald House are very, very sick,” said Goldust. “This is all about touching people’s lives.”