WWE's Kelly Kelly Spans Globe to Entertain Troops
Friday, December 10, 2010
Kelly Kelly’s profile is growing quickly in the wrestling fan community, but as she has discovered in the four years since she began wrestling at the age of 19, her popularity is now global.
Kelly has been overseas four times – three times to Iraq and once (just last week) to Afghanistan – and has experienced first-hand how effective the WWE’s efforts to entertain the men and women serving abroad in the military have been.
Her first trip was to Iraq while the country was still being stabilized so the experience left quite an impression on her.
“Being 19 when I started and seeing the troops in Iraq that are the same age as me and they’re doing this on a daily basis, it’s just crazy to think about it,” said Kelly, who will be part of the WWE's eighth annual Tribute to the Troops at Fort Hood, Texas. The program will be televised on Saturday, Dec. 18 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC. “And I never thought that I’d have the opportunity to do this. It’s just been great. [The troops] found out [the wrestlers were visiting] a day or two before we got there and there were 2,000 troops there waiting when we arrived. They were freaking out. They just wanted to take pictures and talk about everything. And to hear their side of things, it was great.”
And to say that the stars of the WWE are well known and well liked at the bases would be an understatement that might be worthy of a smackdown.
“The funny thing is, they don’t get many [TV] shows over there, but they get wrestling and they recognize us over there,” Kelly said. “It makes you want to cry. It’s so great to get that reaction. I know everybody that gets to go appreciates it so much. They beg [WWE President] Vince [McMahon] to go. [The troops] just want to keep talking about everything and it’s great to give them a piece of home. And this time of year is the hardest.”
Accompanied by Big Show and Eve, Kelly’s most recent trip spanned five days in Afghanistan and included lots of pictures and autographs and some hairy moments.
“At one point we almost got hit with a rocket!” Kelly said. “But we were safe and the troops were so awesome. We were in a bunker when we heard an announcement of ‘Stay in your bunker’ so we kind of freaked out but they said to relax and we just heard a boom and that was about it. We were just fine.”
And forget any notion of “celebrity treatment.”
“We don’t stay in a hotel, we go and stay in cement houses and on steel beds and walk to the bathrooms with flashlights and we go what they go through to show them how much we appreciate them.”
Now, it’s the troops turn to show their appreciation for the wrestlers as they fill Sadowski Field at Fort Hood.
“It’s the first year we’ve stayed in the states [for WWE Tribute to the Troops] and the base is just huge. They’re expecting around 100,000 people to come. I can’t wait to perform for them. It’ll be like another WrestleMania. I said ‘How’re we going to fit everyone?’They said ‘We’ll squeeze ‘em in’ so it’ll be loud, for sure.”
Also appearing on the program will be comedian Cedric the Entertainer; recording artists Trace Adkins, P. Diddy’s Diddy Dirty Money and Ariel Winter and Miss USA Rima Fakih. -- By Christian Pelusi
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