From The Fans: Joel O'Brien on WWE's Hurricane Sandy benefit auction

Contributed by Joel O'Brien of

It amazes me to see fans fork out so much money each year for "VIP" Fan axxess passes in hopes of spending 10 rushed seconds with their heroes. The reason it puzzles me is that there are much better ways for fans to part with their hard earned money and still walk away from an experience you wont soon forget.

The WWE "Superstars For Sandy" Charity Ball/Auction on Wall Street, New York last night was one of those experience.

With WWE growing larger and larger with each passing year, its becoming increasingly hard for fans to interact with top-tier WWE talent/personalities. For $150 ($75 for general admission), you are able to don your best outfit and get as close as you will ever get with the likes of Vince McMahon, Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, Linda McMahon, John Cena, Sheamus etc. The list goes on. Furthermore, you are provided with 2 complete bars and endless canopies completely paid for by your ticket. There is value far as the eye can see.

Like the TNA fan fest from Lockdown this past March that i had a chance to attend, everyone (bar the odd negative attitude here or there) was ready to chat and ready to socialise. Standouts included Cena who took time with every fan he interacted with and made them feel special, Wade Barret , Sheamus (who bonded with me and my friend immediately over our Australian/Irish background) and The Miz (believe it or not), who looked very daper next to the absolutely STUNNING Maryse who was also in attendence. Other  WWE talent in attendance included  Chris Jericho, Dolph Ziggler, Mick Foley, Michael Hayes, Jerry "The King" Lawler, JBL, Kofi Kingston, Cody Rhodes, Ted Dibiase Jr, Brodus Clay, Hornswoggle, Natalya, The Bellas, Kaytlyn and Lillian Garcia. If you are able to get over the starstuck-ness of the situation, you will be hard pressed to find a cooler event to be apart of.

But this wasn't just a "meet and greet". There were ridiculous items to bid on...if your had extreme amounts of disposable income! Fox Sports news reader Joe Buck took control of the auction and helped raise over $70,000 for the victims of Hurricane Sandy (not including the many other online auctions that were held leading up to this event). This amazing amount was achieved via the selling of items/experiences such as: A signed WWE Championship Belt from The Rock ($10,000), a "meet-and-greet" with Charlie Sheen on the set of his TV Show "Anger Management" ($21,000), Lunch with Triple H/Tour of NXT & front row tickets for a NXT taping at Full Sail Univeristy ($12,000), Golf for a day with the New York Giants ($5,500), a guest announcer spot on one episode of "Jimmy Kimmel Live" ($13,000) and a tour of WWE RAW with John Cena, including front row tickets to the show ($14500). While i lacked the funds to bid, i enjoyed Miz trying to work the crowd to bid more...with little to no effect, and Triple H hyping his auction by cutting a promo and asking the fans: "don't you want to be able to meet the future Rock with me at NXT?".

I'll be honest. I have never been a fan of WWEs attempt to give their audiences a real "hands on" experience when it comes to their talent. Most times these opportunities arise, you have to pay big bucks to get them or wait for hours upon hours to see them. And sure, Fan Axxess continues to grow every year, but it will always lack an intimate setting between you and your favorite WWE stars. "Superstars for Sandy" changed this bleak perspective. For a measly $150, i got great food, great booze and got to meet some of my idols in a heavily social environment. Everyone was willing to talk. Everyone was gracious. Everyone was REAL and natural. When it comes to meeting WWE Superstars, WWE's annual Wrestlemania charity events cannot be beaten.

If your thinking about heading to New Orleans next year and your a die-hard fan, be sure to keep your ear to the ground and snatch up tickets the minute they surface. You will NOT be disappointed.

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