NEW ORLEANS — Luminaries from the squared circle and entertainment world at large kicked off WrestleMania Week at the New Orleans Museum of Art Thursday night with a “purple carpet” party celebrating Superstars for Kids, an auction offering more than 100 once-in-a-lifetime experiences with WWE Superstars, Divas and Legends, celebrities and athletes. Proceeds from the auction benefit The Brees Dream Foundation — a charity created by New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees — and the Boys and Girls Club.
Marlon Wayans, producer and star of the upcoming comedy “A Haunted House 2,” hosted the night’s live auction, in which partygoers bid on a meet-and-greet with WWE Hall of Famers Hulk Hogan and Jimmy Hart at The Immortal One’s Hogan Beach Tampa restaurant, which drew $17,000, as well as bid on “The Ultimate Drew Brees Experience," which drew $13,500.
With the online auction still days away from its closing date of April 8, the Superstars for Kids initiative has already raised more than $200,000.
“It's a wonderful thing that this charity event has become the kickoff for WrestleMania,” said John Cena, who arrived with girlfriend Nikki Bella. “We Superstars get together, and we do it all for a good cause.”
Wayans agreed, stating that he’s proud to be associated with WWE’s charitable efforts.
“I think that's what's beautiful about WWE,” he said. “They're really great giving back to kids. I love taking my kids to WWE [Live Events]. It has always been a great organization, and I’m happy to be a part of it.”
Other enticing experiences available online during the Superstars for Kids auction include lunch with Charlie Sheen on the set of his show, “Anger Management”; a role in a Tyler Perry Studios film or television show; a chance to meet Jimmy Kimmel and hang out in the “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” green room; and artwork by New Orleans-based live performance painter Frenchy, who spent the evening of the live auction capturing the excitement of the Superstars for Kids party. Also available is the opportunity to have lunch with WWE COO Triple H and go behind the curtains at NXT.
“I think for the WWE Universe to step behind the scenes, go to NXT and do all that stuff — it's really a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” The Game said.
Yet another unique WWE experience up for bid is the chance to make an entrance at a WWE Live Event with WWE’s Daniel Bryan. The popular “Yes!” Man said taking part in events like Superstars for Kids is one of his favorite WrestleMania Week festivities.
“Whatever money gets brought in from [Superstars for Kids] goes to the kids,” Bryan said. “That’s tremendous. Whenever we can help, that’s the best part of this job.”
For WrestleMania 30 Host Hulk Hogan, who will be returning to The Show of Shows this Sunday after years away from WWE, giving back to the community has long been an integral aspect of WWE.
“Even though I just came back, the first thing I walk into is a situation where WWE is helping,” Hogan said. “This is what these people do. They're here to help people. Even though they run the best entertainment company in the world, they're constantly in service.”
To learn more about Superstars for Kids and all the amazing experiences up for auction, visit charitybuzz.com/wwe. The online auction ends April 8.