Local wrestling fans meet a diva

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 25, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

A few Thursdays ago, April Sexton was watching the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) program Smackdown in her Pughsville Road home. During a commercial break, the Nansemond River High School student turned to glance around her room.

Everywhere she looked, she saw blonde bombshell Torrie Wilson. &uot;I have posters everywhere of Torrie,&uot; April explains. &uot;There’s a couple others, but mostly her.&uot;


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Since entering World Champ-ionship Wrestling (WCW) in 1999, Wilson has consistently been one of the most popular figures in professional wrestling. After WCW was purchased by the WWE – then the World Wrestling Federation – in 2001, the Boise, Idaho native switched organizations, and is still one of the more well-known ladies (or, in wrestling-speak, divas) in the business. A common sight on WWE promotional posters (including the one for the Great American Bash pay-per-view, which takes place Sunday night at the Norfolk Scope), calendars and other memorabilia, Wilson has also posed for Playboy on two occasions.

As the show started to come back on, April looked back at the television. That’s when she saw a commercial that would help her become closer to her hero than ever before. Wilson, it was announced, would be appearing at 2 p.m. June 23 in the Tidewater Sports and Collectibles store at the Chesapeake Square Mall.

&uot;I just started screaming, ‘Mom! Mom! Mom!&uot; April recalls, laughing.

Her mother LuAnn came running. &uot;I thought she’d fallen off her bed or something,&uot; LuAnn said. &uot;When I got there, she was telling me how much she wanted to go.&uot;

&uot;I wish I could be Torrie,&uot; April says. &uot;She’s so pretty. I wish I could be a wrestler. It’s fun and entertaining to watch. I was very, very happy about meeting Torrie.&uot;

Meanwhile, in downtown Suffolk, Carlos Gonzalez was visiting some family.

&uot;I knew the pay-per-view was coming, but not her,&uot; says the 14-year-old Nashville, Tenn. resident, &uot;When I saw the commercial, I jumped up like a little kid and started yelling, ‘Can we go? Can we go?’ My grandfather was half asleep, and I think I scared him! I marked the date on my calendar.&uot;

So on Wednesday afternoon, Carlos, April, LuAnn, and a few hundred other Wilson fans stand crowded outside the store.

&uot;Torrie’s so good-looking,&uot; says Carlos. &uot;I can’t ask her to marry me, because I’m too young. I wish I was older.&uot;

&uot;She’s beautiful,&uot; says Booker T. Washington student A.J. Hicks, 10. &uot;She’s a good diva; she’s on every magazine. She always does really good in the ring.&uot;

Meanwhile, April and LuAnn camp out inside the store, ready to be the first to welcome Wilson to Southeast Hampton Roads. At 2:20 p.m., the special guest still hasn’t arrived. &uot;I’m kind of nervous,&uot; April admits. &uot;I don’t know what I’m going to say.&uot;

Finally, the superstar strolls through the back door of the store, wearing a green dress (much more conservative than normal WWE diva attire).

Outside the store, the crowd starts to notice her, and cheers go up. Wilson walks to the front and waves to her fans. The cheers get louder and louder, and a &uot;Torrie! Torrie!&uot; chant starts up. Grinning from ear to ear (as is April), Wilson walks back into the store, and sits down to meet her enthusiasts.

April’s one of the first to get her autograph. &uot;I can’t believe I’m meeting you!&uot; she blurts nervously. &uot;I am one of your biggest fans!&uot;

&uot;You are?&uot; Wilson asks appreciatively. &uot;You’re so sweet!&uot; She signs a personalized photo of herself for April.

&uot;I am so one of your biggest fans!&uot; April says. &uot;Can I have a hug?&uot; Wilson doesn’t hesitate, standing up and quickly embracing her new friend.

&uot;I love having fans like you!&uot; Wilson says.

Outside the store, it’s obvious that April’s day (and probably her entire week) has been made. &uot;I’m very…very…I mean, whoa!&uot; she says. &uot;I was kind of nervous, but she was so easy to talk to. I can’t even say how I feel.&uot;

She doesn’t have to; her smile says more than enough.