WWE Superstars take part in Unified Basketball Game with Special Olympics in Houston

Charly Caruso, Cedric Alexander and Bayley (Photo by Chad Cooper)

The WWE announced Monday night during its nationally televised flagship show “RAW” held at the Toyota Center in Houston that it would once again support the athletes of the Special Olympics.

WWE Superstar Big Show along with Beth Knox, the CEO of the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games, introduced many of the athletes from Team Texas who will be competing with more than 3,500 athletes from 50 states in the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics Games, which takes place July 1-6 in Seattle, Washington.

Hours before the doors opened at the Toyota Center on June 4, several WWE superstars participated in a Unified Basketball Game with the Special Olympics at the Fonde Recreation Center in downtown Houston.

WWE Superstars Bayley, Bobby Roode and Cruiserweight champion Cedric Alexander were honorary coaches for both the Deer Park Fireballs and Katy Wolf Pack while WWE television personality Charly Caruso announced the game.

“It’s very cool to see how much they enjoy everything they do,” said Bayley. “These athletes work so hard and outwork us every day. It’s also motivation for us for our long workdays.”

WWE’s partnership with Special Olympics started with the 1995 World Games in New Haven, Connecticut, and it has continued through the more recent Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015, the 2014 USA Games in New Jersey, and an ongoing corporate partnership with Special Olympics Connecticut.

“I think something the WWE really embraces is just showing off so many different talents in so many different types of people,” said Caruso. “Everyone has their own special unique talents that they are able to showcase, and the same goes for the Special Olympics.

“We saw so many talented athletes here today in the Unified Basketball Game really push the boundaries in what they are able to do and really show people that if you set your mind to do something, you can really accomplish anything.”

Alexander, who spent time coaching, shared his WWE Cruiserweight championship belt to the joyous smiles of the players.

“It’s about inclusion — everyone being together,” said Alexander. “It’s very powerful to see everyone accomplish the same goal. No matter who you are, everybody is capable of anything.”

This was one of the first experiences that Roode has had with the WWE and Special Olympics, and was very thankful for it.

“The athletes, the fans, the game — it was an incredible experience,” said Roode. “It’s very rewarding. It’s one thing for us to perform in the ring in front of thousands of people in an arena, and when you come here, you are humbled by it all. Being a part of making their day was really special.”

Special Olympics has been changing lives since 1968. It has since become a global movement of people creating a new world of inclusion and community, where every single person is accepted and welcomed, regardless of ability or disability. Their mission is to help to make the world a better, healthier and more joyful place — one athlete, one volunteer, one family member at a time.

“We get to travel all over the world and put on shows for such awesome audiences, but to be in a setting like this that has a special meaning and be able to give back to the communities that we visit on a weekly basis just means a lot to us,” added Caruso. “It’s a special way to say thank you to everything in supporting us, the WWE, and we want to show our support in return.”


Chad Cooper is the editor of the Southeast Texas Entertainment Guide. Email: cooper [at] theexaminer [dot] com