One of the biggest events during WWE Raw and Smackdown this week actually had nothing to do with blockbuster entrances or flashy finishers.
During both programs, Dana Warrior, the widow of WWE Hall of Famer The Ultimate Warrior, announced WWE’s new “Unleash Your Warrior” campaign in partnership with the Susan G. Komen for breast cancer awareness alongside the WWE’s women’s divisions.
According to Dana Warrior, the idea behind the campaign is to encourage people to fight against breast cancer by following The Ultimate Warrior’s mantra, which was to “Be strong, act bold, and always believe.”
During each program, Warrior also proudly presented three breast cancer survivors (Dianne Primavera, Julie Zaveral, and Sherri Goldstein on Raw and Lauren Schwartz, Rochelle McKenzie, and Michelle Segura on Smackdown) with honorary WWE Women’s Championship belts in honor of their “warrior spirit”.
For the month of October, WWE events will have Susan G. Komen co-branding, and the middle rope of the ring will be pink in honor of breast cancer awareness. Additionally, WWE is selling an “Unleash Your Warrior”-branded shirt online and at shows where 100% of profits will benefit Komen research grants focused on cures for metastatic breast cancer.
StarMagazine.com had the opportunity to interview current WWE Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss about her involvement in the campaign.
WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION WHEN YOU INITIALLY HEARD ABOUT THE “UNLEASH YOUR WARRIOR” CAMPAIGN FOR SUSAN G. KOMEN?
Oh, I thought it was amazing. You know, being paired up with…I was actually talking to Dana Warrior about it. She was telling us about the Unleash Your Warrior shirt and how the proceeds will go to breast cancer research for Susan G. Komen and I think it’s just such an amazing idea.
I KNOW THE CAMPAIGN’S BEEN SPEARHEADED BY DANA WARRIOR. WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE TO WORK WITH HER ON THIS CAMPAIGN? DO YOU FEEL THAT THEMING IT AROUND THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR IS A WAY TO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO SPREAD AWARENESS AND WHAT HAVE YOU?
Absolutely. You know, Dana Warrior is such a strong and motivating woman. And she has been amazing when it comes to any platform. And it has been awesome because she kept talking about how Warrior always said, “believe in what you can do. You can accomplish anything.” And I think to relate that with battling and surviving breast cancer is awesome. And she’s been such an amazing person to work with on this campaign.
HOW ARE YOU PERSONALLY CONTRIBUTING TO IT? ARE YOU MEETING WITH SOME OF THESE BREAST CANCER SURVIVORS LIKE THE ONES WHO WERE FEATURED ON RAW LAST NIGHT?
Yes, so for the past few weeks. There were about six survivors that I’ve met with so far. And, you know, we got to hang out with them backstage, talk and share stories, and take pictures, do fun photo shoots. Last night we actually presented them with custom titles. Which was awesome and they were super-excited to receive them. And it’s just been so much fun to have these women around. And it’s so exciting and positive. And their positive attitudes are very infectious. And it’s been a lot of fun to be around them and to hear their stories and treat them like the superstars that they are.
YOUR CHARACTER ON WWE IS INFAMOUS FOR BEING A HEEL OR A VILLAIN. DO YOU ENJOY OPPORTUNITIES LIKE THIS WHERE YOU GET TO HELP OTHERS OUTSIDE OF YOUR WWE PERSONA? DO PEOPLE FIND IT JARRING WHEN THEY MEET SOMEONE KNOWN FOR BEING A “DRAMA QUEEN” ON TV HELPING ALL OF THESE PEOPLE?
Yeah, I love doing everything that’s outside of character. Just because, you know, I do play a bad guy on TV. But, you know, I love being able to do all of these outside of the WWE activities because it’s just so much fun and it’s so, so great because WWE does so much outreach to the community. We do a lot with charities. And to be able to be a part of that, you know being a bad guy on TV, it’s so rewarding. And, you know, it’s amazing to be around these people and to have these experiences with that. Good guy or bad guy. It’s helping the community and that’s what WWE’s all about.
YEAH. I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE DON’T REALIZE HOW MUCH COMMUNITY OUTREACH WWE DOES. WAS THAT SOMETHING THAT YOU EXPECTED GOING INTO THE SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS? OR IS THAT KIND OF A NICE SURPRISE THAT YOU’RE DOING ALL OF THESE OTHER THINGS IN ADDITION TO PERFORMING IN FRONT OF CROWDS?
You know, I think…I was little shocked just because it’s not really out there how much WWE does do for the community.
We have Connor’s Cure. We work with Susan G. Komen. And a lot of times WWE doesn’t say, “Hey, we do this for the community.” But, there’s so much stuff that WWE does for the community behind the scenes that people don’t even know about. And it’s amazing to see that this company gives back so much to the community and to have the fans behind it as well helping with it as well, it’s just…we’re very blessed for that.
IS BREAST CANCER AWARENESS SOMETHING THAT’S PERSONAL TO YOU, WHETHER IT’S THROUGH FRIENDS OR FAMILY OR OTHERWISE?
Yeah, I feel like…My great-grandmother died of breast cancer. I did not know her, but I feel like breast cancer affects everybody in some way. There was a girl that I went to high school with and her sophomore year, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
I remember seeing her go through that. And she survived. She’s doing well now. But, you see one extreme to another. My great-grandmother was of older age and then there’s this 14-, 15-year-old girl going through it. And it just shows that breast cancer is a real thing. And it has no age limit. Anybody can get it. And that’s why it is so important for Susan G. Komen to raise awareness and to help find a cure for these diseases, because you know there’s no actual cure for it. And that’s why we’re trying hard to raise awareness.
RIGHT. AND TO WHAT YOU JUST SAID, THERE’S A LOT OF ASSUMPTION THAT BREAST CANCER IS SOMETHING YOU GET WHEN YOU’RE OLDER. THERE ARE PLENTY OF PEOPLE WHO GET BREAST CANCER WHEN THEY’RE YOUNG. AND IT FEELS LIKE PART OF THIS CAMPAIGN IS JUST NOT ONLY SPREADING AWARENESS OF BREAST CANCER, BUT ALSO JUST GIVING PEOPLE MORE FACTS.
Absolutely. And there’s actually things that I’ve learned, like ever since we started working with Susan G. Komen. I was shocked to find out that 154,000 people are living with this disease in the U.S. today.
To purchase the “Unleash Your Warrior” T-shirt online, with all proceeds benefiting Susan G. Komen, click here.