America Supports You: Troops to Get Free Wrestling Broadcast
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jul. 20, 2005 World Wrestling Entertainment will offer its July 24 Pay-Per-View special, "SmackDown! The Great American Bash," free for broadcast on American Forces Network as a way of thanking servicemembers and their families for their service to America.
"While our men and women of the Armed Forces are serving throughout the world, we know they are away from their homes and their families, so we are pleased to provide them with a little piece of home as a token of our thanks for all they are doing during this challenging time," said Kevin Dunn, WWE executive vice president of television production.
The program will be broadcast from the HSBC Arena in Buffalo, N.Y., and will be available to servicemembers and Defense Department civilians stationed in more than 177 countries and U.S. territories, according to a WWE news release.
"For over 60 years, AFN has been dedicated to bringing our military men and women serving overseas the most popular American broadcasts," said Larry Marotta, AFN television chief. "Thanks to the continuing generosity and support of WWE, our wrestling fans will be able to enjoy even more WWE, and they'll be able see it free on AFN Spectrum almost as soon as they would if they were watching at home."
WWE has a long history of supporting American troops. WWE superstars were some of the first celebrities to visit wounded servicemembers as they returned from Iraq and Afghanistan. WWE has sent millions of dollars worth of T-shirts, videos and DVDs, promotional items, magazines and CDs to military personnel operating on the front lines, WWE officials said.
For the past two years, WWE superstars also have performed a televised holiday special from Iraq, which was broadcast to troops around the globe.
WWE received the Legacy of Hope Award from the United Service Organizations of Metropolitan Washington for its efforts in support of the troops and to raise funds in support of USO Operation Care Package.
"The armed forces have shown WWE great support during our base visits and hospital visits so we look at this broadcast as one way we can honor all of them for their bravery and courage," Dunn said.