Fan Removed for Obscene Gesture During PPV – Cries Foul in Letter

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The following letter was sent by a fan looking to gain some sympathy for a friend who was removed for popping Batista the bird during Sunday’s PPV. I agree with the company on this one, as it sounds like this guy and his group of idiots were causing trouble. Read below and vote for yourself.

WWE Fan Robbed of History
By: Derek Greser 11/15/08

This past Sunday at WWE Armageddon 2008, history was made. In a shocking conclusion to the event, Jeff Hardy captured the WWE Championship. This would mark the first time that the high-flying Superstar would capture what is considered to be crown jewel of the sports entertainment business. Any fan of the WWE and/or Jeff Hardy can tell you this has been a long time coming. The event emanated from HSBC Arena in Buffalo, NY. The event marked the 2nd ever Pay-Per-View event in the city and venue’s history, as well as its first major title change.

29-Year-Old Tom Griffith attended the event, and had front-row seats. Tom has been a 20-year tenaciously loyal fan of the WWE. I know Tom personally and I can say that without question, the WWE is one of the biggest passions in his life. Tom has attended over 25 live events in Buffalo, Toronto, Philadelphia and Rochester. He has purchased countless WWE DVD’s and box-sets (many on their release date), video games, memorabilia, clothing, and roughly $7000 dollars on pay-per-view events.

Unfortunately for Tom, he was not able to witness history. Prior to the main event, Armageddon featured a mid-card bout between Batista and Randy Orton. Tom, an avid fan of Randy lead his friends in a raucous chorus of boos Batista’s entrance. They even dared to direct a naughty hand gesture (The same that mega-star Stone Cold Steve Austin used on television for years) at the 300 plus lb. powerhouse dubbed “The Animal”. Batista himself made eye contact with Tom and his friends, and got right in their face before ascending the ring apron. Due to the quality of Tom’s seats, this was clearly visible to fans at home as well as in the arena.

Tom then received a signal from one of the cameramen working outside the ring. This WWE employee made the “slit the throat” gesture at Tom which universally means “cut it out”. Tom nodded, and decided that he had expressed himself enough. Minutes later, approximately 8 imposing looking men dressed in gray suits asked if they could speak with Tom in the aisle. Tom obliged and was then walked out of the arena, concluding in the gray suits tearing his ticket up in front of him. The explanation Tom was given was “The person renting this building tonight has requested you be removed from it”. Tom spent the rest of the event outside in the freezing rain waiting for his friends who were still inside to drive him home.

In the past, WWE has encouraged their fans to express themselves. Vince McMahon has encouraged fans to bring signs to their support, or anti-support of his performers. This leads to the question; why was Tom removed? He was not involved in an altercation with anyone performing at or attending the event. He was not publically intoxicated. The only possible reason Tom was removed is that the powers-that-be at WWE wanted to protect the image of their Superstar Batista, who is presented as a fan-favorite.

The right thing to do here is to refund Tom’s ticket price. In the interest of fairness, this should be the very minimum. The best case scenario is to give Tom priority seating at the next WWE event at HSBC to make up for this obvious mistreatment of a great patron and fan. This article will be sent to World Wrestling Entertainment as well as HSBC Arena and The ball is now the court of these companies. Will any of them step up to right this wrong?

I am asking for the support of the Pro-Wrestling community to please let Tom’s story be heard. Let’s protect the right to express ourselves as fans, and paying customers.

– Derek Greser



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