Born with a life-threatening degenerative heart condition, this wish kid has undergone multiple open-heart surgeries and an aortic valve replacement. To keep his tough spirit alive, he asked his wish granters from Make-A-Wish® Northern West Virginia if he could meet his powerful idol – The Rock.
One of The Rock’s signature lines is to ask someone a question, and when the person answers he sarcastically interrupts with “it doesn’t matter.” So when Spud – whose real name is Sean - asks The Rock his real name the wish kid interrupts the Superstar’s attempted response saying, “It doesn’t matter what your name is.”
The Rock laughs out loud saying it’s the first time his own line has ever been used on him. From there the two forge a strong and fast friendship.
Make-A-Wish’s partnership with WWE make this a successful arrangement as Spud and his family fly to Toronto for the taping of WWE’s RAW event.
Spud presents The Rock with a Pittsburgh Steelers shirt – a team they both enjoy. The pair talks about wrestling and football. And Spud brings up his mom – she did not have a ticket for the night’s RAW performance due to a scheduling conflict. The Rock says he’ll take care of everything getting her a seat ringside with the rest of the family.
But then Spud has another request. The Rock has to execute his finishing move on Booker T. – one of his rivals – during the event. The Rock tells Spud he would be wrestling Christian – a native of Canada – that night though and apologized. To Spud’s surprise, at the end of RAW that night the ring announcer informs the fans of a special match. The Rock grapples with Booker T. and “laid the smack down” just for Spud.
The meeting between wish kid and celebrity was truly powerful. When the two friends have to part, they both leave with tears. “The Great One” says goodbye with a tear in his eye and one running down his cheek, while Spud cries openly from happiness. WWE officials say they’ve never seen The Rock cry before.
Later Make-A-Wish Northern West Virginia contacted Spud and requested his future participation as a wish ambassador because of his jovial nature and superior people skills. Spud readily agrees to let others get a taste of his amazing experience as he shows people how to share the power of a wish®.
“It was a life-changing experience and to this day I wonder what he (The Rock) would do in my shoes while I was growing up,” Spud says in a note to Make-A-Wish.