What: WWE's "Road to Wrestlemania"
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1
Where: McKenzie Arena, 720 E. Fourth St.
Admission: $15, $25, $35, $50 and $95
Cathy Brindisi has big plans surrounding Friday night's World Wrestling Entertainment big event at McKenzie Arena.
The Knoxville native started reaching out to media, the venue and the WWE weeks ago hoping to score a backstage pass. She plans to drive down with her husband, who will drop her off at the arena so she can watch her favorite professional wrestlers go at it during a "Road to Wrestlemania" event.
The main event will feature John Cena and "Mr. Money in the Bank" Dolph Ziggler. Also wrestling will be "The Best in the World" CM Punk, The Unstoppable Ryback, The Divas, The Miz, Antonio Cesaro, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Kane, Daniel Bryan, Big E Langston and Aj Lee. (Note: The card can change without notice.)
Brindisi, 39, has high hopes of being able to snag a photograph or an autograph from her favorite superstars, especially CM Punk, but if that doesn't happen, she's excited about having a good seat for the big show.
"I'm excited because I've never had a floor seat before," she said. "I also just felt that I needed to go since I don't know when they will be coming back to Knoxville. A two-hour drive is nothing compared to going to the wrestling."
Brindisi said she has been a fan since a young age.
"My childhood wasn't picture-perfect, and I looked up to some of the wrestlers," she said. "Some of them had such positive things to say that when I felt down it gave me hope that one day things wouldn't be so bad."
Brindisi said she was "kind of a loner" in school and was often picked on and bullied.
"I liked my things, my way and didn't believe in following the crowd."
CM Punk is her favorite wrestler. "He hasn't changed with becoming well known," she explained. "He is still himself, and I admire that."
Brindisi said she also appreciates some of the outreach programs such as "Be a STAR (Show Tolerance and Respect)," the WWE's anti-bullying campaign, and the things the organization does in support of the military. For her though, nothing beats being near the action.
"The live shows are so great," she said. "You get to cheer for your favorites and boo for the ones you don't like. It's a fun time and stress reliever all in one."
Contact staff writer Barry Courter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6354.