WWE’s Cody Rhodes greets Fresno resident who is blind during WrestleMania tour

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World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Cody Rhodes lifted up a fan’s spirit during Sunday’s house show at the Save Mart Center.

At the conclusion of his match against Shinsuke Nakamura, Rhodes took to the microphone and thanked the 9,221 fans in attendance during the Road to WrestleMania tour.

Rhodes took note of the many signs fans brought to the Save Mart Center, including one that stood out to him.

The sign read “Blindness can’t stop me from seeing Cody Rhodes.”

Holding that sign was Fresno resident Shaela Warkentin Avila, who became blind at the age of 15 when she was in a crash on March 8, 2011. A truck plowed into the back of a car her sister Karissa was driving while they waited at a red light returning home from a church youth group meeting.

Avila’s sister and another friend in the vehicle were uninjured.

On Sunday, though, Avila’s dream came true when she met Rhodes.

Avila shouted “I love you!”

Rhodes left the ring through the ropes to meet with the fan and hugged her and placed her hand on his face.

Fans shouted “Cody, Cody, Cody” as he met Avila.

Many WWE fans started recording from their phones to see the embrace between the two.

It was a moment Avila will not forget.

Tyler Avila said he and his wife noticed Rhodes met with a Knoxville fan who is also blind and greeted that person.

“She has been a Cody fan since she started watching WWE last year,” he said. “My brother and I went to WrestleMania 39 in L.A. last year and she came along with us alongside my sister. While my brother and I were at the event, my sister and her watched it in the hotel room.

“They had never seen a wrestling event prior. They fell in love. Shaela had an immediate connection to Cody. She has loved him and followed him since last WrestleMania.”

Tyler Avila said his wife went to her first WWE event last September in Fresno.

She cried when Rhodes came out, he said.

“We knew we needed to get closer next time,” he said. “This time we had floor seats. We never expected him to see her or her sign.”

Rhodes is scheduled to wrestle WWE champion Roman Reigns at WrestleMania XL in Philadelphia the weekend of April 6-7.

An attendance record

Sunday night’s WWE matchup in Fresno was also notable for its crowd size.

According to the pro wrestling news YouTube channel PWUnlimited, citing reporter Dave Meltzer, it was the most attended non-Madison Square Garden live event in more than 20 years — a rare mark for a non-televised house show.