Having done only a three-day swing through California with the WWF, a person gets a new appreciation for the grind that wrestlers go through.
At the beginning of April, I hit Anaheim for two nights for WrestleMania, then Los Angeles for RAW, and the Smackdown! tapings in San Jose the next night.
On the flight from L.A. to S.J., it wasn’t hard to spot Mark Henry in first class — just how could he ever hide? But it took a trained eye to pick out The Rock, Duane Johnson, a few seats up, hidden in a touristy outfit, sun hat pulled well down.
Travelling incognito is obviously easier for some than others.
For Ivory, being recognized hasn’t been a big problem. “Us girls are a little more blendable,” she told SLAM! Wrestling. At the time of the interview, she was dressed in a jean jacket and wearing a baseball cap — hardly the ‘WWF Diva’ doing photo shoots in the Caribbean.
Lance Storm said that he doesn’t get recognized that much. “On the road it’s cool, most fans are considerate,” he said. But when leaving an arena after a show, he will usually try to disguise himself. “Some nights you’re real tired and leaving the buildings is when you get bombarded the most.”
Each of the major federations have people in their offices that take care of travel arrangements for the wrestlers. Ivory has nothing but praise for the work that the crew for the WWF does. “We have a great travel department,” she said. “They’re very organized. Usually weeks in advance we have tickets for the next shows.”
For Billy Kidman, things can get to be a bit of a blur. “I never know where I’m going or where I’ve been. I just have to keep looking at the booking sheets to see what’s going on,” he said. They key is just not letting it get to you. “Sometimes you get ready to snap when you’re on the road for 10, 12 days in a row.”
WCW has a phone line for wrestlers to call to see what upcoming shows they are booked on.
The travel from town to town does offer the wrestlers a way to get to know each other. Ivory had a good laugh telling about the trip from San Antonio to Los Angeles that the crew did before WrestleMania. They were booked of a Southwest flight, and on Southwest flights there is no first class section, so everyone was crammed in together, businessman beside hulking beast.
Jet lag is an obvious enemy for any wrestler travelling on a plane a lot. “When you run so many hours, and odd hours of the day, usually very late at night, when you have time off at home you can’t function normal hours with your family,” explained Storm, who indeed lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. “You are always tired and trying to catch up on sleep.”
Sleeping on the plane is a good skill to have, said Storm. “The ability to sleep on planes is the biggest help. They are wasted hours anyway — try to catch up on your sleep then.”
Both Storm and Kidman had the same pet peeve about travelling — people asking for autographs when they are eating.
“I just hate when people, when you’re in the middle of chewing your food, people come up and ask for your autograph,” said Kidman.
“I do hate when people want to shake your hand when you are in the midst of eating,” said Storm. Another annoyance are the professional autograph hounds.
“I draw the line when people want a pile of pictures signed,” said Storm. “I hear people sell them on eBay and that bugs me. If you want a memento, great. Don’t try to make money off of me giving you my free time.”