SASKATOON – Whether you are the champion in WWE, a regular in Japan, or an independent wrestler making their name with an assortment of promotions, there is one thing that every wrestler has to do, and most wrestlers don’t like to do: Travel.
I had a small taste of travel Tuesday, as I was loaded into a truck with Calgary wrestlers Apocalypse, Juggernaut and Johnny Handsome for the six-hour drive to Saskatoon. Four wrestler-sized guys crammed into a vehicle? Bring on the fun! The laughter! The loss of feeling in your legs!
While I had the luxury of sitting behind the 5-foot-9 Handsome and thus had some legroom, poor Apocalypse was seated behind the 6-foot-4, 380-pound Juggernaut. Ever the trooper, he sat there without complaint until Rosetown, when the back seat boys begged to get out for a moment to stretch our legs again.
“When I was in England, every day I was crammed into a space smaller than what you guys are in for eight hours of travel and they wouldn‚t let me out to stretch!,” Johnny said with little sympathy for us. Despite that, we still got our wish. I think Handsome didn’t want to deal with the wrath of a grumpy SLAM! Reporter.
The trip was a short jaunt for these three well-traveled stars, who have traveled regularly to Winnipeg, Vancouver, and even overseas. It was the first part of what all the traveling athletes referred to as a “working vacation.”
“When I moved to Nashville for TNA, I did a three day stretch driving all over the country, then loaded up and moved,” said Jerry Lynn. “Today I flew for five hours, from Nashville to Minneapolis to Saskatoon. But I don‚t have to leave again, which is nice.” A more established star like Lynn still drives between shows, but for trips farther from his hometown he often flies. “I used to like flying and traveling a lot. But since September 11th, it‚s been a lot less enjoyable and a bigger pain.”
“We‚re going to be here for a week,” Juggernaut happily said. “I don‚t have to load up gear or be on the road first thing in the morning. I get to sleep in, that never happens on the road.”
“It‚s nice to not have to rush off right away,” Agreed Handsome. “I can take my time, work out, grab a bite to eat, and relax before the shows.”
I am sure you are asking what wrestlers eat on the road. Low fat muffins? Stopping at a restaurant for a chicken salad? The answer was: McGriddles. The McDonald’s breakfast sandwich made of pancakes was the breakfast of these champions. The restaurant gave me a Sausage & Egg McMuffin instead of my McGriddle. I debated stealing one of Juggernaut’s sandwiches, but looked at him and thought better of it. On the road you take what you can get, and the wrestlers all have favorite foods.
“Handsome always looks confused when you drive by a Tim Horton’s and don’t pull in,” joked Wavell Starr. Juggernaut agreed that the bodybuilder had an interesting favorite food. “That boy loves donuts.”
It‚s not all hardship being on the road.
“It’s fun to go out and get stories with your buddies. You usually have a crew of regular travel buddies and they make the trip fun. I don‚t mind traveling, it’s long and tiring but you often get some pretty good stories out of it,” Said Handsome, who had a minor mishap that will be his first road story from this trip. I’d tell you about it, but then he’d have to kill me. I am sure one of the others will talk about it on their websites.
Wrestlers do whatever they can to amuse themselves during road trips. Between sharing stories, Apocalypse had his nose buried in the new Harry Potter book while listening to Death Metal songs with names that aren’t suitable to print. There is something very wrong with that.
I quickly learned that with wrestlers that they will tease you about everything and not let you live it down. I made the mistake, while discussing Canadian Idol with Juggernaut, of saying that I thought Audrey de Montigny and Tyler Hamilton would win the competition because they were both great singers and easy on the eyes so they would get votes from the opposite sex. Awkward silence followed, then Juggernaut went “Dude, easy on the eyes?” I will be hearing about that for the rest of this trip.
In Other POW news:
Fans Tuesday tonight witnessed history as Juggernaut and Jerry Lynn faced for the first time. The match was a short affair, just under 10 minutes, and Lynn won the match with a Tornado DDT. “I‚m happy with the match. It was something I had been looking forward to for a long time. I wish I felt better, it was hot and I was tired from the trip,” said Juggernaut. He is sure this won’t be the last time they face off this week. “We’ll get it on again, and it will be better because I won’t be tired. I may be drunk, but not tired.”
The shows are being held outdoors behind the Grandstand unless it rains, in which case there is an indoor location for the events. The crowds the first day were good, and vocal.
“It’s a different kind of crowd at this type of event so you work differently,” said Handsome. “Most of these people aren’t hardcore wrestling fans, so you have to really play it up.” Handsome worked the crowd brilliantly during his match against Apocalypse in the final show of the evening. Also irritating the crowd were Wavell Starr and Don Callis, wrestling as “The Natural.” Their heel tactics and blistering microphone attacks on the fans had the Saskatoon crowd screaming for their heads. They would go home unfulfilled however, as a belt shot by Wavell secured a win for his team over Apocalypse and El Assassino.
Bret Hart will be on hand to sign autographs today at a tent in the Grandstand from 4 – 7 p.m.
Dice Steel beat El Assassino
“World Carnival Champion” Wavell Starr defeated Juggernaut.
Jerry Lynn beat Juggernaut
Wavell Starr & “The Natural” Don Callis defeated Apocalypse & El Assassino
Dice Steel beat El Assassino
Crash Crimson beat the heck out of Van Dutch
Apocalypse defeated Johnny Handsome
- Aug. 13, 2003: Jason’s Saskatoon Diary Day 7: The Long Journey Home
- Aug. 11, 2003: Jason’s Saskatoon Diary Day 6: Wavell Dethroned
- Aug. 10, 2003: Jason’s Saskatoon Diary Day 5: The End Draws Near
- Aug. 9, 2003: Jason’s Saskatoon Diary Day 4: From Legends to Rookies
- Aug. 8, 2003: Jason’s Saskatoon Diary Day 3: Apocalypse marks out
- Aug. 7, 2003: Jason’s Saskatoon Diary: Day 2, 2003: Hitman a hit
- Aug. 6, 2003: Jason’s Saskatoon Diary: Day 1, 2003: Road Rules
Jason Clevett will be in Saskatoon all week wandering the midway and laughing at Juggernaut repeatedly losing midway games. Secretly he hopes Juggernaut will win him a giant stuffed snake.