All Work and No Play...: FS Reprint
January 06, 2011
I wrote the following for my ďStorm FrontĒ article for ďFighting SpiritĒ Magazine, back in August, and it is being reproduced with permission from Uncooked Media Ltd.
I often get asked if I have any regrets about my wrestling career, and most specifically do I regret never winning a World Title. I always answer that I am very happy with the way my career turned out and that winning a World Title was never a goal of mine so I donít really have any regrets. That is for the most part true; I achieved more than I ever set out to achieve in this business, and Iím likely one of the few that managed to get in, and get out of the business, with their health, their marriage, and their finances intact.
That being said there are a few minor things that would have been cool additions to my wrestling career had I been able to mange them. I do wish I would have had an official WrestleMania match, and I would have also loved to have worked with Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, during my career. The other slight regret is the one I want to talk about this month because I want to use it to offer a piece of advice to young wrestlers out there.
When I first broke in I said I wanted to wrestle in as many provinces, states, and countries as I could during my career. I thought it would be great to wrestle around the world and see as many places as possible while pursuing my wrestling career. I have wrestled in 9 of the 10 Canadian provinces, as well as 49 of the American 50 States. I have visited and wrestled in 10 Countries across four Continents. My Country list would have been much greater had I remained on the road with WWE a year or two longer as I retired just when WWE started touring extensively World wide again in 2005.
Still 10 Countries World wide is nothing to sneeze at and I was very fortunate to wrestle in: Canada, The US, Japan, Austria, Germany, England, Lebanon, Australia, Korea, and India. The problem is despite visiting 10 Countries, 49 States, and 9 Provinces; I saw very little while visiting those places and that is my regret.
So my advice to young wrestlers out there is, donít just focus on the trees, take time out to realize you are in a forest and enjoy the experience. I was so focused on my career and the matches I was having that I almost never took time out to enjoy where I was, and looking back I donít really remember the matches, I remember the few times I did go out and experience my surroundings, and I do very much regret not experiencing more.
In North America alone I missed so many opportunities to see the sites. I worked in New York City countless times, yet have never seen the Statue of Liberty. Iíve wrestled in Rapid City, SD and chose to go to the gym, rather than drive the 40 minutes to see Mount Rushmore. Iíve been to Memphis, and never visited Graceland. I wrestled in Las Vegas, and never walked down the strip, I even worked in Hawaii twice yet never stayed long enough to see the beach.
The only point of interest I bothered to see across all of North America was Signal Hill in St. Johnís Newfoundland, and the only reason I got to see that was because I was travelling with Edge and he made the call to visit it. We were not the only guys to visit Signal Hill either as we met up with William Regal along the way. Signal hill was the site where the first transatlantic wireless signal was received, on December 12th 1901, as well as the site of the final battle between Britain and France for control of Newfoundland, which was won by the British in 1762. We walked though historic Cabot Tower and stood below the sign post (that shows distances to major cities around the world) over looking the Atlantic ocean joking that despite being in Canada we were actually closer to William Regalís home town of Black Pool, than mine in Calgary.
I didnít really see a thing in Japan, Korea, or India. Korea there wasnít really any time to site see since we were really just in for the one day, but after 26 trips to the Land of the Rising Son, you would have thought Iíd have gotten around to seeing something, which I never really did.
Europe I didnít fair much better spending almost 4 months in Hannover German for CWA Catch, and only managed one site seeing afternoon at the Royal Gardens of Herrenhausen. I spent 8 weeks in Vienna Austria (with one full day off a week) and only managed to wander the streets stumbling on the occasional point of Interest, like The Vienna Opera house (which I didnít even try to see inside of) and Stephansdom, which was the most amazing church Iíve ever seen in my life. I did fair better in England, due primarily to numerous trips to London, so Iíve managed to visit The Tower of London, several of the major museums, and St. Paulís Cathedral, but Iíve never managed to venture out side of London and see the Country.
This leaves only Lebanon and Australia in my World travels and they are the two places I did the coolest and most memorable things in my career. I would not describe anything I did in Lebanon as site seeing, but it was the only time I was in what you could call a war zone. We had military guards around us at all times armed with AK 47s and who knows what else. Chris Adams was the guy running the tour to Lebanon and he had a fascination with guns and managed to talk two of the guards into letting him fire am AK 47. He had to go up into the hills to do it, and I tagged along for the trip. Iím not much for guns but standing in the hills of Lebanon firing a Russian made AK47 on full auto, was one of the most unique experiences of my life.
My Australian experience was a lot tamer but still very cool. While in Sydney, Australia I climbed the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Itís a tourist attracting and a group of us from WCW did the climb and got to stand atop the bridge looking out over the harbor and the Sydney opera house. It was an amazing view and one of the coolest non-wrestling things I did in my career.
For an 18 year journey across 10 Countries that is not a very impressive list of adventures and worst of all many of my trips I did without a camera. Thankfully with technology today I doubt any wrestlers out there schlepping the globe are doing so with out at the very least a video phone, but even still be sure to stop and smell the roses, and of course take a few pictures along the way. Its way cheaper to see the sites on someone elseís travel dime, than having to plan the trips yourself post retirement, like I have to do now.
Happy travels everyone,