The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly in Travel Partners
April 12, 2010
I wrote the following for my “Storm Front” article for “Fighting Spirit” Magazine, back in November, and it is being reproduced with permission from Uncooked Media Ltd.
Earlier this year I wrote about my five favourite people to work with, in the ring, as well as my 4 least favourite. Match quality was always real important to me so who I worked with made a big difference in how happy I was on the road. That being said only a small portion of the time you spend on the road is spent in the ring; the vast majority of your time on the road is spent on the road traveling. Often times your happiness on the road is more tied to who you travel with and spend your non-wrestling time with, than who you are actually in the ring having matches with. So this month I thought I would take a look at some of the people I spend my non-wrestling time with on the road and take a look at The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Travel Partners.
The GOOD… Edge: Since Edge was also on my list of five favourite opponents you can imagine how good of friends we became on the road with him also being one of my favourite travel partners. During our IC Title program back in 2001 we were traveling together on the road and working together in the ring, times were very…very good. The key to a good travel partner is compatibility. You have to want to sleep at the same time, train at the same time, and just generally have similar life styles and get along. On top of those obvious points it also helps if you have the ability to make each other laugh when the road gets very long and tiresome. I remember one such instance with Edge when our travel loop involved Saturday and Sunday live events somewhere followed buy a Monday morning flight to Phoenix, AZ for a Monday night live event in Yuma, then the Tuesday night SmackDown Taping in Tucson. This made for a morning flight, 300 km drive to Yuma, work an evening show, then a 390 km drive to Tucson. A 390 km drive after a show is bad enough but after a morning flight and a 300 km drive to get to the show, this was brutal. We were both very tired and very irritable, just trying to stay awake as we drove through the desert. Edge was driving and I was surfing radio stations when I stumbled upon our solution...The Humpty Dance, by Digital Underground. I’m not sure if this song was big in the UK but in the US in 1990 it was huge and incredibly stupid (search YouTube). So at 2 am in the middle of the Arizona desert, Edge and I start singing along with the radio at the top of our lung to “The Humpty Dance”. We laughed our asses off, it was one of the stupidest, most fun times I’ve ever had on the road.
The BAD… Don Callis (ECW’s Cyrus): One of my most unique (perhaps useless would be a better word) travel partners I ever had. When we were in ECW together we always traveled together, but since Don only came in for TV he never did the full travel loop. Jerry Lynn and I were full time travel partners and we would just pick up Don for the last day of TV. Because of this schedule and Don’s desire to be the Bain of my existence he contributed almost nothing to the travel routine. He simply tagged along not putting a single thought into where we were going or how we were going to get there. It became a running rib and since Don and I were such good friends he knew how to push my buttons and took endless pleasure in annoying me. I think it was his goal to make me do as much for him as possible each and every weekend. One of his big tricks was “forgetting” what he liked to order at specific restaurants because he knew I would remember and be too impatient to wait for him so I’d get mad and order for him. If that wasn’t bad enough he would never bring US cash with him on the road, so he could never be able to chip in for his portion of the check. By the end of our run together I picked him up at the airport, booked all rental cars and hotels, ordered his meals for him in restaurants, and kept track of and covered all his bills for him. He never stiffed me mind you, we were good friends, I kept a running account for him and at the end of every month, I gave him a bill, and he wrote me a cheque. Writing that one cheque every month was his sole contribution to life on the road.
The UGLY… Abdullah the Butcher: I don’t think it’s fair to call Abdullah, Ugly, but there isn’t a famous movie titled, “The Good, the Bad, and the Madman from the Sudan” so Ugly will have to do. Abby and I traveled together in Japan when we both worked for WAR. In WAR the whole company traveled together on a bus but for almost a year Abdullah and I were the only two foreigners on the tour so we were each other’s sole company on the road in Japan. When Abby first joined WAR I was the only foreigner working for the company. I think I’d done 3 or 4 tours by myself so I was just thrilled to death to finally have someone on the tour who spoke English. Abdullah and I had a funny relationship because we were from completely different generations and he was so much bigger of star than me. Abby was a legitimate legend in Japan while I was just a young kid trying to making a name. Under normal circumstances we likely wouldn’t have associate with each other much but since we were the only English speaking people on the tour we were all we had. We logged endless hours on the bus together but rather than socialize, we watched movies. This was likely the only thing we had in common apart from being wrestlers, we both loved watching movies. This also made for a perfect relationship in that I was a huge movie collector and could bring an endless supply of movies, and Abby had enough seniority and respect on the business that whenever he yelled out from his seat, “MOVIE… MOVIE” one of the Japanese young boys would jump up and offer to put in anything he wanted. I never had the guts to put in an English speaking movie when I was the only English speaking guy on the bus, but with Abby I never had to. I always sat one seat in front of The Butcher so when the young boy jump up to attend to his movie request, Abby just pointed to me and I would supply the movie. I don’t think that classifies us as best of friends but when you are spending 40 hours per week on the bus it’s a pretty good relationship.
Life on the Road… It will own you!