This episode is titled: “The Plane Ride from Hell”
Oh boy…Been really sandbagging on this one for a few days.
“When you have an open bar and you’re sitting there for seven hours, of course these things are going to happen.” — Tommy Dreamer justifying everything.
“If I never talked about the f****** plane ride from hell again in my life, I would be very happy.” — Jim Ross
By the early 2000s the WWF was swimming in the cash and Vince McMahon buys up the wrestling industry. Then they went to Europe and things were never the same.
— Tommy Dreamer is introduced first and explains that at the time all the former WCW and ECW guys were trying to navigate through the WWF since they were the only game in town.
— Jim Ross, former WWF/E Vice President of Talent Relations, explains his job at the time.
(There are lots of highlights of the early days of the Invasion, which should have been the greatest thing ever, but absolutely wasn’t. )
— Ross puts over several people, first Ric Flair as being an inspiration to so many other wrestlers and then all the other talent they acquired and folded into the WWF that were the catalyst to draw the sort of money that the promotion was generating.
— The European tour was a four-day event in Europe that will be capped off by the Insurrextion PPV. The idea was to charter a private plane to make this tour and quick turnaround easier for the talent since it’s a long flight. Ross said the thought process was to make the whole thing as talent friendly as possible.
— P.J. Polaco, also known at Aldo Montoya and Justin Credible, talks about how much everyone loved the European tour because the crowds were great the pay was good. He mentions Austin, Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, Ric Flair, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash as the bigger names on the flight.
— We meet flight attendant Heidi Doyle, who was working for SportsJet. She describes the luxury accommodations of traveling in these sorts of custom-made jets that many professional sports teams used at the time (and still do).
— Terri Runnels says it was nice to be traveling private since the boys can be a little tough to take for normal passengers on commercial flights.
— Doyle breaks down the flight crowd like this, with the McMahons and JR in the front of the plane, which was even more private and luxurious than the back, where the boys were. She says Ric Flair quickly established himself as the leader of this pack.
— Rob Van Dam, WWE Hall of Famer, is introduced next and he talks about traveling internationally and interacting with the fans. Doyle says the German crowd loved them. Dreamer said the flight attendants were with them all the time. Some went to the shows, some partied at the hotel.
— Referee Mike Chioda talks about how the boys and the flight attendants have always had a history with each other.
— Dreamer talked about the schedule. It was quick turnarounds e every night in Europe. Terri and JR said it was a great crowd and a great show. Everyone was stoked about how well the show went and were ready to go home.
(And now the trouble begins)
— There’s a weather delay. Doyle said she didn’t expect it to be long time, but it ended up being a very long time. Dreamer said it was seven hours. Doyle said the boys started drinking and the attendants started pouring. They went through three liquor carts. THREE. Runnels compares it to a high school football team not being allowed to leave a parking lot and being surrounded by booze. RVD says calling it a high school situation was being too kind. It was more like fifth grade.
— Doyle said the boys started pouring the drinks themselves and P.J. adds that the boys would’ve gotten to that liquor regardless of whether the attendants wanted to cut them off or not. Ross said the boys got a small window to relax and let their hair down and become…stupid.
— Finally the flight takes off…with a cabin full of drunk wrestlers. Chioda and Aldo take about the drugs and pills the boys took on the flights. They used them to do to sleep…or for a rib. RVD explains the H-Bomb, the boys would spike the drinks on the other boys for ribs or on women to take advantage of them. Ross says NEVER leave your drink exposed because the boys think that dumb shit is funny.
— Ross goes into Michael Hayes’ issues. He was drunk and punches Bradshaw while the latter is sleeping re-opening on his head. Bradshaw retaliates and knocks Hayes out with a slap. Ross talks about X-Pac being a follower and always wanting to get over the with boys. He cuts Hayes’ ponytail. Choida thinks this is funny and talks about wearing his hat, sunglasses and everything on a plane because you never know what’s coming.
— Curt Hennig was a well-known rib guy and he loved messing with Brock Lesnar, probably because of the Minnesota connection, but also because Curt Hennig might’ve been a little crazy. Anyhow he covers Brock’s head with shaving cream and Brock is a little pissed, so he charges Hennig at full speed and now Dreamer describes these two rather large men fighting on the plane. Doyle basically said she was helpless stop this. A pilot tries to stop the madness to no avail. Ross goes back there and can’t do much. Eventually they grapple into the emergency door and THAT finally convinced others to stop the fight.
— Terri casually mentions that before the flight Lesnar exposed himself to her. She no sold it. (But Sable sold it… hey-o!). Ross said he never heard about it, but it could’ve happened. Ross said it shouldn’t be his job to make sure everyone is always behaving. Of course, Brock didn’t participate in this because he’s rich and doesn’t need to.
— The brawl and subsequent fear of death via plane crash seemed to have calm things down for a bit, but Dustin Rhodes doesn’t want to end a good party, so he serenades Terri with the PA mic. She explains why she isn’t selling this either. Ross jokes about how horribly Dustin was singing. Doyle and Justin said it was uncomfortable and JR must intervene again. Doyle got her microphone back. P.J. said the flight attendants had to be completely miserable.
— And it gets worse because Ric Flair, surely drunk as a skunk, is wearing his robe and nothing else. Dick hanging out and everything. Tommy Dreamer mentioned that Flair has a huge dick, which DOESN’T MAKE IT OK!
— Doyle describes Flair approaching her in the little private area for the attendants. He wanted her to touch his dick and she said he grabbed her hand and forced her to touch him.
— Dreamer, the fucking idiot he is, says that Ric Flair would NEVER do this and he’s just flaunting because it’s funny…but obviously some real lame ass flight attendant who doesn’t want to touch some random man’s dick took offense to it. Oh, I wonder why she would, you dumbass. You know Tommy Dreamer had some people fooled because he was one of the few ECW’ers that could speak in complete sentences, but he’s always been a total moron. No one could let Paul E. stiff them out of paychecks as much as Dreamer did and be considered anything other than a stupid mark. RVD lines up with Doyle’s story because he’s got a shred of integrity.
— Flair didn’t participate in this either. He did, however, release a statement that made it even worse…then he had to release a second statement to apologize for the first statement. Jesus.
— The weird irony of this whole thing is who intervenes to keep Ric Flair and his Nature boy away from this poor woman but Dustin Rhodes. Talk about a quick face turn.
— Holy shit Scott Hall is on this flight too. I almost forgot. Ross says Hall’s issues are well documented and him being on the road was a bad idea to begin with. Ross says no one really knew how bad he was until they saw it. Doyle offers Hall breakfast, and he rips her shirt and said he wants to lick her. She said she felt violated and worried he wouldn’t let go. But Hall passed out. He claims Curt Hennig might have slipped him an H-Bomb but has no collection of what happened on the flight. I believe that.
— Doyle went back into the galley where the flight attendants could hide and stayed there because seriously…fuck these assholes. She was thrilled that the flight had landed, and the boys were leaving. Chioda said the plane was trashed. Someone thought Hall might’ve died in the air and eventually P.J. gets him through customs in a wheelchair.
— Dreamer talks about Hayes being pissed about missing his ponytail.
— Doyle talks about trying to clean the plane until she saw a syringe and decided against it.
— Ross said had it happened on Delta or American Airlines the FBI would have been waiting for them at the game. Ross takes responsibility for the whole thing and said it was a black eye, but the good thing about a black eye is that it heals…not for everyone.
— Chioda said he was surprised that the flight got so out of control with Vince on the flight, but it did. He wonders what Vince was doing. Ross said Vince knew, but he put the responsibility for this on Ross. Vince decides that guys would have to be fired. Hennig is a goner. That was a tough one for Ross. And Hennig would pass away in 2003. Scott Hall gets sent home to deal with his addictions. Ross said Dustin Rhodes was in a tough place. He would get fined, but not fired.
— Flair, however, escaped punishment. Ross acknowledges that was the case, but Flair’s status allowed him to get a pass. Was it right? He doesn’t know.
— Meanwhile Doyle tells the people at SportsJet what happened, and they suggest she keep the events private to respect their client. She talks about how the flight and incidents on the flight brought a rift in her marriage. Lawsuits were filed and a settlement was reached. She talks about the money buying silence and maybe the truth would have set everyone free.
— Dreamer MUST KEEP TALKING and suggests that if she was legit, she would have pushed the full end of legal actions instead of taking money.
— At TV the next day Michael Hayes’ ponytail was taped to the locker room door. Ross saw it and threw it away. On the same day the WWF officially changes its name to the WWE. Ross talked about that plane ride was sort of an end of the era as the young guys coming up might have made better choices because of it.
— RVD said there is something to be said for never meeting your heroes. “Some of these guys are freaks.” Well said Rob.
— Tommy Dreamer can’t shut up though, but somehow acknowledged that a guy showing his dick to a random woman today is completely unacceptable…but back then it was just a joke. Of course, it was Tommy, continue. He gets even stupider and eventually says he never saw Ric Flair try to force his will on anyone. Man, Dreamer took a bullet for a guy that probably couldn’t give two fucks about him. Hope it was worth your bookings and your radio show!
— Doyle talks about how the memories linger, but everyone else goes on. She says the truth can be scary and messy, but at the end of the day it is what makes us better.
(Now I know Doyle’s own transgressions with the law were leaked. To that I say one thing has nothing to do with the other. No one claimed her to be perfect and she didn’t deserve to be accosted by a naked man against her will. No number of bad checks written should justify Flair’s action toward her).
The Bottom Line: This had to have been the craziest 24 hours in wrestling. The fallout has been quick. Flair is going to have lay back and hope this blows over. Dreamer might be done in the industry, and he did nothing on this flight. He did, however, defend the indefensible. Loudly. Repeatedly. Stupidly. It proved once again that Rob Van Dam was truly the brains on the ECW roster. The scars remain for some people and were re-opened for others. I can tell you that I would never want to be Vice President of Talent Relations in the WWF/E.