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WWE's infamous 'plane ride from hell' had booze, fights and near-death experiences
Featured Image Credit: MediaPunch Inc/Markus Mainka/Alamy Stock Photo

WWE's infamous 'plane ride from hell' had booze, fights and near-death experiences

The notorious journey took place in 2002

In 2002, WWE wrestlers and personnel boarded a flight from England to the US. What took place on board later earned the journey the nickname of the 'plane ride from hell'.

The name didn't come as a result of bad turbulence, a limited supply of peanuts or an overflowing toilet, but instead because of the actions of those on board.

Stories about what went down led to the journey becoming one of WWE’s most notorious plane rides, and while only those on board will know how chaotic it really was, retellings of the events paint a pretty dramatic picture.

The events unfolded as WWE travelled from the UK to the US.
Conner Flecks / Alamy Stock Photo

It all took place as WWE returned to the US from it’s yearly Insurrextion PPV event in London, and a fight between Michael Hayes and John Bradshaw Layfield is only the beginning.

It's claimed that Hayes punched Layfield while he was sleeping, prompting the latter to strike back and clock Hayes with a knock-out punch.

Sean “X-Pac” Waltman is then alleged to have shaved off Hayes' ponytail - one of the features that made him so recognisable to fans.

Meanwhile, Brock Lesnar found himself in an impromptu wrestling match with Curt Henning after he bashed his head with shaving cream, and as they stumbled about the jet they hit the latch door of the plane - a situation which could have turned disastrous and even deadly if they hadn't been pulled apart.

Lesnar was among those on the flight at the time.
The Canadian Press / Alamy Stock Photo

Recalling the situation, per Pro Wrestling Stories, former wrestler Justin Credible commented: "They weren’t fighting…at first. But they’re very competitive, so they’re just scraping along, like messing around – then something happened where it got serious. It didn’t come to blows – but you know the opening they have on planes – those openings are the emergency exit rows.

"Now Brock’s a wrestling shooter – and Curt’s a shooter kind’ a too – so they took it seriously. They didn’t want to give in to each other. They went at it so hard... that they almost popped open the emergency exit – twenty-five, thirty thousand feet in the air…people had to separate them."

We're not done yet, as Scott Hall and Dustin “Goldust” Runnels reportedly decided to make use of the large supply of alcohol on the plane to get themselves in a suitably intoxicated state.

Hall is said to have been so drunk at one point that others had to check his pulse to make sure he was still alive.

"I had to babysit Scott. I had to stay straight because everyone else was so f*cked up," Credible recalled.

Hall is said to have made the most of the alcohol on the flight.
MediaPunch Inc / Alamy Stock Photo

One of the most shocking stories to emerge from the flight were allegations of sexual misconduct against Ric Flair, who is said to have been walking around the plane in a robe with 'nothing on underneath', according to Credible.

The wrestler was accused of exposing himself to a flight attendant; claims which later become the subject of a lawsuit. In November 2022, Flair said the claims would be addressed in an upcoming documentary.

Stories from the jet were told in an episode of Vice's Dark Side Of The Ring, which featured interviews with Jim Ross, Rob Van Dam, Tommy Dreamer, Terri Runnels and Credible, all of who were present as the events unfolded.

Show co-creator Jason Eisener described the plane ride as 'one of the turning points' in WWE 'reigning in' the kinds of antics that took place, as he indicated that while highly publicised, this journey wasn't particularly unique.

“It was definitely par for the course from wrestlers that if you thought this flight was bad, you should have seen the other flights they were on,” explained Eisener. “This was one of potentially several ‘Plane Rides From Hell'."

The scenes that unfolded on the plane contributed to a number of people being fired from WWE.

Topics: WWE, Travel, Sport