Bring it Back!: Wrestling cruises

There once was a time when sports-entertainment fans had the opportunity to play a game of shuffleboard with Scott Steiner, enjoy a midnight buffet with Johnny B. Badd and battle “The Z-Man” Tom Zenk in a limbo contest. It was the early ’90s — a glorious age when a wrestler could wear a neon fanny pack without fear of ridicule — and not one, but two wrestling-themed cruises were troubling the waters. ( PHOTOS)

It began in 1991 when a group of WCW competitors embarked on the wonderfully named Bruise Cruise. In retrospect, it should have been a disaster. The Atlanta-based company mixed infamous troublemakers like big Scott Hall and The Fabulous Freebirds with hundreds of WCW fans, added water and waited for the reaction. But, to everyone’s surprise, it turned out pretty well. So well, in fact, that the Bruise Cruise sailed off and on for the next eight years with the likes of "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan and The Nitro Girls on board. Not only that, but WWE decided to launch an ocean liner of their own in 1996 with the debut of the Wrestle Vessel.

“I was always jealous of those fans, because I never got to do it,” Zack Ryder told WWE.com when asked about WWE’s foray into ocean travel. “You got to tan. You got to meet your favorite Superstars. It seemed like a dream come true.”

As far as WWE Classics can tell, it kind of was. While some celebrity conventions skimp on the big names, WWE went all out with the two Wrestle Vessels, sending future WWE Hall of Famers like Shawn Michaels, Bret “Hit Man” Hart and Sunny to sea on the ship’s voyages. Even Good Ol’ J.R. made the trip. By all accounts, those excursions followed WWE’s family friendly standards (well, except for “Stone Cold” Steve Austin who wore a shirt that said “Take Me Drunk I’m Home”) with Superstars participating in autograph sessions, volleyball tournaments and a communal viewing of Monday Night Raw. ( WATCH) The inaugural WCW Bruise Cruise, on the other hand, sounded more like a floating frat house than a vacation for the kids.

“It was a good time,” said Michael “P.S.” Hayes — a guest on WCW’s first expedition and a man who appreciates the freedoms of international waters. “Me and Jimmy 'Jam' [Garvin] started a food fight one night. A couple of tops came off in the pool. We drank and played cards. It wasn’t PG at all, but it was pretty cool.”

So why haven’t wrestlers hit the water since 1999? Themed cruises are still big business after all. Musician John Mayer launched the Mayercraft Carrier in 2009. This summer, fans of the gory “Saw” movies will board a cruise based on the popular horror franchise and set sail to Canada. Photos even popped up on the internet last year of WWE Hall of Famer and self-professed "metalhead" Edge hitting the high seas with Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley on the maiden voyage of The Kiss Kruise. If The Rated-R Superstar gets an opportunity to share a shrimp cocktail with his boyhood idols, why shouldn’t the WWE Universe?

“I think it would do very well,” Michael Hayes admitted when asked about taking the Wrestle Vessel out of the dry dock for another excursion. “It’s an opportunity for the people of the WWE Universe to share a cruise with WWE Superstars in a real exotic location. The performers all get to let their hair down a little bit, so you get a different side of us. I think that’s what a lot of our audience is looking for.”

Zack Ryder agreed with the former WCW Tag Team Champion. In fact, the fist-pumping Superstar already has his first day on the boat all planned out.

“I would definitely hang out with my broskis and look for my future ex-girlfriend,” Long Island Iced-Z said with a smile. “There are definitely some hot members of the WWE Universe out there, and if they want Zack Ryder to rub some suntan lotion on them, then that’s fine. I’d just be doing my job as a WWE Superstar.”

Partying with The Freebird? Getting a rub down from Zack Ryder? How many more reasons does the WWE Universe need? Hurry up already and bring back wrestling cruises!

Think WWE should bring back the Wrestle Vessel? Or does the idea of another Bruise Cruise make you seasick? Let WWE Classics hear about it on our official Facebook page.

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