Winter Havoc

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February 26, 2007

Picturing Johnny Nitro removed from his cozy Hollywood abode, covered in snow, fighting frostbite and changing a tire may have been a wishful daydream for some WWE fans — that is, until this past weekend.

The wintry weather that has caused travel havoc throughout parts of the U.S. didn't exclude certain WWE Superstars from its wrath. Nitro and Melina, along with Kenny Dykstra and Carlito -- among countless others -- fought airline delays, cancellations and even flat tires to make their WWE appearances.

"Before driving from Reno to Sacramento, Calif., we were told the roads were closed, and we needed chains on the tires," said Nitro. "I've never put chains on tires before, and had already paid 200 bucks for a hotel room, so Melina and I weren't stopping."

Nitro's persistence didn't exactly bode well with the hazardous weather and lack of knowledge about how to drive when chains are strapped onto car tires.

"It was snowing so hard that I couldn't even see ten feet in front of me.  I was still going like 50 miles per hour," he said. "Three hours into the drive, we must have hit a rock or a person or an animal or something -- hell if I know, but whatever it was, the back tire popped."

And it didn't get any easier for the Raw Superstar and his counterpart from there. 

"I had to get out of my car in my business casual -- which is pretty fly for anyone who knows Nitro -- jack up the car, rip the chains off and put the spare tire on. I was so cold I wanted to have a tow company deal with it, but I called and they said it would take two hours. I took the old, greasy tire and tossed it into the backseat. At this point I don't even care about anything besides getting to the hotel. Finally, it was around 3 a.m., and we made it."

Carlito was another Superstar that was given the runaround, which threw a wrench in his plans, and nearly caused him to miss his match on Feb. 24.

"My flight from Miami to Dallas got cancelled, so I had to go through Charlotte," said the Caribbean Superstar. "From there, I had to go from Charlotte to Phoenix. Then my connection got in late, so I had to change my flight from Phoenix to Las Vegas, then again from Vegas to Reno [en route to Sacramento]."

Once Carlito had landed in Reno, however, he had more obstacles to tackle.

"Of course the roads were closed to get to Sacramento, so I had to take a flight from Reno to Oakland and drive from Oakland to Sacramento. Luckily, I made it in time for my match, but some others weren't so lucky."

Former WWE Superstar and current WWE producer Dean Malenko saw the travel woes as an evil domino effect.

"The last two days were a WWE Raw sequel to Planes, Trains and Automobiles…with the exception of the train," joked Malenko. "Once the dominoes started falling, they never stopped. It took some talent anywhere from eight to 10 hours to make it roughly 120 miles."

Malenko said that once he arrived at the arena, after all the mass confusion and clamoring around to find rides, airplanes and open roads, finally getting to the arena was all worthwhile because of the WWE fans.

"There were 11,000 WWE fans at the event, and they had no idea how much effort it took for the Superstars to make the event. But that's what we do."

Some Superstars who weren't fortunate enough to escape the weather's debilitating effects were Shawn Michaels, Cryme Tyme and Kenny Dykstra, who all missed the show in Reno. 

"I got stuck in Dallas," said Dykstra. "I had to go from Dallas to Houston, where I made the best of it and went clubbing that night."

But Kenny's fun didn't last too long, as his travel disasters were just getting started. 

"The airport in Houston was packed, with lines out the door," he said, shaking his head. "My good old buddy George Washington helped me out, though, and I got to the front of the line quick. So I got through security, and hopped on the air tran. Right when I saw my gate, the air tran just broke down," Dykstra continued. "Finally, the guy got up there and helped out. I'm the last one to board the flight, and I'm looking for my seat, and there is a big, fat lady dressed in red -- like the Kool-Aid guy. She stole my trail mix when I went to sleep, and eyed me up as I ate my cereal."

After being squished in his seat for the entire flight and keeping tabs on anything edible, Dykstra finally got to Oakland… but there's more.

"In Oakland, I got lost and couldn't find the rental car. It was a mess, but I was eventually able to make it to the show. Not on Saturday… I didn't make that show."

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