Car & (Pile)drivers, Part 2

Car & (Pile)drivers, Part 2

On page 48 of the April issue of WWE Magazine, WWE fans can go "Under Maria's Hood" and check out the Diva car goddess' list of car ornament "hits" and "runs" (check out the .PDF file). Therefore, recently parked outside WWE and ECW locker rooms to discuss some of the tune-ups and touchups that drive Raw Superstars Shelton Benjamin, Kenny Dykstra, Chris Masters, Trevor Murdoch and Shad; SmackDown's MVP and Jimmy Wang Yang; and ECW New Breed member Elijah Burke. Our conversations, needless to say, yielded very interesting answers.

Complaining that he bolts from enough sports-entertainment nuts who follow his every move, Montel Vontavious Porter refuses to talk about his cars, other than to say he drives only the best in German engineering. Yet the lifelong Oakland Raiders fan lets his guard down long enough to reveal that he's partial to silver and black rides, one of which even flaunts a customized Raiders tag. Unfortunately, drops the ball with its next question, asking if he's ever decorated any of his vehicles with something given to him by one of his fans. "Are you crazy? Most WWE fans spend their entire week's paycheck on a ticket to come see me. What could they possibly give me to decorate my cars?"

"A fan in Ohio once gave me a figure that was actually of me," recalls Cryme Tyme member Shad. "I hung it underneath my rearview mirror." Burke can't remember decorating his '90 Camaro, '92 Buick Roadmaster or '95 Caprice with any ECW fan gifts per se, "but I do have some crosses that some inmates gave me from my former profession." A brief and uncomfortable silence follows, broken up only when the clearly annoyed New Breed member clarifies for that he had spent five years as a law enforcer with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

Too bad Burke doesn't have any more pull at his old job, because what Shad next testifies to could be considered a crime against good taste. "Matt Striker has the lamest sense of style I've ever seen. That guy once tried telling me to pimp out my new 1969 Chevelle Convertible with argyle print on the inside! Not event the OutKast-cool lookin' argyle print, but the kind he wears on TV! Striker, that is not ‘gangsta.'"

The always-competitive Benjamin enjoys a different scenario with World's Greatest Tag Team partner Charlie Haas. "We both have Hummers and we hang out a lot," he explains, "so we're always trying to one-up each other on the accessories. It's a fun thing, but like, every week it's like, ‘Oh, you got that? Okay, watch me next week.'"

According to Murdoch, even the seven-foot-three Great Khali may not be above handing out car advice. "He once saw my Chevy pickup, and I think he said I needed bigger seats in it; I couldn't be sure." Wang Yang, meanwhile, simply chose to ignore the auto-body ramblings once provided by fellow cruiserweight Shannon Moore: "He wanted me to paint my Toyota T100 with stripes and in Mohawkish ways, plus add dual exhausts and those pink dice you put on your windows."

Okay, dice are out. So how about a dancing hula girl on the dashboard, or an antenna topper to jazz up aesthetically boring aerials? "Definitely the hula girl," says a smiling Wang Yang. "Hula girls are hot." Shad and Murdoch concur, as does the Camaro Z28-riding Dykstra. "The hula girl gives you something to look at every day," notes the young Superstar. "There's a girl dancing for you every time you take a turn."

"Neither, either, or," Porter coldly replies. "I'm MVP, not some trailer-trash lowlife." ECW New Breeder Burke echoes the SmackDown money player's opinion—"I think both those things are for idiots and dorks; people who don't have a life and need attention. I have enough attention."

Clearly, those Superstars have no problem sounding off whenever they feel like it. And neither does Benjamin, especially when he's cruising in his H2. "I completely gutted the system inside and put in this kick-ass Eclipse system. It has touch-screen and everything. When I put my car in reverse and need to determine the back, it all pops up on the screen so I can see behind me."

The Masterpiece directs his attention toward his own needs more than his Grammy-geared Cadillac Escalade ("I always have a protein drink or meal supplement, water bottles and lifting straps in the car," he says), though he's a hard-bodied believer in navigational tools. "I won't go anywhere without a GPS [Global Positioning System]. In this age and in this business, you have to have one. It eliminates so much stress and you don't have to think. It's the greatest invention ever. God bless the man who came up with that thing."

"GPS is essential for WWE travel," states Cryme Tymer Shad for the record. "My TomTom helps me find every location, right on the money." Fast-rising Superstars like Dykstra prefer other types of road technology, such as radar detectors ("I've had one since I got my license," he says), though his philosophy is more "old-school" when it comes to GPS. "I can't pull myself to pay 600 bucks for a map," he explains. "I have ‘Gas Station Navigation'—I stop at a gas station and ask how to get where I'm going."

Burke and Benjamin place no faith in detection devices. The former law enforcement officer points out that they're illegal in many states, then adds, "I really don't need one because my eyes tell the story. They're all I need." Thankfully, Benjamin spells things out a little clearer. "There's a way to beat every machine, and I think the police are smart enough to do it these days."

Regardless of whether these WWE or ECW Superstars run full-out pedal to the metal, one can safely assume they won't advertise the point on their vehicles with vanity license plates that say "SPD DMON." With that in mind, what abbreviated, phonetically-challenged handles would they choose to drive by? Chris Masters states the obvious, though in his mind, accurate: "‘MASTER(Peace sign)'. What more needs to be said?"

A lot more, it seems, when you're a trailer trash-talkin' cuss like Trevor Murdoch. "If I could fit it on a license plate," he declares while suddenly patting his midsection, "I'd put, ‘DON'T LET THE FAT FOOL YA'. 'Cause when you look at me, you better not let it fool you." (If it's any help, Trevor, might suggest "DLTFFY"? Hey, it fits.)

"If I had a vanity plate, it would say ‘SMOOTH'," answers Shelton Benjamin. "That says it all." That certainly sounds more confident than Jimmy Wang Yang's, whose simple redneck lifestyle may account for his somewhat humble choice: "I think I'd go with ‘SPESHUL'," he laughs, "'cause Jimmy Wang Yang is a little different in his unique, special way."

Cryme Tyme member Shad, probably grateful that he's not locked up somewhere making vanity plates, goes with "BEAST". ("It's just me," he says with a laugh.) MVP also keeps it short and sweet, as if every word he tells is costing him money. "‘BALLIN''. Enough said."

" ‘IYATOLAH' is actually a tag on one of my cars," says Elijah Burke. "Basically, that was my ring name when I was amateur boxing, before I became a sports-entertainer." As for what vanity plate he'd add onto one of his cars today, one can't help but wonder if the New Breed Superstar is singling out a cheap shot at ECW Original rival Rob Van Dam—"I'd go with ‘1OFAKIND'."

A cocky, spirited young WWE Superstar on the horizon, Kenny Dykstra probably knows full well that his ideal plate moniker should rightly belong to one of his past Raw foes, 16-time World Champion Ric Flair. "Mine would just say ‘DA MAN'," he insists. "That's it. I'm Kenny Dykstra—‘DA MAN'."

So what does Maria, the gorgeous WWE Diva who increases the resale value of any car merely by sitting in it, think of vanity plates, chrome rims, tricked-out tailpipes and other auto makeover ideas? Sorry, but for those answers, you'll have to motor over to your favorite newsstand or bookstore and check "Under Maria's Hood" in the April issue of WWE Magazine.

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