Two weeks of travel
LONDON -- When the pen drags across the dotted line at the bottom of a WWE contract, that privileged someone isn't signing up for a run-of-the-mill 9-5 job. A WWE Superstar is constantly on the move, traveling from city to city (or country to country) en route to the next live event. That, teamed with the stresses of being away from home, is commonplace in the realm of sports-entertainment.
However, the 12-day stretch of non-stop shows throughout Europe was a different case. For some Superstars, the European tour that has gone through such countries as Italy, Germany, Austria and England, has been an excruciating mental and physical journey that forced them to quickly adapt to a different lifestyle.
The payoff for all of their dedication comes when their Superstar entrance themes echo through the arena and their rabid overseas fans erupt in applause (or boos) to pay homage to how tough all of the Superstars really are. That fact that the good elements of being a sports-entertainer outweigh the negative elements is unanimous in any of the three locker rooms. But it doesn't make their jobs any easier.
On the final day of WWE's European invasion, WWE.com asked Mr. Kennedy, Chris Masters and ECW World Champion Bobby Lashley how their lives have been affected, and how they've coped with these rough past two weeks on the road prior to their shows.
Sustaining muscle mass and energy takes calories. But, when the food is hardly edible, weight and muscle loss go hand in hand. Mr. Kennedy could barely stomach the food he was subjected to.
"I've been through boot camp and had better food than on this tour," said a pale Kennedy. "European food is terrible. I'm not kidding when I say this, but the worst Italian food was in Italy. Everything is as dry as it could possibly be; there's no spices or anything."
Lashley decided to turn what many might view as a negative into a positive.
"The food in the United States is high with saturated fat. In Europe, some of that fat content is removed, so I tend to get leaner when we go overseas."
Without stable sleep patterns, it's difficult for the body's internal clock to get on track. That makes it tough to maintain the strength and motivation needed to upkeep a regular gym routine. Not to mention that after a grueling workout sleep is when muscle rebuilds best.
"I haven't worked out on this tour one day," admitted Masters. Although "The Masterpiece" is quite the muscular specimen, he credited the hectic travel schedule and the pounding his body took night in and night out as the culprit for missing workouts.
"If you want to go to the gym out here, you have to get there, hurry through a workout and get back so you can get ready for the show. Then you have to travel to the show, perform and then travel to the next city or country," he said.
Mr. Money in the Bank also admitted that finding the time to habitually workout wasn't easy.
"At this point, we've done 11 cities and four countries in eleven days," Kennedy said prior to SmackDown's last European live event. "I've worked out exactly two times; [the lack of exercise] messes with my mind. As an athlete, it's important to be in tip-top shape, but heading to a different city for 12 straight days with no rest is hard. But, we do this because we love it."
Even the meanest of Superstars — like Kennedy and Masters — have at least one person, or animal at the very least, that loves them. (We think.) With limited access and time to contact their loved ones, it's just one more thing that adds to their stresses.
"It's hell for me because I have to leave my two-year-old daughter — and that's on the first day," said Lashley. "Then there is the mental strain to prepare for matches every night; then going out for 12 days and tearing our bodies apart, leaving the arena around midnight and driving until 3 a.m., it all adds up."
"The Masterpiece" admitted that as rock solid as he may be on the outside, homesickness could be something that has the strength to break, or at the very least crack, the Master Lock.
"Emotionally, these tours are tough," he said. "That's the hardest part for me — being away from home. I'm not saying I haven't enjoyed the tour. I've seen a lot of cool places and countries, but it's going to be a great feeling when my life gets back to normal."
Loss of Property
Traveling from country to country isn't easy in a post-9/11 world. Passports are scrutinized, luggage is screened more carefully and the lines at airport security and customs appear endless. In one incident, Masters nearly lost his U. S. passport — the only thing "The Masterpiece" had to legally identify him as a United States citizen. Without it, there is essentially no way to travel to and from other countries — or to get back home.
"Luckily that happened on a day we were traveling within Italy," he said with a sheepish grin. "I was freaking out, though. I reached into my bag where I store [my passport] and it was missing. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't sweating it for a minute. That was the start of the tour, and we still needed to get to other countries like France, Germany and England."
Disaster was averted when someone working at his hotel found the passport lying on the ground in the hallway near his room. If it hadn't been found, Masters' only hope was that WWE would figure out a quick remedy.
"I'm sure that WWE would have figured out something if it was gone — I think," he said.
Lashley claims he also lost something of value.
"I may have lost a little bit of my mind out here," he joked. "But seriously, I've learned to pull out only what I need from my bag and to leave the rest. That's how I don't lose things."