Following London & Kendrick
Following London & Kendrick
Feb. 18, 2007
After fighting cancelled flights, rerouted planes and longer than average layovers en route to No Way Out, the WWE Tag Team Champions Paul London & Brian Kendrick arrived on time to their autograph signing at WrestleMania Fan Axxess at Universal Studios CityWalk. In order to catch the two champions in a relaxed, more natural state of mind, WWE.com decided to begin its diary project the night before, as opposed to the day of the pay-per-view. After revealing they set midnight curfew before their title defense match against Deuce & Domino, it was amazing to see how much these two fit into 24 hours.
Saturday evening, 4-6 p.m. (all times in Pacific time)
It was nearly 90 degrees at Universal Studios Hollywood, and London & Kendrick fought the heat and signed autographs and took pictures with thousands of their fans. They were given cards, gifts, and even a few propositions from female fans. Above all, they were flooded with questions about their lives in WWE. The most commonly asked question: "Where did these Deuce & Domino guys you're facing at No Way Out come from?"
Their most common collective response: "In or around the 1950s."
Saturday evening, 6:45 p.m.
Although their appearance at Axxess officially ended around 6 p.m., they are both happy to oblige their screaming fans with more autographs and photos. Two hours of non-stop talking, posing and listening didn't faze either of them. Paul's brother, an L.A. native, was their point man, and was able to swiftly guide them to everywhere in L.A. they wanted to see. Their choices for tourist stops weren't the typical L.A. hot spots, either.
Saturday evening, 7:10 p.m.
The first stop was Vivid Entertainment Plaza headquarters. With the doors to Vivid locked and no representatives available to submit their resumes to, Brian and Paul hopped on the sign outside of the building for a picture. "Think about it," said Paul with a wink, "if these shots are good enough we can submit them to Vivid later on…if you know what I'm saying." Brian added, "If only we had two leftover 8x10s from Axxess, we could slip them under the door."
Saturday evening, 7:23 p.m.
Paul's brother convinced Kendrick and London to take in a viewing of Ghost Rider at one of Hollywood's most famous movie houses, The Vista Theatre. Neither was too thrilled about being dragged to watch the film, but their spirits perked up when they noticed the Scientology Celebrity Centre in Hollywood. WWE.com was able to snap two shots before a "police" officer came speeding around the bend on a ten-speed bicycle and shiny helmet informing the SmackDown Superstars they were treading on "sacred and private property."
"We'll leave," said Paul, "Just do Brian and I one favor, don't tell Xenu about this, we have a match to win tomorrow."
Saturday evening, 7:50 p.m.
It's an eight o'clock show for Ghost Rider. London & Kendrick are in no hurry to make their way into their seats. After assuring Paul's brother they'd meet him inside in a few minutes, they make their way behind the ticket booth right after the attendant left to address a spilled drink inside the theater. From behind the booth, Brian mumbled something incoherently into the microphone. "What? What'd he say?" said a confused Paul. Brian's mumbling continued. Bewildered, Paul put his ear up to the speaker and asked Brian to repeat whatever he said one more time. Apparently Brian was also having trouble hearing what Paul was saying, as he must have thought he was asked to scream as loud as could into the microphone.
Saturday evening, 8:10 p.m.
Still procrastinating before heading to their seats, the WWE Tag Team Champions swapped roles with the concessionaires. After serving snacks and drinks to surprised customers, London took an order from Kendrick. "Okay, good sir, your order will cost you $400." Brian laughed, thinking his tag team partner was joking. Paul kept his hand firmly extended and with a deadpan face said, "Seriously, that will be 400 bucks, sir."
Saturday evening, 8:13 p.m.
The movie had already started; they began migrating towards the theatre doors. Just before entering, Kendrick quipped that the most rewarding part of the concessions job was definitely "the free hot dogs, bro." London chimed in, "Yeah, and you get free popcorn too, man."
Saturday evening, 9:04 p.m.
The screening of Ghost Rider wasn't over, but it was for London & Kendrick. Allowing Paul's brother to finish the movie by himself, they wandered over to the Dresden Restaurant. Both big fans of the movie Swingers, which filmed one of its most famous scenes inside of the Dresden, Paul and Brian popped inside to check it out. "There's got to be a lot of beautiful babies in there," London laughed, paraphrasing one of Vince Vaughn's lines in the movie.
Saturday evening, 9:32 p.m.
The movie let out near 10 p.m., and there was still about a half-hour to kill before meeting up with Paul's brother. They spotted a running limousine outside of the Dresden. There was no driver and no passengers were inside. Without hesitation, they both hopped inside and began role playing "Hollywood executives having a night on the town." When the driver's door opened, they both scrambled out and ducked back into the Dresden for cover.
Saturday evening, 10:45 p.m.
"Hey, look at that," said an enamored Paul. "That's Tenacious D's ass prints!" Immediately, almost before he finished his last syllable, they both sat down and began to compare. "Oh man, my ass is like a third the size of Jack Black's," noticed Brian. "Damn, Paul, you could fit two of your ass inside the other Tenacious D guy's ass."
Saturday evening, 11:30 p.m.
The night ended just as it began, with a trip to an adult entertainment icon. In this case, it's Jumbo's Clown Room, one of L.A.'s most infamous adult dancing establishments. After a few minutes of "taking in the sights," of the Clown Room, the champions decided to show the other patrons how they hone their high-flying skills.
They both return to the hotel to sleep.
Paul sends a text message that reads: "I'm still sleeping."
Brian was scheduled to meet Paul for breakfast to go over strategy. The table was set for two, but 15 minutes after their desired meeting time has passed, Brian ordered his food and began eating his breakfast. His demeanor was drastically different from the night before. The reality of his title defense match was setting in, and although he didn't mention it, it was obviously all he could think about.
"It's not abnormal for this to happen," Brian said referring to Paul's tardiness. "Sometimes we just run on different schedules." He went to the house phone to call Paul's room. No answer. He then went to the front desk, who informed Brian that his partner had checked out in the wee hours of the morning. "Either way, he'll be ready for tonight; he always is," he said as he kept an eye out for his partner.
After repeated calls to London's cell phone, Kendrick decided to get his own directions to the arena and prepared to leave by himself.
"I'll give him about ten more minutes; then I'll just meet him at the Staples Center," Brian said with a shrug. "I'm not angry with him or anything, honestly I'm not. We've been together as a tag team for over a year now and we've been champions about nine months; we know how to work together in match. The only problem is, when things like this happen, I start thinking more about my partner and less about the match." He then sat down in a chair and let out a few short breaths; his cell phone was within an arm's reach. Three minutes went by; it didn't ring. "Okay, I guess it's time to head to the arena," he laughed as he smiled. The tone of the laugh differed from the previous night; this morning it was obvious that it was nervous laughter.
After going to his hotel room to gather his belongings, Brian was about to get into his car and head to the Staples Center. "Yo!" a voice echoed from a short distance. It was Paul. "What's for breakfast?" London asked with a grin. "Sorry I was late man; I had to clear my head a bit, so I took a walk. You miss me?" Kendrick smiled and the two got into the car and drove to the arena.
They arrived at the arena, and after waiving to some WWE fans lined up around the building, they asked WWE.com to give them some space so they could discuss strategy. "Not that we need to tell you this, but if you post our strategy before the match takes place it will be ineffective, right? We don't mean to be rude, but we're going to need some time."
Both these veterans know the importance of choosing the right diet on the day of a huge match. The hearty breakfast Brian scarfed down earlier is about twice the size of his lunch. They're both quiet while eating; only occasionally breaking the silence to dish out some advice on how to avoid being hit or a better way to absorb a blow from their larger opponents.
They apologized for leaving for such a lengthy period of time. Brian said they needed to have another discussion about the match. As he finished his sentence, Paul whispered something in Brian's ear. It seems to be urgent, as if a light bulb went off in Paul's head. They retreated back into the locker room for another discussion, but this time they allowed WWE.com cameras inside. It's evident by now that the carefree, fly-by-night guys from last night were gone. These two men are focused on one thing: winning in convincing fashion.
Paul splits for a little bit to get a pre-match workout in. He fidgets with his iPod before selecting the right playlist for some jump roping, pushups and stretches. Brian is nowhere to be found. "It's Hollywood, baby," said Paul. "He's probably talking to some models or something." That may have been an attempt at humor, but he delivered it with a stoical tone and he didn't crack a smile.
Inside their locker room yet another meeting of the minds has taken place. It's almost like "point-counter-point" type of situation. Paul came up with a suggestion; Brian came up with a counter suggestion. There are no jokes and no conversation breaks. The discussion is a collection of "ifs" and it's very detailed concerning their game plan to achieve victory. "What if Deuce does this? When Domino does this, what if I do this? How about if Cherry tries to interfere, do we counter this way." (WWE.com promised London & Kendrick not to disclose the actual contents of their discussion.)
The pay-per-view begins in roughly 32 minutes. For Brian, another new concern has arisen. Whatever that concern is, it's enough to get Paul's full attention. It's secretive too. Even if WWE.com wanted to post the discussion that took place, it would be impossible; they whispered back and forth for 10 minutes. Deuce and Domino, whether they're a new or veterans, have apparently given the WWE Tag Team Champions a cause to buckle down and reevaluate their game plan.
"What time is it?" asked Paul. He was told that No Way Out begins in less than 10 minutes. He was not yet in his ring gear, but he did not seem worried. "Getting dressed [to compete] is the last thing I do -- always."
They're three minutes from defending their titles. They have their masks on, which muffles their voices, but that didn't stop them from continuing to talk strategy. London attempted to put some humor into the conversation, perhaps to lighten the mood before they were greeted by the sold-out Staples Center, but it didn't work. Kendrick didn't react, and London took that as a cue. A minute later, their music sounded and they disappeared through the curtain and down the ramp en route to the ring.
It was a close call, but London & Kendrick were able to outmaneuver their rivals to get the pinfall to retain their titles. Deuce & Domino used every resource they could possibly find— even using cheap shots in an attempt to score a victory. But it wasn't enough. After the match, with the championships in hand, their humor and light heartedness returned. "Wait a minute…where are all the Jumbo's dancers? I thought they'd be here waiting for us," joked Paul. Brian laughed and the two walked to the locker room area of the Staples Center the same as they came in -- champions.