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Dark Side of the Ring returns with an episode focusing on 'Plane Ride from Hell'


• Vice's wrestling documentary series returned this week with a brand new episode that is causing uproar in the professional wrestling world.

• In 2002 the WWE was experiencing an upswing in popularity, especially abroad. Following Insurrextion (a Pay Per View event held in London) wrestlers boarded a flight back home, and that flight came to be known as the Plane Ride from Hell.

• WWE decided to charter a flight for the short European tour before the PPV using the same plane and crew, and by all accounts those flights were more relaxed. But almost immediately the flight out of London was a disaster with the flight getting onto the tarmac and being delayed for seven hours before they could take off. The passengers went through three full liquor carts in those seven hours. The passengers started serving themselves and the flight attendants were unable to cut them off.


• Some interviewees in this episode also allege that GHB and Halcions were readily available on the flight.

• Rob Van Dam talks about 'H Bombing' a practice that the wrestlers would frequently participate in. They would drop a Halcions in the drinks of other wrestlers to play pranks on them, or drop them in the drinks of women they met on tour. Jim Ross says, "never leave your drink exposed, because the boys think seeing someone froth at the mouth and slur their speech...[or] manage their own faculties, is funny."

• While on the plane an 'H-Bombed' Michael Hayes (who was working in WWE creative at the time) punched wrestler John 'Bradshaw' Layfield in the face and reopened a wound JBL had received at the PPV the night before. JBL began to bleed profusely and proceeded to knock Hayes out.

• Wrestler X-Pac cut off Hayes ponytail while he was knocked out, to the delight of the drunken wrestlers.


• There was an incident between Curt Henning (aka Mr. Perfect) and Brock Lesnar. Henning had put shaving cream on Lesnar's head, and Lesnar began chasing Henning down the length of the plane and eventually picked Henning up and the two started brawling. They dived into a row of seats and were slamming from one side of the plane to the other. According to a flight attendant they broke several overhead bins, tables, and arm rests, and another unnamed wrestler took over the flight attendants's PA system to yell "we're gonna die, we're all gonna die"

• As both men stood at over six feet tall and were professional wrestlers, there wasn't anything the flight attendants could do to gain control of the situation. One of the pilots also tried to intervene to no avail. Jim Ross was called to the plane and by that time the two were fighting in the emergency exit row, with Lesnar picking up Henning and slamming him against the emergency door. Their fellow wrestlers finally got scared enough to get the two to stop fighting before they could do major damage to the plane.


• Terri Runnells who at the time was a WWE host and manager recalls that this plane incident wasn't the first time Lesnar was a problem on this trip. He exposed himself to her backstage at the Insurrextion PPV event, and did so in front of Runnellls ex-husband Dustin Rhodes (aka Goldust). Rhodes told her "don't sell it", or don't give Lesnar a reaction. Lesnar did not comment.

• Rhodes himself drunkenly serenaded Runnells on the flight using the flight attendants PA system, and Runnells was once again encouraged to not "sell it" and let it happen.



• Ric Flair was apparently known to take off all his clothes and put on the robe he wore as part of his costume and then strut down the aisles of the plane and expose himself to everyone on the plane. According to the wrestlers interviewed, it wouldn't be a quick flashing and involved several minutes of preening to get a laugh out of his fellow wrestlers. Flair did his usual routine on this flight.

• Flight attendant Heidi Doyle says that following this routine Flair cornered her against a door in the flight attendants galley. He was thrusting his genitals at her and encouraging her to touch it. Flair then took her hand and put it on his genitals.

• In his talking head interview, wrestler Tommy Dreamer defends Flair, saying that he would never sexually assault anyone but instead he was just being his typical flamboyant self and that he was just making a joke and the flight attendant overreacted and took offense to it.

• Rob Van Dam remembers seeing Flair corner Doyle and trying to get her to touch him.

• Doyle says this went on for several minutes and that she asked him to stop but he wouldn't. She remembers that no one helped her but that eventually Rhodes told Flair to leave Doyle alone. Doyle remembers him as as the only person who tried to help her.

• Flair has denied that this ever happened.

 
• Two animated segments of Flair's flashing routine have surfaced, the first from his 30 For 30 documentary and another was a short that WWE themselves produced and promoted on their network. The WWE produced short depicts several flight attendants who Flair insists were all over him, and it's basically some company sanctioned sexual harassment whitewashing nonsense.

• Doyle also talks about a violent incident with Scott Hall (aka Razor Ramon). The flight was getting close to landing and Hall had just woken up so Doyle offered him breakfast. Hall grabbed Doyle by the front of her shirt, ripping off several buttons in the process, and pulled her down so he could describe what he was going to do to her. Doyle remembers what he said but only mentions that Hall told her that "he was going to lick" her, and proceeded to do that. Doyle herself attempts to downplay the experience but that the moment was one of "great violation" and discomfort. She doesn't say how long it lasted but eventually Hall passed out and she managed to free herself from his grip.

• Hall, who has had long struggles with substance abuse claims that Curt Henning 'H Bombed' him during the flight.

• After this incident Doyle refused to leave the flight attendant's galley for the rest of the flight. Hall maintains that he has no recollection of any of the events on this flight.

• At the end of the 14 hour flight the plane was completely trashed. Some feared that Hall had died on the plane because they couldn't wake him up. Fellow wrestler PJ Polaco (aka Justin Credible) picked up an unconscious Hall and placed him in a wheelchair and made up a medical condition so he could get Hall through customs.

• Hayes woke up in a rage after seeing that someone (later revealed to be wrestler X-Pac) had cut his hair while he was passed out.

• Flight attendants began cleaning the plane and found vomit, blood, and even syringes in the back pockets of seats. Doyle refused to clean the plane and walked off the job.

• After the plane landed Jim Ross met with Vince McMahon to discuss repercussions for some of the incidents that took place on the flight. Even though McMahon was on the plane ride himself, there's no mention of him being involved in any of these incidents though allegedly there was a confrontation between him and wrestler Kurt Angle which is not mentioned in this episode.

• Jim Ross shoulders all the responsibility for what happened on the plane. He says "Vince was well aware of it, but it was my job to handle." Dreamer says that while McMahon is the person who makes all the decisions, Ross is the person who has to execute everything from doling out firings and fines.

• Curt Henning and Scott Hall were both fired immediately following the flight. Dustin Rhodes was reprimanded and fined, but was fired the following year. Ric Flair completely evaded any sort of punishment for his behavior on the flight. In fact he would go on to enjoy a very successful run for the rest of the 2000s, from being a founding member of popular stable, Evolution, to receiving a major farewell match at Wrestlemania in 2008.

• A lot of the aftermath of the plane ride coincided with the WWF being forced to change its name to the WWE. This starts a short discussion about the old guard vs the new guard of the company.

• Doyle reported the incidents to her bosses at the company that chartered the trip, but they pressured her to let it go, because they wanted to make sure other companies knew that they "respected the privacy of other clients." Doyle talks about the shame and worries about reporting the incidents, but eventually filed a suit against the WWE with another flight attendant. They eventually settled.

• Tommy Dreamer bashed Doyle in his interview, saying, “if that’s how she felt, maybe she should have not taken a payout and went to the fullest extent of the law to then truly put this heinous person in jail.” He also doubled down on his defense of Flair, and makes comments on the way everyone gets offended over everything these days. Dreamer is under fire for these comments. His current employers Impact Wrestling suspended Dreamer, who was asked to leave immediately from a taping of the show in Tennessee this Thursday.

Flair himself was removed from a brand new advertising campaign shorty after the first airing of this episode.


mods i replaced the banned source with a link to pwinsider, a wrestling news website.
vid/tweet/angle vs mcmahon/dreamer/flair
Tags: sports / athletes - wrestling, television
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