On this week’s episode of E&C’s Pod of Awesomeness, Christian shared a story about the time he missed a venue change in his travel itinerary and the hilarity that ensued:
“I remember this one time when I was feuding with Randy (Orton) in the main event, we used to get these booking sheets that would tell you the town, and this and that, or what was coming up on the weekend. You got them a couple weeks in advance with the certain dates on them.
“I was booking my car when I was home that week and I was like ‘Where am I flying into?’ So I pick up the piece of paper I had in my bag and it was flying into St. Louis and it said the show was in Springfield, MO. So I book my car, the whole deal. I book my hotel in Springfield. I get in, drive the three whatever hours it is from St. Louis to Springfield, get there, check in, go get a workout in, come back, eat some lunch.
“There was some meeting or something, we had to be at the venue an extra hour earlier than we were supposed to. So I head over there to be on time for this meeting, and I can’t get into the building. It’s like a really weird entrance to this arena and I can’t find it anywhere, I can’t see the trucks. Sometimes if you just look for the big WWE trucks with the superstars on the side, that kind of tips you off where the parking is. I’m looking for that, can’t find it. So I call the trainer, Larry Heck. I’m like ‘Larry, how do I get into this building?’
“So we joke back and forth and he’s telling me how to get in and he’s like ‘You go down this one street,’ and I’m like ‘I don’t see this street, Larry.’ He’s like ‘Where are you? Like, what does the building say?’ I read him the arena and he says ‘What city are you in?’ I was like ‘I’m in Springfield, Missouri.’ He goes ‘Why are you there?’
“It was on the booking sheet. He’s like ‘No. They changed the show a couple weeks ago. They moved it to Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Everybody’s in Cape Girardeau.’ Now, that’s another hour past St. Louis, so now it’s like a four-hour drive from Springfield. I’d already checked in, had my gear in the trunk, so I just punched it. I started driving down the road and I call our travel department.
“I’m like ‘Hey, I messed up. Is there any flights out of Springfield into Cape Girardeau or at least back to St. Louis and I can make the drive?’ And they’re like ‘Oh no, there’s nothing.’ So now I’m speeding, I’m doing like 120 miles per hour. Mike Rotundo, who’s the head producer of the show, he calls me and he’s kind of laughing, like ‘What happened?’ I told him and I’m like ‘I’m on my way.’ He says ‘Maybe you should just hold back.’ Because the town we were in, there was another one like 30 minutes away and they moved it there. He was like ‘We’re in that area tomorrow, why don’t you just not rush?’ I said ‘No, no, no. It’s my mistake. I’m going to make this show. I’ll be there.’ I’ve got to attempt to make the show.
“Then I got a call from John Laurinaitis, whose head of Talent Relations at the time. He’s kind of laughing like ‘What are you doing?’ I was like ‘I don’t know. I read the sheet. I just pulled the first sheet I had out of my bag and it was the one from a few weeks ago.’ So anyway, it was a big mix up.
“Now I’m speeding, I’m looking at maps, seeing if there’s any side road I can take that will get me there. This is just like a shot in the dark. I started taking these side roads, trying to cut some time off. Next thing I know there’s a torrential downpour, it’s raining and I’m on these little side roads and I’m passing people and I’m just trying to get there, right? Randy calls me, laughing. He’s like ‘Where are you? We’re going to intermission.’ I was like ‘Can you just, I don’t know, like, try to stall for as long as you can? I’ll be there.’
“So I stop for gas and as I put the automatic gas thing on, I run into the bathroom and change into my wrestling gear in the bathroom of this gas station. I come out, jump back in the car and drive. Randy’s keeping in touch with me, letting me know where we’re at in the show and I get to Cape Girardeau. I’m like at the city limits. I get there and I was like ‘I’m here, I’m here.’ And he’s like ‘Oh man, my music’s playing. I’ve got to go.’
“I guess Cody Rhodes had wrestled earlier and they did something where he ended up wrestling Randy. I literally got there as the bell was sounding to start the match. I was like ‘Man,’ and I was so bummed. After the match, I ran out and jumped on Randy and we did a little thing back and forth. Did a little something for the crowd and he ended up hitting me with the RKO. We did a little something.
“I actually went in and apologized to everybody in the locker room. Just because, you know, you’re trying to be a leader and you feel stupid doing something like that. I mean you’re human. It was funny because I got to TV the next day and Johnny is like ‘Do you need me to have you ride with somebody more experienced so they can help you get to the towns?’ I was like ‘F**k you.’
“It was pretty funny, but it was kind of a running gag and they made sure to highlight the towns I was supposed to be in for the next few weeks and stuff like that. But because I’d already checked in and all my stuff was there, I had to drive all the way back that night.”
Rush’s Analysis: It’s was a fun story and it was interesting to hear how various people involved dealt with the situation. As a fan and viewer, you watch the product and will sometimes question why so-and-so doesn’t get a bigger push or why someone else does. I think a story like this offers a glimpse into some of the moving parts not seen on television that help determine such things. It would’ve been much easier for Christian to head back to his hotel and take a night off after Mike Rotundo gave him the option, or really, even encouraged him to do so. Instead, recognizing that he’d finally earned his spot in the main event, he pushed through and made it there, even if it was just in time to do a spot after the match.
Also, how crazy would it have been to be pumping gas at that station and see Christian, in full ring gear, bursting out of the bathroom, jumping into his car and peeling out of the station?
The main feature on this week’s episode is an interview with Dave Bautista. To check it out, visit E&C’s Pod of Awesomeness.