Inside the Infamous “Plane Ride From Hell”

By Darreck Kirby
Project Shanks Creative Director

If you’re a wrestling fan and have been since the early 2000s, then you’ve probably heard of the “plane ride from hell.” If not, hey, you’ve come to the right place!

The incident occurred in 2002 during a chartered flight from London and involved numerous WWE superstars, such as Ric Flair, Curt Hennig, Brock Lesnar, and Sean “X-Pac” Waltman. To put it simply, the superstars ran amok and terrorized the flight crew. What’s more, according to some reports, a “friendly tussle” between the late Curt Hennig and the not-yet-superstar, Brock Lesnar saw each man’s competitive temperament take over. This culminated in a hot-headed Brock Lesnar crashing into Hennig and nearly popping emergency exit door open at 30,000 feet. So yeah, Curt and Brock nearly killed everyone on the flight. Good start. But what else happened?

Well, according to former superstars Justin Credible and Sean “X-Pac” Waltman, 2-time WWE Hall-of-Famer, Ric Flair exposed himself to two of the stewardesses and reportedly sexually assaulted them in the process. The result of this would lead to several lawsuits against the WWE.

Now here, you may be thinking, “But wait, surely you don’t expect me to believe X-Pac wasn’t up to shenanigans of his own! What’d he do?” Well if you’d shut your yapper, I’ll tell you!

During all of the excitement of the 53-year-old Ric Flair’s danglin’ dong and Hennig and Lesnar nearly bringing down the plane, X-Pac decided to get back at a member of talent relations who also just so happened to be a wrestling legend. The victim? Michael Hayes of the Fabulous Freebirds. The reason? Because a short time earlier in the flight, Hayes had apparently punched Bradshaw (later known as JBL) and reopened a deep cut on his forehead in the process. I know what you’re thinking. In what good-humored, mischievous way did X-Pac stick up for his fellow superstar? Did he place Hayes’s hand in warm water so the lone authority figure would pee his pants? Not so much. Instead, he chopped off the Hall-of-Famer’s mullet an hour or so into the flight when Hayes had passed out.

Wow, this sounds like a real shit-show, I hear you saying. Yep. Pretty much. Oh, and Dustin Runnels, better known as Goldust, decided to hijack the PA system and serenade his ex-wife, Terri Runnels.

So what’s the moral of the story? Well, wrestlers, while human like the rest of us, tend to lead a more stressful life than the average joe, and as such, may not always make for the proper role models. While the action is scripted and the moves aim to protect, there is still a very real amount of punishment that gets dealt over the course of every match. This causes superstars to turn to things like alcohol, painkillers, and, in the 80s, other drugs like cocaine. So yeah, I guess I’m saying they can be a bit dysfunctional at times -especially when not under constant supervision -I’m looking at you, Michael Hayes!

In the end, Curt Hennig was fired for his role in the scuffle that nearly killed everyone, but not Brock. See the company was highly invested in Brock’s upcoming future and chalked it up to youthful indiscretion rather than reckless discontent. Hennig, being a veteran in his 40s, wasn’t nearly so lucky. Dustin Runnels was also let go by the company, though he would eventually return.

So the next time you find yourself sitting on a plane and look over to find a WWE superstar, perhaps take a moment to mentally get your affairs in order. Nah, but I’m sure it’s fine now. That definitely -probably- wouldn’t happen again. Safe flying!

Speak Your Mind

*