Originally published in The Kingston Whig-Standard on Dec. 10, 2011. All rights reserved.
People often ask me what the hardest part about being a professional wrestler is or who my toughest opponent is or was?
The answer is simple: the travel is both the hardest and toughest part of the wrestling business. This past week, my own personal journey saw me working for an independent company called Chaotic Wrestling, based out of the Massachusetts area.
I have worked for them in the past and have always found the talent to be hard-working men and woman trying to pursue their own dreams of fame and glory.
Chaotic’s training facility has produced a few people that have made it to WWE Inc., with Kofi Kingston being the promotion’s most famous student.
I started off my weekend on Friday morning at 7 a.m., getting up with my kids, preparing them for school and the part I consider the worst — telling them I won’t be home until Sunday.
After the pleas of “daddy, don’t go” and “I will miss you so much” and explaining to them why daddies have to go to work, I hopped on the elliptical machine for an hour of cardio. I followed that with a protein shake and headed off to the gym.
My workout that day included 40 minutes of weight training. If I don’t do my morning cardio, I suffer excrutiating lower back pain; the result of years of landing on my back for a living, I guess. The cardio excercises are a ritual I must do for life.
In reading this, and looking at my body, you would plainly see that I train really hard to look like this. Yikes! (Insert sarcasm here). Thanks genetics!
After the gym, it is back home to pack for my trip. After that comes showering, eating, running errands (paying bills and a trip to the post office) and eating again. Then I finally set off on my journey.
For the next four hours, I drive from New York to Lowell, Mass. I arrive at the sold-out Polish Veterans Community Center, where I meet my opponent. We have a really good match, and afterward I pose for roughly 175 pictures in the ring with the fans at intermission. The show ends about 10:30 p.m., after which I head to IHOP for a chicken and egg white omelet before driving 30 minutes to my hotel.
I check in, shower, take out my sweat filled pants to air out and manage to get to bed about 2 a.m.
On Saturday, I wake up 9 a.m., call home to talk to my kids, who remind me I missed Friday night movie and pizza night. I also missed the wedding of a very close friend of mine, but these are the sacrifices we make.
Luckily, the hotel has a good cardio machine. Unlucky for me, the bed is too soft and I look like a bent pretzel. I do my cardio, shower, and head off to find a gym, which turns out to be some 20 minutes away by car.
I work out, drive 20 minutes back to hotel, shower, pack up my stuff, check out, get lunch and drive three hours to Littleton, N.H. I arrive in the town, which looks like a scene from a Christmas card; very picturesque in the middle of the mountains. I meet my new opponent for the evening, wrestle and again take pictures in the ring with fans. That show ends at 10 p.m.
Now for the true test — the six-hour drive home. My GPS tells me to go north even though I know I live south, but I follow the machine anyway. I drive through mountainous back roads, for about 45 minutes.
Upon seeing a sign that informs my that I’m 45 miles from Canada, I begin to think that this machine has taken full control of me just like the movie Terminator said it would.
I finally see a sign for Hwy. 91, where my GPS tells me to stay on it for the next 267 miles, or 430 kilometres for my friends in Canada. I turn off my only speaking companion and for the next four hours, I come to realization that I clearly am the best singer in the world. I know all the words to every song and I am having a full-blown conversation with myself. I think I may have solved the world’s economic recession as well, but forgot the details once I got home.
I also kill the monotony by calling other wrestlers who I know were working that night, listening to the radio and dodging deer, moose and other animals that decide to get to close to the highway.
I did happen to somehow — mysteriously — stop at McDonald’s, the only place open that late. I may or may not have eaten two McDoubles and a nine-piece Chicken McNuggets. This also may be an underlying factor of why I look the way I do, but I digress. What? Do you want me to starve on these long trips?
I arrive at home at 4 a.m. (the side-road took an hour off my trip). I open the door to my favourite ritual — my dogs and I have a special greeting of scratching, wiggling and kisses. I go to bed at 5 a.m. I am awoken at 9 by my kids, who inform me we are going to see the Christmas tree in New York City, but that is a tale for another day.
It’s worth noting that this is just an account of my weekend. When you are working for WWE, you do that kind of travel routine four days a week, instead of two, and add to that travelling on airplanes to start and end your journey.
Most people would say I am crazy for still doing this, but I truly love doing what I do. Hopefully, you all have a greater respect for the men and women now knowing what they go through to entertain you.
Thanks for reading.
Tommy Dreamer is a legendary and influential pro wrestler who has worked for World Wrestling Entertainment, Extreme Championship Wrestling and Total Nonstop Action. Follow him on Twitter — @THETOMMYDREAMER — and check out his website at www.thetommydreamer.com.He can be booked for live appearances through his website.