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DARK SIDE OF THE RING RETURNS THURSDAY TO VICE TV, LOOKING AT THE INFAMOUS PLANE RIDE FROM HELL

By Mike Johnson on 2021-09-13 10:16:00

Vice TV's Dark Side of the Ring returns to continue its third season this Thursday, looking at the Plane Ride from Hell.

The official synopsis for the episode:

"A private 757 flight descended into a nightmare as intoxicated wrestlers clashed with their flight crew, erupting into one of wrestling's most infamous scandals."

Jim Ross, Rob Van Dam, Justin Credible and Tommy Dreamer are among those interviewed.  One of the flight attendants will also be interviewed.

For those unaware, on May 5, 2002 a number of WWE wrestlers and management members flew from Great Britain to the United States following the end of a European tour, which concluded with a British PPV event.

On the now-infamous flight, there were a number of incidents involving WWE management and wrestlers that were later attributed to the heavy drinking on the flight, partially because the flight was delayed seven hours before takeoff.

Among the incidents included the late Curt Hennig goading Brock Lesnar into a mid-flight wrestling match after ribbing him about who was a better amateur wrestler. Hennig and Lesnar scuffled in the aisle of the plane with Lesnar taking down Hennig and Hennig being unable to return the favor. Eventually, several others on the flight, including Dave Finley, Triple H, and Paul Heyman had to separate the pair. WWE announced that Hennig was released from the company shortly thereafter, while there was no heat on Lesnar at the time as the blame was placed on Hennig's end.

The wrestling was tame compared to some of the other antics on the flight. Dustin Runnels was allegedly serenading his ex-wife Terri Runnels until being told to stop by WWE Vice President of Talent Relations Jim Ross. Dustin Runnels was in the doghouse for a long time and was publicly dropped by WWE in late 2003 with a WWE.com statement at the time announcing his contract would not be renewed when it expired in January 2004.

Then-Road Agent Michael Hayes was involved in an physical incident with Bradshaw after heavily drinking, allegedly punching him. Hayes' actions led to someone (later stated to be Sean Waltman) cutting off Hayes' mullet while he was sleeping. The consensus at the time was that Hayes "deserved it" for his part in starting the incident with Bradshaw.

Jim Ross, in his now-defunct Ross Report on WWE.com, stated the following about the flight in his first column after the tour: "The flight was about seven hours in length and at times was low-lighted by a handful of people who consumed too much alcohol and consequently acted like children whose parents were away and left the liquor cabinet unlocked. The conduct of this inebriated minority was unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Procedures have been put in place to ensure such conduct does not occur in the future. The bottom line is this: yours truly is the person in charge of the talent roster and the buck stops with me. We will do all we humanly can to solve the problem."

In the same column, Ross noted that Scott Hall (who said to have been asleep during the flight) was not involved with any incident. However, Hall was soon gone from WWE as his release was announced several days after the UK tour. 

A lawsuit was filed against the company and Ric Flair by several of the flight attendants who were working the flight, but was quickly settled.

 

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