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Many of today’s WWE stars decided they wanted to become a pro wrestler watching the Monday Night Wars. Then, when they got in the WWE system, they realized it’s not as easy as storming down to the ring when their music plays, hitting their moves, and leaving.
“I think the main disconnect is that you grow up watching Stone Cold or The Rock and you think it’s super awesome. Then you get on the road and you’re traveling 300 days a year and you have to drive 300 miles in between shows, there’s so much stress,” said former WWE wrestler/referee/GM Brad Maddox in a new interview with Chris Featherstone of the Pancakes & Powerslams Slam.
“Just booking travel, just that by itself, booking hotel rooms every night and booking cars, paying for all your travel, is a constant thing. I got caught up into it as well, I got sick of a lot of the aspects of it when I was there. It’s a bit different when you get there than what you think it will be.”
It doesn’t help that backstage communication between management and talent is problematic.
“It does get very frustrating. Communication gets very muddy, and I think a lot of guys feel a little trapped,” Maddox said. “Almost like they can’t defend themselves within the constructs of the company. So, when you have a system like that, you’re gonna continue to have outbursts, and some are going to be more public than others, depending on the frustration level. That’s just the system that they’ve set up, so they’ve gotta deal with whatever happens.”
Maddox also pointed to the environment being stressful for underneath guys who fear losing their spot on TV and top guys who want to keep their position.
“That’s the thing about the system is that you can’t really take breaks, especially if you’re in a decent spot. You gotta stick it out, and ride it out until they’re not writing you anymore, because if you pull out – unless you’re [John] Cena or The Undertaker – you lose your spot. So if you want to take a vacation, good luck getting back into the rotation. So it’s a little stressful in that regard as well,” Maddox said, while also relaying a story on a top guy like Randy Orton feeling the stress.
“Orton would get angry at something in a match. I remember a few instances when I was a referee, so I was in [the Gorilla Position] a lot of the time. A few times he would say things or threaten other guys, like right there in Gorilla, and I would be standing there with my eyes wide open, not believing that he is saying this in front of all the producers and in the same room with Vince (McMahon). I was kind of amazed by that,” Maddox said.