Break The Walls Down: 9 Days Off From WWE Programming – A Journal

Columns, Top Story


9 Days Off From WWE Programming –  A Journal

It has become a relatively rare phenomenon in my career to receive consecutive days off, and this year, I even managed to book a vacation. What I did not factor in to my exploration of Asia Minor and the Dodecanese Islands, was that I was going to miss two episodes of Raw and one of NXT as well the Battleground PPV. Now while I’m a wrestling fanatic, I’m not so obsessed that I can’t enjoy some well-earned rest and recuperation away from the world of oily grappling. Still, I managed to schedule time to watch all of these events thanks to the glory of modern technology. Sometimes, even the best laid plans can go awry. Here is my journal from what became a horror-inducing nine day involuntary sabbatical from sports entertainment.

Day One – Monday 13th July

All ready and set for super fun vacation times. As Raw airs, I know I’ll be cruising at an altitude of 30,000 feet – roughly the length of Kevin Owens ego if measured in a line – but I have everything I need packed with me to watch the highlights. Laptop. Check. VPN App. Check. Satellite broadcasting app, WWE Network, HDMI Cable. Like a game of speed chess – Check, check, check. I settle in to to the flight to watch Avengers: Age Of Ultron in the lavish confines of my extra leg room seats, and am wistfully comparing each Avenger to their WWE counterparts. That would make a fun, if not uber nerdy, article.

Day Two – Tuesday 14th July

Having had an extended dally around the beautiful surroundings of the Mugla Province today, I’ve landed in my hotel and hit a worrying roadblock. The wifi is as temperamental as Big Show’s turns, but I’m sure with some patience everything should be fine for tomorrow mornings scheduled catch up.

Day Three – Wednesday 15th July

Everything is not fine. Not only is the wifi entirely inconsistent, my VPN app is more broken than Daniel Bryan. It has become abundantly apparent that I will not be watching a single minute of WWE programming during this vacation. No Raw highlights. No NXT on the Network tonight. No Battleground, no Raw next week. I’m distraught. My travelling companion is dancing around the room in delight, and I’ve half a mind to military press her off the balcony. I’m constantly told by WWE not to try this at home, but I’m not at home…

Day Four – Thursday 16th July

After a little digging I’ve found out that Turkish TV airs Raw on the British Sky Sports channel. Accounting for time difference, an 8pm start fits in deliciously with my day of tanning on the beaches of the Turquoise Coast. I’m off to brown myself, which is a must, because I’m paler than any offspring Paige and Sheamus would have together in milky union.

It’s 810pm. Raw is not on my TV screen. I miscalculated the time difference. The show didn’t start at 8pm. It finished at 8pm. I was gorging myself merrily on sumptuous Ottoman cuisine, unknowingly neglecting the action of the longest running weekly episodic television show in history. I’m absolutely livid. I’m livid at Turkish TV, at myself, at the concept of time zones, at the misuse of Wade Barrett. The last one has nothing to do with my current situation, it’s just a topic on which rage is permanently bubbling at a low level.

Day Five – Friday 17th July

My disappointment has not ebbed. I’ve had the wind completely knocked out of me. Quite literally in fact, because I’ve just returned from my inaugural visit to a Turkish bath. While initially scrubbed down with coffee and lathered in bubbles, a seven foot Persian monster then proceeded to beat the living crap out of my existence. I feel like I’ve just been 10 rounds with the Undertaker. And then been sat on by Yokozuna. And then been forced to sit through a Great Khali match.

Day Six – Saturday 18th July

I cannot sit idly on a beach and think about what I’m missing, so I’ve booked a trip to Rhodes. Ambling through the historically drenched walls of The Island Of The Knights was proving to be a welcome tonic, until I casually refer to an ancient Lycian relic as being dusty. Jokingly coining the new moniker ‘dusty Rhodes’, I immediately realise the wrestling connotations and am reduced to a hunkering wreck of emotions as I remember the American Dream memorial package.

Day Seven – Sunday 19th July

Going cold turkey is rendering me a mess. I’m not quite at the stage of bleary eyed and pasty skinned delirium, which could be down to the excellent Anatolian diet and Aegean sun, but I’m not far off. It’s dawning on me that WWE is not merely a passion, it’s an addiction. I haven’t felt like this since I swore off bread for a month. I’m suffering from headaches and hallucinations. I keep seeing the Iron Shiek wondering around in tight red Speedos, though it’s possible it’s a disturbingly accurate lookalike.

Day Eight – Monday 20th July

I feel like Scott of the Antarctic. I’m on an epic expedition and can see no end. I’m reminded of a journal entry of his. I am “weak, writing is difficult, but for my own sake I do not regret this journey, which has shown that Englishmen can endure hardships… and meet death.” It might be wise for Wade Barrett to heed this notion. I’ve missed Battleground, and Raw is tonight. I can’t go on. Let the darkness take me…

Day Nine – Tuesday 21st July

Smeering myself in the sulphur induced mud baths of Dalyan has somehow finally given me some clarity. As I sit on the plane for my return journey home, I’m asking myself the question that needs to be asked. Why has the lack of WWE affected me so? WWE programming is not always “can’t miss TV”, but it is sometimes, and that’s enough to keep me hooked. The very thought of being absent for something big – a returning superstar, a major plot twist, a match of the year contender – draws me in each and every week. It’s not enough to hear about developments through my various apps or the dirtsheets, and then catch the highlights. The live element of the sport really does mean that anything can happen, and I want to be present as often as possible for that ‘anything’.

So now, with renewed vigour, I’m off to catch up on an accumulated 10 hours of wrestling action. Don’t call. Don’t tweet. Hell don’t even seed a carrier pigeon. It’ll be just me and a stacked roster of talented superstars. Pure bliss.

Comedian, luchador, professional eater. You can follow me on Twitter - @RedNextDoor. Or Instagram if you like pictures of clouds - @RedNextDoor