With tonight's Monday Night Raw, WWE kicks off one of its most hectic stretches of their already insane year round calendar. Once taping is done tonight in South Carolina, roughly half the roster will hit the international terminal and fly to the United Kingdom to start the annual European tour Wednesday night in Scotland.
After filming Smackdown tomorrow night in North Carolina, the rest of the roster will fly to the European mainland to start things off in Italy. The two groups, each lead by a top babyface (either WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan or top merchandise mover John Cena), will reconvene for Raw in London next Monday before splitting again.
Here's the full schedule:
May 12: Raw, Greenville, SC
May 13: Smackdown, Greensboro, NC
Bryan, Randy Orton, The Shield, Kane, Big E, Mark Henry, Bad News Barrett, Rhodes Brothers
May 14: WWE Live, Glasgow, Scotland
May 15: WWE Live, Newcastle, England
May 16: WWE Live, Leeds, England
May 17: WWE Live, Nottingham, England
May 18: WWE Live, Cardiff, Wales
Cena, Sheamus, The Wyatt Family, Alberto Del Rio, The Big Show, Cesaro, The Usos, The Bellas
May 15: WWE Live, Rome, Italy
May 16: WWE Live, Turin, Italy
May 17: WWE Live, Innsbruk, Austria
May 18: WWE Live, Birmingham, England
May 19: Raw, London England
May 20: Smackdown, London, England (Cena crew, plus Hulk Hogan and Triple H)
Bryan, Kane, Randy Orton, Big E, The Miz, Bad News Barrett, Rhodes Brothers, Natalya
May 20: WWE Live, Sheffield, England
May 21: WWE Live, Orchies, France
May 22: WWE Live, Liege, Belgium
May 23: WWE Live, Strasbourg, France
May 24: WWE Live, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Cena, Sheamus, The Wyatt Family, Alberto Del Rio, The Big Show, Cesaro, The Usos, The Bellas, Dolph Ziggler
May 21: WWE Live, Belfast, Northern Ireland
May 22: WWE Live, Dublin , Ireland
May 23: WWE Live, Oberhausen, Germany
May 24: WWE Live, Berlin, Germany
May 26: Raw, Knoxville, Tennessee
May 27: Smackdown, Atlanta, Georgia
It's pretty much fourteen shows across sixteen days (and two continents). That would be tough on a business traveler taking meetings; it's got to really be grueling when you're taking bumps every night.
Not hard to see why some insiders and experienced followers of the business (like David "The Masked Man" Shoemaker) advocate for some sort of down time for workers throughout the year - either in the form of an "off season" or mandatory rotating time off for groups of wrestlers.
So, consider how wiped out the men and women will most likely be as you watch them on television and WWE Network the next few weeks. And let us know if you think this is crazy, or if a comprehensive wellness program should include time off, or if they're living the dream and should just suck it up (as most of them likely would say).