Next time, save the fireworks for the wrestling ring.
The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Centennial Terminal’s international arrival area almost became the scene of a smackdown when the arrival of a group of famous wrestlers from the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) early yesterday morning was marred by an exchange of insults with the group’s security men.
Cooler heads saved Raoul Esperas, a reporter of Manila-based radio station dwIZ, from being attacked by a contingent of famous wrestlers that included John Sena, Benjamin, Nick Foley, Triple H, Val Venis, Eugene, “The Big Show” and “The Edge,” who were not pleased by the insults allegedly hurled by the media man against Barrie Knight, their chief security officer.
The arriving wrestlers were apparently accommodating their Filipino fans’ many requests for photographs and autographs while waiting for their checked-in luggage to arrive on the baggage conveyor belt minutes after stepping off Philippine Airlines flight PR 103 from Los Angeles, California at around 5 a.m.
Esperas apparently caught the attention of the wrestlers’ bodyguards when he suddenly climbed up on the baggage conveyor belt machine to take footage of the wrestlers with his video camera. When Knight asked Esperas to climb down from his perch and join his colleagues at an assigned place for the media to take photos, he was repeatedly ignored by Esperas.
This led to an exchange of words, which escalated to insults. When Esperas finished videotaping and stepped off the top of the baggage conveyor belt, the exchange of insults between the bodyguards and the reporter continued.
The wrestlers were about to enter the fray, apparently to reprimand Esperas, when Judith Geronga-Dolot, Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) Public Affairs Office (PAO) manager, jumped between the fuming wrestlers and the cameraman-radio reporter to cool things down.
For his part, Esperas admitted hurling insults but claimed he was the one provoked by the bodyguards.
“How can I provoke them? I only stand five-foot-five,” Esperas commented.
Aside from the raised tempers, the incident also angered passengers and their relatives who had come to the terminal to meet the famous wrestlers. They said the pleasantness and friendliness of the wrestlers’ arrival was marred by the incident.
Dolot said that Uniprom, the local entertainment company that arranged the wrestlers’ visit to Manila, had informed MIAA of their intention to file a complaint against Esperas.
For his part, Esperas said he was ready to face any complaint against him, but insisted it was the wrestlers’ bodyguards who were in the wrong.