Lance Storm talks his career, SMW, Japan, calling matches in the ring, WWE career
Recently the Shining Wizards Wrestling Podcast had the honor to sit down and speak with Lance Storm to talk wrestling, and promote his upcoming match with Jerry Lynn at Pro Wrestling Syndicate's Thank You Jerry in Metuchen, NJ on February 9th.
On the Legend Moniker:I hold that term in higher regard, I feel odd when people use that term for me. I am not a legend in my own eyes, I am too young to be a legend. I had this debate earlier with my students. Was talking about Legends, and tweeted about people I had worked with who i thought were legends , and people were like what about Edge and Jericho. And well, I have a hard time thinking that somebody in there 30's is a legend. I am happy with my career. It just comes down to how high esteem you hold the term legend or not, I like to hold it off for the Harley Race's and Terry Funk's of the world, Bruno Sammartino. But if you want to throw it at me I will take it.
On the Hart Wrestling Camp: Well everything Jericho wrote in either of his books was pretty much the true. Keith Hart was the guy who was running it. He was the one who took our money. He was there a couple of the days, but I think he had one hands on day. He taught me how to do a victory roll. That was the only thing that he was actually hands on with me for. He stretched the living crap out of us there the one day and we were pretty much happy he wasn't all that hands on.
An Ill Faded Trip to Lebanon: We all got shafted on our money. There was gun fire and bombs going off, we saw a guy get shot at the one show. We got shafted on our money, and at the time, they took our passports at the border when we got there. They say don't give up your passports, but when a guy barking arabic at you points a machine gun at you, you give them whatever the hell he wants. Turns out they just needed our passports to get Visa's, so it wasn't as dodgy as it felt. They eventually got our passports back, and we had our Visa's in them. We had armed guards around all the time, and since we were fighting for money, it felt like we were being held prisoner. They were there for our protection, but when you are fighting with the promoter over money and the armed guards start increasing you start feeling like you are being held prisoner. And then the one show, I think it was the guy who owned the arena ,it was an outdoor soccer field we were wrestling at, he got shot, he was like 40 feet away from me and then you heard gun fire, and they rushed us to the bus. They had guys hanging out the bus with there guns and then we went on to a different city the next day, and you could actually see bombs going off in the distance. The area was becoming very unstable, but they got us to Bayroot. Which was a lot more calm, but we ending up only getting a quarter of our money before we got sent home, so it was a bit of a disaster.
On Working with The Heavenly Bodies : Its funny calling it a feud I kinda feuded with the Heavenly Bodies. Jericho only did the one match. We did the angles on TV to build up to it, but the masked guys who jumped us were Well Done. Because the Heavenly Bodies were working in WWE at the time. So we had to have other guys do the angle of beating us up in the parking lot. The Heavenly Bodies only came in for that big weekend in the summer. The first night was the Knoxville one where Jericho broke his arm in the afternoon, then we had the blood fest in the Knoxville Coliseum which was an amazing match on a lot of levels. Then the rest of the week I did handicapped matches with the Heavenly Bodies where we had someone else run in to be my partner afterwards, but they started as handicapped matches because Jericho's arm was broke. So I sort of did the feud and Jericho only was able to do the one match unfortunately. It was an amazing night, at that stage in my career, I don't know if it was sold out, but it sure felt jam packed to me. The Knoxville Coliseum was a huge building, and there were huge guys on the card, The Funk Brothers, Road Warrior Hawk, Terry Gordy, the Mongolian Stomper, so it was a big deal for me. I was like, WOW this is a big deal, we made it we are huge starts, Jim Ross was calling the show, I know I marked out huge for that.
On the Working Relationship between WWF and SMW: I don't think it was so much of a working relationship, I could be wrong, but there could have been a bit of the dangling of the carrot, you know this could lead to further more, the Heavenly Bodies had gone up, but I don't think it was really meant to be, more then again, WWE wanted bodies, Smokey Mountain had the bodies, and WWE was on good terms with Cornette. Occasionally they sent WWE guys down. We did our run in Smokey that ended shorter then it should have because of Jericho's arm, but I think he mentioned in his book. Right after that was when they started doing the, I don't wanna say Gimmick Jobbers, but the lower end guys, the TL Hopper, Freddy Joe Floyd, the Goon. Jericho said, he got a call from Cornette, and that they were doing these character guys, and that he would put in a word for Jericho, and could get him in if he wanted one of those rolls. I assume Jericho would have been the Goon.
On working in Japan: In Japan you had to be able to work, you had to be able to wrestle. Where, the majority of the match, was just legit wrestling, Outside of a move or a stay, there wasn't much communication done until you had your finish. You might lay out a 5 minute finish, just got out and wrestle, go back and forth for 15 minutes, when we hit the 15 minute mark, we will take her home, then do the 5 minute finish we had planned and there's our match. You might have 1 high spot or something big, I wanna do a dive tonight, this is the dive I'll do. If you bump the guy and he rolls to the floor, its like, Oh, I guess I am diving. And you make sure he has his head up and ya do it. There were times too, where you had completely separate locker rooms, the tour with FMW the foreigners were on separate bus. We stayed in separate hotels, you never saw them. Besides the referee running the finish back and forth you had nothing. My very first match in Japan was a 6 man in FMW .It was the main event of the show, I've got 30 matches under my belt, only a year in the business,ya know, green as green can be it was Me, Jericho and Mark Starr against Onita, the main event of the promotion and owner, Sambo Asak a former Sumo guy and a kicker boxer from Korea who actually has boxing gloves on his hands. The referee came over, the only instruction we were given was Onita is gonna pin Mark Starr with a power bomb and at some point in time in the match, Chris and Lance need to get color. And he left, and we went out to main event a show with nothing more then that. I never meet the 3 guys before, I had no idea if either of them spoke english. I don't think any of us ever said a word to our opponents.
On calling a match in the ring: I don't want to say it's a lost art, but it's a diminishing art. I think part of the problem is that the majority of what we see is televised. Ya have shorter times, and the higher pressure of TV, so if you have a 6 minute match you can plan the entire 6 and just do what we want. Live events and stuff, when you have more time, there are still some guys that will have half of the match felt out there at least. Remember the first Cyber Sunday gimmick voting thing they did? The opening match was Jericho versus Shelton Benjamin, and I remember asking Jericho did you get any heads up what so ever, or at the very least, Jericho was a heel, they had 5 different possibilities, you could have set up a basic finish, the baby face goes over so this is the finish, so whoever wins gets to do this spot.And I asked Jericho and he said No we had nothing, and they gave us absolutely nothing. He was standing in the ring, and they hit Shelton's music, and Jericho still had no idea who it was. And the ref walked over to Jericho and said, Shelton's up with his finish, Jericho turned to the ref and said well what's his finish. The ref didn't know, so he had to go over to Shelton as ask him. And they did the match with nothing.
On Wrestling Jerry Lynn: We worked so much in ECW. I remember one night we were in Johnstown,PA. We flew into Pittsburgh, and I mistakenly wrote Johnstown, OH for some reason. So oddly enough both places are 3 hours away, so when I asked how far away we were, we were told 3 hours. We drove to the wrong state, so by the time we found out we were in the wrong state we had to drive like 5 hours the other way, we're going crazy, we were on the phone with Paul, and he was like just get here we will put you on, as late as we have to, we are racing. We get to the building just after intermission and Paul tells us, you are on in 5, so we just put on our gear and went out with nothing. We had wrestled each other enough times, that we could do it in our sleep. He was so good at it, and we were so good with each other, it wasn't even a question. It was who do you want tonight, and we got it done. That was one thing that was really nice, it was one of my favorite times of my career when I was working with Jerry. All the live events and house shows, Paul wouldn't even give us a finish, didn't tell us who he wanted going over, he left it to us to do whatever we thought was right at the time of the night. I was usually the one that made the call, I would get there and look at the show. If we were the 6th match, what are the 5 matches before us, and whats the match after us? If it was a real heavy the heel is going over the match after us, well we should put a babyface over in our match, Jerry would go over. And if there was 2 or 3 big babyface wins before us and a win after us, it was like, OK I will take this one Jerry. Paul just left us to our own devices.
On working in WCW and his early push: It's funny, not to downplay it, but I never really thought about it. It happened so quick It was 13 days and I won all 3 titles. The US Title was on a Tuesday Nitro, then the following Monday I won the 2nd, and then 13 days in total I won the 3rd. By the time it happened it was just so quick, that you're so busy, wrestling some of the matches, I never really thought about it. It was a transition to a bigger company, at first, bigger arena, bigger set up, bigger crowds, more notoriety, fame all of that goes with it. But at the end of the day in the ring, there was no adjustment. I was really fortunate my first day was Johnny Ace's first day as an agent, and we both wanted to prove something, so Johnny hand picked me. So it was give Lance a few more minutes, he can have a good match. And if i was working with someone who was in the WCW mode of give me my check and I will do as much as I have to and no more, I would push them a little more. I had him in my corner, and I had his back by trying to deliver the matches that he tried to convince the office he could help out with agenting. Johnny is a really good finish guy. We were a good team and he is a big reason why I was given the ball I was given. It was a really great time.
On being the first WCW Wrestler to Invade RAW: It was a case too, that it happened so fast, I didn't really get to think about it. I didn't know about it till about an hour or two before it happened. I was just called the week before they came to Calgary, and was told all the WCW guys were being flow to Connecticut to meet with JR at the office. And sort of given the this is WWE, Welcome to WWE, this is what we expect. So they said, we are coming to Calgary in a week, no point in flying you down here, you can just meet with JR before the show, so I was like OK. So when I went to the show, I wasn't thinking about doing anything other then sitting down with JR for half an hour, but there is the unwritten rule in wrestling, always travel with your gear, so it was in the trunk of my car. I figured maybe I would need it for photos or something, because when I started in WCW they flew me to a Nitro before i debuted to do some promos and whatnot. So it was the middle of the afternoon and i don't remember if it was Johnny first, or it was Dean Malenko, but Johnny said, you bought your gear right? You're working tonight. And i was like, yeah yeah yeah, shut up, funny funny, i thought he was just ribbing me. I don't think it was Dean, but someone came up to me and said I was working tonight, and I was like good try, Johnny already tried that. And they were like, no serious, you are doing a run in tonight. You have your gear right? And I was like oh crap, your serious. And I was like, my gears in the trunk, and they said you should get it, its only an hour till show time. So at this point I am really nervous. I am coming out of the crowd, no music, no video , and I am thinking, this is a 5 second appearance. Is anyone going to realize its me, and are they going to pop? It's my home town, but I haven't actually been in Calgary in forever. I am terrified, if i don't get a reaction on my debut in my home town, I am dead and buried. And thankfully they did.
His WWE Highlights: There were several. I really enjoyed the single IC run with Edge. We did a month of house shows and the SummerSlam match was great. Doing the Edge/Hogan tag program with Christian and I was really fun. I really enjoyed the tag run with William Regal. We really complimented each other really well, it was a far better compliment then Christian and I, in that, Christian and I were a lot more similar, I loved it don't get me wrong. I thought there was a more interesting dynamic with William Regal in that, his strengths were my weakness, and vice versa. It was a really fun time, and William Regal is a really fun guy.
For more with Lance Storm, including the vibe in the WWE locker room towards him for being a WCW guy,his WWE drop off, getting involved in training and eventually opening his own school, the idea of a Thrillseekers Reunion and more, go to www.shiningwizards.com and listen to Episode 71:Taking the Wizards by Storm, Lance Storm. The Shining Wizards is a weekly wrestling podcast dedicated to discussion of WWE, TNA, ROH, Extreme Rising, PWS, DGUSA, Evolve, Chikara, CZW, Beyond Wrestling, and the entire wrestling scene, including talk of the yesteryear of the sport. Past guests included Jake Roberts, Shane Douglas, Jerry Lynn, Buff Bagwell, Joel Gertner, Christian York, Matt Hardy, Christopher Daniels, Headbanger Thrasher, Scotty Riggs, Damian Dragon, AR Fox, Michael Elgin, Gregory Iron, Nigel McGuinness, Justin Credible, ACH, "Primetime" Sam Roberts, Gabe Sapolsky, and Pat Buck. Join us every Thursday night and on Facebook for ongoing discussions about the state of the sport. The Shining Wizards, where it's wrestling talk.....and talk about wrestling