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Lance Storm Shoot Interview
Posted by Brandon Truitt on Mar 10, 2003, 21:00
I think this will be a short intro today. Rock vs. Booker is tonight and on the line is The Rock's ability to choose his Wrestlemania match if he wins... against Steve Austin or against Triple H for the RAW title. I'm hoping that the focus gets put back on Booker T and that he picks up a somewhat clean victory because he deserves to look good going into Wrestlemania and, besides that, he's going to need all the help he can get from The Rock if we get another 10 minute racist promo from Triple H.
HOPEFULLY they've begged off on trying to build a title match with one of the most entertaining people in the business, and Triple H too, based on cheap heat like racism. It's one of the only angles stupider than the Booker-Edge angle at the last Wrestlemania over a shampoo endorsement deal.
As always, you can feel free to Drop me an e-mail, read the archives, buy me stuff, or buy yourself stuff at Highspots.com.
Lance Storm Shoot Interview
The shoot opens with a montage of Lance on Off The Record, in ECW with his fellow Impact Players, and in WAR.
This is from when Storm was still in ECW and teaming with the recently-fired Justin Credible. At this point, he and his training partner Chris Jericho had been in the business about 9 years.
How did he get in the business and who trained him? He was trained by the Harts in Calgary. He had been going to university to play volleyball and didn’t like his coach, so he started exploring other options and ended up wrestling. He had been a wrestling fan but not until the mid-80s. The Stampede promotion shut down just as he was entering the training camp, so a group called CNA started running shows in a bowling alley. He takes a second to mention that he was a trainer for the Harts about two years later and broke Justin Credible into the business.
Which Harts did the training? Mainly it was Keith Hart, as Bret Hart and Owen Hartwere working full time for the WWF. He’s never met Bret to this point (this is before he joined WCW) and has only met Owen briefly at one of Jim Cornette's shows in Marietta, Georgia. Owen was in a corner backstage and had his back to Lance, so Lance mistook him for a fan and started to have him kicked out before he turned around, at which point he introduced himself. He and Jericho ran into him again at an airport a few years later while they were on their way to Japan and Owen was flying to that year’s Royal Rumble and they all ended up on the same connecting flight.
Where did he get his first big independent break? There was a local promoter who wanted to use cheap guys, so he and Jericho ended up working for him. They faced each other in the second or third match on the card and did a Royal Rumble match later that night. They also worked for CNWA, which was the only weekly show with TV at the time. Jericho has gotten him hired in a lot of places as he had friends in some federations and had gotten hired then put in a good word for him in others.
They also worked in FMW, the Japanese garbage wrestling federation. FMW owner Onita had promised to bring them in 5 times a year after their first tour but didn’t call them back for 8 months. When they got the call, Lance refused to go back while Jericho went with another partner. Lance refused to go back because they’d gotten screwed on their money and generally ignored them. Around this time, Storm decided that he and Jericho weren’t going to be teaming for the rest of their career and started to go their separate ways. Jericho wasn’t happy about it at first but he’s obviously not hurting for work now (he was in WCW at the time).
Touring in Lebanon- The only good thing out of it besides the experience was meeting Mondo Guerrero and Chavo Guerrero Sr. He puts them over heavily, especially Mondo. He only made $500 on the trip as opposed to $1000 or $1500 a week, but at least the promoter paid for his food and lodging so he didn’t lose money.
FMW- He didn’t like the style of the federation. He liked working with Hayabusa, Ricky Fuji, Tarzan Goto, etc. though.
Europe- He worked for Otto Wanz in Europe for a while. He got the gig because he’d been trying to get booked in New Japan through a Calgary connection, a guy named Tokyo Joe. Some friends of his promised to hook him up with Joe but nothing ever came of it. Eventually, he went to get a haircut, the barber found out he was a wrestler, and mentioned that Tokyo Joe got his hair cut there. The barber agreed to give a tape and some photos of Storm to Joe and a week later, Storm got a call from Joe that he was booked in Europe. "Goddamn, my barber got me booked!” Otto fucked him on money too, but that deals with the fact that Otto pays wrestlers in shillings or marks, depending upon whether they’re in Austria or Germany, and his calculations for the exchange rate are a little shady. (This doesn’t really surprise me about Otto… I think he’s still pinching pennies to make up for the thousands of dollars he bribed Verne Gagne with in order to receive an AWA title win over Nick Bockwinkel and a few months run with the belt) He eventually got tired of Otto’s crap and decided he wasn’t coming back for another tour.
Smokey Mountain Wrestling- He’d sent tapes to everyone in the business a few months prior to his European tour in order to get booked and one of those tapes happened to be sent to Jim Cornette in Smokey Mountain Wrestling. Cornette saw the tape and liked it, but he watched it about 6 months after it was sent and the contact information that came with it was out of date because Lance had moved. Cornette happened to see Justin Credible, then PJ Walker: Wonderjobber, at a WWF show and noticed he was wearing a jacket with the name of the federation Lance was working for on the tape. Cornette asked him if he knew Storm and Credible had to talk to a friend of a friend’s brother’s girlfriend’s cousin in order to give Lance’s wife the message that Cornette wanted to talk. Lance ended up getting the message while he was in Europe and called Cornette from Hanover, Germany, and started setting up a deal in SMW. He ended up tearing part of his quad when he got back from Europe and was out of action for 10 weeks.
According to him, his legs were worn out from working every night in Germany so he went to the doctor, who ended up putting electrodes on the legs and having him work out. His quad ended up being so tight that when he did a dive off the top rope one night, it partially tore. He mentioned to Jericho, who was working in Mexico, that Cornette was talking to him. Jericho, who was working for EMLL at the time, figured it was as good a time as any to send a tape to Cornette, who saw it and loved it. Cornette must have seen them teaming in some of their old matches on the tape because he got the idea of bringing them in as a team. They agreed to it because they knew Cornette was big on tag teams and that they’d be working with the Heavenly Bodies (at that time, it was Dr. Tom Pritchard and Gigilo Jimmy Del Ray instead of Pritchard and Sweet Stan Lane).
Things didn’t turn out too well because SMW was a different kind of promotion than the ones he’d worked for in Japan. He was used to work speaking for itself and, although he could cut a tolerable promo, it didn’t help that he had the “cheeseball from Hell” Jericho standing next to him.
They cut to a match here between the Thrillseekers (Jericho and Storm) and a jobber tag team. I’m pretty sure this is the match included on the Before They Were Famous DVD. This is the basic squash to establish the new guys, as they win in short order with a modified Destruction Device. They also include a video package for the team set to crappy music. This is different from the norm, as it’s designed to get their characters over rather than to show them whipping ass in the ring.
Initial impressons of SMW- It was fun because Cornette was funny as hell. The problems started when Jericho insisted on being able to wrestle on Japan tours, which Cornette didn’t like. It got worse because they would wrestle the Japanese highspot style instead of the traditional Tennessee style that the crowd was used to. Jericho splitting time between SMW, Mexico, and Japan started causing problems when he’d come back from Mexico or Japan and start wrestling “100 miles an hour and stiff as Hell”, which was diametrically opposed to the slow, plodding heat-based Tennessee style. Chris getting hurt was the final straw.
Night of the Legends- Jericho had been wanting to try something new and decided on a shooting star press as his new big move. He’d pulled it off before at the pool, so he started trying it in practices. Storm thought he’d have learned his lesson after the first night he attempted it, where he bailed on it and landed on his head, nearly breaking his neck. The next night he tried it was at Night of the Legends, when he asked Cornette if he could work out in the ring before the show and was told “Sure, just don’t get hurt.” As it happened, Jericho tried the SSP again and failed, this time breaking his right arm. Storm’s wife ended up running him to the hospital. Lance got dressed and ready for their promos but when Cornette was told Jericho was at the hospital, he started going on a rant of “WHAT? JESUS CHRIST!”, etc. etc. etc., which got worse when Storm’s wife came back and told Cornette that Jericho had, in fact, broken his arm. The hospital wouldn’t let Jericho leave and posted a guard outside his room, so he pulled a dodge where he got the guard to let him go out for food and just took a cab back to the arena. They had to change the match to work around his arm being injured and he feels it was a very good match because of the injury and the fact that it was “the bloodbath from Hell.” He says that Dave Meltzer and some other commentators are full of shit for speculating that Jericho bladed too deep because he was using his left arm to do it instead of his right. He says it was, instead, due to Jericho taking aspirin before the match to thin his blood and having his heart racing because it was a big match and he knew he was getting surgery in the morning. The actual cut didn’t require stitches but, instead, was closed up with a small butterfly bandage. Cornette was pissed off that Jericho was bleeding so much, so he didn’t let them do a post-match interview which was in the original plan.
They cut to the set-up for the feud and the match at this point.
It starts with the standard contract signing / cake incident between Cornette and the Thrillseekers, which has been done to death.
Next is a vignette done behind the arena by a fan-cam. A mother and two kids mill around the arena looking for wrestlers to come out and end up spotting the Thrillseekers and referee Brian Hildebrant (WCW’s Mark Curtis) being attacked by Cornette and two masked men who are obviously the Heavenly Bodies. (Cornette reused this bit in OVW to injure Mark Henry in early 2001, thus following his self-proclaimed 7-year statue of limitation on gimmick theft or re-use)
Third is a brief vignette in which the Thrillseekers challenge the Heavenly Bodies and say that the WWF officials have reviewed the incident and suspended the Bodies from further competition until they face the Thrillseekers.
Sidenote- While some of this is corny and low-rent, remember that Cornette is catering to old-school fans in Tennesee and other areas that expect logical storytelling. The fan-cam bit certainly beats the WWE method of pretending that the camera is there only when they feel like it and, otherwise, act as if whatever is going on is a big secret between the people on screen that the fans just happen to be in on.
We now get the actual match, which I won’t go into detail on. GREAT match, combining the style of most pretty-boy tag teams like the Rock and Roll Express or The Rockers along with lots of blood and some of the Japanese and Mexican styles. The announcers acknowledge that Jericho’s arm is broken but kayfabe it as being the result of a motorcycle accident earlier in the week. There is a false finish where referee Hildebrant calls for the bell because he believes Jericho is unable to continue and, covered in that much blood, I’d certainly believe it. Jericho and Storm protest, though, and get the match restarted. It doesn’t last long, though, as Storm superkicks Gigilo Jimmy Del Ray into a Jericho rollup. Jericho’s face, after the match, resembles one of the crimson mask photos of Mick Foley from when he was working for IWA and FWM in Japan. Hildebrant’s shirt is PAINTED will all the blood from Jericho’s face.
Jericho went to the hospital in the morning, at which point the doctors put him under anesthesia and then told Storm that Jericho needed to stay overnight. He feels that the doctor hijacked them into doing it, although Jericho certainly didn’t feel like going to Johnson City that night for Fire on the Mountain when he woke up because of all the drugs in his system. The hospital was profiteering off of him as they charged him for paper towels and $20 for a syringe, amongst other things, on his itemized bill.
The Heavenly Bodies- They didn’t seem to get along very well. They were very “politically correct” about who would get to do what and so forth.
What changed their future in SMW? Cornette’s backer, a record label, pulled all their support for him three years before their deal was set to end. As a result, he started scrambling for ways to get out of his guaranteed money deal with them and try to keep the company afloat. Cornette used Jericho’s injury along with a Japan tour he went on as an excuse to renegotiate their deal, which saw Jericho go back to Japan and Mexico full-time while Lance was screwed. He also thinks that there was miscommunication between Cornette and his merchandise guy, old-school wrestler Tim Horner, as Cornette planned to pay them $100 per show and about $2000 in merchandise each month. Storm feels that Horner misunderstood what Cornette was asking him and figured they could sell $2000 between Storm and Jericho, not $2000 for each of them. That ended up being a moot point because he was so tied up running SMW and working for the WWF that he never ended up making Thrillseekers merchandise to sell.
What made him leave? He renegotiated a deal where he got a little more than most of the other wrestlers because he’d moved from Calgary to Tennessee to work there, as well as getting his own merchandise that he could sell and keep all the profits. He ended up making some “best of” tapes and selling a decent amount of them. Eventually, Dory Funk got SMW star Chris Candido booked for All Japan and both Funk and current WWE road agent Johnny Ace tried to bring Storm in as Candido’s tag partner. This coincided with Cornette getting another backer who examined his books and told him he couldn’t justify paying Storm more than the other guys. He ended up getting a percentage of what Cornette owed him and left on good terms. More bad news hit when All Japan suffered a talent raid by the WWF and Candido, amongst others, left the company. AJ owner Giant Baba decided that Storm was no longer needed since his proposed tag partner had jumped ship, so he was out of a job again.
He ended up working in Toronto, Calgary, and Europe again until his next big deal was set up. He puts over his time in Europe because he got to face great workers like current WWE road agent Fit Finlay.
WAR- A guy who was scheduled on the tour got hurt, so Jericho suggested him to management and they brought him in. He puts over the fans heavily and talks about how much they popped for his matches with Jericho because they knew of their tag team history from when they were in FMW a few years prior. Storm ended up as Ultimo Dragon’s favored opponent because Dragon hates to work stiff and Jericho worked very stiff. Dragon got him booked on every tour and eventually he was paired with a Japanese wrestler named Yasu who needed a partner. This elevated Yasu because foreigners, especially ones who worked with Dragon and Jericho, were seen as being far above a regular Japanese wrestler. They ended up in a series of matches with Jushin “Thunder” Liger and El Samurai.
They cut to a WAR match with Storm and Yasu vs. El Samurai and Liger for the IJ tag team belts. Good match here, as Liger is always great in the ring and they also mix together some Juniors stuff with some hardcore wrestling outside of the ring. Yasu eventually does a bridged suplex on Samurai for the pin and the tag titles.
Tenryu- Great as a boss. No boss has ever treated him with more respect, and he feels that treatment came because Tenryu had worked in the US and knew what it was like to be on the road in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language.
The Rock and Roll Express- He wonders how Robert Gibson can be so low-key in the ring considering he’s a bigger Hellraiser than Ricky Morton in the back. He realized once he worked with them in ECW that they probably held them down in SMW. Things apparently got off on the wrong foot when Jericho and Storm were asked by Cornette to do their top-rope double dropkick as the finish for their first match in the territory. Storm had told Jericho earlier that they’d probably never get to do that because the Rock and Roll Express’s finisher was a regular double dropkick. They heard from Tracy Smothers that the RnR Express felt threatened after that and he feels that they got in Cornette’s ear to run them out of the territory. Cornette was too dependant on the Rock and Roll Express, so they got away with whatever they wanted to do. There was talk of having the two teams face each other, but that never went anywhere because they all knew that one of the teams wouldn’t survive the match heat-wise. Either the fans would go with their old-time favorites or they’d want the newer and flashier tag team, but no matter what someone was going to lose big. He puts over Morton as a worker and wishes he’d gotten to wrestle him like Jericho did in WAR. Jericho stiffed the Hell out of him in their match yet Morton came back to the US raving about him and just thinking Jericho worked stiff rather than giving him an intentional hard shot as a receipt for something Ricky had said.
Compare Jim Cornette and Paul Heyman- They don’t get along because they’re too close alike. They’re both very passionate about the business, they both have a lot of drive, etc. The big sticking point is that Cornette is devoted to old-school while Paul likes to push the envelope. Cornette rehashes a lot of old stuff that no one remembers from the 20s because of his great memory.
Chris Candido- He wrestled with Brian Lee against Candido and Boo Bradley (Balls Mahoney). The matches were mainly Candido and himself because Bradley was very green and Brian Lee tended to forget spots.
Skydiving J tournament- Probably the best show he’s ever worked. He puts over New Japan heavily for how they organized the show and how professional they were. He was surprised that he was given the finish over Honaga (spelling incorrect, I’m sure), which gave him and Yasu the tag straps. He feels that Honaga was hot at him for having to take the pin.
Jushin “Thunder” Liger- If Liger’s working another company’s shows, he’s willing to put effort into a match if his opponent has some ideas and is willing to work hard. He refuses to carry guys who have no clue if they aren’t working for his company. Pretty much, Liger would give his opponents a finish and then say “Now go make the rest of the match.” “If you can come up with a five-star match, he’ll have a five-star match with you. If you’re a peon idiot and only come up with a one-star match, he’ll just have a one-star match with you.” The fans know how good Liger is so, if the match sucks, they know who’s fault it is.
They then cut to a match that Storm was discussing earlier, Storm and Yasu vs. Honaga and El Samurai. Storm attempts a powerbomb on Honaga, who rolls Storm up. Storm rolls through it, though, and picks up the pin and the tag belts.
Who’s the best out of the New Japan crew- Of all the guys he saw work in 1995, he’d have to say Ohtani. In the JCup, Ohtani and Liger put on a great match. He says that Ohtani’s facials, as well as making a big show of telling the ref “I kicked out on two!” after a near-fall, help make him a great worker. He also says Ohtani will occasionally raise his arms after a two count, thinking he’s won. (Jericho does this a lot when someone is in the Walls of Jericho but makes it to the ropes.)
Working with Rey Misterio Jr- He wrestled Rey and Juventud Guerrera in an eight-man tag. They all just went in and had a lot of fun.
Was there a chance he’d be signed to New Japan full time? No, he never heard of anything but wished they’d brought him in. He got shut out after Masa Saito started booking because Saito had a lot of connections to Minnesota and would bring in guys from that area instead of him.
How come he never went to Mexico- Jericho and Ultimo Dragon were trying to get him down there but the Mexican economy went into the crapper right before he was supposed to go and, as a result, they cut down on non-essential expenses like new foreign talent. Jericho got to keep his job because he was a proven draw down there, though.
What’s he heard of Ultimo Dragon’s current status- He thinks Dragon’s career is over because the WCW surgeon screwed up. The doctor had approved Dragon flying home to Mexico but something caused the arm to get injured in-flight and, when he came back to the US, the doctor crawfished and said “I never told you that you could go” and played a game of Cover My Ass. He says that Jericho, after that incident, did some checking and found out that several people who’d been worked on by this guy either didn’t get better or actually got worse. WCW would effectively blackmail people into using him anyway by offering to pay for any surgery if this guy did it and refusing to pay if you went elsewhere. (This definitely sounds like the infamous Dr. Rosenrosen from Mick Foley’s book)
What happened to WAR? The economy in Japan started going south and, on top of that, Tenryu made some other investments that started losing money. It didn’t help that Gedo and another top heel both left.
Abdullah the Butcher- “He doesn’t do a whole lot but he’ll draw forever over there. The Japanese love him because he’s Abby.”
He starts talking about the difference between a good athlete and a good worker here, as he discusses, amongst other wrestlers, a match that Chris Benoit and Too Cold Scorpio had. He said that everyone raved over Scorpio until he wrestled someone else and sucked, at which point they realized that Benoit was the one laying out the match. A good athlete is capable of performing cool spots in the ring but a good worker is a guy who can plan out a match that makes sense, tells a story, etc. and makes a lesser worker look good.
Jado and Gedo- “Gedo’s phenomenal. Jado is good but Gedo is great.”
ECW- He doesn’t remember how he got in there but think that Jericho put in some words for him during his brief stay there, before he went to WCW. Jericho told him to just call Paul Heyman but NOT to expect Paul to call him back anytime soon. (If you don’t know why this is funny, read what Vampiro has said about Paul E and returning calls) He started leaving messages about once a month for Paul and, finally, got a call at 11PM from Gabe Spicalziwhatever, the current booker for Ring of Honor, who was working part-time for ECW. Pretty much, he got updates from Gabe every 20 minutes that night, literally, until a deal was finally worked out. Paul ended up getting him on a 6AM flight to Philly the next morning so he could work a show that day. He says that, normally, new guys get booed out of the ECW arena but he was lucky enough to have some fans who had been to the Smokey Mountain Fan-Week and had talked to him, so they were cheering him during the match. As a result, the rest of the crowd went easier on him. After that, he worked every arena show between Japan tours until the end of the year, at which point he started full-time in ECW.
Now we get footage of Storm vs. Balls Mahoney from ECW. Storm wins with a top-rope spinning kick.
Barely Legal 97- One night, Paul came up to him and told him he’d be wrestling Candido at Barely Legal, the first-ever ECW pay per view. He went on the Japan tour and didn’t hear anything about it until he got back from Japan. Between the flight from Japan and the 19-hour roundabout trip from Hell thanks to Delta, he only made it to the ECW arena for the PPV at about 9AM that day. He talks about how he had no sleep between not being able to get a room until 11AM that morning and Paul’s on-again off-again production meetings, the getting surprised by Joey Styles coming up to him and saying “What’s your finish going to be against Rob Van Dam?” He hadn’t even met Rob at that point. He didn’t end up having a good match that night and feels that Rob dogged it that night. He feels that it was for a variety of reasons, mainly because Rob, at Paul’s behest, stopped going to All Japan and had been promised a match against Candido at Barely Legal, but for some reason Storm got his spot in that match. Storm speculates that the whole Mr. Monday Night deal (Rob working for the WWF part-time as a part of the original ECW invasion) had something to do with it and thinks Rob got pissed off enough over being aced out of his spot on the card that he called up WCW and the WWF and attempted to jump ship. Things didn’t get any better when Candido got hurt and Rob was put in his place, as he felt it was his spot to begin with and that he shouldn’t be having to substitute for anyone. That, combined with Storm’s jetlag, added up to a match he hates but heard a lot of good things about from the other wrestlers.
Jerry Lynn- They didn’t know each other before he started with ECW full-time. Once he started full-time, he needed a travel partner and Candido had suggested he travel with Al Snow and Jerry Lynn because they were guys who’d go to the gym and actually sleep at night instead of staying out and partying. Once Al went back to the WWF, he and Jerry just kept riding together because they were so similar. He feels that WCW killed Jerry’s mind for the business by not letting him do anything but that it’s gone into overdrive since he’s come to ECW.
Do you prefer singles matches or tag matches? He says he keeps changing his mind. He likes singles because the entire match is in his hands instead of being stuck on the apron and realizing there’s nothing he can do if his partner keeps screwing up. He feels that he and Chris Candido would have been a better team if they’d had babyfaces to work against rather than concentrating on the eventual breakup and feud between them. He hopes he and PJ (Credible) get that chance.
Is Rob Van Dam stiff in the ring? No. “He’s also improved about 10,000% in his last 6 months in the ring.” He hated working tag matches against Rob and Sabu but he enjoys working with him now. “With Rob, you either do a pay-per-view quality match each night or nothing.”
Did he ever get offers from WCW? Jericho, offered to put in a word for him but he refused at the time. He started thinking about it when times got tough in ECW but, by that time, Chris was on WCW management’s bad side. Chris even suggested that Lance cover his ass about being friends with him if he applied to WCW because being associated with him would probably hurt his chances of getting hired.
What does he think of the way WCW management treated Jericho? He says that, in his opinion, Jericho wasn’t treated bad because he’d come in as a nobody, paid him a decent amount of money, gave him TV time and mic time, championship reigns, etc. “It’s just that they had a ceiling. It was top guys and you’re not their yet.” Bischoff told Jericho that he’d probably be a top guy in about 5 or 6 years, which didn’t sit well. Storm feels that Bischoff was somewhat justified because WCW had so much guaranteed money tied up in its current main eventers that it made sense to use them over someone else. The company figured that Jericho, in his late 20s, would be in line for that push down the road after spending several years in a position where they’ll still be hot but not pushed to the main event level. He feels that Jericho made the right move by jumping to the WWF because “they’ll treat him right” although the grass won’t be greener there. He starts talking about the political crap and bring up “The Helmsleys, the Rocks, and the Austins” who want their spot and to make sure that Jericho is below them. He feels that Jericho could be a big draw but hopes they don’t give him a megapush out of the gate because he’s 28 and his career will last for years. He doesn’t see them putting the belt on him in his first two years but, instead, letting him be entertaining for that time and then think about making him champion.
Sidenote- While many of his predictions ended up right on, I feel that the above argument about putting hot talents in a holding pattern does not work as planned in reality. No matter how over someone is, there is a point on the midcard treadmill at which fans see that these guys as “chokers” or Midcard4Life instead of potential main event guys. Hell, Jericho and The Rock did an entire program for the WCW title based on that belief. There’s an entire generation of guys like this right now in the WWE because Vince McMahon has concentrated on his “proven” main eventers for so long. Jericho, Chris Benoit, Rob Van Dam, Booker T, and others have all been on the proverbial treadmill for so long that it’s hard to be taken seriously as a top guy. Even if they were positioned as such, they still wouldn’t be given the push that a “true” main eventer like Undertaker, Triple H, Rock, or Steve Austin would get, which, can be seen in Chris Jericho’s lame-duck reign as Undisputed Champion in late 2001 and early 2002. (Rock and Austin can both draw and wrestle well, but they’re short-term fixes. Trips and Undertaker can do neither and are often injured on top of that.
Any interest from the WWF? No, never got contacted by them.
Does he have reservations about going to WCW after hearing about how Jericho, Dean Malenko, etc. were treated? “Chris Benoit, Fit Finlay, and others are all great wrestlers but are just supporting cast, at least for the foreseeable future.” He wants to be established as a good worker and an idea man in ECW before he even thinks of going to WCW. He says that he’s different from most ECW guys in that he’ll come up with ideas for feuds that don’t involve him, like Shane Douglas vs. Tazz or Simon Diamond having a tag partner so he can get his “Simon Says” bit over.
Shane Douglas- He thinks a lot of the problems between him and Paul E. were that Paul owed Shane money and Shane is tough to deal with. He personally likes Shane was a worker and a friend. He says that things started to get ugly when Paul owed Shane money and tried to take the ECW title off of him. Shane felt that holding that belt gave him the leverage on Paul necessary to get his money, which is a valid concern whenever Heyman is involved in the books. Shane started getting paranoid and hard to deal with so things just fell apart between him and Paul E. He finds it a bit stupid that Shane would want to run to WCW since he’s badmouthed them so much over the years and feels that Ric Flair in particular would want to mess with him after all those promos Shane has cut about Flair holding him down for years. In addition to that, he was in a catch 22 with Kevin Nash and Scott Hall as, if they had screwed him over in the WWF, they’d screw him over in WCW but, if they didn’t, they’d screw him over now because of all the accusations he’s made. He feels that politics will kill Shane at a time when WCW needs to be pulling together to compete with the WWF.
Curt Hennig- “Curt could have been the most over babyface in the company” with the West Texas Rednecks’ “Rap is Crap” gimmick but someone didn’t want him as the top babyface.
Chris Candido and Sunny- He’s always liked Chris but feels that Paul had to let him go because Sunny’s arrival signaled the end of Chris’s career in ECW. Candido was always on top of everything when Sunny wasn’t there but, when she was there, he kept screwing up like missing personal appearances and a Japan tour and nearly missing ECW shows. It got to the point where Paul E. just had to let him go.
Steroids- “Never taken them but no one believes me.” He never smoked or did drugs and rarely gets drunk. He tells a story here about getting drunk for the first time while on a Europe tour that I can’t do justice to. The second time he got drunk, he, Rey Misterio, Juventud Guerrera, and Jericho were all in Japan on a WAR tour and went to a karaoke bar where they got smashed out of their minds. In addition to his refusal to do steroids for personal reasons, his wife has threatened to leave him if he ever does them because she’s been in a bad relationship with a steroid user before.
He then starts going off on adultery and recreational drug use in the business and how “everyone does it” is the excuse for it. He starts talking about how guys like Louie Spicoli went to the WWF and started doing Somas and other drugs that were the “in” thing but are now dead. He starts going off on Dave Meltzer and the Wrestling Observer here because people treat it “like the bloody Bible” and that everyone forgets in the end that Meltzer is just “a fan, a mark.” He particularly takes offense at Meltzer’s comments condoning painkiller use in the business, stuff like “If you think people can work this schedule and not be on painkillers, you’re naïve.” He says that philosophy of “I’m hurt, so I better take some pills to work” is why Dynamite Kid is so screwed up now. People forget that pain is an indication of something being wrong so they take pain pills, work while they can’t feel their injuries, and end up aggravating their injuries far worse than before.
Chris Benoit- The next best thing to Dynamite Kid. He loves Benoit’s stuff but doesn’t know if he would like working with him because he probably works “snugger” than he likes. However, a lot of guys bitch about Fit Finlay being stiff which he doesn’t feel is true.
What recently happened to Fit in WCW? He had a hardcore match with Brian Knobbs and went through a table, cutting up his leg badly. It sliced up all the tendons and muscles in there and the prognosis is anywhere from a club foot to a return after a year of recovery. Fit is “the toughest sonofabitch I’ve ever met” and hopes that WCW takes care of him. He said that if WCW shits on Fit, he’ll get Paul E. to take a chance on him making a comeback. “If Kerry Von Erich can work without a foot, Fit can work with a bad leg.”
Hardcore style- He thinks that it’s mostly done by guys who have no talent or ability, although some guys who do it are really good at it. Onita started the whole movement because his knees sucked and he wasn’t a great worker to begin with it, but he was charismatic and knew if he sold long enough and bled hard enough, he’d still be over. He says that Tarzan Goto used to be a great worker in 1991 but that he’d regressed by the time he faced him again in 1995 because he had gotten used to hardcore stuff. He compares Goto to Abdullah The Butcher but says Abby was smart because he’d have a match that would build to something. He calls Terry Funk a genius for building a barbed wire match in which himself and Onita, both broken-down old wrestlers, had a match that the fans loved. He says it also sets a dangerous precedent like with New Jack, who keep jumping from higher and higher places now to get a pop.
Teaming with Jericho or wrestling him? He’d prefer to work against him because Jericho’s better at calling stuff on the fly and incredible at making plans in the back before the match for spots and false finishes. He feels that Jericho pulls him up to a new level when he works with him.
Dawn Marie- Originally, Marlena (Terri from WWE) was supposed to come in for one night to work against Sunny. It ended up being Dawn Marie and she became a regular after he suggested the idea to Paul. She helped give him personality, which he admits he needed pretty bad.
Teaming with Justin Credible as the Impact Player- Credible wanted a name for the tag team to be like D-X and Paul E came up with it. They didn’t like it but they put up with it because they couldn’t think of anything better. He talks about how he and Credible are two of the only heels along with the Dudleyz and he hears they’re gone. He feels the company could use a babyface tag team and some heels. He wants Johnny Smith to be brought in as a heel. (Johnny WAS brought by for Anarchy Rulz 99, but was “knocked out” and Balls Mahoney took his spot against RVD in the main event)
His character- It’s not anti-American, although it is anti-New York. He’s mainly pro-Calgary. “I hate Toronto as much as I hate the States.” Paul E wanted him to be anti-American but he changed it up a bit because he felt it was too close to Bret Hart’s 1997 run leading the Hart Foundation.
Who has he learned the most from? Jerry Morale, whose worked in Japan and is from the Calgary area. He also learned a lot from Fit Finlay when he was in Europe.
What is his greatest match ever? “Certainly wasn’t LAST night…” He had a match in 1993 against Tenzan in Germany that he liked a lot. There were some Finlay matches that were up there too, especially when they did Iron Man matches with about 5 or 7 different finishes.
Where does he see himself in 10 years? “I see myself with a pencil [booking] in 10 years” because he’ll be 40. “I’d give up working today if I could get a job with a pencil.”
ECW’s future- “As far as ratings, it has a chance to be #2” but he has questions about the office keeping its act together.
Does WCW and the WWF’s emphasis on ratings hurt other aspects of the product? The business is changing and now it’s all about money. Ratings and pay per view buys are where the money is. He hears from people that Smackdown’s success may cause the WWF to cut down to 1 or 2 house shows a week. (What a difference a few years make. As of now, the WWE runs 3-4 house shows and TV for each half of the roster) He talks about how WCW screwed themselves over by only doing TV for the longest time and then going back to house shows but not having those shows written into the contracts of the big-money people. “OK, we’re running a house show and we won’t push Benoit and Raven on TV but they’ll be the main event of the house show.”
Kevin Nash as a booker- He won’t knock him because he knows how screwed up the contracts are in WCW. Each guy is only required to wrestle 8 days a month, Hogan has creative control over his character, etc. etc. etc. “Kevin Nash could be a genius but it wouldn’t matter because they’ll show up, at best, in a watered form.” He jokes about how they “tried to sign the entire wrestling world” to work over there and all the people with some creative control.
Did WCW hurt the business by signing so many people to work for them? There’s a lot of talented guys being wasted in WCW, such as Brad Armstong who’s sitting at home on his ass. They also pay a lot of money to guys to get them to learn how to wrestle, such as Goldberg, which creates a lot of problems. According to Jericho, Goldberg was great to deal with when he started but that he knew he was going to get a big head because of the push and success he’ll get. Tying up guys they don’t even want is a big problem for everyone else, which is what Bischoff intended but hasn’t succeeded with. He says that having only Atlanta with no New York to fall back on will screw a lot of guys over (he doesn’t mention this happening the other way around). He wishes that WCW would release someone like Bobby Eaton because he has so much talent and isn’t being used much anymore, in addition to the fact that he’d be a great guy to have in the locker room. He thinks that Paul E made an offer to WCW to get them to lend Bobby to them but it fell through.
First we get some clips from ECW here as Lance interferes in a Tommy Dreamer vs. Justin Credible match. I’m not even going to try and keep up with everything going on here.
Second is a clip from a Canadian news show where Storm and Jericho are being profiled. Storm talked about how he was almost a chartered accountant but he felt the desire to become “a superhero” by being in the ring. Jericho looks MUCH younger here, although Storm generally looks like he does now.
Third is Lance Storm vs. “Lionheart” Chris Jericho in a ladder match- Better than most of the ladder matches in the past year, although that DOES include abortions like Jeff Hardy vs. Undertaker and middling efforts like RVD vs. Dreamer. Doesn’t even come close to Eddy Guerrero vs. RVD though. The finish comes as Storm DDTs Jericho into the ladder and then sets up the ladder in a way where Jericho is pinned to the mat.
Fourth is Lance on Off The Record talking about hockey and other professional sports instead of wrestling.
Fifth is a VERY shaky hand-cam of a Storm vs. Dreamer match. I feel like I’m watching the Blair Witch here… Dreamer DDTs Storm for the win.
Thoughts- Storm had a lot of interesting stuff to say, is very open, and is well spoken. Unfortunately, most of what he covers are territories that many people don’t care about, such as Smokey Mountain and ECW during a down period (ECW hit a wall around the end of 1997 after Raven, Saturn, and others left). He still had some valid arguments about how things would turn out though. The matches end up being what make the tape, though. Recommended.