Q and A
January 3, 2009
Q: Can you explain the term "downside guarantee" in simple terms? - Sorry if you have already. Is it the minimum base pay a performer is going to get w/o upper card PPV payouts, or merchandising revenue? Or is it something I'll just never understand? (lol)
A: It’s basically exactly how it sounds. It is the guaranteed least amount you will be paid. If you have say a (for the sake of easy math) $52,000 downside contract you will never earn less that $52,000 a year with WWE. They still figure out what your merchandise royalties are, what you earn from the live events you work, your PPVs percentages, etc. and you will be paid the greater amount. You can be paid either way too, and the difference (if there is any) will be made up at year-end. You can elect to get paid your downside in which case you will get a cheque for $1000 every week, with a statement of what your weekly “earnings” are. At year end anything you’ve earned above your down side will be paid to you. If you’ve earned less than the $52,000 you’ve been paid, that’s your minimum so nothing happens. If you want to get paid what you are earning then your weekly cheques are for what ever you earned from events worked, etc. At year-end if that amount is less than your downside you would get paid the rest to get you up to your down side.
Q: Lance, do you think WWE have shot themselves in the foot with the MVP losing streak? He was doing well and now he's a joke.
A: It’s not their foot that they shot (LOL). Fans memories are pretty short, a few weeks of a good push and MVP’s jobbing streak will be forgotten.
Q: Would you ever consider having a "fan-camp" type session at your school? A day camp? A long weekend? A week? With baseball fantasy camps so popular, and now Hogans celebrity wrestling, is now the time? It seems that people that know they have no "real" chance of wrestling would love that same opportunity." I, for one, would love the opportunity to learn a few basic moves from a favorite like yourself, put together a 5 minute match, and have a video to go home and brag about.
A: I’ve thought about this but the problem is that this job is so much more difficult than people think, and you have to train so much more than a day or a weekend before you can even have a 5-minute match you could tape. It can take weeks to learn how to bump well enough to take most moves without great risk of getting hurt. Even if I ran a weekend camp of 2 4-hour sessions you would not be able to have a match at the end of it, and realistically speaking you would only be able to do the most basic of bumps and mat wrestling. This is not a sport you can just try and fool around at, there is far to high a risk of injury.
Q: If you had an obscene amount of money and wanted to start your own Canadian promotion that would with or against the WWE / TNA, who would be the first big name free agents you would call to come work for you? Who would you put the title on first?
A: I would never try to run against anyone. If I had all the money in the world I would still only consider running a small Western Canadian promotion. There is so much work in running a company and trying to compete with someone is just making matters worse. I would just run a small territory where I ran 6-10 shows a month and provide guys a good intermediate step between crappy Indy work and WWE or TNA. With the obscene amount of money, I wouldn’t have to worry about drawing big money and breaking even so I could spend a bit on advertising and promotion, and keep ticket prices low to attract fans at the beginning and pay well enough that guys would want to work here. I would use the OVW format of having my own arena to provide a good venue for TV and then book weekend house shows off of that. Again with money not an issue you could get on TV and have decent enough production values to not look too Indy. I would not try to be a big deal nor try to use big name talent. I think I would better serve the business by providing young guys a place to work and grow. I would have to us some veteran guys so the younger ones could work with them but who exactly would depend on whom all was available.
Q: What's your take on the use these days of The Crippler Crossface? Since WWE seems to want to wipe their hands of Benoit ever being in the WWE, I find it interesting that HBK and HHH most notably bring it out in some pretty high-profile matches. Do you think it's a homage? Or they're trying to further separate that move from Benoit or its just a logical move in the sequence of a match?
A: I think it’s more just a case of them needing an over submission hold for that spot in the match and that one works better than anything else they could use. I too thought it was odd the first time I saw it. I guess over time people will eventually not associate it with him but I’m surprised they’ve been allowed to use it.
Q: Hey Lance, in the Royal Rumble there are often cameo appearances. If WWE contacted you would you be interested in participating this year, or in future ones?
A: I’d certainly consider it but don’t hold your breath, when booking cameos I think they look for guys that might get a bigger reaction than I would.
Q: Being as you were a graduate of the Dungeon and members of the Hart family have been to your school, do you think your school as part of the lineage of the Dungeon?
A: I’ve never thought of it that way. I don’t like the term lineage because there is no real association, but I suppose as far as the history of wrestling training in Alberta, I am following in those footsteps somewhat.
Q: How many titles do you think WWE should have in total?
A: I’d be happy with 4: The World Title, a secondary title (be it IC or Cruiserweight), A women’s title, and Tag Team title.
Q: Do you think that TNA needs a midcard title since guys like Bobby Roode or James Storm won't be in the world title picture, can't be in the x-division, and end up being stuck in the tag picture?
A: No I don’t. Two singles men’s titles are plenty, in my opinion. I would rather they trim the roster to allow Roode to be working in the main title picture. I also think they could focus better on a tag team division so fans like you don’t see a Tag Title push as being stuck in the tag picture.
Q: Are you going to watch The Wrestler when it comes out?
A: I will see it eventually yes, I’m very curious to see what it’s like.
Q: Have you ever denied anyone from entering your school for any reason?
A: I wouldn’t say denied, but I have strongly advised some applicants against it, and some of those have heeded my advice.
Q: What do you think about Elijah Burke getting released?
A: I was really surprised, I thought he had more to offer and with what seemed like a push to put more African American guys on TV, I thought he would have been an obvious choice.
Q: Did you have any rituals or things that you did to get in the zone before a match? Did anybody else have any?
A: I didn’t no, I just walked out there and did my job. I could turn it on without any ritual. In WCW Goldberg used to bang his head into lockers and stuff to get psyched up, and believe it or not in ECW I think Sandman used to occasionally drink before his matches.
Q: Have you ever worked in a building where the ceiling was so low that high flying was difficult/impossible?
A: Oh God yes. I remember a show in a bar in Winnipeg, when I first broke in, where I took a back body drop and knocked two ceiling tiles loose when my feet hit the ceiling.
Q: Have you seen the video where William Regal apparently begins shooting on Goldberg during a live WCW Saturday Night? If so, any thoughts about it? (If not, it should be easy to find on YouTube.)
A: I’ve seen the match and he wasn’t shooting on Bill. At the time WCW asked Regal to go out there and work with Bill and test him a bit (make him do more than just spear/jackhammer). Regal tried to work a simple match with him but Bill was so green and had only squashed guys that he got totally lost and was completely exposed. Despite asking Regal to do exactly what he did they got mad at him and blamed him for “shooting” on Bill and exposing him. Regal was just doing his job and trying to work with the guy, but Bill had never done that before and was like a deer in the headlights. Believe me if Regal was shooting with him, Bill would have been tied up in knots.
Q: With Brock Lesnar winning the UFC Heavyweight Championship and Bobby Lashley winning his MMA debut, are there any other wrestlers you would be interested in seeing make the jump to MMA?
A: There isn’t anyone who really jumps out at me. I’m not aware of any of the young guys having big shooter credentials and everyone else is likely far to old and used to working punches to change to competitive MMA at this stage of life.
Q: I was just wondering what the boys felt like about wrestling Albert, specifically due to him being slightly hairy? Did you ever have to wrestle him?
A: I worked with Albert a ton, hell I defeated him for the IC title in WWE. He was a hairy dude but thankfully I worked with him when he wore a shirt (LOL). I enjoyed working with Albert he was a great guy and easy to work with. He was frighteningly strong but also unbelievably safe. I don’t think there is a big man in the business I’ve worked with that I would trust more with my body.
Q: I was just watching Armageddon 2003 where you team up with Val Venis. I always wondered, where do WWE find the women to be the "ho"s.
A: I’m not sure, I assume they use a casting agency or something. On occasion I think they used girls the boys or the office knew as well. I think one of the girls we used was an actress Rocky worked with once. Not sure if he got her booked or if it was just a coincidence and they got her threw a talent agency. If WWE did a TV here for example they might just ask me if I could find who they needed, be it extra workers for dark matches or girls for “ho” positions etc.
Q: Ivory was your valet for a time, what was she like to work with?
A: She was a lot of fun. Ivory is a very wacky girl with a lot of energy so there was never a dull moment with her around.
Q: If a wrestler changed costume style from tights to trunks after a longish time, would that be run past higher ups or is that purely up to them?
A: There are no set rules for this. If WWE gave you the specific costume and you wanted to change it you should probably run it by someone, but in other cases you could just change it if you wanted. If for some reason the office didn’t like it they would let you know you should switch back.
Q: Did you like the Evolution angle during it's quite long run?
A: Yes I thought it was a very effective group and was instrumental in getting Orton and Batista established.
Q: Do you think you had the conditioning to do a 1 hour Iron Man match?
A: Yes I do, and I always wanted to do one. I did a straight 45 time limit draw once and had plenty left over at the finish so I doubt a 1-hour Iron Man would have been difficult for me, especially considering the Iron Man concept makes it easier because you can have finishes through out to break up the match and give you a bit of a break.
Q: How many people in the back do you think would be able to pull of a full hour of wrestling?
A: Likely not that many now. You seldom have long matches anymore so conditioning is so different, not to mention when you have never had to go longer than 15 – 20 minutes being able to pace a match and keep it interesting and exciting for 1 hour is tough. This is where really working and calling a match out there is important, because you can’t plan out 1 hour of spots.
Q: Do you know if Christian Cage will return to WWE as is the rumours again. His peeps miss him!
A: I have no more inside info than you do, but I suspect he will yes.
Q: Could Sid Vicious make an impact in the WWE today? Personally, I think if he was used the right way, it could be a cool angle...such as having him interfere in a big match and power bomb one of the top guys and then eventually put them over.
A: I don’t think 1 person regardless of who it is, would make an impact on business. Ratings would not significantly change nor would event gates. It might seem cool to a lot of fans but it would not make a business Impact
Q: What is the closest you ever came to missing a show due to travel delays?
A: There was a TV somewhere where we flew into the town Sunday morning and had to drive to a Sunday house show and then back again that night for TV. Weather was so bad (snow and ice) they closed the roads, but since we just arrived and didn’t listen to the news we didn’t know the roads were closed until we were on them. I think some guys who got on the road late actually hit barricades and couldn’t make the house show but I got on the road and made the drive in unbelievable conditions, and then had to make the drive back to not miss TV. It was the worst conditions I’ve ever experienced and I think I eventually had to pull off the road and stay at a hotel on the side of the road and make the rest of the drive in the morning. I made it to TV but there was really a good chance I wouldn’t.
It was asinine to be on the roads that day but WWE expected us to make the shows and we didn’t know the roads were that bad until it was too late.
Q: Beth Phoenix or Awesome Kong, who do you think is better long term, I think Kong is now, Beth is still kind of new still, but I have been seriously impressed by Beth's work so far.
A: I don’t think it’s a question of work as much as it is standing out and being different and Kong is more unique.
Q: I think WWE is watering down it's female talent with the brands, more so then with the guys, fewer of them with credibility. Do you think if they unified the Divas and then started working programs with Victoria (not seen her in a while, I assume she is still wrestling), Mickie James, Melina Beth Phoenix, and Neidhart (I add the last because of pedigree, but I think she has potential) do you think they could bring it back to where it was in the Lita-Trisha days?
A: I think it’s less of an issue of unifying the divisions as much as it is their current hiring practices. They are hiring Divas based on look not ability so most of these girls are being thrown out there on TV with little training and even less experience and having to try to live up to what it took Trish a long time to achieve. Unfortunately by the time these girls start getting good they are getting moved out and new girls are being moved in, or the more experienced girls like Victoria are pushed aside for the newer ones. Someone like Maria for example, had never even taken a bump before she started in WWE. I worked with her a bit in OVW and believe me she has come a LONG LONG way since then and deserves a lot of credit fro it, but realistically she is still very inexperienced. She gets a brief run for the title then gets back burnered again and will have very little opportunity to work single matches and improve.
Q: Have you ever had a moment in your career when you feared for your safety while in the ring? Something along the lines of a fan jumping the barrier or a near riot ensuing?
A: Not really no. There is a lot going on so I never took time to really think about it. When The Un Americans did the attempted flag burning at MSG in NY we considered the possibility of fans jumping the rail or throwing stuff at us but we weren’t worried as much as just wanted to be prepared for when it happened.
Q: I saw a shoot interview a while back with Jerry Lynn where he said people in WWE told him not to wrestle as well as he could because it could upstage some of the main Eventers. Do you think that is true and have you ever heard anything like that before?
A: I doubt it was said in so many words, but I have no doubt Jerry is telling the truth. He may have been told to not do so many near falls because they wanted that saved for the Main Event, which is basically telling him to dull down his work for the sake of others.
Q: What are your thoughts on Trish Stratus's recent return to Raw in Toronto? And would you be willing to participate in a similar return at a RAW in Calgary? I'd love to see an angle where Charlie Haas comes out doing an impression of you (to major heat from the Calgary crowd) and then you show up to a huge pop and put him in his place!
A: I thought it was great and I was very happy to se her back. I doubt the same offer would be extended to me, but I would certainly be open to it if it were. In the grand scheme of things Trish had a bigger WWE presence than I did so I doubt I would be offered the same deal.
Q: Come to think of it, WWE hasn't run shows in Alberta since the Benoit tragedy. Do you think this is related? Are they afraid the fans would actually chant for Benoit?
A: I don’t think it’s related because I don’t think they have ever run Calgary with out a Calgary guy on the roster. After Bret left WWE they stopped running Calgary and they did not return to Calgary until my debut and they ran it 3 or 4 straight years with me on the roster and have not been back since I retired. I have no idea why this is but it’s true. I’m waiting for Harry Smith to get back on the roaster so they can return with Harry and Nattie on the show.
Q: I picked up Chris Jericho's book for Christmas and it's been a great read thus far. After reading the first 100 or so pages, back then it seemed as if many people in the wrestling business were pricks. Would you say there's been a positive change in today's day and age?
A: I think like every walk of life, there are pricks and great people all over the place. When telling a story however the stories involving the pricks are often more entertaining.
Q: When you sign a contract for the WWE does it mention anywhere about getting any title shots in the duration of the contract? Or is it more of a "we'll see how you do" sort of thing? Additionally, do you usually just read it over and sign, or do you have a lawyer look it over to make sure you're not getting screwed somehow?
A: Again every case is different. Unless you are someone special there will be no mention of what they will be doing with you creatively and certainly no guaranteed title reigns. If Rocky decided to come back he could likely be able to get all kinds of promises and conditions put into his contract. As for signing them or having a lawyer look at them, I had a lawyer read over mine but for young guys starting out there really is no point anymore. When I was in OVW and some new guys were offered developmental deals they asked my advice on paying to have a lawyer read their contract and I told them why waste the money. The lawyer will tell them it a very bias contract in favour of WWE, but the truth is if they want to be in WWE this is the only offer they are getting, so you either want to be in WWE and sign it or you don’t and you go home and get a real job.
Q: What ever happened to heel commentators? I think during the attitude era, when "bad" was cool, and the WWE prob had to work extra hard to try to keep the line between the good guys and bad guys clear, maybe they weren't needed. But I really think a good Bobby Heenan type is needed to liven up the broadcasts..
A: Nothing happened to them per say, and this is something that annoys me, because so many Indy/DVD wrestling shows have to token Heel announcer and almost in every case its done wrong and hurts the product. Just having a “heel” commentator is stupid. Why is he a heel and why do we care about him. The reason Jesse Ventura worked, or JBL worked, or Bobby Heenan worked, is because they were established over heel wrestling personalities that transitioned into commentary, they weren’t a commentator that acted like a heel they were a heel that happened to do commentary. There has to be a perspective and a reason for everyone’s personality for it to work and just making a commentator a heel doesn’t work.
Q: I always wondered how genuine the reactions of commentators are. When a big match takes place, where the title changes hands, how many people know the outcome before hand. Chris Benoit at WrestleMania XX for example, would many people, including the commentary team, have known the outcome?
A: Every case is different but for the most part commentators know what is going to happen before it does especially on big shows. I’ve heard that Lawler hates being in production meetings because he doesn’t want to know ahead of time so he can be more natural but that may just be an excuse to skip meetings. (LOL)
Q: You said that Santino Marella is a great mouthpiece and could really build up a couple of wrestlers, what wrestler or pair of wrestlers in WWE would you pair him up with?
A: I’d have to look at the whole roster in FCW to pick, because I’d want him with new people. Back when they put Hass and Benjamin back together for that short run I thought those three would be good together. The big criticism of Hass and Benjamin was lack of personality, and Santino has enough of that for them all.