Q and A
April 14, 2008
I thought I would dip into the mailbag this week. Itís been a while since Iíve done a Q and A and Iíve had a lot of request, so here we go!
Q: Lance why do so many of the top wrestlers who have creative control refuse 2 lose the belt 2 certain guys, they say they didnít think it would be good for business, do you buy that and are wrestler's ego's really that big where they think 1 loss in a match is gonna hurt them down the long run.
A: I donít think you can make general statements because each case is different. I think you are really short sited though if you consider dropping the title to someone just ď1 loss in a matchĒ. In WWE you get paid according to your spot so if you are the champ you are in the Main Event, if you are not the champ you may not be. Keeping the title insures you that top spot, and the higher pay cheque, so most people try to hang on to it as long as they can.
Q: Recently a lot of photos and videos have surfaced of Randy Orton outside WWE events smoking, now some internet "news" sites are reporting that the WWE office is gonna make him quit smoking. What do you think of this? I donít smoke I dislike smoke its bad for you health and all that crap but it is not illegal can they force him to quit?
A: I donít think they can ďmakeĒ him quit but they can certainly encourage him to do so. WWE has a valuable public image that they are well within their right to protect that image. Each performerís image reflects on the companyís image.
Q: Now that you are off the road and are home a lot more, what does your daily diet consist of, generally?
A: My diet is still pretty good, but I have relaxed it somewhat. Thankfully my wife is a great cook and has adapted her cooking to suit a healthy diet so all my meals are still quite healthy. I am to the point now that when she cooks a nice desert I have some, and on the odd occasion when my family orders pizza I have that too.
Q: I remember a few years back you wrote how much you loved Batman Begins and that you're a fan. Well I was wondering if you've seen I Am Legend because if you have you may have seen the Dark Knight Trailer.
A: I havenít seen I Am Legend yet, but plan to once it hits PPV. Iíve seen a couple clips of the new Batman movie and it looks awesome. It will be a bit creepy watching Heath Ledger is such a bizarre role.
Q: My question for you is while you were working in WCW, did you ever fear for your safety at all in the ring or in the back when WCW was all but in anarchy?
A: WCW was in creative anarchy but there was never a time when I had the slightest concern for my safety. I worked with a bunch of great guys that I always trusted completely.
Q: At this point in your career, would you ever consider a booking or writing position in a wrestling company?
A: I would likely enjoy such a position but a job like that still entails travel and I have NO interest in being on the road.
Q: In your experience wrestling with WWE, how detailed were the instructions from the company (writers, road agents) into what type of match to have? I realize they told you who should win and whatnot, but do they ever get into the details of how "good" a match should be?
A: Every case is different, but generally I was given almost complete creative control as far as the details of my matches.
Q: I remember seeing you wrestle in a house show match with Christian vs. the Dudleyz way back when, and I noticed that you and Christian seemed more off-the-cuff and hamming it up with the fans a bit than we saw on television. Is this something mandated by WWE, or is it just a type of latitude extended by the company?
A: It isnít a mandate from the office, we are just extended more latitude at live events so we try to have more fun, and involve the crowd as much as possible. House shows are a great experience for fans, people should attend them more. From what I understand TNA house shows are AMAZING. People need to check them out be them WWE, TNA, ROH or just a local Indy.
Q: In your beginners class Ė what's the first thing you go over with the students?
A: The first thing we learn is how to bump (fall down).
Q: After the WCW Buyout by WWE Ė were there any WCW wrestlers you were surprised that weren't signed by WWE?
A: NO there wasnít. There were a bunch of guys I thought they should have had but I understood the economics behind why they didnít.
Q: One of the most popular matches from ECW for me was the 3-way dance. Why do you think this never caught on in WWE, the elimination 3-way, instead of the 3-way one fall match they currently use?
A: I think WWE likes to protect guys more so having to pin 2 of the 3 guys in a match isnít as appealing to the WWE office.
Q: I've always been keen to see a great match between you and Kurt Angle. Looking back, I found two instances where you were in the same ring Ė a 5/2/02 Smackdown tagging against Edge & Val Venis, and a 8/2/02 singles match where Angle came out the winner. I missed both those two matches and have been trying to track down a copy. But what do you remember about your interactions with Kurt in the ring?
A: Someone just sent me a link to the Angle single match, but unfortunately I didnít keep it, so I canít post it, but search on line itís out there. I loved working with Kurt, and our single match was awesome. I think we could have had an amazing program if they gave us the chance. There are few people I can go all out with from a mat-wrestling standpoint, and obviously with Kurt I could go all out and Kurt would be more than right there with me. There was a few other Kurt, Storm tag matches also. I know Kurt and I worked with Rock and RVD in a tag once.
Q: As a wrestler, trainer and fan, I wonder what your opinion of the original Tough Enough show was, especially when you consider UFC ripped off the concept to great success with Ultimate Fighter. Why do you think UF works and TE didn't?
A: The shows may have been the same concept but they were completely different. TUF takes current fighters and trains them and the best of the bunch gets a shot in UFC. TE took a bunch of fans, trained them and tried to make the winners WWE SuperStars.
Q: Having spent 2/3s of your life lifting weights, what is the must you could ever: bench press, squat, hang clean, etc.?
A: I never did max lifts, I wasnít training as a power lifter, so I have no idea. The best bench that I recall was a 15-rep bench of 275 lbs. I never squatted heavy and never put more than 3 plates on a bar (315 lbs), which I did for reps.
Q: I watched an old match the other day between Hulk Hogan and Brock Lesnar. Lesnar squashed Hogan. Hogan didnít even throw a punch. I was wondering what your thoughts are on having someone like Hogan who is by far WWEís biggest Draw lose a match in that way just to push someone who wasnít that over at the time? I think anyone should do a Job at any given time if itís to benifit the buisness. But a complete squash though?
A: Hogan was no where near the biggest draw in WWE at the time of that match, but that really isntí the point. WWE was making Brock the next big thing and putting him over on Hogan made sense. Hogan is Hogan and so established that the day after that match he was still th esame draw he would ahve been before the lose and Brock gained a ton by beating Hogan. I donít recall the exact match but I know on some occasions (this may or may not be one of those) when a guy doesnít want to do a job and is in a position where he has to, that he often just says screw it and gets squashed so itís a nothing match and they have to put in very little effort. Buff and Luger did this for Palumbo and Ohare in WCW on PPV once. They wouldnít even get up and leave the ring after the match, they just laid there dead. WCW had to cut to a back stage video to give extra time for them to get out of the ring.
Q: When you were on the road, where did you go to work-out? Did you have a membership at a national gym chain, or would you just have to find a local gym and see if they could let you in just for the day?
A: We just found a gym in whatever town we were in and trained there. Most gyms let us train for free, because it was good publicity for their club, and we often gave staff comp tickets if they treated us well. Eventually you find a gym in every town that takes care of you and frequent them.
Q: Now that you are off the road, do you hit the gym any more or less than when you were working fulltime as a wrestler?
A: I hit the gym less now. I would like to hit the gym more but with a wife and 2 kids itís harder to make it every day. When hitting the gym was part of my job it was a higher priority, so I didnít skip days, now I skip the occasional day.
Q: I was wondering when you go to wrestling school and complete it I know your trainer might try and get you booked at events and so on but couldnít some random guy off the streets call up a promoter and be like ok Im so and so and this guy trained me and get booked? I guess my question is what kind of proof do wrestlers breaking into the business have to show that they are properly trained?
A: Guys can lie, but the truth always comes out so there is no point in trying to bullshit. As soon as you step in the ring, you will be exposed. Most promoters if they arenít sure about you, will put you in the ring before a show so you will be exposed before you ever get a match. On top of that if the guy you are claiming trained you didnít and finds out he could be mad enough that he can put in the effort to hamper your booking attempts in the future. This is a tight business and bullshitting people will come back to haunt you.
Q: In his book, Chris Jericho writes that he was jealous of you because you had better wrestling skills than him during your time at the "Hart Brothers" wrestling camp. At the time, could you sense his jealousy, or were you oblivious to the way he felt?
A: I had no idea; I was too busy being jealous of his charisma and personality. I guess the saying is true, ďThe grass is always greener, on the other side of the fence.Ē
Q: Did you enjoy the Hurricane gimmick and did you think it kept Helms back? I myself am a huge fan of the humor in it, and wouldn't mind seeing it return, but want more for Gregory, such as a US title shot, or even a Heavyweight title shot.
A: The gimmick was a lot of fun, but I think Helms, as himself is more of a money player, because the Hurricane gimmick limited his work. That being said it likely added longevity to his WWE run, because he got several years out of being Hurricane and then was completely fresh again once he dropped the gimmick.
Q: I enjoy reading your commentaries and I have fond memories of your work in the ring. I was wondering if you could post your thoughts on the question of the wrestler's union. I've heard stories about Superstar Billy Graham trying to organize one back in the 80's and RVD has mentioned it in one of his recent commentaries. I think a wrestler's union would help performers get more out of a business that makes billions (at least in the case of WWE). What are your thoughts?
A: I just donít see this ever happening because I doubt the entire industry would ever get together on it. Unless you get all the top guys to back it, it would never work, and itís the top guys who need it the least. Most guys when they have that top spot donít want anything to change and wonít risk rocking the boat. The guys who would benefit the most risk the least by attempting this where the guys who are risking the most would benefit the least.
Q: When you were on the road with WCW/WWE were you always guaranteed to have a match when you showed up at the arena? Obviously on WWE they could put you on Heat or Velocity etc if needed but I was wondering if there were times when you would arrive at arenas and not have to work at all?
A: You werenít guaranteed a match but generally if there wasnít a spot for you, you wouldnít be brought in.
Q: When would you consider someone "too old" to start training to become a wrestler?
A: Itís so hard to make a general statement, because there are always exceptions to the rule. The Boogey man started at 41. As a general case starting after 30 your chances are getting of making it big get thin.
Q: Is it possible to maintain a good relationship with you family on the road? How did you maintain your relationships/responsibilities to wife and children when you were working a full time schedule?
A: Itís possible but itís a lot of work. You have to have an amazingly understanding family, and you have to maximize every second you have at home when off the road.
Q: Just wanted to say I have been a fan for a long time. I recently seen an article that you wrote about weight training. I was just curious if you had any tips for gaining weight. It seems like no matter what I do, I am stuck at 140lbs. I have a huge problem with gaining weight. Do you have any suggestions?
A: I think the first thing everyone needs to come to grips with is that not everyone can be big. Gaining weight isnít something everyone can do. I hear from people all the time that weigh say 165 lbs, and make the statement they plan to be 200 lbs by next year. That is such an absurd statement. Everyone gains weight at different rates and unless you use a lot of drugs itís generally a slow process. When I broke in, in 1990 I weighed 216 lbs, and my peak weight some 15 years later was 225 lbs. I trained my ass off improved my diet and managed to gain 9 pound of quality weight over 15 years. You need to increase you food intake (more protein than anything else) and lift heavier weight in the gym. You can also try to drastically change your training program in an attempt to shock you muscles, which sometimes will help produce growth.
Q: I just saw on a Much year in review show that VJ Tim did a segment with you. How was it and how did it comeabout?
A: That was a lot of fun, and I thought the piece came off really well. We did the bit for Much On Demand. We taped it just after Tim won the VJ search contest and they contacted me and thought it would be a fun but, so we did it. Tim was a great sport and we had a lot of fun.
Q: What's your opinion on Dean Malenko? Any personal dealings with him? Thoughts on his reputation as one of the best technical wrestlers ever?
A: Iím a big fan of Deanís. He is a lot of fun to be around and work with. He is the king of the one-liners and canít go more than 5 minutes without cracking a joke. I never got to wrestle Dean, which is VERY unfortunate, as I would have loved to mat wrestle with him. Deanís very first match as an Agent was Hurricane and I on Heat. Believe it or not Dean misunderstood the finish when creative gave it too him and put the wrong one of us over. I was supposed to get the win and he told us to put Hurricane up. I ribbed him for months about that one.
Q: Steve Blackman looked to be in great shape when he appeared on the Raw 15th Anniversary show. Did you ever work with him at all?
A: Steve was actually in the match I did the first Invasion run-in on. That is the only time I recall meeting him, so he must have left WWE right after that, so I never worked with him, and donít really know him.
Q: The number one subject on the Internet and at the forum I'm at is Triple H. Simple question. What is he like backstage? Is it true that he sabotages other wrestlers? Does he put himself and his interests ahead of what is best for the company? How was he with you? Did he talk behind Jericho's back when he returned? Or are all these HHH allegations just one big lie.
A: There is no way to know for sure one-way or the other. Iím not in production meetings and those who do bury people donít tend to do so in pubic. Thatís the whole point to back stabbing; you donít want people to know you are stabbing them in the back. Because of this itís best to just judge people on your own personal experiences and not listen to rumors. I always got along with HHH and enjoyed working with him and talking with him back stage. I have no doubt he uses his position to further his own push, but there isnít a guy in the business (except maybe Tommy Dreamer) that wouldnít do the same thing if they were in a position to do so.
Q: What do you think of today's WWE Divas?
A; I think there is a real mixed bag. There are still some who can really work and have great matches and then those who really should stick to the Diva photo shoots. Unfortunately the focus right now is more on appearance that work rate, and the Womenís division is really a shell of what it once was or could be.
Q: Would you say that having a lot of athletic background and/or being flexible is necessary to succeed in pro wrestling?
A: It will be a HUGE asset but no one element is absolutely necessary, because there are always exceptions to the rules.
Q: Is there anything that women have to do differently from the men to make it into the business?
A: Yes, they need to avoid looking like Gene Snitski!!!!!!!!!!
Q: Out of WCW, ECW, and WWE, which company did you have most fun working for?
A: Each company had itís strengths but based just on fun, Iíd have to say ECW.
Q: On average how much money do WWE wrestlers spend when theyíre on the road? Randy Orton did an interview where he said that on average he spends close to $100,000 every year.
A: You canít do averages in the wrestling business. I have no doubt Randy spent that kind of money on the road. Guys on top tend to spend more on the road than others. Some guys rent luxury cars, stay at high-end hotels and order room service. There are others that triple up on a midsize rental car, share a room at the Red Roof Inn and eat at Dennyís.
Q: What would you have done if you were in Bret Hart's shoes in Montreal?
A: This is an unrealistic question, because with my personality I would have never refused the finish in the first place. If some how I was screwed like Bret was in Montreal, I likely would have just told Vince to F-Off and went to WCW and enjoyed the pay cheques.
Q: My question is pertaining to steroids. Is there a way you can tell just by looking at a wrestler if they are on steroids???
A: Not with 100% accuracy, but Iíve been in a gym enough and around enough guys on the gas to tell just by looking with a pretty decent accuracy rate. Some of the easiest signs (again not decisive proof but good indicators) are severe back acne, very small testicles (not the small packages of pro bodybuilders in posing trunks), and any sign of gynecomastia.
Q: Is there any specific reason why, in tag matches, teams generally always occupy the same corners of the ring, as in the baby faces always seem to take the top left corner and the heel team always stand in the bottom right corner (or whichever way round it is, that's how it looks on my TV).
A: I always preferred that set up for TV because it allows the baby faces to be facing the hard camera. Also when the heels cut of the baby face and beat him down in their own corner the heels tend to be facing the camera. If itís the other way the guys would tend to have their backs to the camera more.
Q: Hey lance what are your thoughts on DH Smiths punishment. Several other wrestlers were also suspended and have come back and been rewarded with titles like Chavo and Morrison. DH Smith though was taken off TV for months and is now a job guy.
A: These are completely different cases. Chavo and Morrison were titleholders and figured in before they were suspended. DH was not figured in at all and had just had a couple TV matches. He then got back from suspension right before WrestleMania. DH was in no way figured in enough to be featured on WrestleMania so there was no point in putting him back on TV, because the shows were building to WrestleMania. DH is in no way a job guy. Doing jobs on house shows or even Heat amount to nothing. Heís just not on TV.