May 6, 2008

Iím going to do another promoters commentary this week and talk about my experiences working for 1PW in England. Iíd include the promoters name but I canít for the life of me remember it. I dealt with several different people for the bookings with 1PW, which will be the root of most of the stories Iím about to tell. The experience as a whole was a great one but when you donít deal with one specific person, especially if that person isnít actually in change, you tend to run into trouble, which I did (on a small scale at least) on several different occasions.

The guy who first contacted me for the bookings was Joe Dombrowski (Iím likely way off on spelling, sorry) who does or at least did commentary for 1 PW as well as likely a few backstage duties. Joe (assuming I have his name right) was very pleasant to deal with and a really nice guy once I met him. He approached me about working a tag team tournament for 1PW over a two-day event. They wanted to put Justin Credible and I back together and promised us the chance to work with AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels. I wasnít accepting bookings at the time (this was after my ECW ONS PPV match with Jericho) and as much fun as the tournament sounded I really wasnít interested.

On a long shot, and almost just as a goof, I decided to see how much they would offer me for the gig. In the back of my mind I was thinking that if they made me a good offer Iíd add in the stipulation that they would have to purchase 2 plane tickets and fly both my wife and I over a full week early. I didnítí expect them to say yes to this at all, but figured if on the off chance that they did Iíd be able to take my wife to England for a great little vacation. My wife had always wanted to see London and this would be a great chance to do so, and actually make money at the same time.

Well they came back with a solid payday offer and agreed to purchase both plane tickets so there I was, set to come back to wrestling. I wasnít really planning on this but they said yes to all my demands, so that was that. I was making a comeback and heading to 1PW. Iíve always liked working in England and the thought of doing the Impact Players again sounded fun so, although surprised, I was pretty happy about the trip.

I had a few issues with the booking in 1PW but again it was more a comedy of errors and misunderstandings than anything serious. Once I retired I became very picky about who I worked with. I wasnít taking bookings for money anymore so I only accepted matches with people I wanted to work with. Joe and I were very clear on this but unfortunately when 1PW changed bookers this information was not translated to the new booker, one Steve Corino. Thankfully Steve and I have known each other a long time and get along well so the long debates were pleasant ones but there was a long debate over who I would work, how many times I would work, and how many jobs I would be doing over the 2 nights. What made this even more difficult was that Justin no showed the event leaving most set booking plans out the window.

I agreed to tag with some local guy named Andy, which completely ruined the first night for me. I wanted to say no to the pairing, but Corino was really behind the eight ball with Justinís no show. No offence to Andy but when the original plan is the Impact Players vs. Style and Daniels (and this was when they were a top tag team in TNA) inserting Andy Local into the mix is a HUGE step down. This created another problem as we had agreed that I would be going over in at least one of my matches. There was no way I was going over in the tag match with Andy, which left my singles match with Doug Williams. Doug was a 1PWís top Local worker and while he and I would be a great match, beating him was not really the companies primary goal.

With me out of the tag tournament we prepared for the second nightís match with Doug. We agreed I would go over but I would do everything I could to make Doug look good before I beat him. I had never seen Doug work before, and honestly only accepted the match with him based on Gabe Sapolskyís recommendation. The hard part to this match was that cheating to beat Doug was the easiest way to protect him, but with this being a return match of sorts for me I was a pretty big baby face. I knew I couldnít just go out there and be a heel but decided to try and turn heel during the match. The story of the match, I thought went very well and the commentators picked up on it and helped tell our story.

Doug and I went out and just mat wrestled for the first 10 minutes or so. The English fans (much like good Canadian fan) appreciate good wrestling and were totally into this. Along the way I started having Doug out wrestle me, and I eventually took a nasty bump to the floor and as my frustration built lost my cool and stated fighting rather than wrestling and effectively turned heel on Doug. There were still a few cheers for me from the crowd but for the most part we turned the crowd and got them solely behind Doug and cut down my cheers to an acceptable level.

This was going to work great as the finish we planned was for Doug to go for his finishing move, which is a backward rolling German Suplex. He does a rollup like you would into a pin but when he comes through the roll he keeps pulling the guy through and then hits a German Suplex. We decided that once he completely the roll, but before he could punch the German I would do the backward mule kick for a ball shot and while Doug sold that I would Super Kick him for the finish. This would be quite the cheap shot and hopefully protect Doug somewhat on the finish.

Things were going as planned until we started getting into the false finishes. After the first couple false finishes everyone forgot about my heel turn, and just started chanting, ďthis is awesomeĒ. As much as you love to hear a chant like that it had me second-guessing the finish. As we started hitting the last few false finished I realized that the perfect finish to this match would be a clean one where we could both shake hands and hug after a great match. I knew in my heart thatís what the crowd wanted by the way they were reacting, and I knew if I kicked Doug in the balls before the Super Kick we couldnít end the match with a handshake. As Doug climbed to the top rope for his last false finish I decided we had to change the finish. I didnít feel it was my call to beat Doug clean after agreeing to protect him so I decided to do the clean job to allow the crowd the end of the match I felt they wanted. As we went into the final sequence of the match and Doug hooked me for the roll up, I told him we were switching the finish and to just hit the German. I said it two or three times to ensure he heard me and he hit the German for the 1Ö2Ö oh crap! I forgot about the ref, he was expecting a Super Kick. At the last second I turned to look at the ref and screamed quietly at him ďcount three! And he did.

The crowd popped huge for Dougís win, we shock hands and hugged, the crowd popped even bigger for that, and then proceeded to chant, ďplease come backĒ for me and in the end it was the perfect finish. The crowd loved Doug, the crowd loved me, and everyone won in the end. Steve Corino was in a panic when I made it back to the locker room worried that something went wrong. I was pretty adamant before the match that I was not doing the job in the match and I was just pinned clean. He didnít know if Doug knocked me out on the German or if the ref screwed up or what, but he thought for sure I was going to be pissed. He was very relieved to find out I had switched the finish not to mention grateful Iíd put over one of his regular guys.

I want to deal with the Money issue before dealing with one more fiasco of the 1PW trip, because I donít want this to come off looking like a negative experience, because on the whole it was a great time. 1PW paid me in full with no questions asked. I was paid cash at the end of the two days and had no problems on the money front with 1PW what so ever. That being said travel was a huge fiasco.

The problems started because I was flown in and out of London with my wife and the shows were in Doncaster. Everyone else flew in and out of a different city so my travel had to be booked separately. I told them I didnít care how they got me to and from London as long as I got my vacation with my wife. 1PW booked me a return train ticket from London to Doncaster. The trip to Doncaster was fine but the trip back was not thought out very carefully, and became a calamity of errors.

I was supposed to be picked up at the hotel and driven to the train station. That never happened and I eventually just hailed a cab. The train only took me as far as Kingís Cross in London, so I then had to take the London Underground from there to Heathrow. The train was on time and thankfully Iíd rode the Underground the week previous so I knew my way around. The problem was they didnít take into account the full extent of travel time and despite making great time from Doncaster to Heathrow I still missed my flight by more than half an hour. Thankfully Air Canada had another flight 3 hours later that I managed to lie my way onto. Air Canada originally wasnít going to honour my ticket because missing the flight was my fault not theirs, but I convinced them that there has been a huge delay on the train and it wasnít my fault either and they reluctantly booked me on the later flight.

On the whole the trip was fantastic. I had a great vacation with my wife, had an awesome match with Doug Williams, and was paid in full. Apart from the travel SNAFU, none of the mix-ups along the way were 1PWís fault and with me managing to get on the later flight everything worked out in the end.

Lance Storm