Q and A
May 13, 2009
Q: What Gimmick matches do you, as a wrestler and a fan, like and dislike the most?
A: The thing that most people don’t understand is that it isn’t so much the stipulation that makes the match it’s the angle that builds to it and the story that can be told from it. That’s why so many gimmick matches suck today, it’s because they are just thrown out there cold for no reason. If the build is there and the gimmick is worked properly almost any gimmick match can be great. Reverse Russo Battle Royals being the exception.
Q: In Bret Hart's autobiography, he recounts a time in The Dungeon in which he and The Dynamite Kid had to go into kayfabe when Stu led a fan down there. I guess they had to hope that the fan wouldn't wonder why Bret's wrestling enemy was working out in his dad's basement. Did you ever have to go into kayfabe under such awkward circumstances?
A: I always found this funny because when I broke in Kayfabe was still in effect. So many people thought heels and faces should not even be seen in the same building with each other because it exposed the business. I thought this was stupid, because we are also professionals. Heated rivalries in Boxing stand nose to nose at weigh ins. I’ve worked with people I absolutely hate yet didn’t break into a fight the second we were in the same room. I think you can Kayfabe and still be seen in public together. The exception here is when the angle is something like HHH and Orton when Orton RKO’s his wife.
Q: My question to you is asking for your thoughts on ECW superstar Jack Swagger. Do you feel he will be an integral player in the future of WWE's main event scene, and if so, what traits does he exude that you feel will help him climb the ladder of success in WWE?
A: To be honest I haven’t seen all that much of Swagger. I wasn’t a regular ECW watcher until Tyson Kid and Christian started on ECW so I’m just starting to get a read on Swagger. He’s a big guy with what looks like a lot of potential so I think he has a chance of being a player long term sure.
Q: Are you as saddened how fast and how the WWE put Beth on the comedy skit cavalcade with Santina?
A: I certainly don’t care for the angle but at least it is keeping Beth on the show. Generally once a Diva finishes her run with the Title she gets phased off TV to a large extent so at least this is keeping her working while the title focus is elsewhere and hopefully when she finishes up this crap it will be time for her to have another shot in the title program.
Q: What would your plan be to make the IC Title seem like a big deal again?
A: Making the IC Title a big thing again is easy. All you have to do is feature the title program heavily on TV and PPV and put top level guys in those programs, and do this long term. They’ve actually just started doing this on SD. Rey Mysterio vs. Chris Jericho for the IC Title on PPV is a great program and SD as a whole has been awesome since the draft. It’s my favourite wrestling program right now.
Q: Is there a place in TNA for Paul Heyman, and how much of a difference could he make for the company if given free reigns to take over the booking?
A: No there isn’t, because the people in TNA don’t want to hear criticism or have to answer questions about why they do what they do each week. Heyman would cause unbelievable turmoil by pointing out how stupid so much of what they do is. The thing people need to realize is TNA doesn’t want to improve, they feel they are on the right track and don’t want help. Paul Heyman in creative control would be awesome; Jim Cornette in creative control would be awesome, but neither is going to happen because those in creative control now have control of Dixie and plan to keep their jobs.
Q: Hi Lance. It's looks like the WWE officials have read your recent commentary and decided to do the logical thing and push new stars which seem to be in full motion these days. I'm just wondering, what do you think of the new guys and how far do you see them going? To specify, I'm talking about guys like Swagger (my favorite of the bunch), Miz ( my 2nd favorite), Evan Bourne, Kofi, CM Punk, MVP, Morrison, DiBiase and Rhodes? Do you think those guys have it in them to be main eventers?
A: I think with long term proper nurturing most of the names you threw out have the potential to be main players in the future, if not actual full blown Main Eventers, yes. The key is they have to be pushed and protected long term so fans are given the time needed to grow attached to them. Perception becomes reality in this business. If you present people as Main Event Stars fans will begin to perceive them as Main Event Stars, and thus will become Main Event Stars. They still need to have the talent but if you don’t present them as such they have no chance. It took several attempts and long term pushing to eventually get HHH over as a Main Event Star and look at him now. WWE needs to be patient and not pull the rug out from under these guys.
Q: What is it that WWE's babyfaces just can't develop character these days and they're all the same, lack range and generally come off forced and corny? I suppose that developing a babyface character under PG rules isn't easy compared to the Attitude Era.
A: No, the problem is trying to script a babyface character, for someone else. Guys need to come into their own and find themselves. A true babyface connection with the crowd is a very difficult thing and needs to be real, it can’t be, “Hey you go out and say these lines”. Fans need to believe in their faces so the character needs to be true on some level. New faces can’t be getting beat on TV either. Fans want to cheer winners and if faces starting out get beat fans lose faith in them.
Q: Where would you rank the Edge vs Cena rivalry on your all time best rivalries list? To me whenever they feud with each other, they make the show excellent and their matches always deliver.
A: I can’t really judge stuff like this because I have a different perspective as a worker than I did as a fan. All my favourite feuds, etc. are from when I was a fan. I don’t generally watch PPVs anymore so I haven’t seen most of the big Edge and Cena matches.
Q: Hey Lance. I enjoy reading your commentary's a lot! I also read JR's blog too, (he gave your site a nice plug not long ago). On JR's website he is often bombarded with questions asking if stone cold will ever wrestle again to which his reply is often along the lines "No! why would he risk further injury to himself?", which always got me thinking surely WWE wouldn't even encourage it there was a potential risk in him coming out of retirement? Have you ever experienced a promoter ignoring the well being of a wrestler in order for the show to go on?
A: There is a potential risk for anyone getting in the ring, although obviously higher for a guy like Steve with a bad neck. Anytime someone works hurt promoters are putting their well being at risk to some extent. No one expects or wants anyone to get hurt, but guys go out there when they shouldn’t all the time. Ultimately it’s up to the individual to say NO.
Q: I know you had mentioned an “Off Season” in wrestling and how it would not work but something like that is needed. What about a rotation of wrestlers? I know you had issues with your back if I remember right and I assume since you are jumping back in the ring your back is better. How much time should someone take off to just recover from the normal bumps and bruises of wrestling? Two weeks? A month? I think if wrestlers to a few weeks off three or four times a year they would not need months off nor would they get injured as often. I would appreciate your thoughts.
A: The thing it’s never just the bumps and bruises and it’s difficult to draw the line. You will always have aches and pains to some extent and to a certain degree taking time off only makes it worse. Your body builds up a tolerance to the abuse and as long as you don’t injure something it is sometimes better to just keep working. If you tried to take time off for every little injury you would never have more than a 3 week angle in wrestling. You have to tough it out to a certain extend and only take time when it gets to the point where continuing will make it a lot worse. If you can pace yourself and work though things injuries can heel on the road. This is in no way a Black and White issue, and drawing that line is extremely difficult if not impposible.
Q: Is it difficult wrestling Rey Mysterio? It looks like it would be hard to keep up with the timing of all of his moves. Or is it a case of him doing most of the work.
A: Rey is one of the easiest guys in the world to work with. He is like working with no one else and is an absolute delight. He is so smooth and so light that he is practically effortless to work with. I guarantee you anytime someone sees their name opposite Rey’s on a booking sheet they are a very happy person.
Q: What are your feelings about all the material that's posted on YouTube and those sort of sites? As a fan, it's great that you can find a random match from a Nitro episode from the 90's, but I'm sure as a performer who may have royalties at stake, you may feel differently.
A: I doubt many people checking out a match on YouTube would be running out and buying DVDs if those matches weren’t available on line. Perhaps I’m wrong but I doubt it affects my royalty cheque all that much.
Q: With both big leagues talking of "making new stars", who would you put your titles on if booking either TNA or WWE?
A: I’m pretty happy with where the titles are in WWE to be honest. I think Edge and Orton are great choices. In TNA I’d go with AJ over any of the over 40 club.
Q: Based on only wrestling skills who would you say is the best worker in WWE at the moment?
A: I don’t think this is an answerable question. Wrestling is subjective and even if I narrowed it down to who I thought was the best 3 or 4, I’d still have to work with them to see all the differences to make an accurate pick, and even then it is just opinion.
Q: You have covered some MMA in the past in some of your commentaries, so I'm curious about your thoughts on your fellow Canadian Georges St. Pierre.. He was voted Canadian athlete of the year in 2008, and is doing really well for himself. Did you ever get the chance to watch some of his fights?
A: I’m a big GSP fan. He is one of the handful of UFC guys I try to catch on PPV when they fight. I think he is a great representative of the sport of MMA and the Country of Canada.
Q: I'm very excited for your in ring return. You mentioned you would start a training camp in the weeks leading up to the event to get in shape. Can you give us a few more details as to what your training camp consist of? Is it mostly conditionning and weight lifting or do you also do some in ring stuff?
A: I just started a new session of students at Storm Wrestling Academy, so I’m for the most part doing all of the conditioning and training I put them through. The first month of camp we do a lot of conditioning work, to prepare them for their future career so I am doing all of that with them. Pushing myself to hang with, and in a lot of case out do, a bunch of 18-25 year old guys is great preparation for me. As camp progresses I’ll be doing all of the in ring drills with them also. The last month of camp we do mainly matches and I will be doing those with them (as I always do) but I will push myself harder by likely doubling up and doing 2 or 3 matches with different students per day. When I trained for the Bryan Danielson match I had a smaller class and I would often do 5-7 minute matches with students and wrestle each student back to back in consecutive matches. In addition to this I’m lifting harder and on a full schedule at the gym and doing addition cardio on weekends.
Q: I remember you mentioning a while ago that you've never seen the Austin-Bret match from WrestleMania 13. Just wondering if you ever got around to watching it since and your thoughts on the match. It's one of my personal favorites. Another match I'd be interested in hearing your view on would be the Bret-Shawn Ironman match from the previous year. It's one of the most controversial matches as people either think it's all time classic or a snoozefest. ( I agree with the former).
A: I have still not seen the Bret – Austin match although I do have it on DVD. (I believe it’s on the Bret DVD which I have) I know I need to and the past time I mentioned that I hadn’t seen it I got an email from Jericho insisting that I watch it immediately. I will try to at some point. It’s just hard to find time for additional wrestling when there is 7 hrs of new stuff each week. I liked the Iron Man match. Yes it was slow at the beginning but it should have been, not only because the guys as workers needed to pace them selves, but in a REAL situation you would pace your self also because if you went balls out at the start and made a mistake or got tired you’d definitely get taken apart later and lose. It was a great match IMO.
Q: I'm a huge fan and I wondered what your thoughts are looking back at the WCW Team Canada faction. I have always felt that at the time they didn't surround you with enough Canadian Wrestlers that would make the faction feel more important or taken more seriously. Was that something that you did or didn't, could or couldn't bring up with creative? IMHO The Un-Americans (substituting Val/Chief Morley instead of Regal) in the WWE would have been a better version of the Team Canada concept. Also what is your take on Tyson Kidd? I love the fact that he's continuing the pink and black/Hart tradition with Natalya, but wonder if forming a Hart Foundation V.2 with DH in ECW would actually hurt their chances of making it big time (Cause as you know in the WWE, tag team wrestling is on constant life support). Your Thoughts?
A: yes it would have been better if Team Canada had actual Canadian’s in it besides me. The problem was that WCW at the time was in penny pinching mode. They were losing boat loads of money and had decided they weren’t’ going to spend money on anything they didn’t have to and hiring Canadians required work visas that cost extra money. When they first brought in Carl Oulett they said point blank that they cant’ use him past the three Canadian shows because they office won’t approve the money to obtain a work visa. We had to work with guys already on the roster because WCW was not going to spend more money. I love Tyson Kid and Natalya on ECW he actually wrestles, you know like real wrestling with holds and mat work. I think they are putting DH with them to do a Hart Foundation Gimmick which I think will be great. They don’t have to be strictly a Tag Team they can just be a small faction, more like the latter version of the Hart Foundation with Pillman and Davey, rather than the strict tag team of Bret and Jim.
Q: There is a new female wrestling promotion called Wrestlicious. It has yet to premiere, so I have only seen their YouTube footage. As someone who has trained & worked with numerous female athletes, what is your opinion of how promotions like GLOW and Wrestlicious impact women’s pro wrestling? While they offer work for an often undervalued segment of the industry, do they make it harder for women to be taken seriously?
A: I doubt they have much effect on the over all credibility of women’s wrestling goes. There are enough other outlets, WWE, TNA, Shimmer that I think people will just judge each individual product. I personally find the Wrestlicious stuff on YouTube embarrassing, and wish the kid with the money would have backed a company like Shimmer instead, because then he could have actually made a positive influence on the women’s wrestling scene.
Q: Raven has stated in previous interviews that for two people so different you and him got along great. If you were running a wrestling company and had to find someone to book, would Raven be at the top of your list and why?
A: Raven does have a great wrestling mind and we worked very well together in ECW (to both of our surprise), so he would be on my short list, yes. Don Callis would be at the top of my list but Raven would definitely be someone I would think of if I were looking to assemble a booking team.
Q: In your opinion what is the best looking belt you've personally held, the worst looking one, and the one you think looks over all the best, and over all the worst?
A: I’ve never liked the current IC Title belt. I loved the old one from the Randy Savage era. Of the belts I’ve held, I liked the WCW US Title belt and the first set of ECW Tag Titles, because they were a lot like the old IC Title belt.
Q: What have been your thoughts on all the title changes with Edge. There has been a lot of debate saying too many changes and some saying it has been in 'the flow of the show'. What do you think?
A: I think there have been a few too many title changes of late. I’m not even sure I could list all the changes that happened this year, which is never good. I think Edge is a great champ but the fact that he is a 9 time champ with a collective reign of 1 year or less is a bit sad.
Q: Did you ever wrestle Kurt Angle one on one in your WWE days? If so, where can I find a video clip of the match? Also your thoughts on him as a person outside the ring, if you were friends with him, etc?
A: Kurt and I had one single match in WWE and it was on SD in Washington, DC. It was the start of a baby face turn for Kurt and I thought is was an excellent match. It was on TV so it was shorter than I would have liked but we gelled real well and could have had awesome matches together. The mat wrestling between us was super crisp. Not sure if you can find it on YouTube or not. We didn’t spend a lot of time together backstage, but we got along very well.
Q: When you say you've begun dieting for the events and have gone back to your “working full time” diet what does that entail?
A: It’s basically the way I used to eat when I was on the road, which means I generally just eat things that are good for me and meant to fuel my body. I cut out all dessert/snack (Junk) food type stuff; eliminate high fat content stuff like cheese, peanut butter, etc. and up my protein intake at the same time. I limit my carb intake at night and avoid all late night snacking.
Q: I know that the travel schedule of WWE workers is really rigorous, but I was wondering what a typical week is like for a lower tier independent worker. Do they usually carry other jobs part-time, how often do they train, how often are they working, etc.?
A: There is no typical anything when it comes to Indy work. Lower level Indy guys I would imagine likely have regular jobs yes. Indies don’t pay very well so I doubt anyone is earning their sole living on them unless they have name value. Some guys might only work once a month, others once a week, and those who really hustle and are willing to travel might be lucky enough to work 6-8 shots a month. I doubt very few Indy guys are doing more than 10 dates a month.
Q: If they ever made Lance Storm: The Movie, who would you want to play you?
A: It wouldn’t matter, no one would see it. The story of my life would be out of theaters quicker than a John Cena film.
Q: J.R said in a recent Q and A that WWE does not tolerate their wrestlers having several repeated incidents of being rude to fans. Do you believe this to be true?
A: I absolutely believe this to be true. JR doesn’t bullshit people, and WWE is very concerned with keeping their fan base. Very top guys will be able to get away with more than undercard guys, but I guarantee you, if the office receives a report about a WWE Superstar being rude to fans (I’m taking about out of character genuinely rude to someone) they would definitely talk to that person about it, to avoid it happening again. Happy fans are return customers, and WWE knows this.
Q: What do you like and dislike about the UFC pay- per-view production? And do you think there is anything that they could adopt from a WWE or wrestling style pay-per-view that could
make their production better?
A: I’ve never really thought about this to be honest. I like UFC PPV events and nothing has jumped out at me that I would want to change. That is not to say that there aren’t ways to improve it.
Q: There have always been rumours about Vince McMahon purchasing an MMA company. Do you think that MMA would be a natural progression for him and an easy transition for him? Or do you think that the MMA business and the wrestling business are so different that it would be difficult for him to make the leap into MMA?
A: I think Vince and MMA would be a horrible mix. UFC had the hardest time convincing people that it was legit, put Vince McMahon’s name behind an MMA product and everyone would be crying WORK. One bad call or controversial decision and everyone would assume the fix was in.
Q: What’s the closest you've ever been to getting in trouble with the law? I've got to imagine with some of the friends you've had from your career, you've been on the scene with stuff hits the fan. Ever been arrested?
A: A speeding ticket would have been the most trouble I’ve ever had with the LAW. Perhaps you’ve followed my career; I’m a pretty quiet guy.
Q: What did your parents think of your career choice? Were they receptive to it from the start, or how long did it take them to come around that you could make a living doing it?
A: I don’t’ think my mom was too thrilled but she was supportive. She wished that I finished University first but was always supportive. My Dad didn’t know about my decision until I was already wrestling. We didn’t keep in frequent contact back then so one day I was talking to him and I was in University, the next time I talked to him I was living in Calgary wrestling. There was only about 6 months between when I first considered getting in to pro-wrestling and when I started training.
Q: What do you think of Corner Gas ending this year? Did you watch the finale? Unfortunately being in the US, I only get it in reruns so it'll be a while before I get to catch it, but thanks for turning me on to it!
A: I absolutely watched the finale. I was sad to see the show go, but I think it was time. There are only so many things you can do in Dog River, Saskatchewan and I think if they hung in for more seasons the would have run out of them. It’s an awesome show and I started back with Season 1 episode 1 on DVD the day after the finale, and am watching the entire series again.
Q: I was watching the "Forver Hardcore" documentary that Jeremy Borash did, and in it The Sandman, New Jack and Kid Kash had some interesting things to say about Tazz. Sandman said that "He lived his own character a little too much". New Jack said that "Tazz is a cartoon character and that he isn't sh*t". My question is: Is this true? Back in the original ECW, did Tazz live his character a little too much or are their recollections a little hazy? Thanks in advance for (hopefully) answering my question.
A: Taz recently did an interview and talked about how he was likely the biggest @$$ in the company back then, because he lived his gimmick and took himself too serious, so it’s not like this is a big secret. I never had any problems with Taz and got along with him well enough but he did take himself a little too serious back then. It’s not like he was the first person to do that.