July 28, 2009
I am home again after my latest return to the ring, and I am happy to report that I survived and the general consensus is that it went well. It’s been 2 years since my last real match (I don’t count the surprise tag match I did under a mask here locally) so this was a big physical undertaking for me. Even though I am in the ring regularly with my students at my school, it’s no where near the same thing as working a legitimate match in front of a crowd, especially at the ROH level.
To be honest I was a bit concerned going in. I’d worked hard on my cardio and preparation for these matches and was feeling pretty good about three weeks out, but after I rolled my ankle and my cardio came to a screeching fault, I started to worry. I knew the tag match would be easy but doing a single match in ROH, and the Main Event no less, was going to be a tall order for a 40 year old inactive wrestler. If that wasn’t bad enough the building we worked in was like an oven. I don’t know if I’ve ever sweated that hard before in my life. The single match with Chris Hero was likely the first match in my life that I made a conscious effort throughout to pace myself to ensure there was going to be gas in the tank at the end, and thankfully there was.
Before I get anymore ahead of myself I suppose I should start at the beginning of the weekend and work forward from there. The Friday night show was a lot of fun and a bit of a family reunion. Getting to see my old buddy (and I don’t mean that as an age joke) Jerry Lynn was by far the high light of the weekend for me. Jerry and I were all but married to each other during my 2+ years in ECW so this weekend was like a family reunion with a long lost brother. If that wasn’t bonus enough Paul Lazenby (a friend of mine for some 18 years) made the trip from Vancouver to see the shows, so I got to hang out with him as well. My visit with Paul was not all a bed of roses however. Thanks to some poor planning and a bit of a travel snafu Paul ended up crashing on the fold out couch in my hotel room Friday night to avoid what would have been a near $70 cab ride. I’ve got nothing against having to share my hotel room but Paul has broken his nose some 15 times, which I’m pretty sure played a significant roll in my having to endure several hours of near Richter Scale level snoring. A word to the wise to any women out there who are considering sleeping with my friend Paul, bring ear plugs or send him home after the fact.
The match Friday was a tag match pitting Kevin Steen and Me against Chris Hero and Davey Richards. The match went very well in my opinion and the crowd seemed to really enjoy it. The crowds were very hot both nights and more than lived up to the Toronto rep of being one of the best wrestling cities in North America. We even did a bit of a Bret Hart tribute in the match (Bret did an appearance at the show) with a double Sharpshooter spot as well as hitting the old Hart Attack finisher on Chris Hero at the end for the win.
The Saturday night match was the single match with Chris Hero and was, as I mentioned earlier, the Main Event of the show. This concerned me a little bit for a couple reasons. This was a ROH show so I knew the bar was going to be really high and we would have to follow some really great matches, I was also losing so we would not be ending the show on a particularly happy note. Originally there was going to be some post match stuff, to leave the crowd happy and me standing tall, but that didn’t feel right to me so I asked if we could not do it, in hopes of not drawing attention away from Chris Hero’s win.
My hope was that if the match was good enough, Chris would be able to get the win, keep his heat, and I would still be able to get a decent enough reaction once I got to my feet and cut a post match promo to send everyone home happy. I was fairly confident the crowd would still be with me despite the loss, and thankfully they were. I’ve always believed that if you give the people what they want and work hard they will stay with you, and the Toronto crowd stayed with me. I cut a completely on the fly promo to close the show and just spoke from the heart. I did not expect to get as emotional as I did, and if I didn’t actually shed a tear (and I’m not really sure if I did or not), I came as close as you can get with out actually breaking down and crying.
There were a couple matches in the past that I figured were going to be the one, going to be my last official match, but they didn’t really feel like it. I think I wanted them to be the last one, but they just weren’t meant to be my last. This time it felt right, and I think that’s why I got so emotional. I’m not what I was, but I was still close enough to it, to close the show and be happy with the match I put out there. I got to put someone over who deserved to be put over, and seemed to appreciate my doing it. My family wasn’t there this time, but maybe that too was the way things were meant to be. I survived this business with my family in tact (my greatest achievement) primarily by leaving this business on the road and being Lance Evers at home.
I shared this match with people who share my love and respect for this business, and I am now home being Lance Evers with the family I will share the rest of my life with. I still have my school, and I will always be a part of this business, but I truly believe I am now done as a performer. They say, never say never in this business, and because of that I won’t, but I think I left it all in the ring that night and I believe I wrote the final page in the 19-year long book that was the career of Lance Storm.
Thank you everyone.
Photo by: Andrea Kellaway