August 18, 2009

Sorry it’s been so long since I updated the site, but I have been away on vacation and extremely busy. Because I’ve been so busy I have a lot to talk about, so this should be a rather lengthy commentary. I covered my ROH weekend last time I wrote and right after that I headed to Ontario for a much need family summer vacation. This was originally supposed to be a 2 week uninterrupted vacation but WWE decided to pick one of the 2 weeks out of the year I’m not in Alberta to tape RAW and SD in Alberta.

I’ve been waiting for WWE to come back to Alberta since I opened SWA and could not believe they picked a time I was going to be away. The irony is amazing and to be honest I was not surprised in the least. Fortunately for me I have an understanding wife and I managed fly back to attend the events.

I had a lot of motivation to return for the events not the least of which being the chance to catch up with friends I have not seen in a very long time. The WWE roster has changed a lot since my days their but there were still a lot of familiar faces. Most of those familiar faces were actually guys (and girls) I helped train during my OVW days and it was great to see that so many of them have become so successful. I often get asked if any of my students have made it to WWE, and as of yet they haven’t (more on that later) but the roster is quite full of guys (and girls) I had a hand in training.

At my count there are 13 people on the roster I helped train, 12 of which were at these shows: Mickie James, Jillian Hall (She’s a great wrestling if they would let her), Maria, Melina, Beth Phoenix, John Morrison, Chris Masters, Dolph Ziggler (Who finally got the SWA T-Shirt I’ve been promising him for years), Carlito, Paul Birchall, and Cryme Tyme (I didn’t actually train JTG at all but I booked him on his first OVW house show, which I think helped open the door for him). The one absentee was Michelle McCool, who I trained for a week as a try out before she was hired and shipped to DSW. It was one hell of an OVW reunion to say the least.

In addition to the OVW reunion it was a chance to see so many people I haven’t seen in a long, long time. You forget how many people you knew and were friends with until you get back on the road with them again. I was first just looking forward to seeing the guys I worked and traveled with like Jericho, Christian, Hurricane, Dreamer, etc. but I’d forgotten about all the extra people I worked with and got to know and be friends with when I was in WWE. I couldn’t possibly name them all but from the second I pulled into the parking lot and saw Jimmy “Random” (head of WWE security) it was one familiar face after another. There were referees, agents, announcers, The RAW trainer Chris (SD trainer Larry was absent), Ellis (the stunt coordinator), Jimmy “Photo” (WWE photographer for those who are detectively challenged), the writers, the list is almost endless. It was such a great time seeing everyone.

One of the true highlights was catching up with my friend from back in my ECW days, Joey Styles. Joey was (and still is) one of the few guys that I would likely be friends with if you removed the wrestling business from the equation. There is something about Joey Styles that I like and respect on a non-wrestling level that isn’t there with too many other people, so it was great to see him again. In addition to our catching up, Joey introduced me to the WWE Universe and set me up with a profile and the means by which to blog on it. I’ve already posted one brief blog and hope to continue doing so in the future. If you want to check out my WWE Universe profile and blog just Click Here I hope to get the links section updated on the site soon to include a permanent link to both this and my WWE Alumni page.

All-righty-then, enough of the family reunion stuff I also had some business to attend to at the WWE shows, which was one of the main reasons I made the effort to get back home for them. I managed to get 4 of my students booked as extras for the shows, as well as specifically getting one of my students a serious (no pun intended) look at by WWE. It was a great and likely very nerve racking time for them, and I think my being there to help guide them through it made it at little easier for them. I know they were all in a bit of awe at the sheer scope of a WWE event and getting to wrestle in a WWE ring in a building like the Saddle Dome was a big step up for them.

Only two of my guys got to wrestle on an actual show, but they all got to get in the ring and wrestle in front of WWE agents during the day at RAW. I even ended up having a match with one of my students in the afternoon on Monday. On the Tuesday show in Edmonton 2 of my students wrestled on the ECW show. Kevin Martel (SWA Sept 2007) was the guy who got killed by Kozlov, and Ezekiel Jackson, where Tom Hann (T-Bone, SWA June 2006) got to wrestle Tyler Reks. Both matches were very short but everyone was happy with them, and it was a great experience for both guys.

In the end it was well worth the trip; WWE was impressed with my school and my students. They want to keep an eye on a couple of them for the future, and I’m hopeful they were interested enough in the one student to offer him to a developmental deal at some point down the road. I have some follow up conversations scheduled and will be sure to keep you posted if anything comes from them. Keep your fingers crossed everyone; it would be great to see some SWA grads in FCW.

Lance Storm