Variety: FS Reprint

Sept 03, 2012

I wrote the following for my "Storm Front" article for "Fighting Spirit" Magazine, back in December, and it is being reproduced with permission from Uncooked Media Ltd.

As we get ready to kick off 2012 the temptation is there to look ahead; what does the future hold? I think everyone would agree the business is a little flat or stagnant right now, perhaps even in a bit of a decline. With the exceptions of The Rock's return at Survivor Series and his pending match at WrestleMania there isn't a whole lot new and exciting going on in the wrestling business.

I think most fans are waiting for the next break out star to catch fire and liven up the business again, but for me that's not what the business needs; for my money the business doesn't need the next John Cena or Randy Orton, the business needs more variety. Nobody enjoyed an athletic based solid wrestler more than I do but when it seems like 90% of the wrestling industry is between 6' and 6' 4", weighs 210 to 245 pounds, wears trunks, has short hair, and works an athletic wrestling based style, the industry ends up a little too homogenous.

I too would fall into this homogenous demographic and admittedly guys from this group have always been my favourite opponents, but what kept me fresh and made me the well rounded worker I was or am, was the creative challenges and variety of matches I had to have with people outside this standard demographic. In my opinion if you want to spice up the current wrestling product we need to bring back some of the more unique, crazed, and even wacky characters this business was once known for. We've all heard the expression, "Variety is the spice of life" well so too should it be in wrestling.

In that vain I thought it would be fun to look at some of the more unique and wacky characters in wrestling I had the pleasure, or even at times the challenge to work with in my career.

Abdullah the Butcher: Not everyone is aware that I've worked with the "Mad Man from the Sudan", and I would guess with the age of some wrestling fans today some of you may not even know who he is. Abdullah was a near 400lbs Mad Man. He is best known for his crazed blood bath brawls, and if you search for pictures of him online, in the vast majority of them he will be covered in blood and stabbing his opponent in the head with a fork. Abdullah was not your stereotypical wrestler and wrestling him presented all new challenges. I wrestled Abdullah in Japan, in the late 90's, and matches with him were like no others in my career. There were no headlocks or wrist locks, no high spots or scripts, matches with The Butcher weren't even matches, they were fights. I had two single "fights" with Abby and I will remember them for the rest of my life. We brawled in the ring, we brawled on the floor, and if we got within 10 feet of the crowd, they ran for their lives. You never escaped the grasp of Abdullah with out a few bruises and lumps and more often than not you spilled blood along the way. You may not have the best match on the card when you faced the Butcher but you almost always had the most memorable.

Boo Bradley: Before Balls Mahoney was the "Chair Swinging Freak" in ECW he was Boo Bradley in Smokey Mountain Wrestling. Boo Bradley was wrestling's version of Boo Radley from "To Kill a Mockingbird". Boo was a 300+ lbs assumedly mentally challenged wild man who wrestled in a torn T-Shirt and white boxer shorts, neither of which looked like they had been washed in months, a look no doubt he achieved by not ever washing them. He was brought to the ring on a leash by Tammy Fytch (Sunny) and Chris Candido, and I was one of the first people to work with the crazed Bradley in SMW. You never knew what to expect when you were in there with Boo and I think my most vivid memory was seeing him pick half eaten food out of the garbage can, during a match, and eating it, to get over the unpredictable wacky nature of his character. When Boo was in the ring he was Boo Bradley all the way and out of control. I recall one night we wrestled in Barbourville KY and Tammy was in his corner. We did a spot where Boo knocked me out of the ring on one side while Tammy distracted the ref on the other. Boo then for no apparent reason decides to hit the ropes, knocking the unsuspecting Tammy head over heels off the other side of the ring, giving her a far worse bump than I just had a moment earlier. Despite landing almost completely on her head she popped up immediately and I a near blinding rage started beating Boo to death with her purse, while I continue to sell the far less devastating bump on my side of the ring.

Spike Dudley: Not every wild man in the wrestling business needs to be over 300 lbs. For my money one of the best crazed lunatics in the business was Spike Dudley. I'm not talking the loveable WWE Spike Dudley that was in love with Molly Holly, I'm talking about early ECW Little Spike Dudley who came to the ring looking like he was all whacked out on LSD. I think it's very important to have credibility in wrestling and it's not easy to make it believable that a 150 lbs skinny kid can beat up guys 2 and 3 times his size, but Spike managed. The first time I faced Spike Dudley in the ring I'd never seen him work before, all I knew was that he was a skinny kid in a tie dyed T-Shirt and denim overalls. When he came to the ring with that insane look in his eyes apparently all strung out on LSD, I actually took a step back and thought to myself WTF? I was actually a little but scared and freaked out by this 150 lbs kid; he had this look on his face, like he believed he was going to eat me for breakfast or at the very least die trying. It was a completely unique and in some ways very terrifying experience.

While none of the above characters will be remembered for their "5 Star" matches. They did provide entertainment and variety to every show they were on. While I would not want an industry comprised of nothing but acts like these men, nor do I want one without them. In the world of Randy Orton, Ted Dibiase, and Cody Rhodes, we need our Boo Bradleys, our Abdullah the Butchers, and our Spike Dudleys. So while many fans await the next top guy, the next break out star, I'll be waiting for the next new fresh spice of life, a solid unique hand with a different look, a different size, and a unique style that can present everyone else with a new challenge and unique match. Here's hoping he's out there.

Lance Storm

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