Q and A
September 16, 2009
Q: I just watched the Rise and Fall of WCW dvds. I was a little confused by the inclusion of the Booker T vs Lance Storm match that they chose. The match was decent, but I’m sure that you and he had better matches to choose from. If you could have picked one of your matches to have on the dvd – which would you have chosen?
A: To be honest when I look back there aren’t a lot of my WCW matches that I like. They were all rushed, and pressed for time, and because of that very few I think are any good. I think the second World Title match that Booker and I had was better.
Q: What is your favourite sport to watch besides wrestling and ufc. Are you following NBA program (maybe the raptors)?
A: I do not follow any other sports.
Q: Would you agree that in 2009, the main feud now is between pro wrestling (WWE) and MMA (UFC), where it is two different sports competing with each other as opposed to the great feud that took place in the late 90s between two companies in the same sport?
A: I do not agree that UFC vs WWE is a big feud. On some level they are competing for the same PPV revenue, but since it is more about each having to do their own business well enough to draw those dollars, rather then them each competing to see who can do the one job better, I see it completely different to WCW vs WWE.
Q: You said that breaking Kayfabe doesn't hurt much. I'm curious, though, as to how you feel about WWE (and to some degree TNA) blurring the lines between what's in-character and what is real. I'm sure you remember the Jeff Hardy storylines from a few months ago that did just that, or the media appearances in which a wrestler acts like their "character" rather than doing a straight interview. Do you feel either company would benefit from having a definitive line between what is real and what is part of the show?
A: I have no problem with a company wanting to blur the lines, what bothers me is when the reality they are trying to present actually contradicts previous or existing “storylines”. An example of that was the Jeff Jarrett is the founder of TNA angle. By admitting that JJ founded TNA, they contradicted every angle from the first 5 years of the company. Jeff spent the first 5 years in the company as the hated heel feuding with TNA management, then one day they just tell us, oh by the way Jeff Jarrett is TNA management and is a nice guy. If Christian Bale and Heath Ledger were friends in real life, you can’t blend that into “storyline” in the Batman Movie. It contradicts the entire PLOT of the story so far. Now on the flip side the Matt Hardy Edge feud, from a few years ago, based on the real life situation with Lita I was fine with. If you knew the real life situation it added to the Angle, if you didn’t know the real life story the Angle still worked.
Q: Hi Lance. As you must already know, WWE signed Bryan Danielson and Nigel McGuinness. I'd like to know your thoughts on that and also, what do you think this means for Ring of Honor as it feels to me that except for Aries, there's gonna be a lack of big main event players now with Dragon and Nigel leaving.
A: I think it’s great for Nigel and Bryan. They deserve the chance to earn top dollar after working so hard during their career. I hope they get a chance to show what they have to offer the company. As for ROH, certainly them leaving hurts, but ROH has a talented locker room so others will now have the opportunity to step up and show what they have too.
Q: I have a follow up question regarding heel announcers. I agree with you that heel announcing is not a concept, but something a developed heel can pull off. So then why is Lawler not doing it? When I came back to wrestling about 10 years ago, one thing I loved was the repartee between JR and Lawler. But now we get to listen to two guys agree constantly. It’s boring. I also loved JBL and Cole. JBL made that show watchable for me.
A: JBL was freakin awesome at the desk and added so much to the show. I think the problem with Lawler is that he turned baby face. He’s done so many in ring angles where he played the face roll, that we’ve all gotten to like him. Add to that the fact that he is now a respected HOFer and it’s just too hard for him to go back heel. None of today’s fan base remembers Jerry as a heel.
Q: When you were injured while wrestling (knees, elbows, back) how did that affect your cardio/weight training regiment? With a screwed up right elbow I wouldn't imagine you'd be able to lift the same weight on both sides, run the same distance etc. What's your secret?
A: The secret is being able to adapt. If I had an upper body injury I focused more just on cardio to stay lean and hard. The fact that I was clean my whole career also meant I wasn’t as apt to lose size quickly so I could get away without lifting for a while better than others. You also use machines and stuff at the gym and try to work around what ever injuries you have. Some times you just go super light and strict to work around the fact you are not healthy enough to lift heavy.
Q: Did you catch UFC 102? Fantasy booking wise- it had it all. Decisive finishes, sick submissions and knockouts, and (quite possibly) the fight of the year with Nogueira vs Couture. Wrestling promotions have their work cut out for them competing with UFC don't you think?
A: I saw most of the fights but not the whole show. I don’t see the competition as direct as you do. I don’t think WWE has to try to book to compete with UFC. They have to book a good enough show to make wrestling PPVs worth paying for. Regardless of the level of UFC product if WWE books a great show people will want to see it; it is a different form of entertainment. The only competition I see is when WWE books a weak product that is an easy pass, then a fan might be more apt to spend his money on UFC.
Q: After watching Raw over the past few weeks, I've noticed that 3/4 of the show surrounds around comedic matches (and segments). While some of the segments can be funny and entertaining (The Shockmaster's 'return' segment with DX was a riot), the overuse of comedy they are using on Raw these days just seems like overkill to me. With too much comedy and very few 'serious' storylines (or wrestling matches for that matter), do you think this will have a negative affect on PPV buyrates?
A: Not only do I think it will, I think it IS. Buy rates are down and I think the comedy variety show aspect of the show is the prime reason for it. Unless I get emotional attached to a PPV match, I’m never going to fork out money to see it. If I just tune in on Monday to be amused by the comedy, I will never be attached enough to the matches to spend money on PPV.
Q: If you could go back and be part of the crowd for any wrestling moment in history, what would it be?
A: I think I’d have liked to be at WrestleMania III at the Pontiac Silver Dome.
Q: When you were first breaking into wrestling, were there any locker room veterans who stand out in your memory as being particularly helpful in your development as a worker?
A: ‘Champaign’ Gerry Morrow!!! I’ve written a commentary about him. http://www.stormwrestling.com/072504.html
Q: You have often said that you would not go back to a full-time WWE schedule. I was wondering, though, if WWE offered you a job in creative or booking or as an agent, would you consider it?
A: The creative job is even more demanding of a schedule than working. You hear a lot of people talk about wanting to be a WWE writer, but it is the toughest and most demanding job on the planet. Those guys are lucky to get a few hours off a week and have to make all TV and PPV events, NO Thanks. An agent’s job, which I would love, is still a full time road schedule. Agents have to make all the towns so they are on the road just as much as the boys are. If I was single without kids I’d take an agents job in a heart beat, but I’m married with kids, so again No Thanks.
Q: For someone who didn't have the pleasure of watching the old ECW, can you tell us why having Dawn Marie as your valet was so beneficial to you?
A: Damn Marie had a presence and a character that added to my over all presentation so well. I was still finding myself as a personality at that time and her fantastic character filled some of the holes I had my “character”. She also gave me someone to play off of and react to, which helped me develop my own personality. In simplistic terms I was a 2 dimensional performer when we got together and she provided me that 3rd dimension, and over time allowed me to develop my own third dimension.
Q: Is there a difference between a 3-way dance and a triple threat match?
A: Just in the spelling. 3 Way dance was just the name ECW gave it, and I guess to make it sound more menacing WWE went with Triple Threat. ECW more often than not would do elimination rules with the 3 ways, where WWE often just does one pin fall.
Q: Are you familiar at all with DDP's yoga system, and if so, do you have any thoughts on it?
A: I’m familiar with it in name only. I’ve never really looked into it.
Q: I hate the Raw Rebound when it chews up valuable time on ECW. I don't like to see it during SmackDown either, but SmackDown, at least, is a two-hour show whereas ECW is only one hour. ECW has half the time to work with which Raw has, and it loses even some of that time when the Rebound hogs a segment. How many casual fans watch ECW, but not Raw, anyway? This is my question for you: if you were responsible for budgeting the time of these programs, would you get rid of the Raw Rebound?
A: The thing you have to consider is the over all importance to the company. The RAW angles they are recapping are an important part of WWE business. RAW ratings are more important and those angles are also likely building the PPV, which is way more important than extra minutes for the Abraham Washington Show. Yes ECW would be better without it, but ECW is a lesser concern to the over all business of the company.
Q: During most of your televised career, you didn’t wear regular wrestling boots. Instead, you wore what looked like sneakers with pads protecting your lower legs. Others like Cryme Tyme wear construction boots. Could you elaborate a bit on the differences between the most popular choices for footwear in wrestling?
A: I wore amateur wrestling shoes. Standard wrestling boots are great and provide much better protection for your feet and ankles, but are heavier and stiffer, so I found them too heavy and preferred the speed and mobility provided me by the shoes. With Cryme Tyme I assume it’s more just about image and look.
Q: You have pictures from your FMW days with a young Hayabusa. Could you give us some of your thoughts on him, his work, his accident, his really cool costume, etc.?
A: He was super green when I worked with him, but he was a good guy and easy to work with. I’ve seen the bump where he broke his neck which was horrific looking and I’ve never been able to watch it since; very unfortunate. The Hayabusa costume was awesome. I thought the mask and face paint combo was awesome.
Q: How did wrestlers stay in such great shape during the excessive partying / drinking era in the 80's and 90's? I look at guys like Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and even Shawn Michaels who all talked about excessive drinking at some point of their career yet they all were in great shape all the time. I ask because I workout regularly yet I find alcohol greatly slows my progress.
A: To be blunt and honest a lot of it was steroids. During that era in wrestling steroids were very common and maintaining a physique is much easier with the help of drugs.
Q: Rey Mysterio has come out against the WWE and said he was wrongly suspended because he had a prescription for the banned substance. Don’t you think it is important for WWE to publicly address this? Rey has made it appear that a doctor prescribed him something that he needed and he got suspended for it. In my opinion WWE should come out and say ‘no, Rey Mysterio lied, does not have a prescription and is suspended’ or they should announce he did have one and end the suspension and apologize. It just seems like either Rey is lying or WWE is being extremely unfair.
A: Things are never so cut and dried. Even if Rey had a prescription for the drug he got popped for the Wellness policy clearly states that ALL medications need to be pre approved. If your doctor prescribes you a medication you are supposed to present that prescription to WWE for them to say, “Yes you can take this, go ahead” then when you come back positive on your test they know what is what.” This was all designed so guys could not take whatever they wanted and once they got caught, back track and try to produce a prescription. I’m not saying that is what Rey is doing, but the policy is clear that you get prescriptions PRE-approved. Rey could have a valid prescription but he still messed up by not clearing it with WWE Wellness before the fact. If WWE lets him slide (which may feel like the right thing to do) it sets a bad precedent for the policy in the future.
Q: Why do you think the WWE rarely let the live arena audience enjoy/embrace/and be proud of their home town hero during a TV show. It just seems like a heel (that their hometown cheers) always cuts a promo to try and turn the crowd or a babyface hometown wrestler always loses and gets beat down or embarrassed after the match. A couple of many examples: RAW was is St. Louis and Orton cut a promo to try and turn them against him, Jericho cut a promo on Calgary to try and turn them against him, and I saw RAW in Toronto once and Jericho did a promo during the commercial to try and turn us, Jim Ross used to always get beat down and embarrassed in Oaklahoma....etc.
A: You are describing to different situations. I can understand why they don’t’ want an established heel getting cheer or acting like a baby face just because it’s his home town. Embarrassing JR (who is a face) in his home town is something different. I think the rational on the latter is that it’s an easy way to get heat on the heel.
Q: I've heard you and a few other wrestlers say that, if you're looking for some new moves or a unique finisher that, rather then invent yourself, it's easier to just do something that hasn't been done in awhile or look for something in Japan. My question is, why is it that Japanese wrestling is able to come up with these "unique" moves where U.S. wrestling can not?
A: I think most of the new unique stuff comes from Mexico more than Japan personally. I think one of the big things with Mexico (at least in my day) was that there was just so much wrestling going on down there that there was more opportunity for stuff to get invented. With Japan I think too that the style is a bit more move based than North American wrestling
Q: I remember during the invasion, the night after SummerSlam was Austin appreciation night where Stephanie sang wind beneath our ring. How hard was it not to laugh during that whole segment?
A: I had no problem I made a career out of not smiling or laughing at stuff. Besides in person her singing was painful not humorous.
Q: Would it be a good idea to join a local wrestling school as a way to get into shape? I'm not fat or anything...I just want to tone up and I think going to a wrestling school would be a fun way to accomplish that.
A: If you are just looking to get in shape I think there are better ways to do it. Wrestling school can be very painful at times and potential injuries can actually slow down the getting in shape process. Go to a wrestling school if you want to get into wrestling, if you want to get in shape join a gym and see a personal trainer.
Q: Having read your posts for a couple of years, I know you don't like the hardcore side of wrestling very much. Would you care to go into more detail as to why?
A: It’s not so much the “Hardcore Style” it’s the fact that most that do it now have no idea what the hell they are doing. Today most people consider “hardcore style” just guys hitting each other with a bunch of weapons and shit, which is just a big waist of time and is bull shit. It’s bad for the business and needs to stop. Guys who just gig and brawl because they don’t have the skill to do anything else (more often the case) need to get the hell out of this business and quit damaging the business they claim to love. Now if two good workers do an angle, which leads to a blow off of the feud and that match involves brawling, weapons, and blood, and is done safely and smart then I think it can play an important part in the business. There is nothing more damaging to this business than low end Indy workers doing hardcore death matches for no reason other than they want to be “hardcore”.
Q: Over a year ago, you wrote a commentary on what you considered the best punch in the business and insinuated that you would be writing about some of the other bests. Any chance we'll see any more such commentaries? I know you have some thoughts on the best dropkick.
A: I’ll have to remember to do some of these. Best Drop Kick would be an opinion piece but might be a fun debate. I’ll keep it in mind.
Q: You've always seemed quite humble in regards to your contributions to the business and I, like many others, agree you underestimate yourself in that regard. Who have you come across in the business that you feel OVERestimated their worth to the point of absurdity and you just felt like shaking your head?
A: I’d rather not name names, and point fingers, but there has been a few.
Q: I’ve heard a number of MMA commentators talk about how well Shane Carwin matches up with Brock Lesnar. Based on your experience working with many big athletic guys including Lesnar, how do you view this match-up?
A: I don’t know Shane Carwin well enough. One thing you need to keep in mind is that while the fights are real, the promotion of said fights is very much a work. Of course they are going to say he matches up well, they are promoting a fight.
Q: What do you think of WWE doing more conceptual pay-per-views like their Extreme Rules PPV and Breaking Point PPV for example. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good submission match from time to time. But to make three submission-based main event matches back to back seems like it would get stale quickly.
A: On the whole I’m against concept PPVs. I think those matches are better when they are put in at the appropriate time based on the angles not… every November we do Hell in the Cell. It limits booking options and in some cases ruins programs.
Q: Wondering if you would happen to know; what are some of the wrestlers putting in their hair, to give them an eternal wet look? It looks like they just got out of the shower, but it still looks wet after a lengthy match. I would think gel, but then their hair would be stiff. Jeff Hardy, Triple H, Undertaker, Sabu, and Edge, come to mind. Is there any other reason aside from style, that they do this?
A: It’s not something I’ve ever asked and obviously not something I’ve ever needed. I think I saw Kane (back when he had hair) use water and baby oil.
Q: In past commentaries, you say Tag Team wrestling won't return to it's peak because today's singles feuds need the tag team matches to pace them out between PPV, thus tag teams are treated like 2 singles guys and never have the time to bond in the ring. I think this scenario was true of the angles in the Attitude-era WWF as well, but that was one of the best tag team eras I can remember. There were some teams that had time to brew on the indies, like The Hardy Boyz & The Dudleys, but there were plenty of thrown together teams that became really excellent - APA, Edge and Christian, The New Age Outlaws, The Hollys, 2Cool, The Rock-n-Sock Connection, The Bros of Destruction, T&A...perhaps I'm reaching...but how would you account for how good it was then? Perhaps today's tag product is simply due to the lack of kayfabe brothers in the current tag team scene?
A: I think that was a special time in that the business was so hot and the talent depth in WWE was so deep. In today’s market if anyone got as hot as those teams back then did, they would be immediately split up and pushed as top singles, because they are constantly looking for new top acts.
Q: Hi Lance, in one of your previous Q&A's, you mentioned that "Raven is a very intelligent guy and does have a strong wrestling mind". What did you think of the Serotonin stable angle in TNA? Why do you think it failed?
A: It failed for the same reason most things that fail in TNA fail. It was poorly booked. I remember at that time there were 3 or 4 tag teams all doing the same damn gimmick. Raven was their mentor and they would screw up and he would punish them after their matches. I think Shane Douglas was managing the Naturals then and he was doing the same degrading of his team after matches. I think Nash was mentoring the X Div. then too and he would degrade them after their matches. I think there was one more combo doing the same thing then. It was asinine.
Q: Hello Lance, in your last Q&A, you mentioned that TNA should replace the 6-sixed ring with a 4-sided ring, mainly because it's a pointless gimmick. What are your thoughts on the 6-sided rings of the Mexican promotions?
A: I’ve never seen them, but I would assume I wouldn’t like them either.
Q: Hey Lance, I was wondering how wrestlers avoid getting hurt when they "crotch" themselves or get "crotched" on the ring ropes (or cables or whatever)? Do they wear cups or what?
A: No, we’re just tough.