May 26, 2005
Storm starts wrestling academy
By TJ MADIGAN - Calgary Sun

In April 2004, the last time Monday Night Raw came to town, Lance Storm stood in the ring after his match and basked in the cheers from his hometown crowd.

At the time, not one of the 12,000 fans at the Saddledome realized they had just witnessed his retirement match.

"After that show in Calgary, I negotiated a new deal with WWE," Storm told the Sun this week. "My back was starting to really bother me. Being on the road gets really tiring after 14 years and, with the pain I was in, the enjoyment of wrestling vs. the sacrifice was getting off balance.

"I was looking for other options and when WWE asked me to become a trainer in their developmental system, I jumped at it. They run a minor league feeder system in Kentucky called OVW and, for the last year, I've been down there training the future stars of WWE."

The new setup allowed Storm to be home in Calgary with his wife and daughters more often but he was looking for a way to spend even less time on the road.

"I was teaching wrestling for WWE, so I figured why not do the same thing at home?" Storm said. "I talked to my wife extensively and we decided it's time to start being a dad and a husband, so I handed in my notice to WWE."

This September, Storm Wrestling Academy, a full-service pro-wrestling school, will open its doors in Calgary.

"There's going to be two major tiers of training," Storm explained. One is for people who want to get into the industry, which is the type of training I received when I moved to Calgary.

"It'll be a 12-week course which will take you from how to fall and how to run the ropes. It covers all the basics to where you can actually have a wrestling match.

"I'll also offer an advanced tier, teaching people the art of being a better worker, which is what I'm doing now in OVW. The majority of my work there will be to hand down my experience and prepare them for WWE TV."

Wrestling schools have a reputation for torturing new students as a way to test their desire for the business but Storm said that's not how things will work at his Academy.

"I tend to worry about results more than making people pay dues. It's not going to be an easy ride and the classes will be extremely physical to give the students an idea of how demanding the industry is. But I'm not going to spend my time to make sure they pay more dues. I'm going to prepare them and teach them so they benefit from my knowledge."

Storm's knowledge includes experience working in WWE, WCW, ECW, Japan, Smoky Mountain Wrestling and almost every major territory that existed in the past decade. He is widely regarded as one of the best in-ring workers in the world and pegged by many as one of the most under-utilized during his prime.

But fans who never witnessed him in action will get one more chance. Storm confirmed he will taking part in the ECW reunion pay-per-view next month. He will also be at the Raw show in Calgary.

"I haven't spoken with the WWE office about any on-camera role in Calgary. I just said that I would be in town and stopping by to say hello to everybody."

So there's no chance Storm will make an unscheduled in-ring appearance at the 'Dome Monday?

"Well, I don't think anything's out of the question," he said with a laugh. "I don't know if the office realizes my back is as good as it is. They could ask me to do something at the last minute. And I will definitely have my wrestling gear in my car, just in case."

More details on Storm Wrestling Academy can be found at www.stormwrestling.com.

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