Lance Storm has officially retired as an in-ring performer and will become the WWE's head trainer at their developmental territory in Louisville. Storm made the announcement on the Byte-This Internet show and stated that he hoped he would at some point become an agent. WWE would have a hard time coming up with a better guy to train young wrestlers than Storm, who is one of the most technically sound wrestlers around. Storm also is a perfectionist, but has an even temperament (not sadistic)and will demand the best out of each trainee.
Storm broke into the business through the Hart Camp after going to Calgary from his hometown of North Bay, Ont. Storm had been a standout volleyball player at Wilfred Laurier University. Storm came out of the same camp that produced Chris Jericho. The two quickly became fast friends and began tagging up, using the name Sudden Impact on many Tony Condello tours of Manitoba.
They were a great young team and unlike a lot of new guys on the indy circuit, they were in shape, professional and deadly serious about having good matches. Both looked a lot like they do now, except for the fact that Lance sported one of the most ignorant haircuts of all time: a brush cut with a long blond rat tail. Thankfully he has long since changed his look to the current jarhead cut.
I had the pleasure of working with Lance probably more than any other one opponent in my career and he is, from a wrestling perspective, my favourite guy to be in the ring with. Lance was always where he was supposed to be, could wrestle at a fast pace (we used to delight in blowing up the referees with tackle spots) and never hurt anyone.
My most memorable Lance Storm match was in front of 23 people in Berens River, Man., on one of Condello's famous Northern Tours. The crowd was so bad that Tony stated that he was "never coming back again." This to me gave me carte blanche to, in wrestling parlance, "kill the town." I proceeded to arrange several run-ins by various wrestlers who would bring objects to be used during the match, the most lethal of which was a deck of cards and a crib board that Lance and I had been using right up until the bell rang.
Upon seeing the crowd Lance, who had just lost yet another cribbage game to me, suggested that we go about eight minutes and get out. "No problem," I stated after lazily suggesting that we use a sleeper for a finish.
Somewhere in the course of the first five minutes I decided to rib Lance and extend the match. Every time he would get me in the sleeper, I would make a Hulk Hogan comeback and no-sell everything. He thought it was funny until we hit about the 30-minute mark, then he started to get upset. The referee (Tony) was so irritated with being kept out there he was fast-counting me on the near falls but I wisely kicked early so we could keep going.
Tony walked out on the match at about 35 minutes leaving us with no referee. Before Lance could join Tony, at about the 45-minute mark, I called for a sleeper and allowed myself to be counted out by another ref.
At that point my bored pals from the back (including Dr. Luther) all paraded out for a series of run-ins, allowing me to perform the Hogan routine with all of them. I then repeated the Hulkamania boot, legdrop with the new ref.
At that point with no one left to hulk out on, I gestured for one of the ring crew, who by this time had had a couple of cocktails, to come up to the ring. Suffice to say, Hulkamania ran wild on him as well.
Lance was a bit upset right after, but by the time he had done the job in three or four more cribbage matches he had a good sense of humour about the whole thing. Our most memorable match, but certainly not our best.
There were many other nights in front of crowds both big and small where I saw Lance work like he was in front of 50,000 fans, that was the kind of pro he was even back then. WWE could not have picked anyone better to groom their future stars.
NHB Radio will have a very special guest on tonight from 6-7 p.m. on 92 CITI FM who will be making a shocking announcement to wrestling fans in Winnipeg ... Speaking of wrestling fans from the city, there is a definite buzz surrounding the debut of Raven in Winnipeg for the big TCW show this Thursday night. Call Ticketmaster or Condello at 229-9173 for details on getting tickets to see Raven. You can also get to meet him at an autograph session the next night at Vickars Community Chev Olds. Listen to NHB Radio tonight for details ... Randy Orton has developed a good reputation backstage for being tough and not sucking up to management or Triple H despite being in Evolution ...WWE is debuting a new character called Mordecai who is an OVW developmental wrestler. The character will likely feud with Undertaker ...RVD is currently in negotiations with WWE to sign a new deal ...Steve Austin is rumored to be looking at doing some wrestling on some big Japan shows ...Summerslam 2004 will be in Toronto in the Air Canada Centre, another coup for Carl DeMarco ... The Backlash pay per view did around 600,000 buys, which is great for Chris Benoit who headlined the pay per view in terms of his long-term future with the belt ... Goldberg recently mentioned that during his stint in WWE they had asked him not to use the Jackhammer finish as he was getting too reckless with it ... Ric Flair apparently shot on Mick Foley and Raven in an interview he did while in the U.K. In it, Flair apparently stated a lack of regard for hardcore wrestling, which is probably not all that surprising.
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