Lance Storm (@lancestorm) is a professional wrestler known for his time in ECW, WCW and WWE. He joins Chris Van Vliet from his home in Calgary, Alberta, Canada to talk about his current job as a producer for Impact Wrestling, the fact that he and CVV went to the same college Wilfrid Laurier University, moving to Calgary for pro wrestling training, having his first match against Chris Jericho, being tag team partners with Justin Credible in ECW, signing with WCW, forming Team Canada, meeting Bret Hart for the first time, joining WWE, The Alliance angle, how he came up with his catchphrase “If I can be serious for a minute”, The Un-Americans, his thoughts on 5-star match ratings and much more!
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Quote I’m thinking about:
Happiness comes from WHAT we do. Fulfillment comes from WHY we do it.
– Simon Sinek
On making it but having a plan B:
“Although with that, and this is where I think I differ from a lot of people. I gave myself a five-year window. Like I told myself if I’m not making progress, where it seems like this is a viable career, I’m gonna go back to university. I’m not going to be just some guy chasing some silly dream. I think I might enjoy this job. I think I can make a living at it let’s see if I have an aptitude for it. And it was funny. A friend of mine’s dad, Steve Benning, if he ever happens to listen to this, everyone I knew was supportive. Everybody was like, Yeah, go for it, go for it, go for it. And he was the only one, he pulled me aside and just said, Whatever you do, just don’t become a bum. And it meant a lot to me. It’s like, hey, chase your dream, but don’t chase it down a garbage dump. You can’t always achieve this. Maybe this isn’t as inspirational as it should be. But you can’t always succeed at your dreams, you have to be realistic. So I set the goal that if I wasn’t making progress, if it didn’t seem like, I had a real chance of success at this. I was gonna go back to school. And I was making my living in three [years].”
On meeting Chris Jericho for the first time:
“We all stayed at a hotel. Well, there was two people from Calgary who lived in Calgary, but we all stayed in a hotel in Okotoks, Alberta, which is you know, it’s basically a bedroom community now. And it was this crappy hotel and I got picked up at the airport and taken to this hotel and every person I see when I get there is a skinny little kid, big fat guy. Like no one looked like an athlete at all. And I had no again you didn’t have internet, you didn’t know that. That’s what all wrestling schools look like. I was you know, and I trained and was in good shape. It’s like I’m expecting to show up at like an NFL camp right where I’m like, praying to God I’m in good enough shape to hang. And then I see this and because my stepdad had looked into the power plant and looked into the Hart Brothers, I chose Hart Brothers because Stampede had a rep for smaller guys and staying in Canada made it easier But I went to the end of the hallway there was a fire escape and I’m standing on the fire escape and in my mind, I’m thinking I’ve made a huge mistake. This place is a joke. So I’m in my mind going, can I change my flight? Can I, you know, I’ll call my stepdad. I’ll see if he can get me into the Power Plant. I need to get the hell out of here. And then this green beat-up-looking 76 Volare pulls into the parking lot, and out jumps Chris Jericho. And I see a kid that clearly goes to the gym and clearly looks like an athlete. And I’m like, running down the fire escape to meet this person. Because maybe if there’s someone else here that has a hope in hell, then maybe I didn’t make a mistake. So I ran down and introduced myself to Chris and helped him carry his trunk of clothes and stuff out of the trunk of his car, and helped him move in. And it’s like, if not for seeing him, I probably would have been on a plane back home the next day.”
On Chris Jericho still wrestling today:
“Yes, that’s sort of the running joke between us because we’ve over the years have made a pact, because our very first match was against each other. We did like a 10 or a 15-minute draw, I don’t remember which in Ponoka, Alberta out here. And I’ve always contended that it would be cool specially because we know each other still to do our last match with each other too and have us both bookend our careers. And on one of the Talk is Jericho podcast as well as recently just personally, we’ve sort of, you know, what’s the word, reaffirmed the pact to do it. But I keep joking with them. It’s like, Dude, you have to retire at some point, or I’m not going to be able to do it. You know, you’ve got to retire inside the next five or 10 years, dude, or I’m not going to be, I don’t want to do it at 75.”
On wrestling fans knowing where Calgary is:
“I laugh because that does seem to be so many people now say it that way as the way you’re supposed to say it. And I will forever hear from people where it’s, you know, they’re flying in from somewhere. It’s like, we’re about to land in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. And really, they say it just like Lance does. And it just became my gimmick, if you will. And it was just naturally the way I said it. But the dramatic pause became a thing. And yeah, just sort of stood there. And that too, was. Paul [Heyman] wanted me basically doing the Bret Hart deal that Bret was doing in WWF. Before that, Canada versus the US. And I didn’t want to do the exact same thing as Canada versus the US. So I decided to just pick the city. I’m from here. It’s the wrestling capital of the world. I’m just Calgary. This isn’t a nationality thing. I’m not out here waving a flag. I just think My hometown is better than every other place. It’s the you know, the grassroots of pro wrestling and because of that, I’m better than everyone. And just to make it my own and not have Paul realise I’m not doing what I’m told. I went just with Calgary.”
On Canadian wrestlers always being heels:
“Well, I think and only in the US and that’s something that you know, WWE, never understood. But it’s all about America’s always America’s the greatest place in the world. And, you know, if you’ve actually been anywhere else, it’s not necessarily the truth. And I think any foreign person who touts their country as being good, gets heat in the US. And I say how WWE doesn’t realise it. But that, like, they assumed the Unamericans would be heels everywhere. Yeah. And I’m like, No, we’re gonna be baby faces everywhere but the US you don’t get this. And they didn’t understand that. My pro-Calgary thing would be a babyface in other parts of Canada. They’re like, Well, you’re not from New Brunswick. Why would they like you here? It’s like, because Canada’s the world’s biggest small town. It’s like if you’re a Canadian that made it on the international scene. You’re our hometown boy. Doesn’t matter if you’re from Victoria, you know, Moosejaw, New Brunswick, or Ottawa. If you’re a Canadian that made it internationally. You’re our hometown boy, you just are We’ll buy you a Tim’s that’s the way it goes.”
On Canadian wrestlers not being announced as from Canada after 9/11
“Well, that was primarily again, I will say my fault. Well, it started when the Unamericans became a thing, which would have been 2002. Actually, you know, a little bit before that, because we were already the Unamericans at the anniversary of 9/11. So it was just not long after 911 that we were doing the Unamericans. And the office figured that the wrestling fans were too dumb to tell the difference between Test, Christian and Lance Storm who are Canadians, and hate the US. And Chris Jericho and Edge who are Canadians don’t hate America. So they actually Edge was the only one I don’t think they changed. But Jericho was using his birthplace of Manhasset, New York, and Benoit was from Atlanta, and they were there just Vince didn’t think people could tell the difference and thought that while all Canadians would be heels now because test Christian and Lance Storm are evil people from Canada.”
On the origin of If I Could Be Serious For A Minute:
“I think like many that it was just one line in one promo. That when I said it, everyone just sort of thought it fit. Like I don’t remember who wrote it. But because in WCW, I would always be given the page of the booking sheet with what I was doing. And they would have a promo written out with what you’re supposed to say. I would always rewrite it in my own words. Because I think the very first promo I did in WCW, I did it verbatim. And it wasn’t in my words. And I botched a couple of the words because it just the sentences were the wrong length. That wasn’t how I spoke. So I always rewrote my promos. I keep much of it the same but I would rewrite them my own way. But I do remember the but if I can be serious for a moment that was written in there because it was when I won the US title. I’m a heel but I start putting over all the other great US champions and then I do the bit if I can be serious for a minute I deserve much better. And then I denounced the US title and you know name it the Canadian title. And when I came back one of the writers or the agent I don’t recall who it was. Someone just went you have to say that in every promo now. It’s like it just it’s you. I’m like, okay, and then I said it in virtually every promo for the rest of my career. And it wasn’t you did it. You did the point with two fingers. I didn’t know I did that until they did the Bill Demott and the misfits in action did the spoof promo where they dressed up like us which is a very Rousseau trait, it was done really well with either DX or the nation or whoever it was the first time and then everybody did it, whether it was any good or not. But they did that and Bill Demott did the promo and he when he pointed at the camera with two fingers, I’m like, why is he pointing with two fingers? And when he came back, I even asked him, I’m like, that looks ridiculous. Why did you do that? He’s like, that’s what you do. I’m like, really?”
On match star ratings:
“I think for the most part, they’re asininely stupid. Well, it’s just someone’s opinion like, you know, a Siskel and Ebert giving it two thumbs up. It’s like, Oh, great. And I think when it started, it was very valuable. Because it started during the tape trading era. And if you’re old enough to be part of the tape trading era, it’s like you would get lists of tapes that someone had in the mail, where you actually went to the post office picked up your letter and opened it up. And there would be a printed photocopy sheet of all the tapes the dude had. And if you’re ordering three tapes of All Japan Pro Wrestling, which tapes Do you buy? Well, if you have access to the Observer, you can go look up the shows. And you can find out oh, sh*t, this show had, you know, really highly rated matches, it’s probably good. So it’s like a movie critic, what movie you want to see? Well, what are the critics saying is a good movie? I’ll go watch that. So it would help you. But I just find it insanely ridiculous that someone would watch the movie, and then want to know what someone else thought about it. And determine their enjoyment based on the like, you’ve seen the movie? Did you like it? If you did, it’s great. If you didn’t, it wasn’t. And going back and comparing, like, I’ll go watch this match. Man. I think that was three and a quarter. I’m gonna go see if I’m right. What do you mean if you’re right? It’s like, that’s just his opinion. Who’s to say either one of you are right?”
On being offended by the more wacky wrestling:
“Yes, there’s an additional part to that, but we will leave that out. I think too, like, I’m appalled as much as anyone. When I see people wrestling, eight-year-old girls blow up dolls in particular. But if I was, in year, two of my wrestling career, year five of my wrestling career, and the only booking I got was this company in Japan. And I’m in Japan working and other people on the show are doing these matches, and then I’m told your turn. Even as much as I would hate it. I don’t know if I quit my job over it. Yeah. And I think that’s something that like, I’ve never talked to Kenny about it. I know him but not well, obviously, we both have Don as a mutual friend. So there’s an association there. But it’s like, I don’t even know whether he was particularly happy with doing it. But that’s what DDT was and to a certain extent still is. And it’s not something I would like to do. But I don’t know if I would have been mad enough to not.”
Will the wrestling academy reopen?
“I don’t see it happening. It was such a giant task of getting it started. Getting insurance is a gigantic hurdle, even just getting a ring getting it, it was a lot of work. And I don’t know if I have the desire to do that much work again. And I stopped doing it primarily because I’m a hands-on teacher. I took literally every time we taught moves, I was pretty much taking them from all the students first from a safety standpoint too because I’m really good at protecting myself. So all right, we’re doing DDTs today, I’m going to make sure you’re doing it right DDT me first, okay, we’re doing suplexes, suplex me first, if you don’t hurt me, and I feel like you’re competent, you can give it to the rest of the students. And I had matches with every single student but one. He was someone who kept showing up late and his last day, which was his turn to have a match. He showed up late and didn’t get his match. But I had a match with every student and it just started taking its physical toll. It was probably more abuse than having a wrestling career was and I was just no I’m done. I really enjoyed the producer teaching aspect of it. So I suspect I will stay with Impact for an extended period of time because I love the atmosphere and the talent there and very much enjoy the schedule.”
What is Lance Storm grateful for?
“My family, Chris Jericho and Fit Finlay.”
Featured image: Bleacher Report