Details, details. It has been rumored for quite some time that Lance Storm was going to be jumping ship from ECW to WCW, but no one knew exactly when, or why, outside of monetary concerns. Details are what was lacking.
Well, details we have for you, and plenty of them, as Lance Storm has gone on record with SLAM! Wrestling as to why he made his big jump.
“WCW presented some interesting things, with a new direction and new people I was interested in working with, as well as a better money offer. I don’t think there’s anything Paul (Heyman, ECW owner) could have done different. I don’t think he could afford to offer me more money, and I don’t think there’s anything more creatively he could have offered me either,” said the Calgary, Alberta, Canada native.
Storm continued: “I pretty much made the decision that I was going there the week between our Minneapolis and New York shows, whatever week that was; about two weeks ago I guess.”
While figures on his deal weren’t disclosed, Storm did say that they agreed upon the terms of a three-year contract, which has been signed, and that negotiations were relatively simple and smooth. All he has to do now is wait for his debut, something which, because of the relative speed of his WCW deal, has yet to be hammered out, including if their will be any directional changes in his character.
“I don’t know as yet. It’s certainly a possibility, but we haven’t gotten into that detail. Really, up until today I couldn’t really enter into an agreement, so we’re just starting really. I’m assuming they’ve got some plans already, but I haven’t discussed anything with them as far as character or direction yet.”
That doesn’t mean Storm doesn’t have any ideas of his own.
“Well, I certainly would like to keep relatively the same. I’d like to keep the Calgary thing the same, and so forth. I’m open to anything, though. I’m curious to see what Vince Russo has to say. He seems to be the creative mind of their team, I’m kind of curious to see what they come up with.”
Of course, with all the various ECW alumni that have gone through, or are still a part of the WCW roster, it’s only natural rumours would float around, pairing Storm with Chris Candido and such. And how does Storm feel about that?
“I think that’s just fans assuming,” Storm stated. “I don’t think that’s the direction. If it is, then so be it. I’ll live with whatever they put me with. I wouldn’t want to necessarily do that just because I’ve done it already. I would really like to do something new; a new company, a new chance. I would like to do something I haven’t done already. I love working with Chris, he’s great, but I’ve worked with him already in Smokey (Mountain Wrestling), I’ve worked with him in ECW. The two companies I’ve worked with in the States already had me work with Chris; I don’t necessarily want to do it three times in a row.”
Then, of course, there could be the “dream” feud, with Storm finding a natural opponent in Bret Hart — both from Calgary, yet one obviously a member of the current Millionaires Club angle, and the other one fitting in perfectly for the New Blood.
“Well, that’s the obvious one,” Storm said, “especially if they want to do the Millionaire’s Club/New Blood thing. That’s certainly an easy possibility, although with Bret’s future in question, as far as working and so forth, I’m sure they have other plans for him. I would certainly kill for the chance to work with the guy; I could learn so much just from being around him.”
And others Storm would like to work with?
“Just the obvious ones — the Flairs, the Hogans, just so you could say you did. There’s a lot of guys I look forward to working with, like Booker or Sting. They’ve got a lot of guys that would be interesting. I find when you’re in one company for a very long time you work with everybody there. Now, there’s just so many to work with, with having to wrestle different ways, different styles, pretty much anybody on the roster would be interesting to work with. I’d like to work with [Fit] Finlay again — I worked with him in Europe and loved it. He’s a good worker, and he’ll wrestle like crazy if you let him.”
Of course, with every hope and new idea that comes with going to a new job, there are also other things to deal with. Now you’re at the bottom of the pecking order, or have to work through a roster that has wrestlers way more over in the public eye than you ever were in your previous company. Storm says he’ll do pretty much whatever the creative minds of WCW ask, but there are definitely things he wouldn’t be too happy about, like being placed in the cruiserweight division.
“I wouldn’t be all that happy, but I certainly wouldn’t balk,” Storm admitted. “I’m not going to start complaining my first week in. That would be disappointing, from my end, if they didn’t put in a whole lot of creative effort in it, and left me as a cruiserweight. I think I’m physically bigger than that. I think with my height, and my weight, I don’t think I should be a cruiserweight. If that was the be all, end all, of their intent with me I would be disappointed.”
He’s not extremely eager to tangle up in WCW’s hardcore division either. While Storm says he likes hardcore, it has its place in wrestling, but not the extent that the viewer sees it today.
“I don’t know if it’s over saturated, but I do think it’s done a little too much. I liked it better when the hardcore stuff was around a feud, not just ‘This is a hardcore match just for the sake of being hardcore.’ Personally, I liked it when a feud got to a certain point, back when Funk and Flair did the “I Quit,” that’s when you start doing the hardcore stuff. When it’s a feud turned into a fight; when it can’t be settled just by wrestling. That’s where I prefer the hardcore stuff, as opposed to ‘Ladies and gentleman: This is a hardcore match – They’re going to beat each other to death.’ I preferred it when it was wrapped around a story line, than it was just for the sake of having it.”
Storm also admitted the reason why he joined WCW, as opposed from fielding any serious interest from the WWF, was because it had the best potential for career growth. ECW, without a better TV deal or more viewers, wasn’t going to get Storm in the public eye, and the WWF has too many “over” stars for Storm to be given any serious amount of camera time, which is why he says he thought WCW would be a great fit. A company gaining ground, albeit slowly, but with enough potential for him to profit from it, both financially and publicly.
There are the naysayers that ask about Storm’s status in the ECW locker room. Rumoured to be the equivalent to Tommy Dreamer in the eyes of Heyman, Storm had booking status and creative input in ECW. Many say he won’t get that same opportunity now, and Storm concurs.
“I wouldn’t imagine so right now. I would love to, but I don’t see that being a possibility, just with the experience depth in their locker room. I am nowhere near experienced enough to be giving direction to 99% of their locker room. In ECW it was different because they were guys who were at my experience level, or less. But when you look at guys like Flair, like Hogan, who have been in this business for a long time, they’re certainly not going to be taking any direction from me, nor should they. I would be quite happy if Vince Russo or Eric Bischoff would allow me at least some degree of input as far as what they’re going to do with me, but I certainly don’t expect anybody else to be listening to my ideas.”
He doesn’t think his future as a booker or a creative force has necessarily come to a pre-mature end either though. “It’s something I have a whole pile of interest in, and I would love to do it. If I could manage to get myself comfortable and long term in that company I would like to start developing more and more creative input. If they allow that, I would love it.”
Storm didn’t really pass along any parting words to his friends in ECW, in the interview, but he did state that some things could be looking up for the company, and just because stars leave, doesn’t mean you should count them out.
“I think if they [ECW] end up going to USA [Network] it could end up being a huge thing. I think with the influx of the money that would probably come with it, and the promotion that USA would put behind it, I can see them growing a lot — if they get the USA deal. If they don’t, well, I haven’t seen TNN put a whole lot of effort forward yet. If TNN doesn’t change what they do I don’t see the company growing in huge strides. They may slowly grow as they have been, but I think the big breakthrough for the company would be USA.”
For his parting comments, Storm seems to have bought into WCW’s “We Can Win” attitude, and says the gap between his new company and the WWF monster isn’t as insurmountable as people think.
“I think anything is possible. It’s just way too hard to predict from my end, especially when I haven’t even been there to see how things are run. It’s certainly possible; there’s certainly enough bodies and talent there. If they get the intriguing story lines going it’s certainly possible. They did it once and it can be done again.”