For eight days late last year, James Storm held the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
His dream of a long championship reign was ended not by a rival, but by his best friend and tag team partner Bobby Roode.
With one smashed beer bottle to the skull, Storm’s aspirations were ended and a rivalry was born.
Now, the former best friends will finally meet again Sunday at Lockdown as Roode defends his TNA World Heavyweight Championship against Storm inside of a steel cage at Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn.
For Storm, this could be a make-or-break match for him. A win could launch him and his singles career into superstardom. A loss could come back to haunt him. Storm, though, disagrees with that notion.
“I don’t know if it’s make-or-break match,” Storm said Wednesday on a conference call. “But it’s one of those things where it just seems, when you’re getting out of a tag team, everybody is just looking for something to kind of say bad about you. My job is to go out and entertain these fans and wrestle the best match that I can. This is a very important match to me and also Bobby Roode. At the end of the day, I don’t think this is a make-or-break match.”
The last month or so has been rough for Storm. He underwent a procedure to remove some bone chips from his ankle, information he revealed on Twitter, but he told SLAM! Wrestling during the call that he also underwent surgery on his liver and kidneys, which is why he was wearing a shirt during his recent television matches.
“I had a bruise on the outside of my liver,” Storm said. “Not from drinking. I asked the doctor if this was from drinking, but he said it would be on the inside (if it was). … Blood was leaking in and I was peeing the blood out and they had it put a splint on my kidney, as well. I had wires sticking out of me, but I had to keep going.”
He noted that everything is “fine and dandy” right now.
Storm has taken the time to mentally prepare himself for what he expects to be a brutal match inside the now four sides of steel.
“You know you’re going to get beat up,” Storm said. “You get thrown up against it, the metal doesn’t do too well against your flesh. Plus, the TNA cage, I think it’s built inside-out. The rivets are welded on the inside instead of the outside, so when you hit it, you hit one of those rivets, it dings you up pretty good.”
When it comes down to it, Storm is proud to represent the TNA originals, as he has been with the company since day one, starting with America’s Most Wanted. Now he’s one of the sole survivors. Sunday at Lockdown is his chance to prove he belongs.
“I’ve been here since day one and I’ve seen the ups and downs, people come in and leave,” Storm said. “When I had chances to go different places, I chose to stay here because I believed in the company. I saw people get pushed ahead of me who I didn’t think deserved it, but I stuck with it and I put my time in here and guys like me, Bobby Roode, AJ Styles, Kazarian, it’s time to show the world what we have.”