Where Are They Now? Lance Storm

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June 26, 2012

World Tag Team Champions Christian and Lance Storm

Smoky Mountain tried to build up Storm and Jericho as two young, fun-loving guys. Music videos were produced to create hype for The Thrillseekers, but it didn’t seem to click for Lance.

“It was fun doing them, but I always felt out of place,” he said. “We’re supposed to be these wild and crazy, outgoing party guys, which wasn’t me.”

Nonetheless, Storm and Jericho’s high-octane offense in the ring made up for any shortcomings in the music videos. The Thrillseekers wowed crowds across Appalachia until an unfortunate injury sidelined Jericho. Storm branched out as a singles competitor, capturing SMW’s Television Championship before leaving in 1995.

Storm returned to Japan before heading back to the States to enter a new land: The Land of the Extreme. Despite being one of the most clean-cut sports-entertainers in history, Storm found he fit in well with the wild ways of the extreme combatants.

“I was certainly the exception, not the rule in ECW,” Storm joked. “For the first year, I was coming in once a month to do the [ECW] Arena show between Japan gigs, so I was just flying in and flying out.”

He continued, "By the time I was full-time, I kind of established myself. People realized I did my own thing.”

Storm says his early years in ECW were formative in his growth as a performer. He spent most of them competing with and against a friend he’d met in Smoky Mountain, Chris Candido. The cocky combatant was a perfect foil for the serious Storm. He and Candido captured the ECW Tag Team Titles, but were often on the verge of losing them because of their incessant in-fighting. In fact, most of their title defenses were followed up by one-on-one bouts between the two. (WATCH)

“We had the best of both worlds,” Storm said. “We both loved working so hard that wrestling twice a night with each other was a good thing. I think it was instrumental in my career.”

After ending things with Candido, Storm teamed with Justin Credible and picked up two tag team title reigns. But by mid-2000, Storm began to see the writing on the wall for ECW.

“Guys were having checks bounced,” he recalled. “I had a couple, but I basically told Paul that if I had another one, I’m gone. Then they showed up on time and cleared every week, but I realized the company was in trouble.”

With a wife and child at home and another on the way, Storm began looking elsewhere for work. WCW came calling and Storm jumped ship, quickly becoming a top name in WCW during summer 2000. He captured the Cruiserweight (WATCH), the Hardcore (WATCH) and the United States Championships (WATCH) within a month of his debut. Storm was one of the most reviled competitors in the Atlanta-based organization, but before Storm could take the next step and go for the WCW Title, the rug was pulled out from under the entire company.

“I don’t think anybody really knew the end was coming because the story kept changing,” Storm said, describing the mood as WCW drew closer and closer to shutting down. “I think everyone thought it would go on forever.”

He said things seemed on solid footing when Turner executives gathered the talent together and informed them that a company led by Eric Bischoff would be buying the company and that Bischoff would be running things in the interim. Still, rumors persisted that WWE might be putting in a bid for WCW. So, Storm and most of his compatriots didn’t stake much in what they were being told.

“I really didn’t believe anything until we showed up in Panama City Beach, Fla., [for the last Monday Nitro] and there were WWE trucks in the parking lot,” Storm said.

Once WWE’s purchase of WCW was complete, Storm was part of a select group of competitors that were brought over in the deal. The Canadian Superstar would go on to make history May 28, 2001, when he was the first WCW star to appear on Monday Night Raw, flooring Perry Saturn with a superkick before disappearing into his hometown Calgary crowd.

The enormity of the situation didn’t even hit Storm at the time.

“I was just really terrified that the crowd wouldn’t know who I was before it was over,” he said. “I hadn’t wrestled in Calgary in more than a decade … If I didn’t get a pop in my hometown, I was dead.”

Thankfully, the crowd recognized him, putting Storm on good footing at the start of his WWE career.

Though the WCW/ECW Invasion fizzled out by the tail end of 2001, Storm established himself as a solid competitor and earned the respect of the WWE locker room. He went on to form successful tag teams with Christian and William Regal, earning multiple World Tag Team Championships along the way.

“I loved teaming with Lance," Regal said of his time with Storm. "It’s hard to get a team that worked as well as we did. We just worked perfectly together, with my entertainment skills and his being able to keep up completely in his own way.”

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