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Where Are They Now? Glacier, Part Two
With Ted Turner’s billions behind him, Eric Bischoff went all out with the Glacier concept, hiring a special effects studio to create elaborate ring gear and an entrance that was so complex it was rumored to have cost six figures to produce.
“The entrance was obviously really cool, but I didn’t embrace it at first, because why did I get this?” Lloyd admitted.
Debuting after months of cryptic vignettes that teased his big reveal (WATCH), Glacier received a tepid response considering the time and money that had been put into the presentation. Still, WCW forged ahead with the ninja as he battled Wrath, Mortis and their sinister manager James Vandenberg at many of the company’s major pay-per-view events in 1997. (WATCH | PHOTOS)
“At first, people didn’t know what to make of it,” Lloyd remembered. “But I think they really learned to respect the effort we were putting into what we were doing — especially the other wrestlers.”
Lloyd and company tried hard to make it work, but the fact of the matter was this — Glacier was the sports-entertainment equivalent of starting a hair metal band in the same year that Nirvana hit. It was just bad timing. In 1997, when Lloyd received his biggest exposure with WCW, ”Stone Cold” Steve Austin was flipping the bird on national television, and The New World Order were pulling back the curtain and revealing the inner workings of the sports-entertainment industry.
The fans wanted realism and they were unwilling to accept a guy from Georgia as a mysterious karate master from Japan. The over-the-top personas that did shine during this time — Kane, The Undertaker, even WCW’s Sting — were dark, dangerous competitors. The days of larger-than-life cartoon good guys had been put to rest when Duke “The Dumpster” Droese hung up his garbage can, and Lloyd realized that.
“Ideally, I would have liked to see what it would have done about two years earlier,” he admitted. “It might have been more of what I think Eric had envisioned it being.”
Still, although Glacier didn’t live up to the initial hype, the persona endured. Lloyd remained a fixture on the company’s mid-card shows like “Thunder” and “Saturday Night” up until it was acquired by WWE in 2001. Yet instead of invading Raw with many of WCW’s other competitors, he opted to head back into the classroom.
“It was my decision, but it was one of the hardest things I ever had to do,” Lloyd said. “It’s the most unbelievable feeling in the world to stand in the ring and know the people are cheering for you. I think a lot of guys really don’t ever want to let go of that, but you should be versatile enough to walk through another chapter of your life after wrestling.”
Although he stopped competing fulltime at this point, Lloyd continued to appear as Glacier in Dusty Rhodes’ Georgia-based Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling on weekends. During the week, he’d pass The American Dream’s son Cody in the hallways of Lassiter High School, where Lloyd taught physical education and coached the lacrosse squad.
“He actually built a national championship lacrosse team without having any lacrosse experience himself,” Cody Rhodes revealed. “He was just a really motivating guy.”
Eventually, Lloyd left teaching to pursue his interests in entertainment. A working actor, the former WCW star has appeared in hit television shows like “Burn Notice” and “Meet the Browns” as well as various independent films. When he's not on set, Lloyd oversees production for Maus Media Group, a Florida-based advertising and marketing agency. (PHOTOS)
"We’re doing anything from a small informational video up to a full-blown infomercial for small businesses up to a corporate level clients," Lloyd said. "Some of our accounts include Sears Home Services, and we just signed with Harley Davidson."
The man once known as Glacier still dons his battle armor every now and again — mostly for charity shows, he said. It's a persona Lloyd is proud of despite some of the criticism it has received. Often cited as one of sports-entertainment’s biggest busts, Glacier was featured prominently in a photo gallery on this very website entitled "Forgettable Competitors of WCW." (PHOTOS) The backlash isn’t targeted at Lloyd, though. More than anything, it’s focused on the careless spending and misguided concepts that plagued WCW. Either way, Ray Lloyd stands by what he accomplished.
"Was it everything I really wanted to be and envisioned it to be? No, but I don’t know any wrestler whose career turned out exactly how they wanted it," Lloyd said. "I always try to concentrate on the positive instead of the negative. I had a great run with a great bunch of guys. I’m extremely thankful for that."
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