‘Cowboy’ James Storm reflects on a career in Impact
RealSport took part in Wednesday’s media conference call to ask James Storm’ about all things Impact as well as his brief time in NXT.
For this week’s Impact Wrestling media teleconference, RealSport was joined by ‘Cowboy’ James Storm. Over the course of the call, we discussed the 16 championships he has held in Impact Wrestling, his time with the WWE in NXT, his thoughts on current champ Eli Drake and much more.
Thanks for joining us today, Cowboy. How are things going for you?
James Storm: Man, it’s going great. I’m above dirt so it’s a good day; that’s what I always say.
What are your thoughts on Bound for Glory coming to Canada?
JS: You know, I say this every year and I mean it, this is one of the events that I look forward to. It’s one of those events where you can see a little extra pep in a guy’s step when they’re out there. When they’re in the back, getting ready to go out and perform, no matter what anyone says, they guys we have on our roster, they go out there and give it 110% to put on the best show that they can for the people watching it. Me, as a spectator, I still watch the show, especially if I’m on early, because I’m still a fan of professional wrestling. A lot of guys come up to me after their match and ask what they can work or what did I see and I give ’em my thoughts. That’s a cool thing; that the younger guys come up to me and ask my opinion on it. Everybody steps up. November 5th is gonna be no different, especially in Canada. We haven’t been up there in a while and it’s gonna be pretty crazy. Plus, a lot of Canadians drink a lot of beer.
Aside from the beer, what are you looking forward to in Canada?
JS: I’m looking forward to the crowd. We’ve been in the Impact Zone for a long time and just to see new faces out in the crowd. I always say, that’s when you find out who’s over and who’s not because there’s a lot of time in the Impact Zone where you get the same group of fans and they want to cheer this guy or that guy. When we start going on the road, that’s where creative can see ‘oh, this guy’s over and this guy’s not as much over’. Just going out and performing in front of a different crowd, I’ve performed in Canada a lot and I know how rowdy they can get. The louder the crowd is, to me, the more the adrenaline is pumping for the guys in the ring.
What do you think about the partnership with Noah and AAA?
JS: I think it’s great for everyone involved just because it gives more eyes on the talent that’s on the shows and you see matchups that you would never see. It helps out the guys even more and makes them step up their game because now they have to learn and adapt to different styles of wrestling. They can flip and flop all they want to, that’s fine with me, because they gotta land at some time and I’ll be there with a superkick for them.
The past and preferences
From a creative point of view, do you prefer working babyface or heel?
JS: If I was in creative, I’d always have me as a babyface because I’m one of the guys who can go out and talk. I always say to make a good babyface, you gotta be able to talk on the mic. A heel can get away with not really being able to talk that great. Y’know, I know how to go out there and interact with the crowd and I can go off script, play along and do whatever it takes to get the crowd into it. Me, I love being the babyface but I always tell everybody it’s so much easier to be the heel, especially nowadays, because it’s a lot easier to make people hate you than it is to like you, especially with social media and all that stuff.
What do you consider to be the differences between working singles and working in a tag team?
JS: Y’know I always tell people that the big difference between wrestling single and wrestling a tag team is the number of bumps that you take in the match. You kind cut them in half so you get longevity in your career. What a lot of people don’t know is that, before I joined the old TNA, I was wrestling five years by myself, doing a bunch of stuff on the independents and then WCW. When I came to TNA is when they stuck me in America’s Most Wanted. I’ve almost been a tag team wrestler the whole time at Impact. I’ve had singles runs here and there or whatever but when you go back to singles, you have to work on your cardio a lot more because you’re in the ring on your own the whole time instead of tagging in and out 50% of the time.
Do any of the Bound for Glory matches you’ve had stand out as a personal favourite?
JS: I would definitely have to say the 2012 match with Bobby Roode. That was the blowoff of our feud and it was actually supposed to have been for the World Title but stuff just kind got mixed around and I’m not worried about it. Me and Bobby just wanted to go out there and beat the hell out of each other. My best feuds have been with my ex-partners, even with Gunner. We just go out there and beat each other up and I think the better friends you are, the more you beat each other up.
Are you still in touch with Bobby Roode and what do you think of his success outside Impact?
JS: Yeah, I shoot him a text now and then. It ain’t like we’ll talk every day or even every week but I’ll text him and say congratulations because, y’know, that guy definitely has earned everything that he’s got coming to him. He proved what he proved here, that he can get in the ring with anyone and he can go on and make a living, which he’s doing. I wish him nothing but good luck.
What was your experience working with Montgomery Gentry and how did you feel about the passing of Troy Gentry?
JS: Troy was definitely a really good friend of mine and we had so much fun shooting that music video [for Longnecks and Rednecks]. My aunt was his personal assistant and that’s kinda how we met; we hit it off and became friends. Troy is one of those guys that nobody really had anything bad to say about him. He was a great guy and a great friend to everyone. I remember when we were shooting the music video down at this bar kinda close to my house, there were supposed to play the Grand Ole Opry later that night but we had drank so much whisky during the filming that they had to postpone the show for like an hour and a half to sober up a bit. That’s just one of the memories I had. There were so many times when if I needed someone to talk to, or whatever, I could call Troy no matter what time of the night or day it was and he’d always answer no matter what. He’ll definitely be missed by me.
Have you tried many popular English beers and which ones are your favourites?
JS: People always ask me everywhere I go, what’s your favourite type of beer and I give the same answer every time: a cold one. I have [tried some English beers] and especially when I’m over there with Bram or Magnus. I really can’t tell you which is which or which one’s my favourite because I always leave the ordering up to them and they’ll bring back a pint of beer and a shot of Jack Daniels. I can definitely tell the difference because it’s thicker over in the UK than it is in the US.
Was having Bobby Roode win the Championship only to have you take it on the subsequent show always the plan or was that a last minute decision?
JS: How it was all explained to me was a last minute decision. I thought Bobby was supposed to be going over on Kurt at the show and I was watching the match and I wondered what happened. It just got changed at the last second and then the next day at TV is when they told me that we were gonna do a deal where ‘we’re just gonna put the belt on you’ or whatever. I was like ‘Alright, let’s do it, cool’. It hit both me and hit out of the blue because it changed so fast at a split second but being the professionals we are, it doesn’t really bother us, we just roll with the punches and just keep going.
What influenced your decision to leave NXT and go back to Impact?
JS: A lot of people say it was money and all this but it wasn’t; it was basically a family thing. I sat down and I had a talk with Hunter and I knew I’d be on the road a lot more with NXT because Hunter was telling me they were going to run about 100-125 shows the next two years. My wife wanted to have another kid but she had to do shots and I had to be at home a lot more so it was just a decision of ‘do I go and live this crazy dream of wrestling in the WWE?’ or ‘do I stay home and help my wife?’ At the end of the day, I decided that my family is really important to me and thank God everything worked out the way it did. We’ve got a healthy baby boy that’s eight months old so we’re good to go.
You worked extensively against the Broken Hardys. What did you think of the gimmick and the programme you worked with them?
JS: Anytime I can get in the ring with Matt and Jeff is fun because they’re so over. It doesn’t really matter what happens in the match, the crowd’s gonna be excited and have fun. I think we could have gotten more out of our Death Crew Council and Hardy angle but that is what it is, no use crying over the past. Anytime I can get in the ring with those guys it’s a blast. They’re two of my favourite guys to wrestle with. Whether I was a good guy wrestling evil Matt or a bad guy wrestling ‘The Enigma’ Jeff Hardy, it’s always fun.
A Cowboy’s future
Is there anything left that you still want to accomplish in your career going forward?
JS: I’m having fun. So many people get wrapped up in titles and championships and I always say that’s fine and dandy but when I go to the bank, they don’t ask me if I’m a champion; that’s what I tell a lot of guys. I’ve pretty much done it all here at Impact so I just gotta step back and see what I wanna do next. There are some other things I want to accomplish in wrestling and I’m not sure I can talk about it right now, hint hint, but there’s still a lot of places I’d love to wrestle – Australia, Brazil – those are definitely two spots I wanna wrestle before I finish up. I still got a long ways to go before I finish up.
There are several performers who use the superkick multiple times in a match. Do you think that it devalues the superkick?
JS: If they wanna do it, that’s up to them. They’ve made money of it; other people do it, that’s fine. When I’m in a match with someone it only gets used once. I always say, they can knock people with theirs but I knock people out. You didn’t see Shawn Michaels throwing four, five, six superkicks in a match… Shawn protected it and I’ve been using it for 15 years. Any time I’m in the ring, I try to protect it as well.
What are your thoughts on Eli Drake as World Champion?
JS: Props to Eli Drake. He’s accomplished a lot in the short time he’s been here. He runs around like he’s too good for anyone and I proved before when we fought over the Global Title, he’s gonna get in the ring with the wrong person and they’re gonna shut him up. He’s just one of those guys that rubs guys the wrong way. They don’t know how to take him. I do have to give credit to him; he’s an amazing athlete and an amazing performer in the ring.
Could we see you becoming World Champion again?
JS: As I already said, there’s some things I’m not sure I can talk about it right now.
If you were running Impact, what would you do to bring casual fans back to the product?
JS: First of all, I would start having tiers again. To me, we don’t have the John Cena, Roman Reigns or something like that. At Impact, it seems like they try to make everybody on the same level and, being in the business 20 years, I’ve never had it be like that. Even on independent shows, you have the undercard and you have the main event the undercard is trying to work towards. It seems like at Impact everybody is fighting for every title. Growing up, I watched Bret Hart and Mr. Perfect wrestle for the Intercontinental belt all the time while you had Hulk Hogan and those guys doing the heavyweight stuff. Once Hogan and them moved out, you had Bret move up and other guys came in and started wrestling for the IC Title. I think it needs to go back toward that a little bit.
Would you like to see James Storm get another World Title run? Join the discussion in the comment section below!