The Professional 3 10.27.13: Lance Storm's WCW Triple Crown
Posted by Jon Harder on 10.27.2013
411's Jon Harder, on the spurs of last week's column, talks about Lance Storm's WCW Triple Crown and the Canadian rechristening of three championship belts. Could I be serious for a minute...
WELCOME EVERYONE to another edition of the Professional 3 on 411mania.com! I'm Jon Harder and YET another exciting week in the world of pro wrestling. With Hell in a Cell on the horizon for tonight, I'm finally excited to see (hopefully) a new WWE champion after tonight. And after all of the talk last week about the Gimmicky championships and stipulations column, I was hoping to branch off onto a new topic this week. Surprisingly, a comment on the bottom of last week's P3 really opened my eyes to this week's topic. If I can be serious for a minute...
Before we go any further, check out this week's Hardway Podcast on TheJonHarder.com with B-Sizzle: THE DECISION! As I have alluded to on previous P3's, B-Sizzle is my little brother and after being fired two weeks before by my girlfriend the Barb, who happens to be the Chairwoman of the show, B-Sizzle got like LeBron James and received several offers to join other podcasts. Due to badgering from Sizzle's badgering from certain representatives (My Mom and Dad), Sizzle got to explore these offers and more on this week's show. Check it out. Follow B-Sizzle on Twitter at @BSizzle97.
Also, follow me on Twitter at @TheJonHarder. I like plugging my assorted projects, posting useless photos, and ranting and raving about a New York baseball team. It's good fun.
Now, onto this week's column. As I alluded to in a previous writing of the P3, I read all feedback on the bottom of my columns. Positive or negative, I read it all. It furthers my drive to continuously writing this column. It's my muse during the week. So when I read one comment from this week's coming regarding around the end result of last week's manifestation, I genuinely had a light bulb go off in my brain.
And not technically new titles, but Lance Storm's streak of WCW title renaming? - James M. Fabiano
BINGO! Mr. Fabiano hit on a great point. I don't normally take suggestions for columns, but that definitely was a fantastic idea to touch upon. And since this is the Professional 3, where obscure wrestling memories live on, I decided to jump at the opportunity to go after this topic.
Lance Storm made his name as a true throwback in the sport of wrestling. Training in the Hart Family Wrestling School in 1990, Storm made his way the old-fashioned way: traveling through territory after territory, picking up different styles and formats wherever he went. Whether it was CWA in Europe, Wrestling and Romance (WAR) in Japan, the Death Tours in Northern Canada, Smoky Mountain in the states, or ECW in South Philadelphia, Storm really plied his trade and paid his dues through the realms of professional wrestling. Although Storm ultimately made his way to the WWF in May 2001, it was a year earlier in which Lance Storm received the biggest push of his career in the loving arms of World Championship Wrestling.
Debuting in WCW a few weeks after leaving ECW in late May at Hardcore Heaven 2000, Lance Storm was invading shows coming through the crowd and attacking random WCW wrestlers at will. Originally, it was rumored that he would be starting a team with Billy Kidman, but after dominating Kidman in a singles match on Nitro, Storm's true intentions were unveiled: to display Canadian values into the American WCW.
Almost immediately, Lance Storm got a genuine chance to make an impact in WCW. On July 18, 2000, the Cat, WCW Commissioner at the time, stripped Scott Steiner of his United States championship due to issues revolving around Steiner and WCW management. The Cat, thinking quick on his feet, decided to make an 8-man tournament on an edition of Monday Nitro. Although all done within a two hour broadcast, Storm used this moment to step up and make one of the greatest runs in WCW history, using three weeks to win three of WCW's singles championships: The United States, the Hardcore, and Cruiserweight championships.
There are two different sides to every story when it comes to this push of Lance Storm's hat trick in WCW in 2000. According to StormWrestling.com and Lance's official biography, it states:
I got a big push almost right from the start courtesy in a large part to Johnny Ace who joined the company, on the creative end, about the same time that I did. With Johnny's All Japan influences he was a big proponent of wrestling and saw potential in me. Vince Russo who didn't give a rat's @$$ about wrestling didn't see as much. On what I am told now was a bit of a bet done in spite Johnny took creative control of my character and proceeded to give me a large push capturing the WCW US, Hardcore, and Cruiser Weight Titles. The three titles along with my Pro-Canada, Anti-American character is the biggest push I've received to date
Vince Russo, however, disagrees. In his Timeline: WCW 2000 DVD released with Kayfabe Commentaries states the Triple Crown push was HIS idea and wonders why "10 years later, [he] still cuts promos on a guy who put three belts on [him]". Bottom line, despite the controversy on who decided to put Lance Storm in that situation, it still ranks up there as one of the greatest months in a singles wrestler's career on mainstream television.
Lance Storm not only won those championships in the ring; he made them relevant once again. In a time period in WCW where the championships looked like jokes when it came to prestige and honor, Lance Storm came in, as a pro-Canadian athlete, and gave meaning to the three midcard championships. He renamed them and decorated them in their own special way. He rechristened them in Canadian glory. It made American wrestlers want to fight for each individual championship and most of all, bring them back to their natural state and look and style. Lance Storm truly made waves in WCW during the summer of 2000 and, for a short time, was the "Perfect Storm".
This week on the P3, I will discuss the three championships Lance won and rechristened and show the ultimate meaning that Storm gave behind them. It truly is remarkable and I can't wait to give the 411 audience this week's edition.
Without further hesitation...
THE PROFESSIONAL 3: Lance Storm's WCW Triple Crown
1) THE CANADIAN CHAMPIONSHIP
On July 18, 2000, in the finals of the one-night WCW United States championship tournament, Storm outlasted former WCW World Tag Team champions Buff Bagwell and Shane Douglas in the first two rounds, and then made Mike Awesome, the Career Killer, tap out to the Canadian Mapleleaf to win the tournament and the belt. The following Thunder, Lance Storm discussed his Canadian heritage and how much he was sickened by the American way of life. Storm proceeded to take a sticker, and in the biggest disgrace (to American fans) of the United States championship, placed it over the image of the United States. On it read "LANCE STORM - CANADIAN". That night, the Canadian championship was born.
The biggest moment in the history of the Canadian championship was at New Blood Rising in Vancouver, B.C. on August 13, 2000. In front of a packed Canadian house, Lance Storm, with help from Canadian referee Jacques Rougeau, and the handy-dandy Canadian rulebook, defeated Mike Awesome in a US Championship Tournament Final rematch. After hearing the Canadian fan base explode in happiness, the biggest Canadian hero of all came out. Bret Hart gave Lance his props and, at least in WCW, passed the torch to Lance Storm and the Canadian championship. An all time classic moment in the realm of WCW and a great moment in the Canadian championship.
2) THE SASKATCHEWAN HARDCORE INTERNATIONAL TITLE
July 25, 2000 was another exciting day for all Canadian athletes everywhere. In the midst of his "Perfect Storm", Lance Storm challenged any wrestler in the locker room for a fight on Monday Nitro. Out walked Big Vito, the WCW Hardcore champion. Vito, who was as tough as they come in WCW 2000, took Storm on his offer for a Canadian championship match. However, Storm made a counter-offer. If the Canadian championship was on the line, then so was the Hardcore championship. Title for title, as they say on the streets. Vito accepted, and the match was under way. After a hard fought battle, Storm caught Vito in the Canadian Mapleleaf and tapped him out. Storm officially had two championships in WCW.
Now, there is a bit of speculation regarding the rechristening of the Hardcore championship. Some say it was scheduled to be named the "Stu Hart Invitational Title", but WCW was not able to secure the rights to the Stu name. Instead, Lance took a different route and renamed it the "Saskatchewan Hardcore International Title". Named after a Province in Canada, Storm made the title under Canadian rules, which meant technical wrestling only. Even though the S.H.I.T. lasted a short time in WCW, it had a famed moment, when Storm actually defeated Vito under the Canadian rules in the return bout for the championship. Nonetheless, this belt totally was the S.H.I.T.! See what I did there?
July 31, 2000 was the date Lance Storm went into the record books. Already the holder of two championships, Storm went one on one with the Cruiserweight champion Lt. Loco of the Misfits in Action, who you might actually know as Chavo Guerrero. After taking advantage of the apparent knee injury Loco had suffered, Storm locked on the Mapleleaf and won himself his third singles championship. As Mark Madden stated, the "Perfect Storm" was complete.
The following Thunder, Storm, due to the pathetic nature of Americans disregarding the Metric System, renamed the Cruiserweight championship the 100 Kilos & Under championship. Utterly brilliant. Storm then went and defended the belt that night against Juventeud Guerrera and made him tap. Lance Storm truly personified the 100 Kilos and Under championship. Storm, by the way, was a shade over 100 kilos, at 106.594, but WCW management obviously never weighed Storm properly, thus our inept usage of the Metric System continued.
After New Blood Rising, Lance Storm realized that he could not be selfish with holding three belts, thus the next night on Nitro, he handed Elix Skipper, his friend who played in the Canadian Football League, the 100 Kilos and Under championship, and Carl Outlette, the former Pierre of the Quebecers, his S.H.I.T., and allowed them to defend the championships on behalf of Lance Storm. Outlette lost the belt THAT NIGHT to Screamin' Norman Smiley, while Skipper lost the 100 Kilos and Under championship to Mike Sanders two months later in a handicap 'You Must Hit the Powerbomb Before You Get the Pinfall' match, when Kevin Nash powerbombed Skipper and threw Sanders on top. A back and forth exchange with General Rection over the Canadian Championship ended poorly for Lance Storm at WCW Mayhem 2000, and OFFICIALLY, the "Perfect Storm" ended.
Although this whole thing lasted 3 months with all the Canadian branded championships in WCW, diehard wrestling fans will never forget this memorable angle with Lance Storm. It was the highlight of his career, in this writer's opinion. And even in the dying days in WCW, this idea was the truly the "Perfect Storm". And yes, I am deadly serious.