Bumping, Running the ropes, cardio drills, basics, and repeat. This was now routine for the last month and a half, 5 days a week, 4 hours a day. I had heard rumors from previous Storm Wrestling Academy alumni that close to this time, a day was set aside known as “Chop Day” Was it just a rib to try to get a reaction? Was it real? Days would pass and we would hear through the grapevine “It’s more than likely going to be tomorrow or the day after”. Here is how I was wrapping up in Calgary.
Days had passed, nothing… Maybe it was talk… until one day we walked into class and Lance had an unusual smile on his face. We stretch, run cardio drills and some warm-ups. What are we going to learn today…. Damn it… today is the infamous “Chop Day”
So not only did we have to get shown how to throw a vicious chop. We had to practice it.. Before… the line. Now, what is the line? I’ll explain. One student stands in the corner, arms over the ropes. While every other student (and Lance) chops that student twice before we swap out. So now the reality has set in. Chop Day is for real and it’s happening now. I would assume that this would be the same sensation as working with Ric Flair in a broadway match haha at least that’s how our chests felt after. I managed to dig through some old emails and was lucky enough to find photos from the infamous day, enjoy and don’t mind my youthful goatee haha.
In the following weeks would get our first experience working in a Canadian Independent Promotion.
We traveled to Lethbridge, Alberta for PZW. Our role for the night would be to be event security escalating into breaking up a brawl between two wrestlers. I feel horrible for forgetting the names of the guys but multiple concussions will do that to you haha. All I can recall from the night as they were two big boys. I was keen for the segment but little did I know how strong the guy I was meant to be holding back was. I patiently waited for our spot which was around the middle of the show. It’s finally here, the promo going on and the exchange begins it’s time to intervene.
There are about three of us to one of the wrestlers each so I figured it seems like a safe situation, but this dude was one of the strongest guys I’ve ever met. I go to hold his arm back and he starts to fling us all around haha. SO what turned into an angle quickly became us shoot trying to contain these guys. I didn’t get “Injured” but I tweaked something in my shoulder and it was a pain in the ass training for the next week or two with the niggling injury but that’s the nature of the beast sometimes.
Being around the Calgary area during this time was awesome as there was so much talent.
We got the opportunity to be a part of Harry Smith’s going away party. Just networking and talking with so many talented people was awesome. Harry, Natty, and TJ all just got signed and were relocating to Florida so this was to celebrate their last few nights in Calgary. Big Raj (Known as Jinder Mahal now) Teddy Hart and some of Calgary’s top Independent wrestlers were all there, it’s amazing how much you can learn just by listening to other peoples stories and experiences.
The last couple of weeks’ worth of training mainly consisted of match/event practice. Every day we would work with another student then get the chance to have a match with Lance Storm. Lance liked to replicate what it was like on show day. We would all arrive at the school, warm up then sit down for the “Booking meeting” Lance would run through the match card, how much time we had, Who was babyface and heel, who was going over, then we would be left to our own devices until the “Show” began. Once the show started we would be crowd members while the matches would take place in the ring until it was our turn.
The day I got to work with Lance meant a lot to me.
It would be my first real test to see If i could hang with talents on a WWE level. Our match went really well and I learned so much just being in the ring with someone that talented.
As the school was vastly reaching its final weeks, I knew it would be important to start to try and find bookings. My goal after Canada was to tour the US before heading back home. I picked up some solid bookings and got on some shows with some legendary names, but the biggest challenge I was looking forward to was working with a guy named Erico. He was trained at Shawn Michael’s school and the promoters billed this as a really big deal as it would be a match between two of the top training schools in the world. I felt a lot of pressure carrying Lance’s names but was excited about the challenge. I secured bookings with the AWA, NWA and other independents and was all set to close my Canada chapter and open the door in the US.
My first booking was the last day of class which was more of a celebration. While sad I had to miss out on that I was excited about getting my first paid wrestling appearance. On my final day, It was surreal saying goodbye to Lance and all the other students who shared the last four months of my life with. I was dropped at the airport by a couple of fellow students. I waved them goodbye and with my bags all packed and about to fly to the USA… Or was I? Until next time… this is Shark Tales!