Taking the tag-team world by Storm
You could call James Storm a TNA Original. You’d be right in more ways than one.
“That’s me in real life, man. That ain’t no role. That’s me in real life. Drinking my beer and beating people up,” said Storm, one-half of the TNA world tag-team champions as Beer Money Inc. with Robert Roode.
Beer Money Inc. will defend the titles against The Latin American Xchange Friday night at a TNA live event at the John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville. It will be TNA’s first appearance at JPJ, which opened in 2006 with a WWE “Monday Night Raw” show as one of its first live events.
Storm has been with TNA since its inception in 2002, back before the company founded by Jeff and Jerry Jarrett had a TV presence or even much more than monthly shows in Huntsville, Ala., and Nashville. “We went from there to Fox SportsNet and then to Spike, and now we’re traveling all over the world,” said Storm, a 12-year ring veteran who had previous runs as a tag-team champ with Chris Harris as America’s Most Wanted before teaming up with Roode last year.
And the product has grown with the travel schedule and the crowds. From Jeff Jarrett and a group of up-and-comers like Storm and Harris and A.J. Styles and Christopher Daniels, now the TNA roster includes names like Kurt Angle and Booker T and Kevin Nash and Sting. As Storm said, “I’d hate to be the writers trying to get everybody on TV.” But in the locker room, “We’re all on the same team. The new guys are actually helping the young guys out,” Storm said. “They didn’t come in and try to be all cocky and all that. They came in and wanted to make this company the best that it can be and be competition to the WWE,” Storm said.
Working with the legends has also pushed Storm to want to raise his game. “To me, I haven’t even really started. Everybody that’s seen me has seen me as a tag-team wrestler. They haven’t seen what I can do singles. My career really hasn’t started yet to me,” said Storm, who admits that he wants to break out of tag teams eventually to make his mark as a singles wrestler. “That’s what every wrestler wants to be when he starts out,” Storm said. “I’ve made a great name as a tag-team wrestler. After it’s all said and done, I want people to be able to say, He could wrestle with anybody as a partner, you could put him in the ring with anybody, and he could make it work. And I want to do the same thing as a singles wrestler. I want people to be able to say the same thing about me as a singles wrestler.”
In the meantime, though, there are worse things than being asked to carry the responsibility of tag-team champ for a company with the increasing name cache of TNA. “It makes you feel good that they believe in you enough to put the belts on you, especially the long period of time that me and Robert has had it, and the time I’ve had it my whole career in TNA, that they trust me, and they want me to be the face of their tag-team division. It’s one of those things where you go out and you have to conduct yourself in a professional manner,” Storm said.
The next step for the company that Storm has spent seven years helping to build is achieving the level of name recognition that the WWE enjoys. “We’re building our fan base by doing more house shows and going overseas and doing more things so people can start to realize what TNA is,” Storm said. “You can talk to anybody even if they’re not a wrestling fan, and they’ll know what the WWE is, just because it’s been around so long. TNA is still new. It’s only been around seven years. We have to make people realize that, Hey, there’s another wrestling company besides WWE that you might actually think is better,” Storm said.
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– Story by Chris Graham