Wrestler James Storm has a couple of things to do while he’s in Ireland this week. First, he says he wants to enjoy “some good Guinness”. And second on his agenda is the matter of taking on an Englishman named Magnus in a wrestling showdown for the TNA World Heavyweight title.
He achieved his first goal the night he arrived in Dublin (that was easy). He hopes to get the second job done tomorrow tonight in the National Arena.
James Storm – who is of Irish heritage – is familiar with Irish history, but admits: “I didn't realise how deep it ran until someone briefed me on one of my first visits here and now I'm fighting an Englishman in Dublin? It's great!” He also has some distant Irish heritage in his blood – maybe that’s what gives him his fighting spirit?
Storm used to watch the Calgary Tapes and was inspired by Bret 'The Hitman' Hart, Owen Hart, Mr Perfect and other wrestling legends. When I point out that quite a number of the wrestler mentioned have since passed away, Storm doesn't flinch.
“That's something I don't generally think about,” he says. “I don't visit my buddies in the hospitals because it reminds me of what might happen.”
But James Storm is a seasoned veteran of the sport and is fully aware that had he chosen football or basketball, the risk remains the same: “You can get hurt playing any sport and it is just a risk that comes with my occupation.” But the mention of Calgary Tapes and Stu Hart's Wrestling Dungeon bring a smile to Storm's face.
“Back then it wasn't what it is now,” he says, “it was more the art of wrestling and now there are so many different angles.”
While you might think that some of the dialogue is scripted in wrestling, James admits that “they just let me go out and do my thing; it's not something I was trained in and I was always a really good trash talker so it came naturally and I really enjoy it.”
When it comes to storylines, he enjoys the fact that the TNA creative team listen to his ideas and take what he has to say on board. The fact that Storm has been there since day one certainly holds some weight when it comes to how he is perceived by TNA officials and the fans, whose opinion doesn’t affect him.
“I don't generally read what is said in the media, good or bad, it's what we call 'rollin' with the punches' in the business.”
Storm's recent feud with Gunner was perceived as "heel-like" and Storm says it is something that he is willing to develop and is looking to maybe change his character in the coming months: “I have been doing the same stage act for a while now and maybe it's time for a change.” For now, in Ireland, he is a hero and looks forward to entertaining the Dublin crowd in the National Arena and “enjoying a few beers afterwards with the fans because they are incredible”.
As for the injuries, his voice started to trail off when he mentioned the body parts that he has injured, including a shredded shoulder, broken ribs and three concussions, one of which "took me out for quite a while and took me a long time to recover from", but James Storm, again, reminds us that pain is something he fully accepts as part of his job.
Storm doesn't foresee his wrestling career ending any time soon and despite the fact that he has some reality TV appearances in the works, he still wants to continue to wrestle.
James Storm's beer swigging, suplexing, trash talking, antics come to the National Arena on tonight with his TNA Impact Wrestling buddies.