I recently spoke to Global Force Wrestling's Lance Hoyt, who has experience in WWE, TNA, ROH, NJPW, NOAH, and countless other promotions. Since his exit from mainstream American wrestling, he's found success in becoming IWGP, NWA and GHC tag team champion.
In this second part of our interview, Hoyt opens up about his time in WWE, his release and much more. As for now, Hoyt is looking forward to his new role as tag team machine alongside Killer Elite Squad teammate Davey Boy Smith Jr.
* * *
You've been teaming with Davey Boy Jr for quite a while, and he has a unique style, as he incorporates catch wrestling. Is that something you've picked up, either for in the ring, or just in general?
"Not really. That's who he is, not necessarily who I am. I'm more of a straightforward ass kicker. I make you afraid that you're going to get your teeth punched out, and he makes you afraid that he'll put you in a hold that will make you squeal like a little kid. I think that's the good dynamic that KES has. We're both extremely dangerous, we're both extremely big, but we both have extremely different styles. The combination of those styles can catch a lot of people off guard."
How did you get signed by WWE?
"It was a case of knowing a lot of the right people at the right time. My time with TNA was coming to an end. I had people reach out for me and contact WWE on my behalf. The connection was made for what you could consider a tryout down in Florida at FCW. That went well, then after a week or so, they offered me my first contract. A lot of that came from having good relationships with good people who were willing to step up and say that I should get another chance on a big stage."
You had that extensive unpinned streak on WWE TV. What was your reaction to the company ending that on Superstars?
"It's business, man. It doesn't always go the way you want it to, and you don't know when it'll change. If you harp on wins and losses too much, you forget about what the business is about. We're entertainers, and we go out there to make the people happy, sad, angry, mad, whatever the case may be. If the situation calls for someone to win or lose, it can be good with the right people no matter where it's at. Whether it's on Superstars, or Raw, or PPV, it happens. I obviously wanted more and pushed to have more, but I had to make the best of it and learn from it."
Was there anyone in particular who helped you out or taught you in WWE?
"I had so many amazing people help me out, it'd be hard to name off that full list. Specifically, Tommy Dreamer. He wanted to help me, wanted to work with me. I didn't even know Tommy, he tried to help me get in WWE, then I worked with Tommy, and he helped me on the road, then I worked with him on House of Hardcore. He's one of those guys. It's never been about Tommy Dreamer, it's been about helping that next group of guys in professional wrestling. I have to give him a lot of props."
Was the WWE release something you saw coming? How were you informed of that?
"I had no clue it was going to happen. I was going forth about a car that was supposed to be put in my name, and I get a phone call thinking it's about that, and it was someone telling me to please hold for someone who was going to tell me I'm not in the company anymore. It was a big surprise, and supposedly a financial situation with the company, a budget type scenario. I like to believe I'm in the best part of my career doing the best stuff I've ever done in Japan, so in a small, crazy way, it was a blessing."
Did you ever interact with Vince McMahon personally?
"Oh yeah. We had several conversations, from the time they told me they were going to chop my hair off, and he told me 'We're going to break you down, so we can build you up.' You know, brief encounters here and there. Nothing extensive, I never went to dinner with him, or sat down during lunch at catering with him. Just small conversations and laughs here and there. He's very focused. He is the insane evil genius that he is, and he's why the WWE is as big as it is. Getting to sit down with someone like myself at the time wasn't much of an option. But there were some small interactions, and some good ones at that."
How would you compare Vince McMahon and Jeff Jarrett as businessmen? GFW isn't exactly Jeff's first rodeo.
"Vince has done a huge job with his company, and Jeff has been on top of the world of professional wrestling for a long time. Jeff is a visionary with a brand new company, and is taking that step again and trying to capture the people's attention on a different basis by partnering up with a bunch of different companies instead of just trying to create a company that has a certain set of guys. Global Force is creating a product that has people from independents, and guys who people know are good in their area, and they'll take on guys from around the world in New Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Australia. There are so many avenues that good people can come from, it's a new concept in its own. You're not just yourself, you're representing your company inside GFW. Jeff is a true visionary, trying to create a new pro wrestling product that is enticing to the fan base. That's the separation. Vince has been focused on WWE since his father owned it. Jeff has been a part of wrestling more as a talent, then the times they took over things, then created his own things with TNA and GFW. It's the same evil genius mentality."
You're a part of this excellent Suzuki-Gun stable in Japan with Minoru Suzuki. What's that been like?
"It's been great, man. My history in Japan has been connected to him since the very beginning. I wrestled there in 2007 in a very small independent company, and he was my first match in a tag. He has this aura about him, and my time in Japan has been tied to him since the very beginning. Getting to be a part of his stable has done wonders for my time in Japan. He's such a strong, steadfast entity in Japan."
The G1 Climax just ended, and you've been a part of that. How's that experience?
"I've got to do four, actually. The talent and has stepped up every year. If the fans have never seen the G1, I dare them, I challenge them to search this out. It is truly the best wrestling in the world, on one of the biggest stages in the world?"
That schedule had to be grueling.
"The first year I remember it being pretty grueling. We had a couple days off per person, wrestled in some tag matches here and there. The next year we did like 9 shows in 11 days, that was just crazy. Last year they tried to extend the time and add some matches. It was pretty hard but they tried to loosen it up. This year's format, they're doing 19 shows. I got to talk to some of the guys doing it and share stories now that I'm on the other side of it. "
You're a really decorated tag team wrestler. You hold the GHC & NWA tag titles, then you've also won the IWGP tag titles, and you've been a tag champion in TNA. Is there any one of those accomplishments you hold above the others?
"No, I think it's all an accomplishment. Being seen and doing things in a way that makes people want to see you over and over, and as a tag team, we've done things. Holding all of those, it's all an accomplishment to say that we are a dominant tag team, and making our mark in the business. To say that one of them means more than the other, it's hard to narrow down. "
You've worked for TNA, ROH, WWE, NJPW, NOAH, WWC. When are we going to see you flying around on Lucha Underground or AAA or CMLL?
"(Laughs) You never know, man. They're a new young company, and maybe when they get into their second season they'll want to kill a match and they'll call the Killer Elite Squad."
Where can fans follow you on social media?
"Most of my stuff is really simple, it's my real name, LanceHoyt. Facebook is Lance Hoyt, it's open, it's public, all my information is out there. There are a few fan pages, but mine is Lance Hoyt. My Instagram is LHoyt77. I have a Vine, but I haven't done a whole lot with it."