In a recent interview with Lucha Libre Online, James Storm was asked about his long career in the wrestling business. Storm, who has spent the majority of his career with TNA/Impact Wrestling, discussed why he decided to move on from the company.
"I had been there for 15 years and, I don't know, I just kind of wanted to do something different," Storm said of his decision to leave. "I still love Impact; I still wish nothing but the best for Impact Wrestling, but it was my time to step away from Impact."
Storm said one of the contributing factors in his decision to leave was the state of the company at the time.
"At that time, I didn't know really who was running the company," Storm explained. "You had Dixie, you had the Harris brothers, then you had Anthem out of Canada, then you had Billy Corgan, so it was just like, okay, I don't know who my boss is."
He also added that he wanted to leave the company before he actually did, as he felt he wasn't being utilized like he could.
"I actually wanted to leave before my last year was up because I felt like they really weren't doing anything with me," Storm said. "I was just kind of being put on the shelf. I think I still had so much to give, even if it was just helping out the younger talent into getting better."
Storm had a very brief stint with NXT but has never had a full run in the WWE. Despite only being there for a short time, he was asked how it was working on the brand.
"It was really cool to go down there because everyone treated with me with respect," Storm said of his time there. "From the very top to the guys who haven't even made the NXT roster yet, they have a really good system there and the guys there are really respectful of the guys who came before them. It was a lot of fun, and also, to see how they do things there - it was unreal to see the kind of things they do at the Performance Center."
NXT is run by Triple H, and Storm explained how his leadership benefits the brand and how it was something that was lacking in the time of turnover in TNA. WWE has received criticism in the past for not allowing people to experiment with their characters and for having too much scripted material. However, Storm says he sees this as a benefit, and he thinks it is something that wrestlers should understand and accept more since they are more of an actor than a writer for the show.
"Triple H held everyone accountable, and I think that was what was kind of missing at impact," Storm said. "Guys would just go and do whatever, do their own thing, and with NXT, it wasn't like that. They were like, 'this is the character we want you to be. Don't get off course.' And I try to tell everybody, 'when you become a wrestler, you become a character that someone else has written. You become part of a movie. You're the actor; you're not the director, you're not the writer. If you want to be that, then sign up for that.'"
The wrestling industry has changed in many ways since its peak popularity during the late 90s. Ratings have continued to fall year after year, and the current pandemic has hurt a lot of revenue and opportunity that had been afforded throughout the business. Storm was asked what he believes is one of the main reasons that the business has seen struggled to gain more popularity in recent years. He explained that the booking of rosters has hurt the fans ability to gravitate towards individuals.
"I was just talking to someone about this the other day. To me, wrestling has changed so much in the last even two years," Storm explained. "When I was coming up watching wrestling, you had the main event guys, the middle guys, and the undercard. I think wrestling has got away from that, and it seems like everybody is the same and on the same level."
He continued his point by using the example of one of the most famous matches in RAW history.
"I don't think X-Pac - Sean Waltman/1-2-3 Kid - I don't think it would have been that big of a deal if he was wrestling these days and beat Razor Ramon," Storm said speaking of one of the most famous upsets in history. "Back then, Razor Ramon was up here and the 1-2-3 Kid was here, and it made him once he beat that big top tier guy. It's hard to build someone when everybody is on the same level."