LANCE HOYT is currently a star in TNA Wrestling,
having been a NWA World Tag Team champion with Kid Kash on two occasions. Until recently Hoyt was working in TNA under the
name DALLAS. For the past few years he has been a star of the Texas-based
Professional Championship Wrestling where is also known as SHADOW. This is a full
length interview and will cover some sensitive areas and I am grateful for Mr. Hoyt’s honesty in answering all the questions.
This interview was done June 20th after a memorable lunch at IHOP with “Primetime” Elix Skipper.
Wojcik: I learned the answer to my first question by watching the NBA Finals with you and Monty Brown. Where did you grow
up and was wrestling part of your childhood?
Hoyt: I grew up in a small town called Hern, Texas. It is about twenty minutes from Brian College Station the home of Texas A & M. Like everyone in Texas I played football, basketball and baseball all the way through high school. I got to college as a quarterback. I didn’t start watching wrestling until about 1994.
Where did you go to college and what did you major in?
Hoyt: I began at a small school in western-central Texas called Howard Payne University and I finished my schooling at Southwest Texas State University. I have a degree in English.
An obvious question I think would be how does a college QB with an English degree become a professional wrestler?
Hoyt: I played football for my first three years of college but I never met the image my coaches had set for me. They wanted
a clean cut, corn fed American kid which I was no where near. I liked my hair longer, got my piercing work done and had crazy
designs in my facial hair. After college I worked in night clubs in downtown Austin and the guy who owned the clubs knew a
guy who began a school and promotion called Southwest Wrestling Federation. He originally had Ivan Putski as the trainer but
by the time I got there they had a falling out. So I was trained by Solo Fitali, who was a Putski trainee.
Did you think being a football player help you in the training process?
Hoyt: No way because I was a quarterback. We did the basic warm-ups and no one ever hit us until game day. I had no idea what I had gotten myself into when I signed up for training. I had participated in theater
training in high school and college so I admired the theatrical aspect I had been seeing on TV. The athletics combined with
the theatrics hooked me. I did one day of training, more like a tryout and it hurt so bad I almost didn’t go back. The
owner made it more financially feasible for a recent college graduate to want to be part of the school.
What are your memories of your first time working in front of a live audience?
Hoyt: My first experience in front of a crowd wasn’t my first match. In Austin there was a NAFL (National Amateur Football League)
team had just began. Their opening game was the first week of July and we set the ring up without a cover to keep the heat
off. It was over 100 degrees and we were dumping buckets of water on the canvas even as you could see the heat coming off
the mat. The duct tape on the ropes was melting off the cables. I didn’t wrestle but I did a run-in. All this happened
in front of five people and was my first experience in front of a crowd. My first match was at a car dealership with 4-500
people watching and I wrestled with Tarzan Taylor. I thought it went well. It was way too early for me to have been in there,
I did it with one month of training.
AW: Before you were ever called Dallas you worked under three other names like Lance Steele, Shadow and Breakdown. Which came first and
did your theater training come in handy like you thought it would?
Hoyt: Every character came about differently. I first used Lance Steele even though I had created Shadow first. The guy who
ran the Southwest Wrestling Federation wouldn’t have it any other way. For the first couple of months I had no clue
what I was doing even though I tried my best. Breakdown came about from working for a promotion in Corpus Christi and somehow I had forgotten
all of my gear. I had no clue what happened to my bag. I had a tank top, some wristbands and athletic pants and I made up
Breakdown on the spot for my love of dancing. My travel partner and friend Jeremy Sage once described Breakdown as a glorified
amped up cheerleader. But it was fun to do Breakdown. Shadow came about when I began working in Dallas for PCW (Professional Championship
Wrestling) and I was going to work as Lance Steele but on the card already were a Lance Romance and Jared Steel so they said
come up with something else. I told them I had Shadow and they were like are you sure that is what you want? Shadow turned
out to be the most fun character to be and it became the most popular persona I used in Texas.
You brought up PCW. How did it come to be your home promotion and how does it differ from the other Texas promotions you worked in?
Hoyt: PCW in Arlington is the best professionally run promotion in Texas and in all of indy wrestling. The facilities they have are excellent and rival anyone else I have
worked for. They have been running weekly for years and have run an hour long TV show on UPN-21 for three and a half years.
In comparison to some other indies that run monthly or bi-weekly, this place ran weekly with some great talent. They actually
began in a mall and the gentleman that owned it had a gymnasium that he used for karate, boxing and other classes. So he moved
wrestling into there. Then he bought out a movie theater right across from the mall. They moved the gym into the lobby with
full workout equipment, the boxing ring and he made the theater into the PCW arena with a sound system, full staging area
and the seating. Each wrestler has the chance to have a local band to make their entrance music. The only thing missing is
pyro but we have two screens to project the action and intros for each wrestler. I love working there and felt appreciated.
It made you feel like it was home as opposed to being in a building with no sound equipment, bed sheets up keeping the fans
and the locker room separate. They have been going strong for five years and are having their fifth anniversary show on June
25th. They have lots of good things going for them.
Doing my research on PCW I found you were the winner of something called “Fight, Win, Survive.”
Hoyt: Actually Alan I am the two time winner of Fight Win Survive. It’s become a team style tournament that last about
five weeks. You fight against the other teams and like the name says you survive to the next round. We do different match
styles from pure wrestling to graveyard or all around the town matches and the usual miner’s glove on a pole and chain
matches. No match is the same and one year to crown the winner the finals began as a four way match into a three way dance
into a singles match. I beat Iron Eagle in a bet of three. Last year it came down to the final four inside a cage. The winner
usually gets a title shot, this year it’s “I wish…” meaning if I win I could wish to get the title
shot or be commissioner.
You had many opponents over your PCW years. I wish to focus on two. The first being former WWE Intercontinental champion Ahmed
Johnson and the other being current WWE star Paul London.
Hoyt: Paul and I worked a lot in Texas and actually went to the same school a few months apart. Paul was trained by Ivan and blew up because
of his obvious talent. We had the match of the year and probably in the history of PCW at a show called Genocide in 2002.
Ahmed Johnson came through a couple of years ago when I began the group the Dark Circle. He stuck his nose in the wrong place and
the Circle had to take care of things.
You brought up the Dark Circle. It’s not the only group you have been part of. You were also a member of the International
Hoyt: The IPC had been around before I got to PCW; it was started by Lance Romance.
My time in the IPC changed the way I portrayed the Shadow character. In the early days Shadow was a guy who liked to dance
around and tell some jokes. It wasn’t working for me and I wasn’t focused in the ring. I changed it to become
a more pissed off person in PCW.
You joined TNA Wrestling in the early part of 2004 working as Shadow in some dark matches. What were the circumstances that
brought you to TNA?
Hoyt: I had attempted to go to TNA through several avenues but none of them worked
out. I was doing a signing at Wrestle-Con in Dallas and (former cage dancer) Lollipop was there repping TNA. We talked and
she told me to make a tape for her to give to the office. She must have given it to them because two weeks after meeting her
I got an email from Bill Behrens telling me to choose a date to work. I picked one and worked big Don Harris. Don got the
better of me that night and I came back another week to show my face that I was interested in working for TNA, because I was
very interested in it. I got invited for one more match where I tagged with Delirious to work America’s Most Wanted. I got one more Xplosion match with a friend of mine. So we drove the nine and a half
hours from Dallas to Nashville so the two of us could work together. After we left TNA tried to contact us and when he got to Nashville they said congrats you’re
on the PPV and that night I worked with Kash as a tag partner.
At that point Shadow became Dallas when you debuted in the NWA World Tag Team title tournament against Sonny Siaki and Simon Diamond.
I should say you became nameless as Mike Tenay and Don West played you up as the mystery family member to Kid Kash.
Hoyt: Dallas came about when I arrived in Nashville to work. The name was the company’s choice since Shadow didn’t fit too well with Kash’s
style. I think they were deciding it until the moment I went to the ring. At that time I was the new guy and I fit into the
space they had open due to Johnny Swinger not being there. I heard some jokes backstage how I looked like a larger version
of Kash. Don Harris had put in some real good words to the office from our match. Right after match I was offered a contract
and things were good to begin working.
Were you surprised two weeks later, 4/7/04, you and Kash beat XXX (Low Ki and Christopher Daniels) for the belts?
Hoyt: Amazingly surprised. You go out there with Kash and he does his thing. We were a good mesh with his X division style
and his tactics and my power and size. I was shocked when you add XXX to the mix. We became the tag champs three weeks after
Things got interesting after you won them because the week you lost them to D-Lo Brown and Apolo only for you and Kash to
win them back a week later. Both matches ended with the seldom known TNA championship match rule that a title can change hands
via disqualification. What was it like being in a match with opponents close to your size?
Hoyt: I am bigger then those guys even though the might be thicker. With the
exception of one person I am the tallest guy in TNA. When say almost as big you are walking a thin line, you might want to
retract it before I get up and show you how tall I am (laughs.) That was something new to me, that DQ rule. I was always taught
you get DQ’d you keep the belts. I made a wrong decision that night and it cost us the belts. But they came right back
to us when Apolo made the same mistake.
During May and June you and Kash mixed it up with AMW’s James Storm and the “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes.
What was it like being part of a bunkhouse match and have you ever been in awe of an opponent?
Hoyt: For someone who is part of the supposed new school I had no knowledge of the history of the business. I have been doing
this for five years an only watching since 1994. I knew of Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes who helped pave the path I walk today.
Obviously it was great working a match Dusty. I am sure there are people who
wish they had the chances I am getting, working with him in what was one of his last matches. To have been in the ring with
him and been hit with the bionic elbow would go in a book about my career. He is a legendary icon type in the business.
We have talked about winning and losing titles, now we have to talk about losing them to America’s Most Wanted
on the debut of TNA Impact, filmed here in Orlando, Florida. What were your initial thoughts on working PPV on Wednesday and flying the next day to film a national TV show?
Hoyt: It was an exciting time taking that next step in TV. The weekly PPV worked well but people have to make the choice to
order or not. Even with the time slot we were given by Fox (4pm EST) now people could watch it at the time it aired or on Tivo or
tape. The fact we defended on the inaugural show with AMW was great. It’s in the can and will always be show number
1 in the archives. We lost to an amazing tag team.
After you and Kash lost the belts it seemed like your anger about it was taken out on the Phenomenal AJ Styles.
Hoyt: Hey man sometimes you have to beat someone up to make yourself feel better.
AJ is certainly the golden boy of TNA so why not take out the one everyone loves. We didn’t care if people loved us
or not, we just wanted to beat people down.
This is going a sensitive area so I will understand if you no comment me. During
the feud with Styles, Kash abruptly left TNA and you were taken off TV. Did he ever talk about why he left and did you worry
about if your release was imminent?
Hoyt: I had spoken with him and understood what he was trying to accomplish in
the promotion and his life in general. I didn’t have an issue with his decision but at the same time I wasn’t
happy I was taken off TV. But I didn’t blame him for it; he understood I had his back. I have always had confidence
in myself and my abilities. I didn’t think I was going to be released I knew as part of the team I would be back on
the field soon.
While you weren’t being used by TNA, you did some work down in Puerto
Hoyt: I worked for CCW run by Carlos Colon. Dutch Mantel got me on their anniversary show with Kash and Abyss. We wrestled
in front of 5-6,000 people in a baseball stadium. Like the ones you see on TV. It was an interesting atmosphere since the
fans are far away and the ring sits almost in the middle of the stadium.
When Kash did come back in August the feud with styles was revived with another element brought in, Ron “the Truth”
Killings. It culminated in a memorable Asylum Street Fight where you pretty much beat the crap out of Styles and Killings.
Hoyt: That night my size and power advantage came into play again. I am one of the biggest guys in TNA and you put me in a
situation where my opponent doesn’t have the ropes to use as a weapon. They can’t run from me and when you have
to go power to power with me you will lose. There’s nothing fancy about fighting on the floor when I can toss you around. I may have been on the losing sides of some fights in TNA but my opponents remembered
who they were in there and they didn’t get over easily.
You were not part of the last weekly Nashville based PPV. What were your feelings as TNA ended the weekly PPV and relocated all TV to Orlando and
Hoyt: I don’t think the monthly PPV setup was explained until the night
it ended. We had two good months to adjust to the pay level change. But it felt like the natural progression to leave weekly
PPV concept and move to weekly TV and a monthly PPV. I didn’t see the move as a negative I saw this as a definite positive
You were part of the first monthly event called Victory Road as you and Kash were in an eight man with the Naturals vs. Simon Diamond, Johnny B Badd, Sonny Siaki
and Erik Watts.
Hoyt: My memories of it were good despite it being a short match. Erik and I matched up well in size. It was the first time
I was allowed to try the moonsault even though I missed it. The show was special. I had been doing weekly TV for five years
in PCW so to be on PPV was a big deal. It was a payoff to all the weekly TV shows. TNA had tried to do a three hour PPV but
for some reasons it fell through. I will always remember being part of the first Impact and the three hour PPV.
You were part of the Night of Appreciation for Sabu where you took Monty Brown.
Hoyt: I had known Sabu from working in PCW. That match against Paul London we talk about was
first time seeing our product. He was with the Insane Clown Posse who were guests of PCW. The week after he was part of a
PCW benefit show. When I came to Nashville he was vocal about me being part of TNA. He tried to stand up for me keeping the Shadow name. He
was supposed to have been part of that Puerto Rico trip I took he got sick. When Scott D’amore brought up the idea of the show I said I could
get myself there could I be part of it and when I asked they said yes. Lots of people have aided me in my life and the guy
who runs Wrestle-Con Bret Britton (sorry if misspelled) helped me get to Michigan. For me it wasn’t hard to do. As far as
working with Monty, he is the next big star in all of wrestling. He has size, the look, the overall intensity and the charisma
in making a crowd pop. To go in the ring and almost beat him was a great experience and it I will get my revenge.
On a January 2005 Impact show, it appeared Kash made an error in his promo and called you by your real name. Was this an error,
was it scripted or did this have to do with another Dallas being in the promotion at the same time?
Hoyt: You notice Alan I had been pulled of the TV from the Turning Point PPV until January. So I had brought myself to Florida to find out what was going on.
Dusty had been placed in charge of booking and he told me they wanted to bring me back under my real name. It wasn’t
something I wanted to do. This isn’t a knock at people who have helped me with ideas but I saw myself, Shadow as a comic
book hero type. People get their own idea when they hear I work as Shadow. They could envision a dark guy. When I say I work
as Lance Hoyt, they wonder what Lance Hoyt is all about and that is hard to explain. Lance is just me to a umpteenth degree
with Lance Steele, Breakdown and Shadow mixed in. The fans here in Orlando have been drawn to the Hoyt name and I can’t complain. I admit I was skeptical like anyone
would be when presented with a new idea. Kash calling me Lance was done on purpose. The funny thing is people including Kash
still call me Dallas off camera. I don’t think it had anything to do with Mr. Diamond Dallas Page, I was told it wasn’t
his doing. But I was part of the company, then he comes in and I am pulled off TV. Then I was asked to become someone else.
At the Destination X PPV you and Kash weren’t part of the main show but people will remember your coming out party on
the pre-show as they saw the birth of the fans of the Pit who now call themselves Hoyt-A-Maniacs in the match against Cassidy
Reilly and Jerrelle Clark. Did this take you by surprise and are you going to get any of the Hoyt-A-Mania shirts worn last
night by your fans?
Hoyt: The PPV prior to Destination X we took on America’s Most Wanted for the tag titles. When we got to Destination X they told us we want you involved
but it’s a pre-show slot. We decide to make them regret that decision. Kash and I thought you are taking a good team
off PPV so we took it out on Cassidy and Jerrelle. Cassidy wasn’t in the ring with me most of the match. I wasn’t
trying to break away from him but I felt like I needed to break out of Kash’s shadow. It all began with a clothesline
that sent Jerrelle flying inside and out. I was surprised I got the reaction? No. Maybe its ego but I have had this kind of
reaction and success my whole time in wrestling. I have gone places and people didn’t know me. People underestimated
me and by the time I left the territory, people understood what I was doing. I think the quickness people latched onto me
took me by surprise. But I wasn’t surprised they latched onto my ability and intensity. The fans have taken the liking
to me and it’s great. I am out there busting and kicking ass. Let’s talk shirts. The Hoyt-A-Mania, the Hoytapalooza,
is the biggest party to ever hit TNA. TNA has no clue how big this is going to get, unless they send me away. The fans have
made signs that people couldn’t see over and security asked them to put them down. Fans spent their own money on hats
and shirts. I have a merchandising line thanks to my fans. They did it on their own. I hope TNA is paying attention because
I am a force to be reckoned with.
this point, the interview was taken hostage by the Hoyt A Maniacs from the TNA Pit.
How was Hoyt-A-Mania born in the Pit?
Brown: I think it was around January he dropped Dallas and became Hoyt. It’s easier to chant HOYT then Dallas. I began chanting for him and it grew
in February and by Destination X it was the whole crowd. Now it’s everywhere from Impact/Xplosion using it to plug him
and people online making avatar’s with HOYT, HOYT, HOYT! I am happy this has happened for him because he is a good wrestler
and a good person.
Kerrigan: It definitely took off at Destination X. I never dug the Dallas character as Kash over took him. Hoyt shocked us when he worked Trytan/Titus in a dark match and
it came out of nowhere to be our favorite.
Who came up with the Hoyt-A-Mania shirts fans are seeing on the TV show?
Kerrigan: That would be me. I came up with a shirt design after doing a sign for Hoyt-A-Mania on one of the PPV’s. I
took off the Hulk part and made it our own. I found a T-shirt maker in Orlando and they are sweet.
Who came up with the idea of the visors?
That was my idea. I had a hookup in the mall that made us the visors and hats. On tonight’s TV Hoyt should be wearing
a grey beanie courtesy of the Hoyt-A-Maniacs.
Did anyone think you were crazy wearing the shirts and what was Lance’s reaction to seeing you front and center last
The promoter from NWA Cyberspace kept asking us what Hoyt-A-mania was. Lance knew it was going to happen on the PPV and still
he was wide eyed when he got to our side of the ring. We saw him after the PPV he was excited.
He is going to be getting one soon.
Hopefully they’ll let him wear it to the ring one day.
While Hoyt-A-Mania was running wild, Kid Kash had another falling out with TNA and left the promotion this time for good.
Did Kash give you any warning he was leaving the promotion again? Did he leave you with any advice?
Hoyt: There was no warning of it. I found out like most people did, I read it on the internet. I don’t know how you
prepare for that kind of news. Kash has his personal issues and points of view. He made the decision he felt was best. There
were many stories about why he left. We have all read them on the net and I won’t address them, since I don’t
know what is true or false and it’s not my business. I spoke with him a few days after he left. He called to say he
was sorry if it got me into a bind with TNA. He has been nothing but supportive of me. Kash is a very individualistic person
and the fact he took me as a friend outside wrestling was humbling. I have treated him with nothing but respect. He never
petitioned me to leave TNA. I wish him nothing but the best in life and in wrestling. I speak to him several times a month.
He gives me shit for not doing more with myself.
AW: With Kash gone did you think I’m going solo or is the office going to pair me
into another tag team?
Hoyt: There wasn’t much said to me. All of it happened right before Lockdown where Kash and I were booked for a tag
match. Then I was informed that Mr. Candido was going to be my partner. I think the fan support led the company to change
my character up a bit. A plan was put in place and its working well. Obviously people know that was Candido’s last match
and its unfortunately it was an honor to be his last partner. I rather have seen him retire in his own way. Now I get to say
I was part of his last match. As far as me the company deciding to push me it’s a different direction then where Kash
and I were heading. Hopefully it translates to other fans outside of Orlando because the energy level is out of hand.
When Candido’s leg was injured in the match, the officials removed him from the cage. Was there ever part of your mind
that said we need to stop this match and address his issues? Plus was the Naturals attack on you after the bell planned or
improved due to the injury?
Hoyt: At no point did “let’s end this match” occur. From my corner I watched his foot turn to one side of
the mat as his body was turned the other way. I saw his foot go back into place because he had good boots on. I saw him move
his foot to his leg so it wouldn’t move and I tagged myself into the match. I didn’t know they pulled him out
until I turned around at one point and didn’t see him in the corner. I am not going to walk away from a fight even when
I am alone. I didn’t want to mess up the show. The Naturals coming down was a good thing. The fans were behind me. Sonny
and Apolo are two big, athletic guys and I gave them everything I had but ended up losing. You can fight the ants off for
so long before the numbers get to you. Everyone I had a fight with recently has needed help in taking me down. Who knows what
would happen if someone faced me one on one.
You have been a heel and face. Which do you prefer and why?
Hoyt: I love being a face. Some guys enjoy hating people and me being a face plays off my natural personality, just like some
of the best gimmicks ever. You play off your strengths and I don’t hate anyone despite people doing some nasty things
to me in my life. I like to feed off the energy of that crowd and knowing they can vicariously live through me. I am that
big bad ass dude in there whooping some ass. There are lots of people that wish they could do that.
You have been part of several “gauntlet for the gold” matches, how does one mentally prepare for this kind of
match? Seeing most of the time in these matches you along with Trytan, Abyss and Monty Brown are the biggest people among
lots of the smaller talent.
Hoyt: I was part of the last one where Abyss and I faced off for the number 20 slot. Abyss is a big monstrous dude who caught
me in that Black Hole Slam. When you get caught in the Black Hole, there’s no way out. When it came down to the 20 man
on the Hard Justice PPV the numbers game I mentioned came about again. It was Bobby Roode pulling my hair like a little girl
and A1sneaking in and coming from behind. Until that point I was handling people including Trytan. You need to go out there
ready to kick some ass, no matter the size of the people in the match.
Last night you were part of Slammiversary, the TNA 3rd year celebration. You brought up Bobby Roode and you were his opponent
last night. You also scared lots of people as Scot D’amore appeared shirtless (sorry Mr. D’amore) as you hit him
with the moonsault.
Hoyt: The numbers game once again Alan came into play and if Bobby didn’t have D’amore out there I would have
won the match. Team Canada likes to feed off the numbers advantage. I had a good time out there. It’s hard not to have
good matches with good talent like Bobby. Coach D’amore got in my way and they stayed around too long. Not taking the
win and going to the back. D’amore tried to embarrass me and I made him pay. I am the master of the moonsault. Someone
here has the BME, someone else has the unisault, I have the biggest moonsault. We saw a different kind mooning from D’amore
when he went for his version. I may a big bad ass but I’m not stupid enough to fight four men. I will get to Team Canada in my own time.
Did it sink in last night TNA has been around for three years when people had them left for dead in December 2002?
Hoyt: I know this company has the tools to become something huge in the world of wrestling. Look at last night’s show
from the opening X Division match to the King of the Mountain match; you see the passion in each person on the roster. This
is something good for this business to feed off.
AW: Who designed your website and how much input do you give towards it?
Hoyt: I have an awesome woman named Amy who runs the site. She is a PCW fan who has been working on it for years when I was
Shadow. We are in constant communication setting up interviews (Alan Wojcik thanks Amy) and other stuff. Half the time I look
at it and go wow look what she did. I don’t have merchandise on the site but I have a forum, photos and other cool stuff.
Who is your dream opponent and why?
Hoyt: The cool thing about this answer is to a small degree it came true. My dream opponent is Sting. He is the main reason
I became a wrestler. I was a mark for the Crow comics and movies and he took that persona around the time I seriously got
into watching. When I first came to Nashville Sting was part of the promotion. I got to be part of his movie. There are a
few scenes I am part of but one dream sequence features Chris Harris and I taking him on. I got to hit him with a chair. I
was so nervous hitting my icon with a chair. I hope with the influx of talent he might be coming back and I would like to
be part of any kind of match with him. Shadow against Sting would be cool.
What do you hope the future holds For Lance Hoyt?
Hoyt: Lance Hoyt the person hopes for a good life. There has been some turmoil in my life recently and I hope that settles
down soon. As far as the character I hope TNA recognizes I am not a flash in the pan and there could be so much to build on.
I have learned so much from Scott D’amore, Dusty Rhodes, Shane Douglas, Raven, Terry Taylor and Jerry Lynn. They didn’t
have to aid me with constructive criticism but they did and it helped me improve in the ring. I think they have seen my growth
as a unknown back when I joined with Kash. I hope they let me grow and build
on the Hoyt-A-Mania shirts. No other company has me and TNA is my home.
to Lance Hoyt for his time on an off day from work. Thanks to Amy of www.lancehoyt.com for help in getting time with Lance and research information. Log onto www.pcwwrestling.com for info on Professional Championship Wrestling. See www.TNAwrestling.com
for PPV and Impact TV information.