wrestling / Columns

The Timewarp 3.27.07: Lance Hoyt

March 27, 2007 | Posted by Vinz Rothenburg

Hello one and all,

Welcome, once again, to the Time Warp, where we look at the potential future of wrestlers who really should be stars, but, well, aren’t. This time, we take on a personal favorite of mine and put him in a situation most of you probably never imagined he could be in.

If you think this is great, or stupid, or maybe even so stupid it’s great, be sure to let me know! In fact, let me know whatever you have to say, and I don’t forget to give a nice, loud shout-out to YOUR favorite nobodies that should be somebodies. Maybe I’ll soon put them in situations who you would like to see them in. So, let’s get started…

The date is August 12th, 2007. It’s the day of TNA’s Hard Justice PPV. The person facing hard justice this year has to be long-time X-Division Champion Chris Sabin, whose usual cockiness has been replaced by a look of uncertainty as he makes his way down the ramp to defend his title in the first Ultimate X match of 2007. Sabin’s opponent is already in the ring, looking up at the steel cables above the ring and eagerly awaiting the opening bell. It is the Ticked-Off Texan, Lance Hoyt.

Time Freeze
What? Lance Hoyt, TNA’s tallest performer, competing for the X-Division Championship in an Ultimate X match? That would never work, would it? Well, let’s just look at some other things Lance Hoyt has made work in the past…

Blast From The Past
Lance Hoyt made his debut in 2000 after just one moth of training, squaring off against independent grappler Tarzan Taylor at a car dealership in front of roughly 500 spectators. Although he stepped into the ring much too early, Hoyt was able to work a passable little match and took it from there.

Hoyt went through more training and a number of indy appearances, wrestling under the monikers Shadow, Lance Steele, and, on one occasion, Breakdown, a dancer gimmick Hoyt made up on the spot when he found out that he could not work a particular date as Shadow.

In April 2003, Hoyt was signed by Texas-based Professional Championship Wrestling (PCW), where he would once again perform as Shadow. Here, Hoyt was able to hone his craft and test his skills under highly professional circumstances, working weekly shows for the promotion, which utilized a full staging area as well as a high-end sound system. Hoyt quickly gained in popularity here and lost only a handful of matches during his first year with PCW.

Although he was very comfortable in PCW, Hoyt was also interested in TNA and remained so even after multiple attempts to secure a try-out had failed. It was TNA valet Lollipop who eventually passed an audition tape on to Bill Behrens, who was instantly impressed and invited Hoyt to work a date for the company. After the resulting dark match against Don Harris, Hoyt was quickly signed by TNA, joining the roster in March 2004.

Hoyt now used the moniker Dallas and played a relative of Kid Kash, regularly tagging with the cruiserweight wrestler to face highly skilled teams like Triple X and America’s Most Wanted. Hoyt would eventually shed the Dallas gimmick and wrestle under his real name instead. Although the alliance with Kid Kash proved to be fruitful and made the duo 2-time NWA Tag Team Champions, the team eventually crumbled in April 2005, when Kash abruptly left TNA after a falling out with the management. Hoyt was now on his own.

To the surprise of pretty much everyone, Hoyt quickly overcame this unexpected change in direction. Fans had taken a liking to the agile and intense big man even when he was still tagging with Kash, but once Hoyt entered singles competition, the phenomenon dubbed “Hoytamania” really took off. Hoyt began to showcase his unique abilities on a more regular basis, combining the expected traditional power moves with surprising high-flying interludes and earning the cheers of the crowd week after week. Curiously, TNA failed to react to the audience. Although Hoyt was put in matches against major players like Jeff Jarrett, Monty Brown or Abyss, he rarely emerged from these encounters victorious,

Finally, Hoyt was pushed down the card again to start a tag team with fellow demotee Ron Killings. Although the team picked up a number of victories, they were never elevated past curtainjerking and were thrown on cards just to fill them out. This alliance was unceremoniously disbanded in early 2007.

Since then, Hoyt has been involved in the storyline leading up to Basebrawl II at TNA’s Against All Odds PPV on February 12th. Hoyt picked up a justified but ultimately unimportant win over Dale Torborg here, but has since all but vanished from TNA programming again. When he is on TV, he is now being portrayed as a friend of the Voodo Kin Mafia, a development which has not been explained on the show and seems rather inconsequential to boot.

What TNA does not seem to realize is the fact that a talent like Lance Hoyt is anything but inconsequential, and that casting him in such a light is a tremendous waste. The possibilities for this capable big man are nearly unlimited, but one looks especially tantalizing to me…

Back To The Future
At Lockdown, X-Division Champion Chris Sabin successfully defends his title against Senshi, then goes on to retain against Sonjay Dutt and Jay Lethal in a three-way on the next broadcast of Impact. Conveniently forgetting about his liberal cheating, Sabin throws himself a party the week after that, highjacking the ring to gloat. This is bad enough, but when Sabin actually denies Eric Young, who has a match scheduled, access to the ring, Jim Cornette intervenes.

The director of authority is determined to put Sabin in his place, but is faced with overt disrespect in return. Claiming that his accomplishments give him the right to act any way he sees fit, Sabin tells Cornette to can it and go bore his grandkids with some war-time stories instead of giving the X-Division Champion crap. Now furious, Cornette promises that Sabin will get to face challenger worthy of his self-proclaimed prominence at Sacrifice.

After beating Alex Shelley the following week, this challenger is announced to be none other than ‘The Ticked-Off Texan’, Lance Hoyt. A shocked Sabin tries to talk Cornette out of this, fails. As Cornette reminds both the champion and the fans, the X-Division isn’t about weight limits. It’s about no limits.

On the pre-PPV episode of Impact, Hoyt busts out a top rope elbow to put away Bobby Roode as Sabin watches from ringside, trembling in his boots.

In the light of these events, the X-Division Championship match at Sacrifice seems like a mere formality. Cheered on by his Hoytamanics, Lance Hoyt dominates the match with his unique mix of power moves and high-flying action. Sabin’s cheating makes no lasting impact, either. But as Hoyt prepares to secure the win with a top rope moonsault, he is shoved of the turnbuckle by an interfering Tomko, allowing Sabin to hit a diving legdrop for the pinfall.

On Impact, the Christian Coalition officially welcomes X-Division Champion Chris Sabin into the fold as their newest ally, applauding his decision to join up with the winners in TNA. The party is quickly crashed by Lance Hoyt, who goes right after Sabin, but is held off by Scott Steiner and Tomko. As the two beat down Hoyt, however, Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe make the save, joining forces with Hoyt to take on the Coalition in a brawl that has to be separated by security en masse.

Over the next few weeks, Hoyt keeps battling the Coalition, and Tomko, whose interference cost him the X-Division Championship at Sacrifice, quickly becomes his nemesis. After some pull-apart brawls, the two square off at Slammiversary to settle the score. Here, Hoyt picks up the victory after a crazy flying dropkick across the ring.

On the post-PPV broadcast of Impact, Hoyt tells Sabin he’s coming for him next. Hoyt explains that when he received his first shot at the X-Division Title, he was grateful, but it wasn’t personal. If he’d lost to Sabin fair and square, he would have been okay with that. However, Sabin chose that fair and square wasn’t for him. He chose to get the Christian Coalition involved, so he could rob Hoyt of certain victory and his Hoytamaniacs of a huge moment. It won’t happen again, Hoyt promises.

The following week, Hoyt competes for the #1-contendership to the X-Division Championship, facing Austin Starr, Petey Williams and Alex Shelley in a four corners match. Hoyt looks to have it won after reserving Williams’ Canadian Destroyer into a Blackout Slam, but a run-in by Scott Steiner costs him the three-count. Enraged, Hoyt goes after Steiner, following him to the entrance stage while the match continues. As the in-ring action wraps up, Hoyt has Steiner beat on the outside, but Chris Sabin costs Hoyt even this moral victory, hitting him over the head with a lead pipe and giving Steiner the opportunity to go wild on his dazed opponent.

On the next Impact edition, Hoyt demands satisfaction, and announces that he intends to get it at Victory Road, in a match against Scott Steiner that Jim Cornette has already approved. However, Steiner doesn’t want to wait, and promptly jumps Hoyt as he is in the ring talking. The two big men keep security busy over the next few weeks, as they are constantly at each other’s throat, interfering in each other’s matches and brawling all over the place.

At Victory Road, the two have a brutal, intense fight, which a bleeding Hoyt ends up winning via moonsault. Putting a triumphant foot on the chest of an unconscious Steiner, Hoyt announces that it’s Sabin’s turn next.

The following week on Impact, Hoyt confronts Sabin backstage. When faced with the possibility of having to go up against the Ticked-Off Texan as well, Christian Cage quickly backs down and abandons Sabin, leaving the X-Division Champion to fend for himself. Backed into a corner, Sabin agrees to face Hoyt. However, the champion adds, he won’t settle for a regular match. If Hoyt wants to claim to the X-Division Title, he’ll have to prove himself in the staple match of the X-Division. He’ll have to take the belt – literally – in an Ultimate X match!

Thus we have arrived at the unique match-up presented at the beginning. At Hard Justice, Sabin finally has to live up to his promise, after numerous attempts to take Hoyt out of action prematurely have failed. Both men exploit their individual advantages to their fullest, Sabin utilizing his small size and agility to nearly snag the belt on several occasions, while Hoyt keeps overpowering his much lighter opponent. In the end, Hoyt throws the champion off the steel cables with a body scissors and then grabs the belt himself, finally ending Sabin’s undeserved reign and giving the Hoytamaniacs a reason to cheer.

The Future In Review
While Lance Hoyt may not be the first person you’d think off when asked to name possible candidates for the X-Division, he definitely has to tools to be a driving force within the division. Hoyt may be no AJ Styles, but the high-flying, high-risk moves he busts out when allowed to go wild are more than impressive for a man of his size and weight. The X-Division Championship might have been treated like a cruiserweight title since Joe has started going after heavyweight gold, but it isn’t supposed to be, as TNA officials have made clear on a number of occasions.

Hoyt could fit in very well, and definitely deserves something good to do. He has shown his drive and ambition on more than one occasion, and the audience loves him. TNA should really utilize a man like Hoyt, who is in TNA because he wants and likes to be, instead of punishing him for his great attitude and wasting his obvious talent by allowing him to flounder. As much as I hate to say it as a TNA fan, Hoyt would, in all likelihood, already be a star in WWE. It’s time for TNA to realize this and do something about it!

So, what’s your take on the Ticked-Off Texan and his potential future? Drop me a line, let me know, and don’t forget to tell me which under-appreciated performers you think could be the stars of tomorrow!


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Vinz Rothenburg

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