Following his last run in WWE, Hoyt moved on to New Japan Pro Wrestling, finding a new passion for the business, like never before. The former TNA Tag Team Champion now brings his sheer athleticism, ability, and passion for Professional Wrestling. Luckily, I was able to catch up with Mr. Hoyt and discuss his career in the United States as well as his new found career in Japan.
Rallo: First off, Lance, thank you for taking the time to conduct this interview. My first question to you is asking about where you currently stand, at New Japan Pro Wrestling being a featured American star in the Japanese product. I'd like to start off by asking where the true passion and idea for wrestling in Japan came from and why you chose to take that route overseas? Was there any specific inspiration behind doing it? Also, now that you have been there for a few months now, can you tell us
Hoyt: No problem. I've been in the business for 11 years now. Worked with some of the biggest companies in the World. Working with NJPW is an Honor and privilege. I've been to Japan several time before working with NJPW. And I have to say every experience thus far has been Awesome. Japan has a rich history in the biz. And Many stars that you know today made it big in Japan before ever doing anything big in the states. So to be a success in Japan is to be a success in the business I Love working in Japan and Especially with The King of Sports New Japan Pro Wrestling.
Rallo: Keeping on the topic of NJPW and wrestling overseas, I'd like to know your thoughts in regards to the true overall differences between working in NJPW compared to American promotions such as WWE and TNA. In the US, wrestling has really been stereotyped by the mainstream media in a way, but Japan has a totally different perspective on the sport. Could you tell us of your thoughts on the biggest distinctions between the two promotions and experiences either in or outside of the ring in Japan, where you feel the fans, atmosphere, etc have been completely different? Why do you feel that the US doesn't give wrestling as much respect as people like the Japanese do?
Hoyt: I think the biggest difference between US wrestling and Japanese wrestling. Are the Fans. The Fans here LOVE this business/sport. They appreciate every aspect to it. They pay close attention to the action, and the characters or players as they would say. They have a whole different respect for the business and the ATHLETES that preform every night in the ring. I know there are a lot of US fans that are the same way. But many don't have the same level of respect. And many only see it as a show that they can be overly critical about. Even with having no real insight to all the hard work and dedication it takes to make it in the business of Professional Wrestling/Sports Entertainment.
Rallo: Moving on to your past, I'd like to discuss your first major break in the US in, TNA Wrestling. In TNA, most remember you as one half of the, "Rock N' Rave Infection," alongside Jimmy Rave and Christy Hemme. You were also a 2 time NWA Tag Champ with Kid Kash. Could you tell us of really how the Guitar Hero gimmick came about as well as your expectations for how it was going to go? Did you feel as though this was to lead to a push or somewhat of a comedic stint that was just going to get you on television? Of course, you and Rave worked well together, but never really got pushed that far. Could you tell us of your thoughts on the "Rock n' Rave Infection" as well as your overall stint in TNA? Do you ever see a return in the future?
Hoyt: TNA was a great place for me to Start in. At the time the company was an upstart, looking for that Young, Hungry talent to build on. I started as Dallas with Kid Kash. We were a great team. Holding the Tag Titles for a while. Then I moved on to My Hoytamania days. Some of the most fun times there for me. The Fans created Hoytamania (Thanks Mike K and crew) I was just lucky enough to be along for that ride. Unfortunately it was not capitalized upon. Then Came Miss Christy Hemme and the Mr. Jimmy Rave and thus the RNR was born. The GH gimmick was kind of thrown at us. But we made it our own. Started having Fun with it and I thought it was starting to get over. We had some Amazing matches with MCMG and LAX back then. But, again We were not capitalized upon and then got lost in the shuffle of the biz. I believe I or We could have gone very far if given the right opportunity and Push. Who knows what will happen in the future. I've learned that one never says NEVER in this biz.
Rallo: Following your stint in TNA you signed a contract with WWE and joined their developmental facility, FCW. Entering FCW as really a ring veteran with much experience beforehand, do you feel as though you learned a lot from the overall experience there or do you feel it was just something for you to do before they put you on television? Was there anything you learned that you feel really has helped you in your career ever since? Any trainers that you even feel really helped you out more than others and taught you some things that were very useful? Overall thoughts on FCW as a whole?
Hoyt: Going to FCW was a good thing for me with WWE. WWE truly has it's own Style of doing things. They can be very specific on how they want their superstars to handle themselves in and out of the ring. So going to FCW was a great way for me to transition into the WWE before going on to TV. Plus I believe they wanted to see what kind of attitude I would have. All the trainers there were awesome. Your always learning something in this biz. So I learned a lot while there. Both for WWE and in the business. It was a good experience and I made some good friends while there.
Rallo: When called up to WWE, you were assigned to work on ECW, and were pushed quite well from the beginning. Being given matches with Tommy Dreamer, Goldust, and Shelton Benjamin to name a few, you really were establishing yourself as the monster of the brand. Could you tell us of your thoughts of working in ECW? Do you feel as though this was the best part of your WWE run? How did you view the ECW brand in comparison to Raw or Smackdown and what were your thoughts when being assigned to work on the third wheeled brand? What were your favorite experiences and matches in this stint with ECW and what were your thoughts on the show in general before it had been dropped and replaced with WWE: NXT?
Hoyt: ECW was a great place for new WWE stars to establish themselves with WWE Univ. Look at some of the top stars now with WWE. They started on ECW and are now working the top spots on the other brands. Unfortunately for me and some others. ECW was ended and so the opportunities it provided for many of us. I believe if ECW had continued that I would have been able to better establish myself and move forward within the company.
Rallo: After ECW, you were put on Smackdown in a new tag team with, Curt Hawkins. From the get go, you guys were given a pretty decent storyline, trying to impress for a contract, but again, WWE really seemed to drop the ball on it. You two stuck around for a few months, until WWE decided to have you to disband on WWE Superstars. Do you feel as though WWE really had any big plans for the team at all? What were your thoughts on "The Gatecrashers" from the beginning and did you feel it was going to end so abruptly? After you were sporadically used until your release. Could you tell us of they gave you any real reason for your release? Did you really expect it coming? Would you ever have plans to return after how WWE used you the first time around?
Hoyt: I believed we would have definitely been given more of a chance. I never believed things would change so drastically and quickly. But that is how this biz works sometimes. The release came out of no where for me. I knew things weren't great but I believed it would just take some time to get things back on track. The reason given was financial. True or not. That's what was told to me. Again. You never say Never in this biz. If the situation was right for both parties. Who knows. I could be back one day. But, right now I am VERY happy working with NJPW.
Rallo: Getting back on track to NJPW, one of the experiences I wanted to discuss was G1 Climax event in August. Being one of the marquee events in NJPW you had taken on many including the likes of former champion, Togi Makabe. You had also worked again with Makabe in September, but had lost. Could you tell us your thoughts on working your first G1 Climax event as well as your matches with Makabe? Also, is there any event in NJPW or any opponent you feel as though you are really looking forward to?
Hoyt: I don't think the Wrestling world knows just how big the G1 Climax series is. It is amazing. and the finally was Awesome. The fans here have such a huge respect and seem to really enjoy the business. Something that seems to be lost by many Wrestling fans today. Working with Makabe has been AWESOME. He is a true Champion in this biz. We have gone back and forth many times. I don't think that feud is over either. I look forward to working with so many of these athletes. Obviously I'd love to work with Tanahashi for the IWGP title. If he still has it when I get the opp. Goto is such a fierce competitor. Giant Benard and Karl Anderson are such a strong Tag Team. I can't wait to through down with them many times. So much to look forward to.
Rallo: Moving on, I wanted to know your feelings on working as a singles competitor opposed to a tag team competitor. Do you feel as though you would rather become a successful singles wrestler than as a member of a tag team, something you are no stranger to? What are your thoughts on tag team wrestling as a whole and how do you feel it is perceived these days? Do you feel as though you would ever want to form a team with anybody in NJPW or does the "American Psycho" want to leave his own mark? Which wrestling do you feel you enjoy doing more and what is your overall feeling on tag team wrestling in the US and Japan?
Hoyt: Tag team wrestling is such and art. I've been apart of many great teams. I enjoy working in tag teams. But truly love and believe my best comes out when I'm on my own. In the states Tag Team wrestling is kind of lost. Here I think it is much stronger. The fans TRULY love watching all the action of tag team wrestling here. So it's a lot of fun working Tags in NJPW.
Rallo: Throughout your career, you have wrestled many competitors and have been a part of many different experiences. Could you tell us of what you feel is to be your best and most memorable match up in your career as well as your favorite overall experience in the wrestling industry? Also, if you had one opponent...one from the past, one in the present, and one future star you have never faced before, who would it be and why?
Hoyt: I've had A lot of great experiences with many great people. So narrowing it down to one event or one guy is hard. I really enjoyed working with Abyss and Monty Brown in TNA. Had some amazing matches with them. Abyss at Sacrifice 05 and Monty at the first BFG. I had a really good series with Shelton Benjamin in ECW/WWE and would have been great to see where that would have gone had ECW continued. Wrestlemania was Amazing! Just getting to walk out in front of all those people. Lace up the boots and have some fun on the biggest stage in the biz. Not a lot of people get that chance. Working the G1 Climax was probably one of the greatest wrestling experiences in my wrestling career. I can't wait to be apart of it again next year an possibly be their first foreigner to win.
Rallo: Before I let you go, is there any last words you want to say to your fans? Where can they find you via social networking, contact information, etc? Is there any upcoming match of yours or event that you wish to promote? Any words for aspiring Pro Wrestlers as well? Final thoughts, comments, words of wisdom?
Hoyt: I just want to say thank you to all the fans of the business. We do this for you and with out you there would be no Wrestling. So I challenge them to start enjoying the business more. Find a New superstar to LOVE and follow. The business can not move forward if the fans don't start enjoying the products of today and the superstars of tomorrow.
You guys can follow me on twitter.com @LanceHoyt or you can hit me up on Facebook under Lance Hoyt.Again Thank you, Take care and God Bless!