Ex-WWE Star Breaks Down Brutal Wrestlers Court

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A former WWE star has explained why he thinks wrestlers’ court is “a gigantic bullying process.”

Wrestlers’ court was a form of self-policing in the WWE locker room for many years. The idea was to hold mock trials – often with The Undertaker presiding as judge – to deal with backstage incidents and squash any beefs between wrestlers. While a lot of funny stories have emerged from the process, it also had a dark side.

On the latest episode of Wrestling Observer Live, Lance Storm told a story from shortly after he joined WWE in 2001 after the company bought his old employer, WCW. According to Storm, Howard Finkel was humiliated in the court as an example to keep the influx of former WCW stars in line.

“In the 2000s it was [if] you don’t do what you’re told, we’ll find someone who will. And you’re in wrestlers court, which was just a gigantic bullying process in my opinion. I hated that goddamn thing. They did one when I first got there during the Invasion. Of all people, Howard Finkel. One of the women I don’t know was [told] to slap him, and he flinched and looked like sh*t. And they brought him to wrestlers court and I’m sitting here going, they just want all the WCW guys to know how horrible it can be. So don’t ever risk getting into wrestlers court. And they humiliated that poor man.”

“Again, this is Invasion time, so I’m green as s**t and it’s like I’m right on the fence, I gotta get up and say something. This is f***ing bullsh*t. But again, it’s like, okay, you’ve got to pick the team you’re on. We’re all getting harassed and you’re WCW, you’re not one of us. I’m like, if I get up, I’m done. And I felt so bad. And he was punished to go out and do another segment where he got slapped, and he flinched again and got [punished].”

After the ‘trial’, Storm apologised to Finkel and tried to treat him right from then on.

“But after the wrestlers court was over, it’s like, Howard was crying. And I went out and pulled him aside and just like apologised, and I was almost in tears. And it’s like, I felt like s**t that I didn’t get up and say anything. But I guess at the end of the day, I was too much of a coward to do it.”

“But it was just like, Howard just wants to be one of the boys and do good and the best he can, and he loved wrestling. And so I always tried to make a habit of chatting with Howard and being nice to Howard. But it was just like, this is just wrong. He didn’t do anything intentionally wrong. But I think they wanted to show us, the outsiders, what lay ahead of us if we act up. And I hated it.”

Lance Storm Tried To Help Other Stars Being Sent To WWE’s Wrestlers’ Court

Lance Storm also recalled trying to help MNM – Joey Mercury, Melina, and Johnny Nitro (now known as John Morrison) – when they were to be sent to the court. While Storm advised them to go through with it even though it was “bulls**t.” However, someone told JBL and Bob Holly, who were holding the court, that he had done the opposite.

“There was a period when I was in developmental. And you [Dave Meltzer] probably wrote about it, there was some tension between me and JBL and Bob Holly. MNM, they went to wrestlers court, and they came to me in developmental and asked me. I’m like, you have to go. I even said I think it’s bulls**t, but you have to go and take your comeuppance and to get past it. And someone stooged off that I told them to not go and don’t listen to their verdict.

“So then people hated me, but whatever. But it was just so frustrating because they weren’t doing anything wrong. But I think it was, again, you got to be put in your place. And it’s sad because guys are like this. Again, I played volleyball in university, and it’s like, well you’re a rookie, you get hazed, we treat you like sh*t. And then you think it’s unjust and sh***y, but then the next year, you’re being just as sh*tty and ignorant to the next person. And I think that’s part of the wrestling mentality. It’s like when I first got in here, they treated me like s**t and now it’s my turn to do it to you.”

Storm has tried to teach his own students that things don’t have to work that way, and finished by saying things now are a “million time better” than when he was an active wrestler.

“That was something that I always tried to embed in my students that there is a respect factor and a ladder of accomplishment and show respect to those ahead of you. But don’t be in a rush to be the guy that has to be higher on the ladder so someone else has to show respect to you. And there’s some great guys that were 40-year vets that didn’t act like you had to give up your chair to them and carry their bags for them. But there’s those that do. It’s definitely getting a million times better.”

In another recent interview, Lance Storm has opened up about a worrying heart issue he experienced in 2023.

H/T to Inside The Ropes for the above transcription.