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   March 18, 2016

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Lance Hoyt

REAL NAME: Lance Hoyt
6'9", 290 pounds
BORN: Dallas, Texas
NICKNAMES: Shadow, Lance Steel, Breakdown, Dallas

The professional wrestling industry is filled with stories of up-and-coming young wrestlers who first broke onto the national scene as a tag team wrestler, but went on to greater fame and success once they broke away from their partner.

Shawn Michaels is perhaps the best known of these stories, but in NWA-TNA, another young wrestler, his former partner banished, is finding that going solo is just what his career needed. His name is Lance Hoyt and he is being labelled as one of those "can't-miss" prospects, the way Michaels was in 1991.

Lance Hoyt's childhood aspirations did not include becoming a professional wrestling, but instead he foresaw a future in marine biology. He played baseball and basketball in high school, but it was being the quarterback on his high school football team that led to his attending Howard Payne University in Brownswood, Texas. He later transferred to Southwest Texas State University, where he graduated with an English degree. (As an aside, he would also make an appearance on The Jenny Jones Show as a dancer while in university.)

Realization that he couldn't make a career of it in football led him to ponder a career in pro wrestling. Through an acquaintance he met while working in a nightclub, he began training under Solo Fiatalo (who in turn had been trained by Ivan Putski, which meant a 90-mile trip from San Marcos, Texas (where he was living) to Fiatalo's wrestling school in Austin at least three times a week.

But back to Michaels. Hoyt almost trained with The Heartbreak Kid. "I had applied to Shawn Michaels' Wrestling Academy which had just started up, and when they called with my acceptance, I had just totaled my car and had to get a new one, so I couldn't afford it," Hoyt told SLAM! Wrestling's Bob Kapur. "I was working with a nightclub, and the owner knew the owner of SWWF, and we worked out a deal that I could afford, and there you go."

Hoyt began his career in Texas in July 2000, when he made his in-ring debut against Tarzan Taylor. For the next four years, he wrestled in several Texas-based independents, as both Lance Steel and Breakdown. He would pick up titles such as the GZW Championship and twice claimed the STEW Heavyweight title and compete against Ahmed Johnson and Paul London.

In April 2003, he began wrestling as Shadow in the Arlington, Texas-based Professional Championship Wrestling. The Shadow character was based on Sting's Crow gimmick, who just happened to be Hoyt's favourite wrestler.

"I really didn't watch much wrestling when I was a kid. I started watching in about '94 and the Crow thing was something I really identified with," he said during an interview with SLAM Wrestling. "For me, the idea of being a wrestler is as a comic book character. Shadow was really the persona I wanted - a dark, gothic persona with a lot of excitement and a lot of energy."

Ironically Hoyt would later meet his idol as part of Moment of Truth, a movie based of Sting's life story. Hoyt had a brief appearance filming a match pitting Sting against Chris Harris and himself.

Hoyt would stay with PCW where he would become Heavyweight Champion until March 2004, when he headed to Nashville and NWA-TNA.

On March 24, 2004, Kid Kash unveiled his mystery partner in the NWA Tag Team tournament match against Sonny Siaki and Simon Diamond. That mystery partner was Hoyt, renamed "Dallas", and booked as one of Kash's relatives. Dallas hit Siaki with a steel pipe, allowing Kash to get the win.

"I got there and they said, 'Congratulations, man, you're on the pay-per-view.' I said, 'What?'" he recalled with a laugh.

Signed to a contract that night, Hoyt (as Dallas) would continue to team with Kash, advancing in the tournament with a victory over Slash and Sinn, and then Christopher Daniels and Low Ki to become the NWA World Tag Team Champions.

As an up-and-coming wrestler and a newcomer to TNA, Hoyt felt priviledged to team with Kash. "He's an amazing worker and that's definitely rubbed off on me," he said. "He's one of those guys where you know he's a wrestler, but then, when you finally see him wrestle up close, you say, 'Wow!' He's been really good with me."

A week later after the tag title victory, Apollo and D-Lo Brown defeated Kash/Dallas for the belts, only to have Kash and Dallas regain the titles a week after that. After getting by Apollo and D-Lo, Kash and Dallas found themselves battling James Storm and Dusty Rhodes for the NWA Tag Titles, managing to retain them in several matches, only to lose them to America's Most Wanted on June 4, 2004.

"Kash was nothing but awesome to me," Hoyt said. "He taught me a lot, showed me a lot of things. How to work in a tag team, because I had never really done that before. How to work as a good heel, because he's one of the best in the business as far as that's concerned. He was always supportive of me. I never had a problem with him one bit."

Meanwhile, Hoyt was still wrestling as the Shadow in PCW. That is, until the aftermath of his winning a "loser-must-retire" match against Jeromy Sage, the "owner" of PCW in May 2004. Sage reneged on the stipulation, and fired Shadow.

A feud between Kash/Dallas and A.J. Styles erupted after Kash and Dallas attacked Styles following a match against Frankie Kazarian.

With the start of the new year came another change. Hoyt would drop the Dallas moniker and begin wrestling under his real name. While Kash/Hoyt took aim at America's Most Wanted, Hoyt returned to Texas as Shadow. He joined PCW's Dark Circle heel faction and, on March 26th, defeated Steve DeMarco to regain the PCW Heavyweight title.

While he may have remained a heel in Texas's PCW, an interesting thing was happening in TNA. Kash was released from TNA after he did an interview on an on-line wrestling talk show just prior to Lockdown and Hoyt was left on his own.

After losing a match to Apollo and Sonny Siaki (and his new tag team partner Chris Candido to an injury) at Lockdown, Hoyt found himself under attack from the Naturals, who blamed him for the loss and Candido's injury. Watching Hoyt on the receiving end of that beatdown was all the fans needed to rally behind him. "Hoytamania" had begun.

Obviously, a lot of my popularity has to do with working with the great talent that I've had the opportunity to work with," Hoyt told Kapur. "Everybody is performing so far beyond any expectations. As far as the fans taking a liking to me, I really appreciate that. I try to work hard, and I hope that by busting my butt, that I do something entertaining."

As a newly-turned face, he began feuding with Team Canada when, on July 1st, he was attacked after a match with Eric Young and found new allies in the Naturals. And, after being attacked by Abyss, Hoyt turned his attention to gaining revenge, only to be defeated at Sacrifice.

Hoyt continues to working PCW (with his Dallas persona replacing Shadow), while remaining in both singles and tag team action in TNA (teaming with Konnan in the Chris Candido Cup).

Hoyt, dubbed "the Ticked Off Texan", began feuding with Monty Brown only to lose at Bound for Glory.

His feud with Brown, however was one of the few major singles matches he had in TNA, instead working a lot of six man tag matches, especially teaming with the Naturals.

--- compiled by John M. Milner with files from Steven Johnson and Bob Johnson

  • June 4, 2004: "Dallas" is again a Friday TV fixture