Posted May 8th, 2017 by Bill Apter

Shelter From The Storm
Impact Wrestling Star Rides Into Town for a Good Cause
by Ryan K. Boman

The cheers came raining down in Pinckneyville, Illinois, on Saturday night, as former Impact Wrestling World Heavyweight Champion “Cowboy” James Storm arrived at the 204 elementary school.

In late March, several of the communities in Illinois’ Perry County were severely damaged by tornadoes, and many residents were left without shelter and lost irreplaceable valuables. Like an old gunslinger who arrived on the scene to make things right, Storm was in town to play the hero, appearing on a charity event to benefit families that were affected by those destructive, 100-mph winds.

Storm received the call to wrestle when another performer was forced to cancel, and asked if he could spare some free time. After re-arranging a few family commitments, he was locked in and ready to lend a hand.

“To me, family is everything, and I had actually planned on staying home and going to my little girl’s football practice this weekend,” The Cowboy said, as he quietly put his head down to lace his boots. “But, when they told me it was a charity show for other families that had actually lost their homes themselves, I knew I had to go.”

It was a unique event, but the veteran grappler said that he’s always fair game for a good cause.

“It doesn’t matter who you are, or sometimes even what kind of person you are, as a human being you need to help out other human beings. You’ve got to be willing to reach out sometimes.”

The Cowboy was upbeat as he was preparing for his tag team match that evening, where he and 204 teacher Josh Plumlee would go on to defeat Heavy Artillery (Ax Allwardt and Scott Phoenix ). During his long tenure with TNA/Impact Wrestling, Storm has played nearly every role imaginable there. He talked about his remaining ambitions and what lies ahead in his career.

The crowd was thrilled as Impact Wrestling star James Storm wrestled on this special card.

“Right now, it’s great just being the Cowboy again,” he commented.”I think that’s me. I think that’s why it comes so natural to me- to get to play myself, but as a bigger character on TV. I’m having fun again.”

All proceeds were donated from the event, which also saw Roger Matheus capture the STRIDE heavyweight title by defeating Heath Hatton in a ladder match. On a glimmering May afternoon, the packed house at the school’s gymnasium had the chance to battle a storm, and see a Storm, all in the same night.

School principal Jerry Travelstead, who organized the event and also wrestled on the card, was pleased with the action, the evening, and the money raised. He said Storm’s appearance made the night complete.

“I feel like the event went great and definitely surpassed my expectations,” Travelstead said. “James Storm was just unbelievably nice, very cordial and professional. He took time with the fans and also took time with the wrestlers backstage. He was more than happy with the show had
a really good time talking with the young wrestlers.”

Storm took time out of his busy schedule and not only wrestled but did a meet ‘n’ greet with fans.

Throughout a career that has spanned 20 years, Storm has established that same reputation as a locker room leader and trusted veteran of the industry.

“I’m at the point where I’m comfortable enough with what I do that no one really has to tell me a lot,” Storm said. “They just hand me a mic or point me in a direction and tell me to go.”

He also stated that he has no plans on winding down his career anytime soon.

“I want to go as long as I can. I’ve been healthy, and lucky. I plan on wrestling as long as my body lets me.”

After weeks of twisters and heavy rain, the skies were sunny on a Saturday in Southern Illinois, thanks to STRIDE wrestling and a Cowboy who cared. Storm said he was happy to have been a big part of the event

“It’s really fun, because we aren’t worried about cameras, producers, or sticking to times,” Storm said. “You can just kind of let it go out there and have a good time and not have to think about it too much. It’s a lot more personal here than at a TV taping or a big arena show. You really get to connect with the fans and the kids, and that’s a big reason why I came.”

“It’s always worthwhile to get to be a part of something like this.”

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