Professional wrestler Ray Lloyd, who is perhaps best known for his memorable stint in WCW as Glacier, was the featured guest on the most recent episode of the In The Room podcast on VOC Nation. He discussed his time in WCW and independent companies as well as his personal relationship with the late Dusty Rhodes in a lengthy interview with the show's panel of co-hosts, including Pro Wrestling Illustrated contributor Brady Hicks, former WCW grappler The Stro, and Kathie Fitzpatrick.
Now 51 years old, Lloyd recalled some of the groundbreaking elements of the Glacier character during the peak of WCW including his Mortal Kombat-inspired costume and his memorable entrance. He said that when the gimmick was originally pitched to him, he found it a little hard to warm up to as he had always been a traditional wrestler. WCW bigwig Eric Bischoff made it clear that Glacier would be like a video game come to life but added that the character should be serious and not comedic. Unsure of whether or not to go with the concept, Ray Lloyd sought the advice of legendary pro wrestler Lou Thesz, who offered some career-shaping advice.
"He finally said to me – I'll never forget exactly how he said it to me. He said, 'Ray, professional wrestling is probably never going to get back to the way you and I want it to be … This is the evolution of the business. It's okay. Go make your money.'"
Although Glacier's entrance and appearance made a splash with fans, competition was stiff in WCW with the presence of so many mega stars of professional wrestling on the company's roster. Lloyd explained that he had to work hard to stay on the radar of the WCW's creative team and front office.
"No one was doing me any favors," the grappler best known as Glacier explained. "[Diamond Dallas] Page went to bat for me and yeah, that was great. But we had to prove ourselves every single night. Unless you were Hogan or Savage or somebody like that, everybody's job was on the chopping block. It didn't matter how good you were, there were a thousand guys waiting to take your spot."
Asked by host Brady Hicks about the timing of his most memorable run in WCW, Ray said he did not necessarily think that the rise of NWO was terribly detrimental to the overall appeal and longevity of the Glacier character. He said their were cliques backstage and that his circle was known as "F.O.P." meaning "Friends of Page, noting that while Page advocated behind the scenes for guys like Glacier, Billy Kidman, and Chris Kanyon, wrestlers were ultimately responsible for their own work in WCW. Lloyd noted that NWO's huge appeal with fans ultimately pushed everyone on the roster to work harder.
After his third and final stint in WCW, Ray Lloyd left the company after he was recruited by Dusty Rhodes to build the Tennessee-based Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling promotion. Ray noted that while he had not been terribly close with Dusty during their time in WCW, they became peers and friends while working together in TCW. For Ray, it was almost surreal to be on such great terms with the man who had been his childhood hero. Dusty Rhodes personally selected Ray to be the first heavyweight champion for TCW.
"During the Turnbuckle era, I actually got married and I asked Dusty to be the groomsman at my wedding, and he said yes, thank God," Ray recalled. "And at my rehearsal dinner, I got really choked up saying [this] because it was so hard—it was just so surreal having him there. I just told him in front of everybody, it's so rare when anyone gets to meet their childhood hero, much less get to the relationship that I had with Dusty … Thank God I got to know him on that personal level … He impacted so many people and I feel so unbelievably lucky to be one of the people that he impacted along the way."
Ray Lloyd still makes occasional appearances as Glacier for independent wrestling promotions, and he is currently preparing for an appearance at the forthcoming WrestleCade event in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Many of his WCW matches can be viewed via the WWE Network, and Ray Lloyd expressed gratitude that WWE is still keeping the Glacier character alive for today's fans.
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