Raymond M. Lloyd (born May 13, 1964) is an American martial artist, professional wrestler, and actor. He is best known for his appearances with World Championship Wrestling from 1996 to 1999 under the ring name Glacier.
Professional wrestling career
Early career (1987–1996)
Lloyd began his wrestling career shortly after graduation. He was trained by Georgia grappler Fred Avery in a makeshift ring set up in Avery's backyard, and then cut his teeth on the Georgia independent circuit for two years, during which he was given the ring name "Sugar Ray" Lloyd by Tommy Rich. Lloyd joined WCW (then the NWA) for their 1989 Great American Bash tour, in which his debut match was a loss to Butch Reed in Albany, Georgia. He recalled in a March 2001 interview with WCW Magazine, "To be in the same ring with a man that big who could move like that was intimidating."
He moved to Atlanta and worked as an assistant high school football coach in Marietta, while participating in Southern Championship Wrestling shows on weekends, where he was further trained by Mr. Wrestling II and Bob Armstrong. From 1990 to 1991, again as "Sugar Ray" Lloyd, he tag teamed with Swain as "The Blazers," named such after the Valdosta State athletic mascot. In 1991, Pro Wrestling Illustrated held a contest for readers to come up with a ring name for Swain.
Lloyd's second stint in WCW was when he was booked to be defeated by The Great Muta at a house show in Atlanta. Following that match, at Muta's request, Lloyd joined Muta on a string of WCW house shows before he moved to Japan in 1993. He joined the UWFI as a guest of renowned shootfighter Nobuhiko Takada, and competed against Japanese and American fighters. Lloyd returned to the United States after UWFI folded in 1996, and during a conversation with friend Diamond Dallas Page, he mentioned that he was planning to integrate martial arts into his wrestling, which he had been unable to do during the early days of his career. At Page's request, WCW president Eric Bischoff, a martial arts practitioner himself, signed Lloyd to a contract.
World Championship Wrestling
Blood Runs Cold (1996–1998)
Beginning in April 1996, Lloyd's new ring persona, Glacier, a gimmick similar to the Mortal Kombat character Sub-Zero, was introduced via a series of vignettes during WCW programming, which featured the tagline Blood Runs Cold. The October 1996 issue of WCW Magazine featured a fictional profile of the character that described him as having gone to Japan to study a fighting style that combined martial arts and pro wrestling maneuvers, with a 400-year-old helmet passed down to him by his master instructor. He was then given the name "Glacier" by his instructor as a symbolization of the power of the elements.
Glacier was also given one of the most extravagant entrances in wrestling at the time, which consisted of blue laser lights streaming across the arena and synthetic snow falling from the ceiling. After slowly walking to the ring, he then engaged in a ritual of standing on a center turnbuckle in order to remove his armor and mask, then somersaulting off the buckle and into the center of the ring to perform a kata routine; this process sometimes lasted as long as two minutes. Moreover, since he was a face character, he also bowed to the referee and to his opponent after the bell rang. The ring was then enveloped entirely by blue light during the length of the match.
According to Lloyd in a 2000 interview with the Hannibal Courier-Post, production costs for Glacier's entrance amounted to nearly half a million dollars, while the costume and armor, designed by Atlanta-based AFX Studios, cost $35,000. The armor contained the number 126 carved into the breastplate as a reference to his father's badge number. Glacier also wore a blue contact lens in his right eye to top off the outfit, which often prompted comments from WCW Monday Nitro analyst Bobby Heenan, such as "[He's] half man, half Siamese cat." To further accentuate the character's image, Lloyd, a natural brunette, temporarily bleached his hair blond from April to December 1997.
Glacier was originally intended to debut in July, but due to the coinciding appearance and immediate impact of the New World Order at the Bash at the Beach pay-per-view that month, his debut was delayed indefinitely; WCW worked this into a feud with Big Bubba Rogers, who criticized Glacier's hype and the overlong wait for his arrival during interviews on WCW Monday Nitro with the Dungeon of Doom. His debut finally occurred on September 9, 1996, when he pinned The Gambler in a prerecorded match on WCW Pro, which was also one of only two matches in which he executed his Cryonic Kick finisher off the top rope before it was changed to a spinning reverse roundhouse kick, and subsequently to standard side kick. Glacier then defeated Bubba on his Nitro debut on September 16, ending the brief feud. The original costume and blue lighting were scrapped, however, after only his fourth match, a pinfall victory on Nitro over Mike Wenner on September 30. Following a subsequent ten-week hiatus off WCW television, he reappeared on Nitro on December 2, in which he debuted a new ring outfit and entrance music, then pinned Hardbody Harrison in a 60-second squash.
After spending the beginning of his WCW career in the midcard, it was not until March 1997 that Glacier was put into his first long-term feud, with Mortis, who was depicted in the new storyline as an Asian pitfighter who was one of eccentric manager James Vandenberg's collection of "rare oddities" and who had shared a history with Glacier. The angle was titled "Blood Runs Cold"; the slogan had not been used since the vignettes from the previous year had stopped airing.
Glacier defeated Mortis in the pay-per-view debut for both, at WCW Uncensored on March 16, but after the match, Wrath made his first appearance as Vandenberg's then-unnamed newest charge, and both men double-teamed Glacier. Postmatch assaults by Mortis and Wrath became commonplace after Glacier's Nitro matches, and on the April 21 episode, his helmet was also stolen by the pair after he defeated Ciclope in less than one minute. His rematch with Mortis at Slamboree on May 18 ended in a disqualification after less than two minutes when Wrath attacked him from behind. Mortis and Wrath then had their way with Glacier for several minutes before he was rescued by Ernest "The Cat" Miller, who had entered the ring from the crowd.
On June 15, Glacier pinned Wrath at The Great American Bash, after which another beating commenced, this time after he was handcuffed to the top rope by Mortis, who himself had been cuffed to the turnbuckle prior to the match in order to prevent outside interference. The very next night on Nitro, Glacier again defeated Mortis and then was attacked for the last time by Mortis and Wrath after Miller again came to his rescue. From then until Bash at the Beach, Glacier wrestled as a tag unit with Miller, mainly in the lower card against luchadors. After Mortis and Wrath finally won their first encounter in the feud at Bash at the Beach on July 13 and ended Glacier's undefeated streak, WCW promptly shut down the angle due to the creative team's inability to further evolve the characters and the storyline. As a result, the backstory between Mortis and Glacier was therefore never revealed.
On September 1, nearly a year after he had made his official debut, Glacier was handed his first singles loss by Buff Bagwell. He and Miller lost their second consecutive pay-per-view affair in November, to the Faces of Fear at World War 3, and Glacier capped off the year with a squash at the hands of Bill Goldberg on December 27.
Despite an undefeated twelve-month singles period from September 1996 to August 1997, Glacier remained entrenched in the midcard ranks. He was booked as a heel for 1998, starting with an edition of WCW Saturday Night on January 24 in a rematch alongside Miller against Mortis and Wrath. Glacier and Miller were to fight each other two weeks earlier on the program, but it was called off after Glacier was attacked by Mortis and Wrath offscreen beforehand. However, during the tag match, Glacier turned on Miller, allowing Mortis and Wrath to get the win. This brought the "Blood Runs Cold" angle to an official close as Mortis and Wrath were split up from Vandenberg and moved into the singles ranks.
Feud with Perry Saturn and injury (1998–1999)
Glacier spent the next three months on a losing streak, jobbing to the likes of Steve McMichael, Prince Iaukea, and Lex Luger on Nitro and Thunder, while feuding on the side with Chris Adams on WCW Saturday Night in a battle of superkick finishers.
Glacier then entered a feud with Perry Saturn, starting with an angle in which he cut a promo on the May 11 Nitro declaring that his Cryonic Kick finisher was his own move and threatened to take out anyone who used it. This prompted a response from Saturn on Thunder later in the week, in which he lambasted Glacier for his in-ring appearance and his claiming ownership of the superkick. Starting with a pin of Sick Boy on May 18 after Saturn's outside interference was unsuccessful, Glacier then fought a series of matches against several other members of Raven's Flock. He and Saturn then alternated wins on WCW Thunder, but the most notable aspect of the angle was that Kanyon, who had recently shed the Mortis gimmick, was regularly conducting sneak attacks on Raven and the Flock in various disguises. On the June 4 edition of Thunder, Kanyon (disguised as referee Nick Patrick) entered the ring and took out Saturn with a Russian legsweep, allowing Glacier to get the win, and flashed the Mortis mask to Glacier before leaving the ring. The feud died down shortly thereafter when Saturn was moved to a new angle involving Raven and the breakup of the Flock. A Glacier-Saturn matchup (won by Saturn) that aired on WCW Worldwide on September 26 was the last match broadcast on the program before its format was changed to a recap show.
Glacier suffered a severe knee injury during the main event on Nitro on June 29, in which he lost to then-United States champion Goldberg for the fourth time in what would be his only title challenge in WCW. He kept the extent of the injury hidden until after the match and left the ring under his own power, but after rehabilitation proved unsuccessful, he underwent knee surgery. He was out until the November 5 Thunder, where he offered his support to Miller, who himself had undergone a heel turn. One week later, he returned to ring action for the first time in over four months, and debuted his new finisher, a version of Terry Gordy's Oriental thumb spike (dubbed the "Ice Pick"), for a submission victory over Adams.
On November 16, Glacier, Kanyon, and Wrath reunited for the first and only time since the demise of Blood Runs Cold, when Glacier and Kanyon were scheduled to face each other on Nitro after Wrath fought Raven in the previous match, but Raven's refusal to wrestle, despite goading by Kanyon, saw it called off. Wrath then took out his frustration by pummeling both Glacier and Kanyon inside the ring before their opening bell, but the match commenced nonetheless with Kanyon ultimately scoring the pin. Glacier made his final WCW pay-per-view appearance with a loss to Wrath at World War 3 on November 22, and closed out the year with another series of matches against Saturn on Thunder and Saturday Night, in which Miller's manager, Sonny Onoo, repeatedly interfered.
By early 1999, Glacier was again booked to lose to lower-card opponents so that WCW could finally kill off the character and allow Lloyd to transition into a new one. This came to a head on February 6, when he was pinned on Saturday Night by Al Green. Five days later, a series of skits aired on Thunder in which Glacier, tired of his gimmick, sold his armor, mask, and helmet to Kaz Hayashi and Miller; Onoo convinced the gullible Hayashi to buy the gear for ten times Glacier's asking price. For a short time, Miller came out to Glacier's music and entrance, while Hayashi wore his armor and mask to the ring.
Though Lloyd had not appeared on television following the end of Glacier, he, along with Gene Okerlund, Alex Wright, and other WCW personalities, attended the public grand opening of the Nitro Grill at the Excalibur Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on May 22, 1999; the restaurant lasted only sixteen months and closed in September 2000.
Coach Buzz Stern (1999)
On August 19, Lloyd made his first televised appearance in six months, this time on Thunder in the first of several promos as Coach Buzz Stern, featuring longtime independent wrestler Luther Biggs. The clips were filmed at the WCW Power Plant and served to introduce the storyline of Stern choosing the clumsy Biggs as his protege, and aired until the end of September, when Biggs was pinned by Bobby Eaton in his in-ring debut on Thunder; Stern put Biggs in a postmatch full nelson as punishment. Over the following month, Stern served as Biggs' manager for only three additional matches: a squash loss to Meng on Thunder, a pinfall victory over Dave Burkhead on Saturday Night, and a match against Barry Darsow (wrestling as Blacktop Bully) on Worldwide, which Biggs won only after Stern's outside interference. Though the Stern character was inspired by Lloyd's days as a high school football coach prior to his WCW career, and had received buildup in Mark Madden's weekly WCW.com column, he received an indifferent reception from fans, and after Lloyd himself wrestled his only match as Stern in a November 4 Thunder loss to Eddie Guerrero, the angle was shelved and both Stern and Biggs were removed from television. Lloyd was one of many wrestlers released by the company on November 21, 1999 as part of a cost-cutting measure.