Elijah Burke Talks His New Film Project Hes Involved in, His Wrestling Future, Whether he has had talks with WWE or TNA

Apr 19, 2015 - by Steve Gerweck

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Former TNA, ECW and WWE Superstar, one of the talented cast in the upcoming film ‘Wounded’ and star of the documentary ‘Pope: Against all Odds’ “The Pope” Elijah Burke joined “Multi-time Award Winning” the Rack Thursday Night. In a nearly 30 minute interview, he discussed his role within the new Indiegogo project ‘Wounded’ (https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/wounded-film), his involvement within the documentary ‘Pope: Against All Odds’ with former Rack guest Matt Goldberg, along with Director Alan Brooks, what other projects he may be involved with within acting, the latest on his charity ‘Love –Alive Charity’, how close he was to being involved with Django Unchained, about his time with TNA and if he thinks he might go back to WWE in the future, his thoughts on Triple H and Sting’s match at this past year’s WrestleMania and what he was looking for in the match and much more.

About his role in the new film “Wounded”: “It’s a really cool, deep, and when I say deep I mean really, really deep film about these five brothers who all have their different struggles after dealing with abuse growing up. I don’t want to give too much away, but each brother dealt with the abuse in their own way. My character, who I play, is named Jeff was lead to alcoholism and was abusive to his wife, went to therapy and everything, well, he went to therapy one time and walked out because it was just too much for him and I think this film is really going to hit home with a lot of people.

It really touched on a subject that a lot of people don’t like to address because we all have, or know someone within our families or maybe friends who have been abused in their own home; kids going to school abused, whether that is physically, sexually, mentally. They’re being abused and this topic, especially amongst men being abused, which we don’t hear about enough, we don’t talk about enough because boys grow up to become men and they always feel that they have to remain solid. To say ‘I’ve been abused’ or ‘I’ve been sexually abused’ or whatnot, to say that in this day and age especially, one would feel like it killed their manhood and credit or vetoes their man card.

So, when I read the script, it sent chills down my body, because like I just said, we all know someone, we are all onlookers if not someone who has been through it themselves so we know about the type of stuff going on. So, once I read it, I was on-board and again the chance to reunite with Matt Goldberg, who by the way did a documentary with The Pope when I was with TNA. I know it’s going to be something real good.”

Aside from ‘Wounded’, what other projects is he a part of: “I am currently working on get involved with, in talk with, a military film that’s coming out; I spoke with some producers about it and we’re trying to see if everything is going to work out because you know Pope’s got a head full of hair on his big head, so I know most military films want you to cut your hair to be clean cropped and we’re just trying to iron out some details and see what’s what and see if it will be worth it and if it’s going to benefit both parties and then it’ll happen.

Does he see himself getting back in the ring: “Absolutely. A lot of people ask me that all the time and at this point, I feel like (Hulk) Hogan ‘Never say Never, Brother’. I mean, I’m still in my prime, if you will, and I’m ready and, again, it’s all about opportunity presenting itself and it’s about timing. I’ve had some contact made with Triple H and had some words given to and from Triple H as far as returning to WWE and right now it’s about, I assume, timing. So, yes, definitely I want to go back home, home being where I started and I would love to finish up my career there. I’m not finished by a long shot.

For the record, even though I have that sour taste in my mouth as far as the movie goes when I was with TNA, but I had a blast, an absolute blast. Everybody said it at the time as far as putting over TNA and the atmosphere, how great it is; people are always going to say the right thing when they’re under contract, you know? As soon as they leave, they bash the poor people or they talk about the company in so many unflattering ways but I can truly say I had a blast. Yeah, there were bad times as far as un-organization and who is in charge this week and whatever some of the other people have said but when it came to the locker room atmosphere, when it came to that; the family atmosphere and aspect of TNA, it was great. It was really great, be respectful, don’t have anybody walking on eggshells. It was an absolute pleasure. But that year, after a lot of the ups and downs, and the stop-and-goes, my contract came up and I was gracious and I thanked Miss Dixie Carter and that was it.”

On Sting getting his Wrestlemania Moment: “Wrestlemania is huge all by itself, but that was the match I was looking forward to the most. That match had my attention. I worked with Steve(Sting) in TNA for so long, I absolutely love the guy. We are of like mind, we share the same beliefs, as far as our discussions go and everything. I was very excited for him, I remember us having that conversation about that Wrestlemania moment. I am very grateful that this young up and comer, that this young up and comer, year and a half in to my WWE run, that I had an opportunity to wrestle in front of the second largest crowd in Wrestlemania History(at that point). If you watch that match, I just look around and thank the lord for having that opportunity. I remember standing on the ring and Matt Striker is just putting the boots to someone and I am looking around at the audience going wow. I shared that moment with Steve(Sting) and told him you deserve to have it. I was fortunate, I have never taken anything for granted. I was telling him you deserve it, hes probably has had that conversation with everyone. Steve(Sting) was very reluctant for whatever reason, but I am glad he did it, he deserved it. As far as the match goes, I loved it.”

About his Charity, the Love-Alive Charity: “Right now, my main goal, if I may say so, my main goal is to finish the necessities when it comes to my charity, the Love-Alive Charity. That’s something I’ve been working on vigorously all year, me and my partner, she’s wonderful and helps me out with everything basically. It’s been really, really a journey but, I don’t know, I’ll just say that the journey has been something else and I think we’re going to be there by the end of this year, and when I say be there we’re talking about the destination and that’s getting that 501(c)3 down so that we can be solidified; we’re already in as a non-profit but it’s just getting all this paperwork together.

It is just so much and they are relentless as far as all the information that you’ve got to have and every single question has to be answered in page form and I don’t have a committee yet, I just have a few trustees that work with me on this and trust me, me and my partner are working to get it done. We feed people from Burger King every year and I want to make it more than one-time a year and I want to get some investors on board, or sponsors rather, from some huge companies in Jacksonville to make it bigger than it is, and that’s coming.”

If his work with ‘Wounded’ mean he’s moving from wrestling to acting primarily and what happened between himself, TNA and his part in Django Unchained: “Well, I’d been wanting to do the whole acting thing, and you don’t worry about transition; Pope will follow you wherever you go. You just do what you want to do. I’ve been cutting my teeth for the last couple years or so, 4 or 5 years, even with my last days in TNA and gosh I even hate that it’s was asked because there was this huge film that I was working on when I was absent in my last year of TNA and that was called ‘Django Unchained’.

I was on set for about 3 months, 3 whole months and I don’t know if you saw that movie, because I haven’t, but most of the fighters or mandingos, whatever they were called in the film, they looked rough so I just want you know: imagine how I look, with a head full of hair on my head out looking like Alfalfa, I’m talking a whole lot of hair and all this facial hair. I can’t shave even, I couldn’t have my hair in a neat style for three whole months; I had to go around New Orleans like that. I had go around like that for three whole months.

All of a sudden, I get a call, while I’m on set working for Quintin Tarantino, who is cool by the way and hand-selected me to be Leonardo DiCaprio’s head mandingo, I was supposed to be his guy, one of his prized fighters. I remember reading the script and remember going down and they showed me this wall of 8-16 guys and they showed me the 4 pictures that Quintin Tarantino selected and I was one of them, to be honest, so I was working on the film and I got a call from TNA saying they wanted me back for a Battle Royal for the beginning of the BFG (Bound For Glory) Series and that was on a Thursday Live Impact. Unfortunately, we hadn’t started shooting my face shots yet, my close-ups, my verbiage if I had any; we hadn’t started that yet so, when I was told I had to fly out from New Orleans and fly in for TNA, they decided (TNA) they’d fly be back out as soon as the show was over with so I could make it back for Django.

But, Django’s producers were telling me that we hadn’t filmed in a couple of days, Leonardo’s been out sick, it’s been raining and we may film today and we really need you here today, so, if something happens and you leave and we start to film, we going to have to have back-up take your spot, so just be aware of that. They kept telling me, it’s going to be a big film, it’s Quentin Tarantino, it’s going to be a big film; So, I had to pretty much be loyal to my bread-and-butter, which was TNA and out of loyalty I went back to do it and the very day I was getting prepared for the show and we were going over it with Dixie Carter and I got a phone call saying ‘Elijah, I’m so sorry but we don’t need you anymore; we used our back-up.’ So yeah, it kind of hurt that they decided they were going to film today and we talked about it, so they kinda screwed me out of a good little footstep so far as advancing myself, having a great role and having my name in the credits. I would have been able to appear on the red carpet; it left just kind of a sour taste in my mouth but I felt that I had to be loyal to TNA at the time and that’s what I did. I can’t really say I regret it, but I just wish I had a lot more support and I wish that upper management had understood what this could have meant not just for me but for the company, to have one of their stars involved in this project,; it would have been great. And to this day, I still haven’t watched it.”

You can follow Elijah through his Twitter (@Dablackpope) or visit his homepages (http://theelijahexpress.com) or (www.youtube.com/popetv4u)for all the latest on him and projects including his Love-Alive Charity and their efforts. You can help Elijah and the cast of ‘Wounded’ fund their project via Indiegogo crowdfunding, go to www.indiegogo.com/projects/wounded-film/x/8000996 for a chance to donate, help support the film and support both Elijah and former Rack guest, Matt Goldberg!

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