Eli Drake Hates “Ballroom Dancing Wrestling”, Explains Beauty of Impact on Pursuit

Jan 25, 2019 - by James Walsh

Show: Interactive Wrestling Radio
Guest: Eli Drake
Date: 01/23/19
Your Host: James Walsh

In an interview from the Shot Show in Las Vegas, Eli Drake talked to the Wrestling Epicenter to discuss Impact’s new TV home of the Pursuit chanel, the Twitch live stream, his issue with being told he “stepped it up”, and his real, unfiltered view of hardcore and high flying wrestling. It is only 15 minutes long and yet he says so many golden nuggets! You have to listen to this one!

To listen in MP3 format, visit www.WrestlingEpicenter.com. We have over 600 prior episodes/interviews to choose from conducted over the past 16 years.


On his experience at the Shot Show convention in Las Vegas:
“It has been interesting! It has been different. I’ve never been to a convention like that. You get to see some artillery, that is for sure. I’m not the biggest gun enthusiast, I’ll tell you that. But, I love the shot gun. It is an exhilarating feeling. But, when I saw a grenade launcher – That was pretty wild! It was a cool time. You run into some interesting characters there as well.”

On running into The Undertaker:
“That was just random happenstance. He was just there! Goldberg was there in attendance. I didn’t know he (Undertaker) was gong to be there today. He came over and said, “Oh I didn’t know wrestlers were going to be here today”, introduced himself. We took a picture and he went on his way.”

On his Monsters Ball match with Abyss at Homecoming:
“Man, that is not my type of match at all. That is not something I see myself doing again in the near future. But, if you’re talking about Homecoming and the meaning of that whole show and going full circle – That is where Impact began and we were back there. In a certain sense, you’ve got to bring it! I knew I was going to take and do some stupid stuff that I’m probably never going to do again in my career. But, I was thinking lets go balls to the wall on this one and go for it! I stepped it up! (laughs)”

On his run as Impact champion in 2017 into 2018:
“It was good. I don’t feel I got the best run in a certain sense due to a couple things. But, of course, being pushed to be there and being trusted to be in a certain position was amazing. Getting to carry that and to do that… But, at the same time, there were definitely certain things I wish had been done differently. I don’t think I really was featured or given the opportunity to take the ball on my own and go with it.”

On if he has the itch to be Impact champion again:
“Hell yeah! That is why I got in the business. I didn’t get in to be a background guy or just in the mix. I want to be the guy. I want to be the guy at the top that everybody is trying to be – Wants to be. I think a second run with that (title), maybe a little better focused, would be a necessity.”

On trying to flip Eddie Edwards away from being his crazy hardcore persona:
“If you do the math, all the titles he won in the past versus all the titles he hasn’t won being hardcore, maybe I can get through!”

On his enjoyment of Impact being a traveling brand:
“It is great just because it gets so stale striking that same spot over and over and over again. Not that I don’t want to go back to Orlando – I’d love to go back to Orlando at some point. But, to go there month after month after month, it got stale. I think it got stale for the audience and it got stale for the performers. Now we’re getting to go to different cities and be in front of different crowds. Not only that, it gets new eyes on the show. You get people who come to the show who are fans and sometimes they bring people who might not necessarily be fans and then you’ve got more eyes. If you keep pounding the same city over and over and over again, the chances of that happening are next to none.”

On his favorite place Impact has taped TV recently:
“I think the one that looks most epic is probably Toronto. But, the energy in New York was off the charts. I remember coming out for Bound for Glory and the reaction was huge! Vegas is always fun. But, as far as reaction, New York. As far as presentation, it has got to be Toronto.”

On if his on screen venom towards hardcore wrestling is his true feelings:
“Yes. It also is an extension of my real feelings on the kind of Cirque du Soleil ballroom dancing looking spots that everyone seems to love doing right now where you turn a guy over and then do two back flips and then punch him in the mouth when you could have just punched him in the mouth! There is a lot of silliness! I’m always like, this is the dumbest stuff I have ever seen! Part of that is because I think a lot of guys are missing the point. The point of wrestling and if you look at the history of it, if you look at the ratings, the talking segments often times out do the wrestling segments. That is because people like to be told stories. A match can tell a story. But, it can be part of a story. So, yeah, I’ve been saying for a while that the biggest thing, if you want to expand your audience, is to tell better stories, have compelling characters… The wrestling should be there. It should be good! But, it is almost secondary to the story. The story is the important part! The wrestling is the icing on the cake. If you look at the biggest swell in wrestling, I just watched long form RAW from like 1997, 1998, something like that. I watched the first 45 minutes and there was only one match that actually got wrestled from start to finish in that 45 minutes. It started out with a promo with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin the crowd was hot for, the next segment ended up in a double DQ. But, it was exciting! Everyone had big characters that were very different from each other. That is what sold it and made you want to buy the pay per view and see the matches as opposed to matches for matches sake. I think that is why a lot of guys are doing this silly hardcore thing and are doing these silly moves that make no sense because they didn’t bother getting a personality or figuring out who they are… (laughs) So, the way they get the crowd not to be silent… And you’ve got to be comfortable with that silence because giving them that little bit to settle down makes them come up bigger. I found comfort in the silence because I know that if I hit something, boom! They get up. Or, I say something and now they can respond back to me. Because I know when I’m talking, I can get them to react. I can get them to come up big to something, say something back to me, or repeat what I said. But, as soon as I start talking again, everybody quiets down. Why? Because they want to hear what I am going to say. It is all about the character. It is all about the story. What am I telling you? Who? How? Why? What? When? And where? And then, the wrestling is the icing on the cake. Even though wrestling is on the marquee, it is entertainment at the end of the day. It is a show about wrestling.”

On Impact now airing on Pursuit:
“It is always a little tricky being on a new television network because a lot of people either miss the memo or maybe they don’t get the channel now. But, the beautiful thing about now being on Pursuit is Anthem actually owns Pursuit. That gives us a lot of freedom. That gives us the opportunity to simulcast on Twitch which is a big deal because if you don’t get the chanel, it is right there on your phone, your smart TV… You can get the show! That is huge. Of course you have the GWN app… The cool thing about being on Pursuit is it is a lot of hunting and a lot of fishing so our show almost stands out like a sore thumb. That is kind of a cool thing too because now you can get a lot of new eyes on the show!”

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