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411 Exclusive Interview (Full Transcript): Eli Drake on Why He’s Against Intergender Wrestling, His Impact Wrestling Contract Status, WWE Talks, More

April 10, 2019 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
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Former Impact Wrestling Global champion Eli Drake recently joined 411mania for an exclusive interview for the 411 Wrestling Interviews Podcast to shed some light on his career. Just a few days after this interview, Eli was released by Impact, reportedly due to comments he made in recent interviews as well as him not agreeing to wrestle Tessa Blanchard at United We Stand, and now Impact is apparently planning legal action against him. While this interview was conducted before his release, it’s interesting to note that Eli said he was happy with Impact and that they were paying him a six-figure salary. He also talks about how he almost returned to NXT, his thoughts on AEW, his backstage experiences with Scott Steiner, and more.

Jeffrey Harris: You were originally scheduled to face Tessa Blanchard in a one-on-one intergender match at Impact Wrestling’s United We Stand event. What are your thoughts since they changed it to Tessa Blanchard versus Joey Ryan?

Eli Drake: You got two great performers in their own right as far as what they do. I’ve known Joey for a long time. I’m cool with Joey. I’m friends with Joey. Is it my kind of wrestling? No, but I think it has its place. If he does on that on Bar Wrestling, I’m cool with that. I wouldn’t want to do that on television when I’m trying to push serious angles. But at the same time, nothing but respect for the simple fact that he’s been able to get a lot of eyes on him with what he’s doing. And I think that as far as at least a way from a physical standpoint, you look at a matchup between the two, at least a little more physically matched I would say.

Jeffrey Harris: We got a little bit more of your thoughts on intergender wrestling, and you think it has its place. But it seems there’s been a bit more of a debate lately about intergender and its place in wrestling–

Eli Drake: So much.

Jeffrey Harris: With this whole women’s revolution. This Sunday, the women are going to headline WrestleMania for the first time ever. Do you think that’s the cause of why this is becoming a bit more of a debate in the industry right now?

Eli Drake: I’m not sure. I think the women’s revolution is a great thing because when you look at 20 years ago, as they say, the girl’s back then for the most part were eye candy. And now, they’re bringing it. And quite frankly, you look at WWE, the girls are out-performing the guys. Becky Lynch is the biggest thing going in WWE right now. So, she and Ronda [Rousey] and Charlotte [Flair] absolutely should be main eventing the pay-per-view.

At the same time, our business — again, there are other little spot shows and gag shows and what not where you can get away with different things. But again, if you’re trying to present serious angles that are supposed to look like an actual fight, you lose a large section of your audience if you put Ronda Rousey against Brock Lesnar. It’s just not a believable look. Now look, if you put guys and girls in the same weight class, I could buy that. Everybody will go to, “What about Rey Mysterio and the Big Show,” or whatever. Big fan of Rey Mysterio. Big man of the Big Show. I didn’t care for that honestly. It’s cool for the moment to see that size differential, but to see two guys go one-on-one like that, I don’t think it’s believable. At the same time, when you’re a legend in the business in a certain sense — Rey Mysterio — you can get away with a little bit more. But at the same time, I think again, that it turns off the casual audience because audience is going to look, and they might stay for a second. But they’re going to look at that and say, “This screams phony wrestling BS.” Everybody knows it’s a work. Everybody knows it’s not real. But at the same time, you have to be able to suspend your disbelief.

And I’ve heard people say, “What about Wonder Woman?” Well, Wonder Woman has superpowers. As far as wrestling’s concerned, the rules were set that this is based in some level of reality, as far as the combat is concerned. People say, “What about the Undertaker? Or what about this?” All that stuff was outside of the realm of the actual combat. The actual combat in the ring was still meant to be presented with physics in mind, with the science that exists in this Earth in mind, with biology, all of that. So to just take that away all of the sudden and say that those rules are out of the window is kind of silly, and I know a lot of people who are comic book fans that are wrestling fans now. And so to put it in those terms, if all of the sudden, they told you that one now that suddenly Wolverine could fly and see through walls and whatever other superpowers that he didn’t have before, they’d be like, “Well, wait a minute!” It’s the same kind of thing.

It doesn’t make sense to have a 5’3″ female wrestler face a 6’4″ male wrestler. Honestly, it doesn’t even make sense to have a 5’3″ male wrestler face a 6’4″ male wrestler, in my mind, because again, we’re trying to present this as a shoot, as a legit fight. But it’s got to grab you as real, especially if you’re going to push any kind of a serious storyline or serious angle. I don’t know, I can go for days and days and days about this, but that’s my diatribe.

Jeffrey Harris: I think it’s a very pragmatic viewpoint, and as a big comic book guy, I see it as a matter of suspension of disbelief and credibility. Even a fantasy world, they establish their set of rules like Superman. With Superman, it’s been established that green kryptonite can kill him. Red kryptonite has altering effects, but he’s also vulnerable to magic.

Eli Drake: Yes. They’re are established rules from Day 1. If I can join you in the nerd pool here for a second. I’ve always been a Star Wars fan. I’ve noticed that if you watch the original trilogy and even the prequel trilogy, they never mention a damn word about fuel. Never, ever, never, never, not ever. And now, I remember watching SOLO and watching Episode VIII, and all they were talking about is fuel. And I’m like, wait a minute! Fuel was never a concern ever. It just seems like a sudden addition to the rules. Where it’s just like, don’t change the rules on me now.

Jeffrey Harris: Going back to your career. I read a rumor online, I have no idea if this is true.

Eli Drake: Uh-oh.

Jeffrey Harris: That’s why I’m asking you. It says your contract with Impact Wrestling is going to expire on May 31. Do you want to clarify, is there any truth to this rumor?

Eli Drake: That is absolutely true.

Jeffrey Harris: Have you signed your next wrestling contract, or do you know about your next wrestling contract yet?

Eli Drake: I have signed nothing. There’s no ink on any papers. I know what I’m doing. I’ve already made my decision, but I think I’m going to keep that one tight to the chest right now. But nothing has been signed anywhere whether Impact or anywhere else.

Jeffrey Harris: I know you talked to another podcast last month, where you mentioned rumors of WWE being interested in you. I think what you said was, no one [from WWE] has formally contacted you or offered you anything. Has that status changed since you mentioned that?

Eli Drake: No, it’s still kind of the same thing where I’ve got friends in there. I mean, look, the good fortune of my career with as long as it’s been and as many different places as I’ve bounced around, I know a lot of people now who are in that system. That goes for coaches, producers, wrestlers, and so occasionally, I’ll have conversations with them, where like, last year in New Orleans, I ran into Robbie Brookside and had a great conversation and just talked about how I used to be there and what not. So things like that, and sometimes I’ll reach out, or they’ll reach out or whatever. And they’ll say like, “You’d be really good here. Blah blah blah.” But again, that’s not anybody making me an offer, so much as a person that I’m friendly with saying, “It’s something to consider.”

Jeffrey Harris: I would have to say with your talent and your physique, when your contract expires, you’re probably one of the hottest signees any roster could have right now.

Eli Drake: I appreciate that. I’m sure a lot of Twitter would disagree with you. *Laughs*

Jeffrey Harris: Well, there’s a lot of Twitter I agree with personally.

Eli Drake: Right.

Jeffrey Harris: I think the industry is in a good place for people like you right now because there are options for talents such as you to make money and pursue your career and pursue what you love. Or, do you think there aren’t options for guys like you right now?

Eli Drake: Well no, I think the options are more plentiful than they’ve been in probably 20 years right now at this point. At the same time, I don’t think that the business is flourishing as much as a lot of people have been saying. I think that it is with the indies. I think that the indies are doing fantastic. But if you look at pay-per-view numbers, television numbers, WWE — both TV and house show attendances — it goes to show that there’s not a huge desire from a larger audience for the product. When it’s big with a niche, that’s a good thing because at least you have an audience. But at the same time, if you want to grow it, you have to go outside of it in some way.

That’s always kind of been my aim is first of all, I want to make whatever I’m doing look as real as I possibly can within the confines of wrestling. Wrestling has to be a little silly, a little goofy, but at the same time, you have to be able to turn that corner. I might able to say something goofy or funny or whatever, but at the same time, if I can turn that corner and still be intense and meaning what I say, I think that’s something that draws in audiences and people. The biggest swells in wrestling were the late 80s in the [Hulk] Hogan era, and the late 90s/early 00s in the Rock and Austin Attitude Era. And the reason for that is because it was characters. It wasn’t hard-hitting action. It wasn’t the best wrestling in the world, but the wrestling was almost secondary. Like my brothers for instance — I like to use my brothers as a great example because they watch wrestling almost their whole life but not regularly. They don’t even watch that much now. But in the late 90s, they were like, ‘Man, I just watch it for the talking half the time.’

So, if you have — the trash talk is what sells the match. So, I think a lot of that is missing in the business. I think some of the people are getting better. But that’s one of the big things that’s been missing for a long time. I think that’s kind of where I shine. I mean I do fancy thing here and there, but for the most part, I’m not a flippy guy. I don’t do a lot of “Holy S***” kind of moves or whatever. It all comes down to psychology. Half the time it’s not so much about the moves as what’s coming between the moves. What are my facials? What’s my body language? How am I interacting with the audience? With the other people around the ringside? All that stuff. That’s what draws people. And some people get drawn in by the moves. That’s why the cruiserweight division got so popular in WCW and what not, but I don’t believe that’s a main event thing. I think that 205 Live speaks to that for the simple fact that they’re not doing big numbers. They have a core audience that’s into that, but for the most part, people are into characters and trash talk. And then, yeah OK, then a match that blows off the trash talk. The trash talk is really so undervalued and so underrated as far as to how important it is.

Jeffrey Harris: Now, Impact Wrestling, formerly TNA, is where I think you really broke out and became a name in this business. Have you been happy with Impact Wrestling of late?

Eli Drake: I’ve been happy, and then I’ve been miserable at different times. Look, Impact has been fantastic to me. I’m one of the best paid guys there, I’m proud to say. I was very fortunate that the first year I came, I was kind of brought in as the third guy in the Rising. Was kind of just the body because the way that I even got hired there was one of the producers at WWE who was kind of fond of my work kind of reached out to John Gaburick and was like, “Hey. You guys should take a look at this guy.” So kind of on that, they brought me in for a dark match, ended up liking what I was doing, liked my promo work, we cut some stuff in the back, ended up throwing me into that group, but I don’t think they expected much out of me. It seemed like they were kind of expecting a lot more from Tanga Loa.

So eventually, I started getting a microphone, and it was like, “OK. Wait a minute. This guy’s got something. Here’s a little story that no one is aware of, but do you remember back when James Storm went to NXT for like a minute? OK, so I was also supposed to go to NXT then because I had run into a couple guys from NXT in Orlando, Florida while we were doing tapings. It was one of my last tapings in August of 2015, right around the time where we were at Destination America. And Ring of Honor had been put on that timeslot right after us or whatever, so we started to think, are we about to get pushed off? Are we getting cancelled? What is this? I rant into some of these guys from NXT, and one of them was like, “What would you think about coming back?” And it had now been a year since I’d been released, and I was like, “Well, hell yeah, I’d like to come back.” Because I’m thinking I’m not going to have a job. He’s like, “Alright. I’ll bring up your name.”

So, I got a call a couple days later. Talked about everything. Talked about we could have this ready to go for you if you wanted to show in October at one of the tapings. And I’m like, “Alright. Let me see if I can get my release.” So, I sent an e-mail to John Gaburick back in around September/October 2015 requesting my release. He vehemently refused, and he was just like, “We really want to do a lot of stuff with you. There’s a lot of potential with you. Please stay with us, and if you do, I’ll rip up the contract you have now and I’ll write you a new one.” And I’m saying to myself, “This is such BS.” But I was like, “Alright, fine.” So, I told them [WWE], “Look. My deal’s running up in February. So why don’t we just hit back up then.” But true to his word, he [Gaburick] ended up writing me a six-figure deal; the first six-figure deal I had ever seen. And so, I was like very happy to stay with Impact at that point.

So, they’ve treated me very well in that sense. I think that in the idea that I was able to kind of get that out of there as far as like, here’s a guy that I don’t think they expected much out of me, I was able to come in, knock it out of the park, and now I’m able to get a pretty sizable raise on a new contract. It’s pretty huge. Just considering the momentum and having my own talk show and all that kind of stuff. At the same time, like I said, there were definitely some down points and some things where I’m just like, “Man. I want to quit this business.” I think anybody who has been doing it as long as me has had those times where they’re just like, “Man. I got to get out of this.”

But there’s nothing in the world that I love more than wrestling. That’s why I’m so passionate about it. That’s why I feel like I need to defend it when this intergender stuff comes up and what not. And again, it’s nothing to do with — Look. When I was in high school, our wrestling team was at the state championships. We were state champions probably like a few years in a row. And there was a girl on the team. And the girl held her own. She kicked ass. But guess what? She stayed in her weight class. She wasn’t beating up dudes who were a foot taller and 150 pounds heavier than that. So, I’d just like to keep some semblance of “realism.” I know for some reason that word offends people, but semblance of believability because I’m very passionate about this and very passionate about this business. I grew up loving, wanting to be a wrestler. I’ve wanted to be in wrestling since I was a little kid, and now I’m here, and it’s like I don’t want to lose the art form that I fell in love with. It just kind of feels like day after day, it kind of feels like it’s distancing itself from what I fell in love with.

Jeffrey Harris: After you signed that six-figure contract with Impact Wrestling, the company went through quite a few changes. It went through quite a few networks. So, here you sign this contract. Did you ever get worried and think, “Man, I don’t even know if this contract will be even worth anything in a few months?”

Eli Drake: You know, the funny thing is, I kind of got numb to it after a while because I remember that first time feeling because again, I had only been with the company for a few months the first time it happened that August in 2015 when we had that last taping. I don’t know if you remember this. Maybe you do. We did that world title series that was kind of disjointed going into Bound for Glory 2015.

They didn’t even what necessarily that was for. That wasn’t really even necessarily supposed to be a world title series. We just filmed all the matches and then they made it that. So — because nobody really knew what was going on, as far as we knew, that stuff was just going to air only international because thought we’d be off the air at that point. Anyway, I guess we ended up staying on through the end of the year, but yeah, that’s the point where we were kind of like, “Yeah. OK. Is this done?” And then we get to the following year, and it always seemed to be right around Bound for Glory. Always just before Bound for Glory, “Aww. Rumors are that Impact’s about to sell, and we’re going to be closed or whatever.”

So, I bit on it one more time in 2016. And I was like, “Aww no. What am I gonna do? Well at least, I think I have a soft landing. I can go to WWE. They have some interest.” Because basically that year before when they had made me that six-figure offer, I basically said that it would be, “Look. This is what they’re offering me.” WWE wanted to sign me for the same deal I had in 2013, which was just PC and OK money, but not six figures. So basically, I was told [by WWE], “Take that deal [Impact’s]. Make yourself a star, and we’ll talk in a year.”

So at this point in 2016, I’m biting on the whole Impact’s going to close, whatever. But I’m still feeling like, “I’m fine. I’ve got a soft place to land. Pretty sure.” But then, of course, we survived, and everything was fine. And then in 2017, we’re hearing the rumors again. And at this point, I’m numb to it. I’m like, “Past two years, plus however many years before that, people are saying, ‘It’s over. It’s dead. Whatever.'” I was like to anybody that’s freaking out, “Don’t worry. We’re fine.” So you know, after a while, you just kind of get numb to it I think. It happens.

Jeffrey Harris: How do you look back on your time in the WWE developmental system and your first run NXT? Was that an invaluable experience to you in getting you to where you are today?

Eli Drake: I’ll be honest. I think with the way that they ran it then, I hear it’s different now, I think with the way they ran it then, I actually got worse. And that’s any kind of a dig at the coaches. The coaches were wonderful and pretty much just doing what they were ordered to do. But we pretty just did drills all day. The three hours of in-ring training, we never really had matches. It was just depending on who your coach was, it was different drills. And I can recall a few of us asking, “Hey. Can we just do matches on the fly. Like pair a couple of us up, and we can just have a three-minute or five-minute match. Or we can just call everything on the fly, and nothing’s thought out. Let’s just go and get into the habit on working on those mechanics of having to call some of that stuff.” “Well no. People are going to get injured or whatever.” I’m like, “People are getting injured doing the drills anyway. What’s the difference? Why not get those reps in?”

So, I feel this way. I know a lot of other people who have felt that way. It felt like you kind of almost lost how to do a match in a certain sense. And again, the coaches were just doing what they were told. And I had a great relationship with all the coaches. Here’s the thing with me. I stayed to myself, especially if I don’t know people. From the first probably two or three months, with a few exceptions, everybody in the locker room hated me. And then you get about month three or four, everybody warmed up, and they’re like, “OK. He’s not so bad.” Same thing in the Impact locker room. It’s just, I guess I carry myself a certain way. You see me in the ring or the microphone or whatever, I’m this big, verbose personality. And then, I come to the back and I’m just quiet and to myself, and people are like, “Who does this guy think he is?” Really, just all it is, I’m a quiet guy, and I don’t know what to say when I’m in the back. Turn the camera on, that’s a little different.

So it’s funny because at first, biggest heel in the locker room, and then at some point, there’s a babyface turn in the locker room, and everybody’s cool. And like I said, all the coaches, I was on great terms with them. It was a good experience in the sense of the connections that I made. The only guy really that was a big wall or giant speed bump for me was Bill DeMott, which that’s kind of a regular occurrence it seems. Other than that and him, which pretty much led to my demise, the experience was pretty good for the most part.

Jeffrey Harris: Having said that, would you ever be open to a return to NXT or giving WWE another go? I mean, Bill DeMott is no longer there in the developmental system. Would you be open to that, or would things have to be different for you to return? Or is it for you, main roster or bust?

Eli Drake: I’m not really against anything if the deal is right. It really comes down to the money being right, the time being right. The beauty of if I did return now, I have a lot more advocates on the inside now. Terry Taylor used to always say, “You can have advocates or adversaries.” When I first went in, I didn’t really have any advocates. I didn’t really have any adversaries either, but I didn’t have any advocates. And now, after being there and being different places with people who have now graduated up to that level, I do have a lot of advocates.

There’s so many guys I know who are now on the writing staff, the production staff, or the coaching, or even all the wrestlers that I know that I’m friends with. I just had a text exchange with Braun Strowman a couple days ago with how lean he’s getting because I’ve never seen him look like that before. So, I mean, I talk to these people every now and then. We’re not like best of friends. We have good communication. So, the fact that I have that, going back there, I feel like would be so much more advantageous than the first time around. And not having that giant roadblock of Bill DeMott.

Now, Matt Bloom was always seemed to be very friendly to me, always seemed to enjoy what I was doing as far as my promo work. I don’t know that saw my work in the ring. So of course, things aren’t always going to be peaches and rainbows, but I think that things could go very well if I went back there.

Jeffrey Harris: Now that I’ve asked that, do you have any advocates in All Elite Wrestling?

Eli Drake: Again, I’ve got plenty of friends up there too. I’m very close friends with Scorpio Sky. We both live out in LA. See him a lot. We hang out a bunch. I’ve always known Chris Daniels. We’ve had some level of rapport. Again, not like best friends or hanging out or anything, but I’ve had his number since way back in the TNA days.

Kazarian a little bit, kind of more through Sky. The first real interaction I had with Kazarian last year when they were doing the Ring of Honor show in Vegas. I was just hanging out with those guys backstage at the Vegas taping, hanging out with SCU. And then I think ran into Sky randomly at the airport one day. We were both flying out somewhere. He was with Kazarian. So, that was the first time I had really interacted with him. Cody [Rhodes] and I have had conversations. I talk to him from time to time. Again, not best friends, but we have a conversational conduit I guess you could say.

Jeffrey Harris: From my perspective, I think AEW has been good for the business just for the simple fact that I think it’s giving talent leverage. It’s getting them paid, and it’s giving them an option. Now, it might be temporary. We’ll see how this new venture works out. I’m curious about what you think about AEW and how those people are making a go of things right now with their upcoming event?

Eli Drake: I think it’s damn amazing that for never having a show — I mean technically I guess All In was them but not from an official standpoint — having never had a show and having this much buzz is on another level. But the crazy thing about the wrestling business is everybody’s kind of been at the mercy of WWE in a sense to where if you aren’t happy with something or whatever, as a talent, you’re kind of at the behest of the office in a certain sense. Whereas, you look at when ECW or WCW were around, guys had options. If things weren’t going so great, “OK. Well, I’m happy with this. I’m going to go over here.” There was more power for the talent. Whereas now, there hasn’t been a lot of power for the talent in the last few years. As the options grow for places to work, that gives more power to where they don’t have to just bow down to the office.

I’m not saying that I think the wrestlers should be able to just F off the office, but just in the the sense that there should be more of a balance to where it’s not just — Sometimes you look at the way the business is done, and it looks a little one-sided. I think that with more options, if AEW can get things rolling and obviously it’s not there yet. They haven’t even had their first show. They sold out a show. They sold out All In. They sold out Double or Nothing. The thing people have to remember, as impressive as that is, it’s a destination show. This is kind of like a WrestleMania in a sense to where it’s not like —

But also when you consider All In selling out, that’s an amazing accomplishment, and kudos to them. But it’s not Chicago people who sold out that. So like whereas WWE goes to Chicago, Las Vegas, wherever, that’s the people from that city going to that arena. So, All In was a destination show, where you had people coming from England. You had people coming in from the west coast, the east coast, everywhere, they go to Chicago to see that show.

What I’m saying to that is, again, an amazing feat that technically an independent show is selling out a 10,000 seat arena. Amazing. And all the credit in the world for the business prowess to get that done. At the same time, it just needs to grow to the point where now you can do that with the local audience at every level market that you go to as WWE has been able to do in the past. Until you can do that, it’s not going really be competition, and I think that’s a smart idea on their part to not go straight up trying to compete from the start and just trying to be an alternative.

I think that is how — for instance, WCW back in the day. You had NWA in the early 80s, who I think in some level could compete with the WWF until Hulkamania really took off. But then you had WCW in MGM or Disney or whatever it was in those small little arenas. But they couldn’t really compete the same way where it had to stay on Saturdays and Sundays. But finally when they could start filling up arenas, OK, wait a minute, let’s move ourselves to Mondays because now you have a more viable product, where there’s people all over the country watching.

Jeffrey Harris: What was your favorite thing about working with one of the business’ most interesting and historic personalities, Scott Steiner?

Eli Drake: *Laughs* I wanna tell you a really crazy story. I wanna tell you the craziest story ever, but I don’t have one because he was completely cool and composed and super damn generous. I’ve heard of him flying off the handle. I’ve heard of him going nuts on people. But as far as everything we were doing last year, it was pretty much like, “Hey man, what do you want to do?” And he’s like, “I don’t know. You got any ideas?” And I’d be like, “What about this? This? This?” He’d be like, “Yeah, man. That actually sounds pretty good.” I’d be like, “OK. Cool.” And if he had a tweak or something to it, then he’d throw it in there. But for the most part, he didn’t big league. He didn’t strong arm. He’d just kind of go with the flow for the most part.

And actually, I don’t want to toot my own horn here, but that Frankensteiner he did off the top, I kind of made that happen. We were calling that match with LAX for the tag titles, and he hadn’t gotten there yet. So it was just me and those guys talking about it. And he gets there, and I was like, “Hey. So, you got another Frankensteiner in ya?” And me expecting to just kind of laugh it off because I was presenting it as a joke, he kind of stopped for a second, he’s like, “Yeah. Yeah. I think I can do that.” I’m like, “Oh. S***. OK.” So, me thinking he’s just going to do one off the ground and just jump up and hit it, he’s like, “Oh yeah. We’ll do it up off the second.” I’m like, “OK. Alright. Here we ago. We got a match on our hands.” So, that was cool. That’s probably the best story I can give you, but that’s a pretty damn good story.

Jeffrey Harris: Looking back at your career, are there any feuds or matches or opponents you worked with that you’re especial proud of the work you go to do?

Eli Drake: I don’t know if you’re aware of my career from back-back, but Percy Pringle, Paul Bearer, used to be my manager for two or three years. That was just amazing every damn time. Cause every time we got on the camera, it was like — it was just the perfect mix. Two guys who can talk and just the craziness that is Paul Bearer and Percy Pringle and just added an element to everything I was doing. Of course, if you to my Impact career, I don’t know if they stand out a lot, but I feel like every match I had with Eddie Edwards was spot on. Good and intense. I actually guess he was the one that came down to me and him at the end of that Gauntlet for the Gold when I won my first world title. That was definitely a memorable moment for me. Having Chris Masters in my corner for god knows how long, that was a lot of fun. I think we got really good stuff out of that. And I think we had a — I don’t even think — I know we had amazing chemistry. I think just the way that they were booking him at the time kind of left him unfulfilled, and I get it. It’s just sad that because I think we could’ve done a lot with that

Jeffrey Harris: Any things you’re working on you’d like to plug or any projects you’d like to share?

Eli Drake: I just auditioned for a Dodge Charger commercial yesterday, but I don’t think I’m going to get it. I don’t think I did very well on it. But of course, I’ve got my t-shirts online at ProWrestlingTees.com/EliDrake. I’ve got my YouTube channel, which is slowly crawling along at a snail’s pace because I am completely inconsistent, but I’m trying to get better at it. And of course on Instagram and social media. On Twitter, you can get me @TheEliDrake.

Thank you to Eli Drake for taking the time out of his schedule to speak with us. You can check him out at his aforementioned social channels, and at least until May 31, he is still a part of the Impact Wrestling roster.

If using any news or quotes from our interview, please credit 411mania.com and please embed the podcast audio player or YouTube video of the full interview in your post.

On opting out of his United We Stand match with Tessa Blanchard and Joey Ryan replacing him (1:20)
On the women’s revolution, intergender wrestling and its place in wrestling (2:10)
On when his Impact Wrestling contract expires and his next move (7:58)
On if he’s had contact with WWE (8:44)
On if there are more options for guys like him in wrestling and the status of the industry (9:59)
On nearly returning to NXT when James Storm did and his opinion of Impact right now (14:12)
On if he was worried about his future when Impact was struggling (19:27)
On his time in NXT and why he thinks he got worse during that time (22:08)
On if he’d be open to a return to NXT if he signed with WWE (25:00)
On whether he has any advocates in AEW (27:01)
On AEW’s launch and its potential long-term viability (28:22)
On working with Scott Steiner (32:42)
On working with Percy Pringle and which feuds and matches he’s proud of (34:36)

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