Eric Young joined Busted Open with Dave Lagreca and Doug Mortman. Here are some highlights.
On jumping off the cage at Lockdown: “No, that’s child’s play. That was actually, that’s a huge moment for me in my wrestling career. I saw Jimmy Snuka do it when I was a kid, I saw Mick Foley do it when I was an adolescent, teenager. And then I did it. And I mean lots of people have done it in between now and then but it was a dream come true. And that’s weird to say out loud. Jumping off the top of a cage and landing on another human being is a dream come true. It’s a real dream.”
Why he has been gone from Impact and where he has been: “My two schedules were pretty conflicting. TNA’s been great about me going off and filming the show (Off the Hook: Extreme Catches). It’s twice as much work as I thought it was gonna be. It’s worth it. It’s an amazing experience. It’s a great show, something I’m super proud of. But it’s really time consuming. So it doesn’t allow me to be there (Impact). Most of the time I was gone, or not even in the country, or in the same state. So I took a small hiatus from wrestling, and I’m back now.
How Dixie Carter is very understanding and flexible with wrestlers having careers outside of the ring: “For me, Dixie, first and foremost, is a smart business woman. She’s a nice lady. We’ve always got along great. And like you said, she allows us to do this stuff. I mean, it is a good thing. You can’t name another active pro wrestler that’s got his own television show. You’re looking at the one and only. It’s a good thing for both TNA, Spike TV, Animal Planet. It’s a good marriage. I believe it’s the same audience watching both products. You just said Kurt Angle and Hulk Hogan and Eric Young. We’re in a group together. Think about how crazy that is?”
ODB being his TV wife: “Easily the most interesting piece of the puzzle. Yeah, that’s for sure. No, I mean she’s awesome, man. An absolute pro. The most popular woman wrestler, I’ve ever seen. Everywhere we go, I can’t wrestle without them(fans) chanting her name. And she’s not even there. She’s not even wrestling. So she’s one of my really good friends in the business. Awesome to work with. And an absolute pro. She is the greatest.”
If it surprises him on meeting people who he wouldn’t have thought to be wrestling fans during his promotion tour: “It can be weird sometimes. When you get talking to people, like I went to ESPN last winter. A good friend of mine, Robert Flores, works over there. Ro-Flo. Great guy, funny guy. And I mean just LOVES pro wrestling. And the best thing to happen to him was having two boys, so he makes them watch wrestling. So it gives him an excuse to watch it, and go to the events. He called me and said ‘Hey you gonna be in Boston (at Slammiversary).’ I was out still shooting the show actually, just finishing up Off the Hook season 2. But he’s an awesome guy. And I went up there(ESPN) and met Trent Dilfer and all these guys. They might not know you but they think they’ve seen you and they’re cool and open with you. And he’s a massive fan and I’m a huge fan of his. And was a huge fan of him before I knew he was a pro wrestler. I think he is the next big thing for ESPN. It’s cool man. Like Michelle Beadle. Here’s this young, attractive woman that is super successful and loves pro wrestling. That doesn’t even make sense.”
His voice being his trademark and his throat issues: “I actually have the same thing that Brian Pillman had. The late, great Brian Pillman. He had before he passed, he had 46 surgeries on his throat. And I just hit number 16, that’s from 2004. It could be worse. It could be cancer or something terrible. So I look at it that way. And it’s slowing. The easiest way for me to describe it is basically warts that grow on my vocal chords. They put me to sleep, they go in and remove them. Then they’re away and then they grow back. So I’ve had 16 since 2004. It’s kind of a blessing in disguise. You can close your eyes and hear me talk and know it’s me talking. You’re not going to mistake it for anybody. One of my favorite’s growing up, Macho Man Randy Savage, was the same way. I think his voice was just crazy. I don’t think there was any reason for it. Pillman was the same way. Austin’s the same way. That very distinct voice. So I wouldn’t change it. I’m not about to belt out any Celine Dion, but I can sing Johnny Cash very well. And I live in Nashville, so it’s kind of a blessing in disguise.”
Where he grew up and how it influenced him: “Yeah, I was an outdoors person when I was a kid. Where I grew up, there was population of about 90 people, farm community in the middle of rural Ontario. Where I grew up there still isn’t cable television. If you don’t have satellite, then you have a huge tower in your front yard and you get eight channels from Detroit. So most of my pro wrestling was from WDLV-38 out of Detroit. Their programming included gospel shows, fishing shows and pro wrestling. It’s a pretty bizrarre mix but it was the channel I watched the most. It had Smokey Mountain, it had USWA, and at like 4am they would show WWF Superstars. And I would stay awake to watch it at 4am.”
What’s next for Eric Young on Impact: “Well, I’m good buddies with Sting and he’s got a lot going on right now. I’m not afraid to push my chips into that pile. If Sting listens to this, and who knows. I’m always ready to join that team. I’m a team player. Pro wrestling is my first love, that’s never gonna change. I’ll love it forever. I’m still a fan of pro wrestling. I still watch pro wrestling almost every day. So whatever they want me to do, I’m gonna do it, and I’m gonna do it a hundred percent. You want me to be the guy that’s afraid of my pyro, I’ll do that. You want me to be married and be the women’s tag team champion, I’ll do that. You want me to jump off the top of a cage and team with Sting, I’ll do that. You want me to take the World Heavyweight, former World Heavyweight champion in Austin Aries, half of a count away from beating him, eliminating him from the Bound for Glory series and go on and maybe possibly winning the whole thing, I’ll do that too. That’s something I’ve prided myself on. I’m a funny guy. That’s how I got the job with Animal Planet. That’s how I’ve stayed relevant in wrestling. But can I wrestle and can I do the other stuff? Absolutely. And I’ve proven that.”
Which does he prefer to be — babyface or Heel: “It’s the generic answer: It’s the best of both worlds. Being the babyface, to me being a really good babyface, is more challenging. To being somebody that everybody likes is more challenging nowadays. Being a bad guy is super fun though. There’s nothing like that, getting that reaction. I would say I’m probably better suited in the babyface role. It’s what I prefer. I don’t like when people don’t like me. Even if I’m making them do it. That’s what I prefer. That’s where I think I’m best suited. Now having the television show on Animal Planet, having the success of Off the Hook, that’s a more real version of me. Of the real Eric Young. That’s more just me being me. And now people have seen that and obviously really liked it. And I think that’s what I’m probably going to end up being in wrestling. Which is cool with me.”
His thoughts on Ace’s and Eight’s as a whole: “They’re doing the right thing with the whole Ace’s and Eight’s thing. The gang, stuff like that is very popular in mainstream media right now. And on television. I think it’s a different take on, it’s been done before but it’s a different kind of spin on it. I think it’s compelling TV. That’s how I look at it. It’s something that people are interested in and it gives them a reason, like what’s gonna happen next week? Who are they going to jump this week? Obviously it wasn’t good for me the first time it happened but I think it’s super interesting. And there’s any number of places they can take it. There’s a lot of different ways they can take it. Which is the best kind of storyline for me.”
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