Eli Drake On Being Compared To The Rock On The Mic, Internet Negatively Reporting On GFW’s Attendance

Eli Drake spoke with Interactive Wrestling Radio on a number of wrestling topics. Here are some of the highlights:

On GFW’s live event in the baseball parks:
“I think it wa sgood. It was a lot of fun. I think it was a litmus test of sorts just to feel out how the people know the product outside of the Impact Zone. For instance, a lot of times at the Impact Zone, you get the same fans for the most part over and over again, sometimes there’s new faces, but for the most part it is the same crowd. So, you start to wonder how people will react to the product outside of there. It was actually pretty good! Everybody was up with everything. They knew everything that was going on. They were familiar. I think it was a great experience. It was a great test for us being in this rebuilding process. And, I think it says a lot for us going forward.”

On the idea of taking TV on the road:
“I think that would be amazing. The reason I say that is nothing against the Impact Zone fans. Any time people are given too much of something, it becomes almost stale to them or almost… In the sense of, familiarity breeds contempt. They actually almost feel like they’re our friends in a certain way. Actually, right now, you’re running a show. I’m sure if you asked your friends to listen to your show, yoou’d have trouble getting them to listen to the show every week with the same level of excitement as someone who has never seen it or who rarely gets to see it. If Bruce Springsteen is coming to town, people are going to get excited for it. Somebody’s going to get excited for it and they’re going to come out as opposed to “Here’s my friend, he does a show. One of these times, I’m gonna catch it!” I think that is sometimes what it feels like at the Impact Zone. I think it would greatly, greatly benefit us as performers and as a brand to get out and see different audiences.”

On the Internet’s attempt to negatively report on the attendance of the shows:
“I think it was very well attended, actually. I mean, again, we’re not packing stadiums. We’re not filling stadiums. I think that for now, what we need to do is be humble within a certain degree while working within our means to where we’re not trying to fill a giant stadium. But also, take chances to see what we can do and what we can fill. I think our street team, for example, is above and beyond what it had ever been in the past. One of the guys in particular, Raphael, he is renowned for being very strong as far as promoting and getting everything moving, getting eyes on the product, and people in the seats. I think that moving around the parts in that part of the company is going to help ina big way. And also, having an exciting product as we do with all the exciting characters. People are going to want to see that right in front of their face.”

On the positive swing for the company since the new owners took over:
“You can see some of the relationships being rebuilt. We’ve got a good relationship with NOAH in Japan, AAA in Mexico. For instance, we are on Spike in the UK. Relationships are nto only being built but rebuilt. You are going to have people who claim to be fans, quote unquote, who are going to be negative. That is normal in anything. I see people complain about every TV show under the sun. This is no different. Haters gonna hate, as they like to say. (laughs) Maybe take some of the good, constructive criticism. But, otherwise, keep moving forward. Keep pushing. You’re going to get where you’re going at some point.”

On his Fact of Life talk show and working with ECIII:
“You know, I loved those segments. I thought I was going to hate it at first. Something felt campy about having a talk show. I didn’t like it. I felt it cemented me at a certains tatus. But, as it started to go, it started to pick up in popularity and it started to get really good. My one qualm as far as the ECIII one is maybe I came off a little too strong in that one… Especially for where it went. I don’t feel we got enough mileage out of that whole story whereas if we could have kept going back and forth a little bit more I think it would have meant more. I felt that first segment was really, really good. I was just sad… I was a little disappointed for what it lead into. It could have been something bigger!”

On being compared to The Rock on the mic:
“There are 4 men on my Mount Rushmore, if you will, of wrestling. That’s The Rock, Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, and Ric Flair. If you were to take 3 or 4 guys that I take away from and incorperate as far as character stuff, you’ve got The Rock, Austin, a little bit of Jake “The Snake” Roberts, and a little bit of Flair. There’s a little bit of all those guys I kind of pluck a little bit from. I can definitely tell you there were some times when I was watching “The Hero” back in 2013, there’d be a voice that would come on the screen and you did not see a face attached, sometimes I’d have a tough time telling who was The Rock and who was me. (laughs) I talk the way I talk. I can’t do much about that. (laughs). But, it is funny you mention that. Sometimes I get the weirdest comparisons out of nowhere. I’ve heard Jericho, I’d heard Michaels, I’ve heard Austin… I’ve heard a lot of things especially if you read YouTube comments which is the worst mistake anybody could make. (laughs) There’s some comparison to somebody and you have to say, “Really? That guy?”

On the media attention towards GFW Slammiversary and his match involving DeAngelo Williams:
(laughs) “Oh boy! Well! Lets go ahead and dig right in the deep here. I feel like there was a lot of media attention to that match. I feel like there was no media attention to anybody but DeAngelo Williams which is kind of to be expected a little bit. But then, sometimes, you hear people talking about DeAngelo Williams, DeAngelo Williams and it is like, there’s 3 other guys in this match. It is a great chance for us to get some publicity for the other 3 guys in this match and not once were those names mentioned on the bigger stations like ESPN or whatever. Otherwise, it was great to get a little bit of a rub. But, man, it would have been great to push a Moose or a Chris Adonis or an Eli Drake when the ESPN microphones were running.” He continues, “It was great to have those images up there. But, lets get the other talent in the match over as well and the company because that’s the whole point of the thing! It’s not the DeAngelo Williams show because he’s helping us and we’re helping him in a sense because we’re helping him make a dream come true. He wanted to wrestle and at the same time he’s helping us get extra press. So, lets make that a mutual thing by mentioning the company. Mentioning the other talent in the match. It seemed like everywhere I truned, “DeAngelo Williams is wrestling in this unnamed company with 3 unnamed guys.” (laughs) That was a little frustrating! But, at the same time, the imagery was out there so it was cool to get a little bit of attention in that way.”

On Josh Matthews predicting Eli to be World Champion by the end of 2017:
“Damn, that’s a hell of an endorsement. That would be my hope. I mean, only time will tell. That’s always what I’ve been working for. That’s always something I’ve had my eyes on. I guess only time will tell if that will happen by the end of the year.”

On seeing guys like Johnny Mundo and Drago in GFW:
“Anytime you do a cross-promotional thing or bring in a new face, it is exctiing. At the same time, I kind of look around and think, “God, we’re chock-full of talent right now! Can we fit anymore?” It’s kind of a fine line to walk because you want to use the talent that you have to the greatest degree that you can and get the most out of them. But, at the same time, it is exciting to have those prospects!”

On his early team with Lucha Underground’s Brian Cage:
“I don’t think I’ve worked in the same ring with Brian Cage in probably 5 years! We were tag team partners for a solid 3, 4 years with Percy Pringle behind us. Cool experience, great experience, “Natural Selection!” That’s the old team name for Brian Cage and I. ”

On being on the intro video for Championship Wrestling from Arizona and if he can appear going forward:
“Actually, no. I appeared on the first few episodes. With the way that my contract was in early 2016, I was free to do just about anything. I’m going to say this… About 2 years ago, things were a little haywire about where the company was going to be going so they made an amendment to the contract and they freed us up to be able to pretty much do anything that we wanted. (laughs) We coudl werestle anywhere! So, it was kind of freeing in a way but at the same time, it kind of lowered the pay a little bit. But then, in about June of 2016, I was written a very nice new contract that then kept me from doing any promotions like that. I can get away with a few indy shows here and there but anything that is going to be broadcast or TV or anything like that, I cannot do.”

On transitioning to acting:
“I’ve done some commercials and TV shows. I think I did my first commercial back in 2008. I’m a natural introvert. I don’t go out and outwardly talk to people. If I’m out on the street, I don’t approach anybody. I’m not the type to go up to somebody and be like, “Hey, what’s going on with you today?” But, the acting thing, I have done that. My goal is to continue doing that going forward. I do have a commercial agent out here. It is very tough to get on the same page just because I’m traveling a lot. So, as far as going to auditions and having call backs and actually getting the role. It seems like by that time one of that happens, I’m going to be out of town for the other part. (laughs) It’s kind of a tough thing to line up at this point. At some point we will be parlaying that into a less body abusive role.”

On his goals going forward with GFW:
“My goal at this point is to be as big of star as I could possibly be, a household name, and to help elevate this company to a level that it hasn’t been before and even take it to a level that it has been before but then take it beyond that. Then, be the World Champion. Be the face of the company. Be the guy who is driving the houses. Be the guy that is basically driving the ship. I want everybody to be on this boat. I want to be the guy at the helm.”