Source: Sports Illustrated

When Alberto El Patron was forced to relinquish the Global Force Wrestling World Championship, it was a bit of a surprise that Eli Drake was tabbed as the next champion. But Drake has embraced the role at the top of the GFW card with open arms, and he told Sports Illustrated's Justin Barrasso that the world title has only added extra motivation to be great.

"Once I heard the decision was made [to win the world title], I put a lot of extra pressure on myself to not relax or be complacent," said Drake. "I actually started doubling up my workouts and I was in the ring two or three times a week extra just because I wanted my work in the ring, on the mic, and my conditioning to be second to none. If I'm going to be the face of the company, then I'm going to make sure I can go like nobody else."

With the NFL season now in full swing and Thursday Night Football siphoning viewers away from Impact, there's added pressure on Drake to help attract ratings on Thursday nights. Drake said he's up for the challenge.

"I don't like to use that as an excuse," he said. "If we're putting out a compelling product, then we should still have the eyeballs on our product. If you rewind about 20 years, and look at WWE in 1997, they were putting on a great product but nobody knew because WCW made such a loud noise via the NWO. It took WWE another year-and-a-half to make that big comeback, even though they were producing some great stuff with [Steve] Austin and DX."

He continued: "We just had the regime change months ago. There is the stuff we didn't expect with Jeff [Jarrett] and Anthem, but growing pains are to be expected. I hold a lot of that burden on myself. I am the guy at the forefront of the company, and I want to make sure eyes are on us."

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