Impact Global Champion Eli Drake recently sat down with Wrestling With Ideas to discuss his upcoming match at Bound For Glory. During the interview, Drake opened up about his beginnings in NXT and his experiences, good and bad, with WWE's developmental promotion.
Before making a splash with Impact Wrestling, Drake was briefly signed to NXT from 2013-2014. It was there that he received tutelage from the legendary Dusty Rhodes. Drake said even though he was more polished than other wrestlers in developmental thanks to his experience on the independent circuit, "The American Dream" was able to help him fine-tune the little things he needed to improve upon. Rhodes ended up becoming a Mentor to Drake.
"It's funny he was actually… he was very good as far as… (sigh) let's say he was complimentary. I mean I was kind of developed [by the time] I had already gotten there because I had been working years on the independents and that was what I was known for," Drake said. "It's pretty much what I got hired for was my promos. I mean the wrestling was there too but at the end of the day it's also about the entertainment [value] right? Dusty was very good at giving the little notes here and there when you needed it. He was a big advocate of mine. Unfortunately, I had a big detractor there somewhere. I think his name was Bill something, I don't remember his last name, it doesn't matter but at the end of the day Dusty was a great mentor. He was a great influence and he was a great advocate to have on the inside."
The "Bill something" Drake was referring to is Bill DeMott, the former head trainer at NXT. DeMott resigned from the position in 2015 after multiple accusations of misconduct and abusive training tactics by ex-trainees. Drake said his interactions with DeMott were never really cordial, but he doesn't look back on that time with any ill feelings thanks to his current success.
"We were hot and cold from day to day. It would be very strange when you would walk in and go 'Hey Bill, Good morning, how are you doing?' and you go to shake the guy's hand. He looks at it and then walks away. This guy's the head coach. I'm not trying to air out [dirty laundry]," Drake said. "It's onward and upward at this point. At this point, I'm Global Champion. I'm living the dream. I'm getting taken care of well. I'm doing well for myself so I can't even contemplate or dwell on that. Was it kind of a bad rep at the time? Yeah, yeah. Forget it. Move on. Who cares?"
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Source: Wrestling With Ideas