In the video above, Eli Drake spoke with Impact Backstage Interview Alicia Atout on her YouTube channel, AMBY. After a fairly joyous interview, Drake was asked what his least favorite wrestling move to take was, and he answered “kicks to the head.” In turn, Drake asked Atout what her likes/dislikes were in wrestling and for likes she said “flippy stuff.” Drake immediately responded, “I hate that stuff” and proceeded to explain why.
“That’s made me start hating the business, I’ll be honest,” Drake said. “The business that I fell in love with was big, strong, masculine men who looked like they were fighting. They all had characters and they all could? even the worst promo guys were good. Now? Holy s—. Good luck [to] anybody being able to handle [a microphone], it’s bad. But everybody relies on goddamn flips and Cirque du Soleil spots.”
Drake continued that the aggressive in-ring style is appealing to a niche audience and a casual audience isn’t going to latch on like they would when it comes to creative stories and/or characters.
“Let’s say somebody who hasn’t checked in since 2001,” Drake began. “Let’s say they they decide, ‘You know what? I haven’t watched wrestling in awhile. I’m gonna check in.’ They’re gonna turn on today’s product and go, ‘What the f— is this?’ The casual audience was never really turned on by crazy moves, they were turned on by crazy characters. That’s why the big swell happened in the late 90s. … It’s moments, this whole business is telling a story, it’s characters, it’s all of that.”
The former Impact World Champion then spoke about how wrestlers are now killing themselves in the ring, despite fans fully understanding today (compared to the past) that matches are scripted. He starts off by saying how he’s not a fan of the overabundance of superkicks being used today.
“It’s so stupid, and I’ll tell you why,” Drake said. “People say, ‘Oh, the business has evolved!’ Evolved to what? Has my head evolved? Because if you kick me in the head enough times, I’m not getting up. We are killing our own credibility ? and I know that’s going to sound like f—— old timer or whatever the f— bulls—, but it’s true ? because now you got guys going out there in the very first match, kicking each other in the head, over and over again, guys kicking out at two and seven-eights, over and over again. What do you got left down the line when we are later in the show? Somebody is going to have to shoot somebody or stab somebody to get a reaction at that point.
“One of the best lines I heard, I don’t know if it was [Jim] Cornette or who, but the people used to think it was real and all the workers were safe, not hurting each other. Now the people know it’s fake, which is fine, people know TV is fake, but we are killing ourselves trying prove to them that it’s not. We’re working ourselves! We’re all getting injured at a higher rate and it’s stupid, and that bothers me about the business.”
You can see Drake’s full comments in the video above.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Alicia Atout – AMBY Interviews with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.