During Eli Drake’s recent appearance on The Chris Van Vliet Show, he thoroughly addressed the issues he harbored surrounding the intergender match against Tessa Blanchard that was originally scheduled for Impact United We Stand on April 4th. Drake first learned about the scheduled bout on social media, and furthermore, this was only after one other Impact star had already turned down the match.
“So, they announced the match and I had no prior knowledge of it; nobody had said anything,” Drake said. “I find out about it on Twitter. That’s not terribly abnormal, I don’t think. I think that it’s a more special situation though, only because I know that somebody else had already turned that match down because of his own discomfort with it. I understand that they have pressure to announce events and get it out there. I completely understand that [and empathize] with that.”
Drake is one of the many that believe Blanchard is indeed an “undeniable” performer. Even still, he personally doesn’t want to be a part of an intergender pro wrestling match if he can avoid it.
“When I saw the announcement, I immediately emailed the necessary outlets and said, ‘Hey guys, I’m not comfortable doing this. I will wrestle anybody else on the roster, I’m just not very comfortable doing an intergender match,'” Drake recounted. “I have amazing respect for Tessa Blanchard; I’ve told many people that she is easily the best female wrestler in the world. She is so intense with everything she does, and her facials, and moves.”
Ultimately, Drake believes that a women competing on the same level as men in pro wrestling isn’t realistic enough to pursue. He feels a similar way about competing against performers that are significantly smaller than him.
“I don’t even like wrestling really small guys a lot of the time. It just feels phony,” Drake explained. “Some people are gonna disagree with me on this but I kind of like to use people who aren’t big time wrestling fans as kind of a litmus test. I had a show in North Carolina last year and the guy that I wrestled was easily 100 pounds lighter than me. [My girlfriend] was like, ‘It looked like father and son wrestling in there. It looked like you were beating up a child.’ So thinking about that and knowing that I’m leaving the company, I know that I’m not going over. That’s fine, and for the most part, that doesn’t matter, but at the same time, I don’t want to completely crush my brand.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Chris Van Vliet.