The former Impact World Champion, Eli Drake, took some time to sit down with Chris Van Vliet to discuss his recent departure from Impact Wrestling. Drake revealed to Vliet that he had actually made the decision to leave Impact back in January and he informed the higher-ups of such at that time.
"Back in January, I basically just let them know, like, 'Hey, I'm not intending to stay this year.' I kind of let them know my intentions that I wasn't planning to stay this year," Drake explained. "I really thought about it last year, and I almost left [at that time]. I know they thought I was leaving, I thought I was leaving at one point, and I ultimately decided to stay. I kind of came to the decision that there are a lot of options now. I wasn't happy with how the first half of the last year went for me, but I will say, the last part of the year was a lot of fun; even though it was Ellsworth or whatever. Just doing what we did in New York - that play I had with the audience there and with him. It was so much fun. From then on it was a great time."
Despite his choice to sit-out of a scheduled, intergender match against Tessa Blanchard, Drake explained that he is still on good terms with Ed Nordholm and other Impact officials. Drake is greatly appreciative of the opportunities and financial stability that Impact has provided him in his career.
"Eventually, we kind of hashed it out. We had some emails back and forth and finally I had a phone call with Ed Nordholm [just before the beginning of June]," Drake said. "He was very gracious to reach out. We had kind of spoken at length on what we could agree on, what we could do to move forward in a way that's amicable. I told him that I have no intentions of giving Impact a bad rap. They've been very good to me. I live a comfortable life because of the money that I made there."
Drake doesn't necessarily consider any threat of a non-compete clause as a serious one, as he explained the close relationship he's maintained with Nordholm.
"I don't think that Ed Nordholm actually truly intended to uphold that," Drake began. "I only say that because he and I never had any kind of issues. Never had a cross word. We were always very cordial. I would almost say downright friendly in our interactions. I think it was just a matter of communications from other upper voices, so to speak. Who knows?"
Of the many places Drake could start performing, assuming there is no clause that prohibits such, WWE is one that he has dabbled in in the past.
"I have friends there that I talk to but there haven't been any formal offers made or anything," Drake said. "They're probably sick of me by this point. We talked for the last 3 years and they made me some offers, but the offer to stay at Impact was just better."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Chris Van Vliet.