Impact Wrestling’s Eric Young was recently on The Chris Van Vliet Show where he opened up about his time in WWE. Young said that he expected to be part of the mass cuts WWE were making and did not take his release personally.
“When they said they were going to release talent, I knew for sure I was going to be on that list,” Young admitted. “It’s nothing personal. I don’t take it [personally]. I’m not bitter in anyway. One person made a massive mistake. I’m not the first person he’s made a mistake on, and I will not be the last.”
Young talked about how his first love was pro wrestling to the point it consumed every part of his life. However, he said that the past three years were not a happy time for him forcing him to distance himself from pro wrestling.
“It’s a weird situation to be in. You love something so much, pro wrestling, me and my wife talked about this,” Young recalled. “My first love in my life was pro wrestling. It was the first thing I cared about so deeply. It consumed everything I did.
“Every minute, the job I had, the people I talked to, everything in my life was based around pro wrestling and how I could further myself and advance my career. The last three years, I hated it. I didn’t watch it. I didn’t talk about it. I avoided it as much as possible. That’s a weird place to be in.”
On Busted Open, Young criticized the way WWE is organized. With Van Vliet, Young described the work environment as one where “you’re trying to fix other people’s mistakes.”
“With the WWE, I’m not the first guy to say this, Moxley talked about this a bunch, it’s a broken system,” Young stated. “It’s impossible to be creative. It’s impossible to get ahead. It’s impossible to feel like you have even a foothold in your career at all. I’m a person that spent 20+ years grinding, trying to make my reputation and it’s basically dumped on by one person for no reason whatsoever.
“He looked up from his cellphone for five seconds, saw me doing something that maybe he didn’t agree with in that moment and that’s the end of it. The whole time you’re there you’re just trying to fix other people’s mistakes. That’s what it feels like, and it’s an exhausting process. You’re not having fun. There’s no creativity. He wants everyone to be the same, do the same things and sell the same way, and that’s not what pro wrestling is to me.”
Young noted that his experience talking with Vince McMahon was never a negative one. He did say that despite offering ideas, none were ever acted upon.
“He always treated me with respect,” Young noted. “When we talked, we definitely had a few personal conversations between me and him. I had pitched some things and told him what I thought. He was receptive to it. Nothing ever came of it. I don’t take it personally, but I’m in this position because he couldn’t recognize that I had anything to offer.”
Young later called McMahon a failure as a leader. He said that if McMahon could not find something for him in a three-hour show, then he failed not only the company but also everyone else involved.
“The last thing I’ll say about it is this,” Young prefaced. “If you have a three hour pro wrestling television show and you can’t find something for me to do, then you’re failing as a leader. Plain and simple. You failed your company. You failed the shareholders, you failed the fans and you failed yourself. The reason I wasn’t on the show was his choice. No one else’s.
“I think if you ask most of the people who work there, they would be in my corner. He wasn’t in my corner, so I wasn’t in the show, and I would tell him to him his face, ‘you failed as a leader. You can’t find something for Eric Young to do.’ It’s a really weird place. You can’t fully understand it until you’re there.”
Despite Young’s criticisms of WWE and McMahon, Young said he never regretted leaving Impact for WWE. However, he felt that he was capable of doing a lot more than he was doing.
“No, and that’s another thing, I’m just in the moment,” Young said. “At that time, I realized my position there was I work Main Event. I was an enhancement guy for guys that they were pushing. If that’s what you decide, you’re paying me. I’m an employee. Then that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to do it to the best of my ability, and that will never change. I feel like it’s a massive waste of my talent. It’s a massive waste of my experience and my ability to do a bunch of different things.”
While he did everything asked of him to the best of his ability, Young looked back at the investment WWE had in him yet did nothing with him. Young praised McMahon for building pro wrestling to the global brand that it is now, but he called McMahon out of touch with what is going on today and what fans are yearning for.
“I may not be the best promo or the best in-ring worker or the have best body or be the fastest or the strongest, but I’m very very good at all of it, and I’m not saying that because I think I am,” Young asserted. “I’m saying it because I’ve done it. I’ve wrestled on every part of the card. I’ve wrestled women. I’ve wrestled X-Division guys. I’ve done tags. I’ve been funny. I’ve done the opening match. I’ve been in the main event. I’m not saying I think I can do. I’ve already done it, and there’s proof on tape of me doing it. It’s just crazy to look back at how long I was there and the investment they had made in me financially, and I didn’t do anything.
“Like I said, not the first person he missed on, will not be the last. He’s got more wins than he’s got losses. Pro wrestling in how it’s designed and the size that it is today, it’s because of his vision. He’s a genius. I will never take that away from him. I have a giant house and very good life because pro wrestling has been very good to me because he made it to a worldwide phenomenon. Any person in wrestling owes that to him, and I respect him for that. I respect the things that he’s done, but at this point, it just seems like he’s out of touch of what’s really going on and what people want to see.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit The Chris Van Vliet Show with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.