Eric Young has been busy this past week after having sat on the sidelines for some time in the WWE. After debuting amongst a slew of other talents at Slammiversary this past weekend, Eric Young stopped by Busted Open for his first interview since leaving WWE. He spoke with Bully Ray and Tommy Dreamer about what his time in NXT and WWE was like and where it all went wrong.
“It was kind of time to move on,” Eric said regarding him leaving what was then TNA at the time. “The structure of the current company, I felt like I had kind of done everything, you know, I was going to be allowed to do there. Obviously, the WWE is a place I’ve wanted to work my whole career. That’s what I grew up watching, that was the goal.”
Being goal-oriented is a theme for Eric throughout the interview. Going further back, he looked back on those goals starting back in his early days in TNA and even likened those times to being like ECW in a lot of ways. He did say that IMPACT is in a better spot than ever now. But his goals weren’t always so lofty in the early days.
“When I started wrestling, my first goal was to sign a contract and say I do this for a living, and signing my first contract in TNA wrestling… I could officially say I was a pro wrestler,” Young humbly admitted. “You know, I played wrestler on the weekend, but in 2004 I signed my first contract and then I could say ‘this is what I do for a living’. That was my first and only goal, and my other goal was to make it to the WWE. That was a huge reason for me wanting to go there.”
Reminiscing on the career he amassed in the WWE, Eric speaks fondly of his days in NXT and refers to Triple H as a key figure in that. SAnitY was clearly a fond memory, and he played a role in helping that grow into what it was.
“The NXT part went great. I was treated well, Hunter and me worked very closely on the development of SAnitY and the group. I really felt like I had a say in what went on, obviously not final say but was listened to,” Eric explained. “At the time, SAnitY was one of the top acts in the whole company. I could be put anywhere on the card and be utilized in a good way.”
Things would quickly change with his time on the main roster. Young clearly got more frustrated after the move and is happy for the days spent there being behind him.
“Then we transition to the main roster and I mean, you and everyone knows how that went it did not go well,” Eric said. “Sometimes you fall out of favor and it’s nothing you did or didn’t do. I never changed who I was, I’m not going to that’s not who I am. I’m not a political person, never have been.
“The truth is, a bunch of guys that have left there have talked about this and we don’t need to go on and on about it. But the system is broken, it’s hard to get a word in. Even when you’re doing nothing it feels like you’re fixing people’s mistakes all day.
“There was no creativity, they want everyone to do things the same, and be the same, and bump the same, and sell the same. And there is millions of rules… those change daily. It’s really hard to understand what’s going on and why it’s going on. The system is flawed and I would say that to anyone there, I would say it to Vince [McMahon] himself.”
Eric explained that he wasn’t willing to wait hours to speak to Vince, noting that he was a 40-year old man and not a child waiting for an adult’s attention for a few minutes. He said that he didn’t take it personally, and admitted that Vince was aways respectful with him when they spoke. Eric noted that they had two long conversations, but ultimately, his he almost fell out of love with wrestling due to his time on the main roster.
“Wrestling is my first love. “There was a point in my life where nothing mattered except for pro wrestling. I lived it, slept it, breathed it, bled, tears all of it was about wrestling. So yeah, I mean, I loved it and I can say, like I didn’t watch any wrestling when I was on the main roster,” Young said with dismay. “I would work on RAW and not even watch the show.
“It’s hard when something like that is crushed. It is a place that everything amazing should be happening every second of every day and it’s not. It’s a disaster in how it’s organized. It’s hard to love wrestling in that kind of environment.”
Eric said that “all the flaws are created by one person”, however that isn’t going to change. However, he said that he is back to loving wrestling again. He also added on a similarly positive note that his “soul hasn’t felt this good in a long time” and seems to be excited for what’s in store for him with Impact Wrestling.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Busted Open with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.