Impact Wrestling star Eric Young stopped by on the Shining Wizards Podcast to chat about his time in WWE as well as what he hopes to do in Impact. Before that, Young spoke on what it is like to wrestle in an empty arena bluntly saying that it’s not good.
“What I can say is, as a guy that did 6-7 years of independent wrestling, I’ve wrestled in front of very few people before, so that’s not a problem. Wrestling in front of nobody, it stinks,” Young admitted. “There’s no other way for me to say it. It’s just not good. For IMPACT, we’re wrestling in a small studio. It’s affordable. It’s convenient. It looks decent on television. You know, it’s easy to shoot, easy to work, and easy to do all those things.
“But wrestling in front of nobody is not a lot of fun. What I can say about it is, is I’m a very experiential person. I want to experience everything, good, bad, or indifferent. So, I’m in a very unique place professionally right now where all of us that are working on TV, whether it’s WWE, or its ROH, it’s AEW, or it’s IMPACT. This is singular. Well, I’m hoping it’s singular. Like I can say at a point I wrestled on a major PPV in front of zero fans. And that’s not like a boasting thing. It’s not a feather in my cap or ‘look what I’ve accomplished.’ But it is an experience I think is singular. No other wrestling generation, you know, people that worked on TV full time, have experienced anything like this.”
WWE has stepped up the presentation of their empty arena shows by introducing ThunderDome in the Amway Center. Young discussed ThunderDome and how it will change the product.
“You’re seeing it with (WWE) ThunderDome and all that stuff,” Young said. “It’s pushing technological advances. It’s changing television. It’s changing how we consume television. And it’s going to change the product in a lot of ways, and in my opinion, a lot of ways for the better. There’s been years where you could just rely on the crowd to make noise and make it seem like things are good when they’re not, so this is bare bones. Your product better be noteworthy or something to talk about, or it’s going to suffer.”
Since his WWE release and his return to Impact, Young has been outspoken about Vince McMahon saying that “he failed as a leader”. Young reiterated those comments explaining why McMahon failed as a booker during his time there.
“Having one person decide that I’m not part of a show, that doesn’t change my thoughts on what I have to offer,” Young said. “I’ve said this before, and I’m sure you guys have read it. Vince McMahon failed. He’s a super genius. Wrestling exists the way it exists because of him. I live in this house and have this life because of what he’s done. He’s got way more wins than he has losses. I am not the first person he made a mistake on. I will not be the last. But if you have a three-hour television show, Monday Night RAW, and you can’t find five minutes for me to do something, then you failed as a promoter. You failed as a booker, and trust me, nothing is written, and nothing goes on the show without his approval. It’s all him.
“So if there’s something you like, you gotta give him credit. If there’s something you don’t like, then you gotta blame him because it’s all him. All of it, every single second of every single show is decided by him and he decided, and whatever he decided on me, he decided very early on. And I wasn’t able to change his mind and that’s fine. That’s business and that’s the way it goes. But I would say it to him in person and I would say it to his face, he failed as a leader of that company.”
While Young’s outspoken comments about WWE’s organization style have made news, Young notes that he is not bitter towards WWE in anyway. He points out that he was treated and paid very well. He praised Triple H while also saying he could have done without his main roster run.
“I’m proving myself right every week. Watch, and, there’s no bitterness to it,” Young noted. “Like, I was very well taken care of there. I was very well paid. All the people there are super talented, ya know, cream of the crop and best of the best production wise. Show wise. Everything. It was an amazing experience. Not working on the shows was not amazing. Not being part of something wasn’t amazing. That’s just the way it goes, man. Fate is a funny thing. It wasn’t meant for me to be there, and that’s his loss and their loss. I don’t hold any ill will towards them. My time in NXT was amazing. Triple H is one of the coolest bosses I’ve ever had. We are still friends and talk quite often, still. It was a very, very special time in my career.
“The main roster run, I could have done without, but you’ll learn, I mean, you’ll learn tons of stuff. I can say that I worked there which was a goal of mine my whole life, since I was three years old. It didn’t go as planned, but that has nothing to do with me, and anybody that’s listening to this right now or reading the transcript or anything, if you think that me being in that position had anything to do with my skill and ability, then you’re sadly mistaken. And this happens every day in every walk of life. Politics are strange. And no one knows why it happens, but it did. It allowed me to move on to IMPACT, and I didn’t know If there was going to be an opportunity.”
Speaking on his current run with Impact, Young talked about Impact being an underdog. He pointed out that they are the third option behind WWE and AEW, but he hopes that Impact can grow and become a great place to work along with those other companies.
“This is a scary time. I’m 40 years old, I’ve never been fired in my life,” Young stated. “I’ve never lost a job. I’ve never been unemployed in my life so it was a scary time because of coronavirus compounding everything and making it really weird. But everything fell into place and I’m back in IMPACT, and that roster, like you guys said, it’s limitless potential. Yes, we are the underdog, and everyone that works there that doesn’t think that, then you can point them in my direction and I’ll explain it to them. We are the underdog. We are the third option, the small fish in the big pond, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a special place to work.
“That doesn’t mean that it can’t grow and can’t become something better, and that’s something that I’m focused on. And that’s always been my focus in wrestling. If the company I’m working for isn’t doing well, then I’m not doing well. And you can really feel that in the group at IMPACT, is that everyone’s kind of pulling on the rope in the same direction, because it has to be that way. If it doesn’t, it fails.”
Young spoke more on McMahon when asked what McMahon didn’t see that Impact has seen in him. He notes that McMahon has a lot of job responsibilities in WWE. He used AEW’s Kenny Omega as an example of someone that can slip through the cracks in WWE and become a big star after leaving. He also noted that someone like McMahon who has worked in the wrestling business for so long will not only have a lot of wins but will also have a lot of losses in his career.
“I mean, reality is, brother’s got a lot on his plate,” Young pointed out. “I can’t imagine. He’s a tireless worker. He’s 74 or 75 years old? Like he’s a machine. And like I said, I don’t hold any ill will towards him at all. Anytime we spoke, he was very respectful to me. He was very complimentary of my work at different times during my run there, which was interesting to me. But he would say it to me and to other people that work there that he really liked me. I wish that he would have shown that a little more, but in the end, like I said earlier and in other interviews, I am not the first person he missed on.
“Kenny Omega was there for six months. Six months. And never was on TV. Never did anything. And he was gone, and he’s considered one of the best in-ring performers of our generation. He couldn’t last a year. I mean, look, it’s just the way the business is. I don’t think it will ever change. As far as him (Vince McMahon), I do feel that the age, the lifestyle, like, how could you ever expect him to be a regular person and understand what regular people want to see? He’s not a regular person. He flies around in private jets and talks to the same ten people. He stays in private hotels, just drives to and from the building in a private car. He has no access or touch with the outside world. He lives in his own world, which he’s earned.
“As far as a person controlling an entire, I don’t know what you call it, empire, like all of it. It all goes through him and he’s got way more wins than he’s got losses. They’re making money hand over fist. The ThunderDome looks absolutely amazing like I knew that it would. He’s reinventing television again. It’s just a mistake, and I would tell him to his face that he made a mistake. Every Tuesday, I’m showing that I’m right and he was wrong. There was never a single doubt in my mind that if I went somewhere else, that’s what people would say. That’s the whole over glaring thing of the situation. He was wrong, I was right.”