On a recent episode of The Wrestling Inc. Daily, Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman sat down with former WWN and EVOLVE Tag Team Champion JD Drake. Drake made his AEW Dark debut last February, but he had his big breakout when he took on Darby Allin for the TNT Championship on AEW Dynamite recently. He revealed how the match come together and what AEW President Tony Khan said to him ahead of the match.
“So Tony comes up to me and says, ‘Hey man, your work has been really solid since you’ve been here. You’re wrestling Darby Allin next week for the TNT Championship. Get ready,'” Drake revealed. “And I kind of looked at him, and I said, ‘I stay ready.’ Okay, this works. So I come home. I racked my brain as to what the hell just happened, and I start preparing. And then we shoot the Road To video package, and I lay everything out on the line.
“Everything in that package, that’s genuine from the heart, 110%. If you want to know what JD Drake is, go to YouTube, look up Road to Dynamite between me and Darby Allin. You’ll get to see me pull the curtain completely back, and you’ll get to see the inside of what makes me tick, I get there on that Wednesday, and the environment is just insane. Everybody’s coming up to me, talking, asking me if I’m ready and all that good stuff, and I’m trying my best to treat it like another day, but the intensity is so big just inside my chest, inside my head.
“People can’t help but tell that I’m a different human that day, and I had every intention of going out there and not just stealing a professional wrestling event, none of that. I went out there to win a championship to prove to people who’ve always told me ‘You’re too this. You’re too white. You’re too fat. You’re too redneck. You got too much gray hair. You’re too old. You’re too broken down.’ I went out there to prove everybody wrong. That’s what I’ve done my entire career, and damn it I did.”
Allin has taken on many larger competitors in AEW like Brian Cage and in places like EVOLVE with WALTER. Drake commented on the contrast in sizes between him and Allin and how that made for a different kind of match.
“Darby is an extremely tough competitor for anybody of any kind of size. If you’re a bigger dude, Darby is at home,” Drake described. “If you don’t believe me, go back and look at some of his other work. I’ve seen him beat guys my size, even bigger, and that’s normally where he’s most effective. How? I have no clue.
“I don’t know, and his Coffin Drop from the top felt like a f**king 600-pound elephant fell on me. That sucked. My back cracked from the top of my butt crack all the way to the base of my neck. It was terrible, but Darby, he’s a hell of a competitor. It don’t matter what situation you put him in. He’s there for a reason.”
Drake is from North Carolina and admitted that he is a big Arn Anderson fan, revealing a conversation with Anderson that he had recently.
“Well, he had heard of me through the grapevine,” Drake said. “He had not really seen much of my work, but he knew who I was, and we sat down. And we talked for about 30 – 45 minutes about everything other than wrestling, about life, about sports. You name it. We talked about it, and then he said, ‘I like your look kid.’ I was like, ‘Well, I appreciate it. Does it look familiar?’ And he just smirked and walked away, and his son Brock happened to be sitting there too, which was even more hilarious.
“Brock looked at me and said, ‘Yeah,’ and that was about it. Arn, he’s just been a pleasure to sit down and talk to any time I’m down there. You can’t get enough being under his learning tree. Him, or Jake Roberts, or Sting or anybody that’s down there, Big Show (Paul Wight), any of them. If they speak, you listen, and if you do anything other than listen, you’re doing it wrong.”
You can follow JD on Twitter @RealJDDrake. Drake takes on Daniel Garcia at Limitless Wrestling’s The Games We Play on Friday May 7 on IWTV. You can find the full video and audio from Drake’s The Wrestling Inc. Daily episode below: