One half of the Impact Wrestling World Tag Team Champions Eric Young sat down with Wrestling Epicenter to talk about his current run in Impact and his career, including his several-year run in WWE. A TNA/Impact lifer when he joined WWE, Young admitted he had grown up wanting to wrestle for Vince McMahon’s promotion, and that he felt it was time to take a chance upon leaving TNA in 2016 and give WWE a shot.
“As a child, I always wanted to work for WWE, WWF,” Young admitted. “TNA didn’t exist back then. When it began in 2002, I was very interested in going there (TNA) and when I got there in 2004/2005, the roster was loaded with all these mega-talented people, everyone was motivated, wanting to be part of that underdog kind of thing and being a part of something that was growing was very appealing. But I felt like it was time to take a swing in 2016 and try something different.”
Eric Young would wrestle for WWE from 2016 to 2020, and by in large he doesn’t regret his time with the promotion. In particular, Young is proud of the work he did in NXT, pointing out how much he loved working with Triple H and how proud he was of SANITY, a stable consisting of himself, Alexander Wolfe, Killian Dain, and Nikki Cross.
“I don’t regret it,” Young said. “I enjoyed almost my entire time there. My NXT time was very special to me. I loved working with Triple H. He and I became very close. A lot of what you saw with SANITY was my ideas and his ideas. It was a very close collaboration. We grew SANITY into one of the top acts in the company. Tag Team of the Year, Match of the Year. We were a huge part of every show we were on! We were on every Takeover. I’m very proud of that.”
As for his main roster run, Eric Young admitted that things could’ve gone better and would tell WWE owner Vince McMahon to his face that he failed with him. Despite that, Young has no bitterness towards McMahon, saying he wouldn’t have been able to make a living in wrestling if not for McMahon’s vision.
“Everyone knows what happened main roster side,” Young said. “I’m not the first person they missed on, I’m not the last. There are no hard feelings over it. I’m not bitter! I told Vince McMahon this to his face ‘if you can’t find 5 minutes for me to do something, then you’ve failed!’ And I would say it to his face again. It is nothing personal. He’s always treated me kindly. He always made time to listen to me when I pitched ideas and he was complimentary to me early on.
“Somewhere, he was busy producing a billion-dollar television show and he decided I wasn’t someone he was interested in so we went our separate ways. But I have no hard feelings. He’s a genius! Wrestling exists today because of his ruthless approach saying pro wrestling can be mainstream and it is. I wouldn’t be sitting in this nice home in Nashville and be enjoying this great life unless it was for his persistence, his vision, and his promoting and belief that pro wrestling can be a mainstream product.”
Later, Eric Young was asked if his main roster run in WWE was hindered by the promotion not liking that certain talents established themselves in TNA, a theory started by former TNA star Chris Harris. Young doesn’t entirely subscribe to that theory, stating his belief that he was brought into NXT due to his TNA run, and that ultimately talent has more of a factor in how one is used than anything else.
“Well, going into NXT, I think it was the reason I was hired,” Young said. “I might not have had 2 million Instagram followers but if you were a fan and consumed professional wrestling, you knew who Eric Young was. They were going through a period where NXT was growing and they needed people who could carry the load. The PC was full of young, inexperienced talent. You can’t teach experience! You don’t know what you don’t know until you do it. For me, I couldn’t name another wrestler who has seen the card from every angle I’ve seen it from. I’ve done everything and done it at a high level. I’m not the best wrestler, the best talker, have the best body, or the best athlete. But I’m very, very good at all of those things. I’ve been the opening show match, I’ve been the popcorn match, I’ve been the main event, I’ve been a bad guy, a good guy. I was wrestling women before it was even a thing! My experience is second to none. I’m sure if we sat down and thought about it, we could come up with a few names. But off the top of my head, I can’t think of anyone who has done things as different as what I’ve done.
“Triple H saw that. I had talked to him for years before about coming over to work. It didn’t work out. But it finally did. And I’m still friends with him to this day. I talk to him quite regularly. But on what Chris (Harris) said, I think it just depended on the talent. AJ Styles is a generational talent. No one is going to watch AJ Styles and see what he does and not realize that he’s great. As I’ve pointed out, I’m not the first person Vince McMahon missed on and I won’t be the last. I point out Kenny Omega, who is the best physical performer this business has seen in the past ten or twelve years. He didn’t last six months. It is a huge machine and you’re just a cog in the wheel. Everyone is replaceable. They replaced The Rock, they replaced Hulk Hogan. They’re a billion-dollar industry and they’re not concerned about you or your opinions or any of that s--t.”
As for how Triple H, who recently retired due to heart issues, Eric Young says “The Game” hasn’t talked about his issues when the two have conversed. Young believes Triple H is doing fine and ultimately would like to see him in the mix again, even if Triple H is saying he’ll never wrestle again.
“He’s old school, man. He won’t talk about it,” Young revealed. “He says ‘I’m fine.’ I’m sure he’s doing fine. It would be cool for him to get back in the mix of it again.”
To quote this article, please credit Wrestling Epicenter and provide an h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription
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