Eli Drake was a recent guest on “The Wrestling Perspective Podcast”. During the interview, he discussed the importance of speaking skills for a professional wrestler and revealed whether he puts his own promos together. Here are the highlights:
On Trying To Use What His Opponent Gives Him When Cutting A Promo:
I don’t know. I mean, I do know, but I don’t know. I like to listen to what the other person is saying or doing, that way I can use something that actually pertains to them instead of generic, bland ‘I’m going to kick your ass’ [remarks]. I can use something that actually pertains to them. If they say ‘oh, I’m thinking about using this line’ I [can go with that] or if they don’t tell me anything and I’m just listening intently—boom, boom, boom, somehow I can bark it back.
On What Inspires His Promos:
If we’re going to go with inspirations, stuff like that, I have a video that I just found maybe a month ago, it’s me at 17 years old doing The Rock’s pre-WrestleMania XV promo. I put it side-by-side, and it’s amazing. I was 17 years old and I had on the WCW belt on, I think it was the only replica belt that existed at the time—I forget how exactly it went, but it was definitely [an influence on me]. In my early childhood, I was a huge Hulkamaniac. Something about it, like I just wanted to be him. We get into high school, I wanted to be Stone Cold Steve Austin, then The Rock got huge and I wanted to be The Rock. Those are my three guys, and as time went along and I started to study the business more—I always liked Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, I liked Ric Flair, but I never had the true appreciation that I had gained for them later until I was actually in the business. Then I was like ‘wow, Jake The Snake is an amazing promo guy.’ Ric Flair was always a good promo guy, but I never really noticed it or paid attention. Now, some of the WCW stuff with [does Ric Flair impersonation] ‘Meeeeeeeeeean By God, Gene’—that stuff just gets me.
On Why Promo Skills Are So Important:
My thing when I got into wrestling was, I first of all wanted to look like a wrestler. I’m 6’1”, so I wanted to at least be 200 pounds. I didn’t even get into a ring until I was at least 200 because I didn’t understand the idea about not being a big guy. Second, I wanted to be able to talk because anybody that I ever liked could talk. I know people are going to hate me saying this, but I feel almost like the wrestling is secondary. I know that that is the bulk of the program, but it’s the stories and the characters that sell everything.
If you look at the biggest swells in wrestling—the Attitude Era, the Golden Era with Hulk Hogan—that was character driven and that’s what brought in the people. Some might say ‘oh, the wrestling was horrible in the Attitude Era, Hogan’s a terrible wrestler!’ Who cares? The fact is, they had great psychology in what they were doing, things that made sense in the ring and what they were doing, and at the same time here are these characters that bring in people that don’t even watch wrestling. So if you’re making everything about your moves, that’s good, because you want your stuff to be crisp, but if that’s all you’ve got, you’re only really entertaining the hardcore wrestling fans who are going to be there anyway. If you want to bring in a bigger audience, you’ve got to be able to talk.
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Credit: Wrestling Perspective Podcast. H/T Wrestlezone.