IMPACT star Eli Drake spoke with the 411 Wrestling Interviews podcast to talk about his time at the WWE performance center. Drake claims that the constant routine of drills was not making him any better, and petitioned for the coaches to allow the talent to have matches on the fly, which was denied. Drake does go on to say that he enjoyed working with everyone, but that it just wasn’t for him. He does however, call out Bill DeMott as a “speed bump.”
I’ll be honest. I think with the way that they ran it then, I hear it’s different now, I think with the way they ran it then, I actually got worse. And that’s not any kind of a dig at the coaches. The coaches were wonderful and pretty much just doing what they were ordered to do. But we pretty just did drills all day. The three hours of in-ring training, we never really had matches. It was just depending on who your coach was, it was different drills. And I can recall a few of us asking, ‘Hey. Can we just do matches on the fly. Like pair a couple of us up, and we can just have a three-minute or five-minute match. Or we can just call everything on the fly, and nothing’s thought out. Let’s just go and get into the habit on working on those mechanics of having to call some of that stuff.’ ‘Well no. People are going to get injured or whatever.’ I’m like, ‘People are getting injured doing the drills anyway. What’s the difference? Why not get those reps in?’
So, I feel this way. I know a lot of other people who have felt that way. It felt like you kind of almost lost how to do a match in a certain sense. And again, the coaches were just doing what they were told. And I had a great relationship with all the coaches. Here’s the thing with me. I stayed to myself, especially if I don’t know people. From the first probably two or three months, with a few exceptions, everybody in the locker room hated me. And then you get about month three or four, everybody warmed up, and they’re like, ‘OK. He’s not so bad.’ Same thing in the Impact locker room. It’s just, I guess I carry myself a certain way. You see me in the ring or the microphone or whatever, I’m this big, verbose personality. And then, I come to the back and I’m just quiet and to myself, and people are like, ‘Who does this guy think he is?’ Really, just all it is, I’m a quiet guy, and I don’t know what to say when I’m in the back. Turn the camera on, that’s a little different.
So it’s funny because at first, biggest heel in the locker room, and then at some point, there’s a babyface turn in the locker room, and everybody’s cool. And like I said, all the coaches, I was on great terms with them. It was a good experience in the sense of the connections that I made. The only guy really that was a big wall or giant speed bump for me was Bill DeMott, which that’s kind of a regular occurrence it seems. Other than that and him, which pretty much led to my demise, the experience was pretty good for the most part.
Check out Drake’s full interview below.