NWA Television champion Elija Burke, better known as The Pope, recently spoke to WrestleZone to discuss how his role in the NWA came to fruition, and how being at the right place at the right time led to him holding NWA gold. Highlights are below.
Says that he was initially just going to be a mouthpiece for NWA but timing allowed him to wrestle:
I like to tell people, especially those that follow me on social media, obviously they’re aware that Pope is in the ring and doing his thing. But as you said, that was not the plan. That was not Pope’s purpose or role in NWA when I came back for NWA Powerrr. And this, again, it’s well-known that my role was to get The Bouncers over the hump, be the mouthpiece, be their J.J. Dillon, be their Jimmy Hart, whatever the case you wanna make. And I think the biggest thing that got me back in there for Powerrr and the United Wrestling Network for the NWA was simply timing. And we all know how that works. Just timing, you know.
Says he had little time to prepare due to the pandemic and things happening on the fly:
Hard for me only in the sense that you get a ‘pandemic version’ of Pope. I didn’t have any time to prepare the way I would like to prepare, physically or mentally. I didn’t have a chance to get in the ring or go around because, for the past couple of months, I was inactive. The last show I did was about two months ago. That’s just, you always gotta be ready. And I’m always ready and I’m healthy. I know a lot of folks felt maybe Pope was injured or whatever, that’s why he wasn’t wrestling. No, that was never the case. But I believe in doing stuff that matters, and if it’s not going to matter, then I don’t want to be a part of it, you know, especially on a national scale. So I’m not going to step back in the ring for a ‘throwaway match’ if that makes sense to you.
Believes the sky is his limit:
It only goes up from here. It only goes up. Yeah, I plan on getting back in the ring. I plan on defending the title as long as possible. I plan on making a run for the NWA Worlds Championship Title. Yeah, it only goes up. I plan on getting, I’m in good shape now, I plan on getting in greater shape here soon. Because now I know where I’m going, I know what I’m doing, and while I don’t know the plan ahead of time, I like to be prepared, and I will be best prepared when those plans come to fruition.